Tag: Interior Design Practice

How Do I Become An Interior Designer?

If you reached this site because you are interested in pursuing a career in interior design in the United States (or Canada- to an extent) please know this;

  1. This site is not funded or financed by anyone. I am not here to promote any particular interior design degree/certificate program or interior design organization (do you see any ads?).  I am here to help you make informed decisions without any judgement.
  2. I am an NCIDQ Certified Interior Design profession with 25 years of commercial and residential design experience.  I have also been teaching interior design for the past 14 years at a highly regarded 4 year interior design program.
  3. Interior design is a broad and somewhat ill-defined occupation.  It can be confusing and if you make the wrong decision in your journey…it can also be very expensive.
  4. This blog post is focused on getting to the point.  The internet is getting clogged up with a lot of information.  I want to help you cut through it. Even sites such as the U.S. Government’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics, while helpful, can be overwhelming at this stage of your journey.
  5. I will provide links to trusted sources so you can explore your options a bit deeper but know you should be on the right path.  Okay ready?

Q- WHAT TYPE OF INTERIOR SPACE DO YOU WANT TO DESIGN?

A) I want to design people’s homes.  I love to watch home make-over shows and videos.  I prefer the more artistic aspect of design and do not want to deal with a lot of technical, or complex, problems.  While I am confident in my innate sense of creativity I also know that some specialization, such as kitchen and bath design, does require some advanced training.

OR

B) I want to design restaurants, nightclubs, high-end retail, and hotels.  I like the ultra creative aspect of glamorous entertainment or shopping spaces but I do not want to get too technical or bogged down with the details.  I do not want to design people’s homes….too much drama for me.

OR

C) I want to design a variety of commercial interior spaces including hotels, retail, healthcare and offices.  I am interested in Architecture and want to help design the interior spaces of larger buildings.  I like technical challenges, working in teams, and find solving complex problems rewarding.

OR

D) I want to design residential and commercial interior spaces that are creative and also help the client live a better quality of life.  I want to make a difference for people of all ages and social levels.  I enjoy working in dynamic and challenging environments with other like-minded professionals.

If you fall on the fence between the above options that is fine.  Read the details and that should help you focus on one path.

If you answered ‘A’

Okay your options are actually pretty wide open here.  You wish to pursue a career in interior design that utilizes your innate creative skills but does not require knowledge of building structures (math…yuk!), codes, standards or regulations.  You are more interested in furnishings and colors than wall framing or floor joists.  More commonly known as interior decoration there is a lot of cross-over into interior design.  At a minimum you will need a baseline knowledge of floor plans, construction and materials.  Obviously the more you know in this regard the more valuable your skill-set becomes.  You may not need to know any advanced computer design programs but, as with any profession, a general knowledge of basic office programs is essential.  Again the more you can offer a prospective employer in the area of technical skills the broader your options.  Ultimately this aspect of interior design requires no formal design education but if you wish to pursue advanced education or certification to elevate your opportunities in this rather competitive aspect of interior design here are several legitimate organizations that can provide much more detail for your consideration.

The Interior Design Society

The National Kitchen & Bath Association

Certified Interior Decorators International

The Home Furnishings Association

A note of caution here.  Since this is the lest restrictive aspect of interior design there is a lot of misleading info on the internet in this regard.  Buyer beware.

If you answered ‘B’

If you wish to pursue a design career that deals with public commercial spaces such as restaurants, hotels or chic retail stores you have two sub-options to consider.

  1. I prefer to be involved with the furnishings and color choices for these spaces and not so much the details or technical aspects.   OR……..
  2. I would like to be involved in the planning and construction of these types of spaces. I am technically inclined and understand that there are many codes, regulations and standards that must be dealt with.

If #1 above describes you then your choice aligns with career path ‘A’ above.  It is possible to find a rewarding career decorating and furnishing these types of commercial spaces without any advanced education or certification.  But your involvement will be limited to those aspects of the project that do not involve building codes  which are typically performed by other licensed or registered design professionals.  Again if you do pursue some advanced education or certification, or demonstrate an affinity for technical skills your options will be greater.  See the links under path ‘A’ above for more detail.

If you answered #2 above then you are beginning to head down career path ‘C’ described below.  In order to practice in any form of commercial architecture or interior design, which must abide by building codes and life safety standards, you will typically need an advanced/accredited education.  Most likely you will also need to validate your baseline knowledge and competency to work in these regulated environments by earning your NCIDQ Examination certificate.  See the links under path ‘C’ below for more details but there is one professional membership organization that will have good information for those who may straddle the professional fence between residential/unregulated design and commercial/code regulated interior design;

American Society of Interior Designers

If you answered ‘C’

Interior designers that practice in commercial spaces that are typically regulated by building codes (does it need a building permit?), life safety regulations, accessibility requirements, and other contractual obligations will need an advanced education, monitored apprenticeship, and a certification via examination.  While innate talent is helpful one must also be able to work on complex problems in a team environment that is driven by time sensitive deadlines.  If this is not your ideal environment then consider career path ‘A’ or ‘B’ above.  One can expect to invest at least 6 years in order to practice at this level of the profession.  Here are some important links to review and consider;

The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (accrediting body for interior design college degree programs) I am not in the business of ranking ID programs- you are on your own there.

The National Council for Interior Design Qualification (oversees work experience programs and administers the accepted industry standard examination)

The following professional membership organizations also have good “how to become” interior designer information;

International Interior Design Association (commercial interior design focus)

American Society of Interior Designers (residential and commercial interior design members)

Canadians wishing to pursue a career in code regulated interior design here you go;

http://www.idcanada.org/

If you answered ‘D’

Congratulations!  You are here for the right reasons. I commend you.  That said your career path options are a bit more open.  I am going to show my bias here but if you truly want to help people lead better lives or livelihoods, apart from a career in medicine, I am not sure of a better option.  In order to achieve some level of influence in this regard you will want to practice at a level that it is overseen by federal, state and local regulations.  An awareness of various public policies and socio-economic trends will be helpful.  Research, information gathering and problem seeking skills play an increasingly important role.  Hence an accredited education will be important to have any influence. If these topics scare you do not get discouraged.  Again your objective is noble and the profession needs you.  With that you should explore career paths as described by the links under career path ‘C’ above.  In addition you should explore the following human health, and design for social justice links;

Well Buildings (oversees programs promoting building design that promotes human health and wellbeing)

Institute for Human Centered Design

 

So there you have it.  I hope this has been of some help to someone.

If you are still confused or uncertain please let feel free to ask me a question.

Clarifying Interior Design Titles and Labels.

If you attended an educational program that granted you a certificate upon completion- that does NOT mean you are “certified” interior designer.

If you passed the NCIDQ Examination- that does NOT mean you are a “licensed” interior designer.

If you received an interior architecture degree from a CIDA accredited school- that does NOT mean you are an “interior architect”.

If you want to be a “certified interior designer” learn what that means.

If you want to be a “licensed interior designer” learn what that entails.

If you want to be an “interior architect” take the ARE exam.

I do not know how much clearer this can be.   This is not my opinion folks…the above are legally and ethically demonstrable titles and labels that are often applied inappropriately and even illegally.  It is easy to get confused.  If this helps one person figure out who they are, or what they do, then I am good.

You are welcome to ignore the above…but now you do so knowing the difference.

Confused? Feel free to ask.  Disagree? Tell me why.

Thanks for reading on.

INTERIOR DESIGN OR INTERIOR DESIGN?

 Or “A Tale of Two Professions”

One of which has nice fingernails and one that understands the International Building Code

And we wonder why our policy makers are confused…………

Sure this is just one misguided policy maker but he is standing on the floor of the capitol building in Springfield, Illinois and he has a microphone (he also has a website ).  Yes his tirade was countered (by the bill’s sponsor I assume) but he was probably successful in sowing doubt among those who were listening in Springfield and many of his constituents back home.  Unfortunately if you listen carefully there was not a whole lot of attention given to Mr. Reick which means that his cohorts had either made up their minds or they simply did not care about him or his message.  Fortunately it seems that it was the former as the effort by Illinois ID’ers to create a Registered ID act passed. While not a practice act it does validate the importance of CODE REGULATED Interior Design being much more than interior decoration and worthy of official recognition.

Now if we can just figure out how to distinguish our right to practice at the highest levels of the code regulated building design professions as peers with, or independent of, our allied licensed design professionals before we get to the floors of our state capitols.

I know the answer is out there…….

Time for my daily manicure.

P.S.  (6/18/2107) So while waiting for my favorite manicurist to finish his previous customer PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER decided to check messages and notices from his numerous peeps….when this article popped up on the ID press radar…..

Martha Stewart says millennials are driving the the biggest change in interior design today — and it has nothing to do with millennial pink… 

Silly me I assumed professional interior designers were driving the biggest change in interior design……   Can’t say you never read anything of value here.

 

 

PENNSYLVANIA PURSUES CODE REGULATED INTERIOR DESIGN AND REGISTRATION ACT

While much of the profession is watching the current effort in Florida to deregulate that state’s Interior Design practice legislation, Pennsylvania Interior Designers, as represented by the Interior Design Legislative Coalition of Pennsylvania, have submitted an Interior Design Registration Bill.  As of April 7th,  Pennsylvania House Bill #1102 has been referred to the Professional License Committee and as of April 19th is not scheduled for further action.  At this point no news is good news given the debacle in Florida.

PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER appreciates IDLCP’s efforts to distinguish “Code Regulated” Interior Design(ers) from those Interior Designers who do not practice in code regulated building design environments.  The inclusion of the term”Code Regulated” provides policy makers with a defacto distinction between those Interior Designers whose work is primarily decoration, thereby avoiding the building permit process, and those whose work truly impacts the Health Safety and Wellbeing of the public.  Previous attempts at framing this distinction have devolved into designer vs. decorator hissy fits prompting some coalition lobbyists to include terms such as “Commercial” Interior Design in their bill language.  But even then it is possible to perform interior design services in a commercial setting without triggering the necessity to obtain a building permit.  Semantics!

It’s all about that damn building permit and who is truly qualified to submit the required documents to obtain local jurisdictional approval to assume ownership and liability for one’s own design work.  More on that point later.

Good luck Pennsylvania…..we need a win.  If you are interested in helping or getting involved with the effort in Pennsylvania contact;

Angela Leigh Novalski, NCIDQ, LEED AP
Interior Design Legislative Coalition of Pennsylvania
Executive Board Secretary
609-820-5977
angela.leigh@cbre.com

MORE INFORMATION HERE: http://mailchi.mp/132c72276d1f/pa-hb1102-know-the-facts?e=[UNIQID]

CALL TODAY- DESIGN TOMORROW

Had I known it was that easy to become an Interior Designer I would not have wasted all of that time learning how to become one…………………

http://www.theacademyofinteriordesign.com/default.asp

Food…Er..Um..Drink for Thought

image

Now that things have calmed down in my day job I have a bit of time to ponder.  So it is timely that this little ditty came across my screen and got me to thinking.  Listen to this first;

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/506319408/506401504

Can you see where this is going?……That’s right I am going to milk this story for all it’s worth.  Okay had to work that in there.

“What is your point PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER?”  You ask.

In case you avoided my previous 300+ posts I will give you a hint.  The profession of Interior Design, like the Soy and Almond juice producers who espouse the term “milk” to market their products, are increasingly adopting the title “Architecture”, as in “Interior Architecture”, to describe and market their work.

While “Milk” and “Architecture” differ in may ways…okay there is little comparison (dairy cows could care less, Architects on the other hand care greatly) I maintain that the issue of titles, labels, terms, lexicology and the general semantics of how the profession of Interior Design defines, presents and labels itself is our most important challenge as a profession.

And that folks is no bull.

image= https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/ndsuag/Dairy-cows-pict-1.jpg/

WHAT IS AN “INTERIOR DESIGNER”?

If you just Googled that question and ended up here I apologize.  Unless you want to read through my previous 350 posts on this topic I am afraid this post will not come close to answering your query.  Click on the next link.  I wish you well in your search.

Continuing my series on what is “Interior Design” and how does one become an “Interior Designer” the links below represent a one month sample of what the popular press (at least as far as Google Alerts is concerned) sees as newsworthy “Interior Design”.  I  tried to avoid blogs, webzines, 3rd party press releases, and industry/trade press (since only the trade reads their own press).  I really wanted to see what the common press/media interpretations of our professional domain are.

Is it a scientific survey?  No.  But let’s face it….it does not take a rocket surgeon to determine that the common perception of “Interior Design” is not  what we, the professionals who deal in code regulated building design environments, would prefer it to be.  But by default it defines us.

To be clear this stream of thought is not intended to impugn or lay blame on any one aspect of our varied profession.  So stretching that into the multitudes of residential decorators, occupationalist, the self-proclaimed and those DIY’ers innately blessed with a flair for color, I am merely seeking to validate my emerging revelation that we, those who practice code regulated Interior Design services, are not ‘Interior Designers”.  No matter how hard we try we cannot unring the bell of the common perception.  We cannot re-define the public perception of “Interior Design” in a way that societally, politically, and legally suits us.

It is time to leave “Interior Design” and those who legally own that title.  “Interior Design” is a noble and worthy profession and we need to let them be.  We need to stop investing our time and energy trying to change what we cannot and to redirect that energy into a discourse regarding our new identity.   It is time to realize that we have evolved the profession into a hybrid of Interior Decoration, Interior Design and Interior Architecture…whatever that may be. I have danced around this realization for years now. My future posts will be much more direct.

Anyway here are my reseaarch  findings…with some pithy comments interspersed for your entertainment.  And for fans of the new NBC soap “This is Us”….well this is us.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christie-carmelle-lopez/4-interior-design-trends-_1_b_12683242.html

This is the most stylish thing you can buy for your home right now, according to a top interior designer;

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-you-should-buy-a-bar-cart-2016-8

http://www.wtxl.com/lifestyle/consumeralert/angie-s-list-deciding-on-an-interior-designer/article_a8f0aa68-785c-11e6-9da2-2f47002dbf02.html

http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2016/08/interior-designer-and-pillow-boutique-moves-in-as-businesses-shuffle-on-e-pine/

http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/a-seattle-seahawks-running-back-is-also-an-aspiring-interior-designer-081916

First, they can enjoy the new program “Inside the Architects Mind.” According to organizers, “attendees will see and hear in-depth presentations of architect-designed homes” by local experts. “They’ll talk about the process, challenges and offer valuable tips on the home building and remodeling process,” backers say. The Saturday event’s schedule includes Danielle Gilbert, NCARB—Ar-Chi-Tecture, 11 a.m.; Steve Goggans, SGA Architects, noon; Bill Huey, Bill Huey & Associates, 1 p.m.; and Chris Rose, AIA, ASID, Christopher Rose Architects, PA, 2 p.m

And at the same Home Show;

A returning staple will be top local interior designers offering free design consultations. “If you’ve never had a professional interior designer help you create the home you’ve always wanted, you literally don’t know what you’re missing,” Barkley says. Showgoers can count on a 20-30 minute design consultation with interior designers, who volunteer their time. Participants are advised to bring fabric or paint swatches, floor plans, pictures of their home, Pinterest boards and other materials. To make an appointment, call 843-577-7652.;

http://www.postandcourier.com/20160820/160829909/fall-lineup–charleston-home-show-ushers-in-autumn-with-top-notch-designs-celebrity-antique-appraisals-backyard-redo-giveaway–

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article96690252.html

http://www.kansascity.com/living/home-garden/article93523317.html

“Should Adam Lippes ever grow tired of fashion (God forbid!), he’d have an excellent career in interior design. Anyone who has been to his New York town house, which he furnished himself with a refined mix of 20th-century antiques and contemporary art, can attest to that. “It’s a passion of mine,” says Lippes, who often weaves an element of interior design into his fashion collections.”;

http://www.wmagazine.com/story/adam-lippes-fall-2016-inspiration

Consult an interior designer: Even if for only an hour, allow someone in neutral territory to offer bright ideas and help comb through the goods. We always make time and love to work with fun young couples — old too;

http://www.discoversd.com/news/2016/aug/19/small-spaces-moving-in-together/

http://www.craveonline.com/design/1019045-interior-design-trends-on-instagram

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/celebs/a63609/celebrity-interior-designers-decorators-secrets/

Not just a nursery interior designer….a high end nursery designer.  Wonder what her definition of “high end” is?;

http://www.laduenews.com/abode/design-speak-q-a-with-elizabeth-baumgartner-of-

http://www.nevadabusiness.com/2016/08/international-interior-design-niche-lands-in-las-vegas-via-norway/ 

Later in life, she launched her own interior design firm, Charmian Carr Design, which counted pop star Michael Jackson as a client….The frills are alive with the Sound of Music…..;

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-charmian-carr-20160918-snap-story.html

little-black/article_13817cc8-a142-53e4-8a62-c53384923894.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/morena-duwe/ann-lowengart-interior-de_b_11185436.html?utm_hp_ref=career–money

Looks like the U.K. has the same dilemma;

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/celia-sawyer/why-interior-design-is-a-_b_12058872.html

http://fox13now.com/2016/07/27/meet-the-couple-behind-the-design-sensation-studio-mcgee/#ooid=RndnR5NDE6gZSLIYMs1pyeEFPaKIRmpE

And of course there is the free interior design service;

http://www.good4utah.com/news/midday/how-would-you-like-your-own-personal-designer-for-your-home

http://realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/hiring-an-interior-designer-what-to-expect-from-your-first-appointment/

http://www.wzzm13.com/entertainment/television/programs/my-west-michigan/frequently-asked-interior-design-questions/279807462

“How did you get into interior design? “I’m not a trained interior designer. I studied stone sculpting in [my home country of] Germany”

http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/design-interiors/article/2001231/meet-thomas-schoos-la-based-interior

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/money/business/2016/07/23/interior-designers-hot-jobs-selma-hammer-designs-robin-flanigan-careers/87220178/

http://www.hamptons.com/Lifestyle/Shopping/22333/INTERVIEW-Interior-Designer-Sasha-Bikoff-On-Her.html#.V5pegOgrJaQ

In this one we are actually confused as “Architects”;

http://plymouth.wickedlocal.com/news/20160721/architects-reveal-interior-design-plans-for-new-plymouth-south-high-school

Okay maybe it is China but this is actually the most relevant Pop Press article I have seen in eons;

http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/design-interiors/article/1991331/fast-food-outlets-hong-kong-woo-customers

Yep this is us…;

http://cbsloc.al/2adPtf

http://www.pnj.com/story/life/light-side/bacon/2016/07/12/shop-til-you-drop-these-interior-design-shops/87005232/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-stachelski/design-101-18-pieces-of-advice-from-top-interior-designers_b_8897474.html

http://www.dothaneagle.com/news/business/dothan-interior-designer-has-inexpensive-ideas-for-updating-a-home/article_5184576e-55c2-11e6-8cdf-673f75a2751e.html

http://limaohio.com/news/195821/interior-designer-specializes-in-the-unique

http://www.thetimesherald.com/story/life/2016/07/29/zimmer-designers-becoming-fans-ceiling-fans/87699918/

Whoda thunk “Good Taste” was a legitimate design concept?  Not me……

http://napavalleyregister.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/columnists/deborah-macdonald/elegance-in-design/article_0b5464e3-3a65-57e4-a2f9-a3517f917196.html

“Wildlife motifs are poised to become (a) top interior design trend.  YOU DON’T SAY!

https://www.noozhawk.com/article/animal_prints_bring_a_bold_flourish_to_your_home_decor_20160730

“Christiansen worked as an insurance agent and decided recently to take the plunge and open her own business.”  Never thought of it as “plunge”….;

http://www.wadenapj.com/business/4082263-new-coffee-boutique-shop-open-highway-10

PPPffffttttt!  What the hell?  Why not?;

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/aug/01/kanye-west-ikea-interior-design-aspirations-bbc