Utah Senate Bill 0117  which allows state certified Commercial Interior Designers to submit signed and sealed drawings (within limited scope) in order to obtain building permits in that state was approved today.  Yay! This is the first substantial piece of ID legislation to be approved in several years. Kudos to IDEAL Utah and their lobbyist […]


So my point here folks is there are many of us who believe that the term/title “Interior Design” no longer applies. It is a liability. It fails to describe us. Okay I do not disagree. But if we are going to keep our collective head in the proverbial professional sand while this title shift occurs organically, or by happenstance, we may be surprised by what we see when we do pull our heads out.

Makes it a bit of challenge to demand the public’s respect if we do not know what to call ourselves.


SEE 10/01/14 Update below In case you missed it the Huffington Post, bastion of the highest journalism standards, posted a commercial rant by an Institute for Justice blogbot that denounced the value of regulating Interior Designers; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hilary-gowins/arbitrary-interiordesign-_b_5830782.html?utm_hp_ref=business&ir=Business Which of course prompted the obligatory defense on several LinkedIn groups….. https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Message-from-IIDA-HQ-Advocacy-103871.S.5920610210409365508?trk=groups_items_see_more-0-b-ttl https://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=956917&type=member&item=5918065460737232897&trk=groups_most_popular-0-b-ttl&goback=.gmp_956917 https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Should-interior-designers-be-licensed-4361021.S.5918475262357446656?trk=groups_most_popular-0-b-ttl&goback=.gmp_4361021 Many of which devolved […]


Okay fellow ID Professionals time for a history lesson;


Kudos to IDLNY for posting this great information on the history of Interior Design. For those of you who took the time to follow the time line and note the various shifts in external influences affecting the evolution of the interior design profession as well as the internal struggles to maintain meaningful identity and cohesion you will note that it has not always been a clear path that we interior designers have forged..lots of organizational schisms along the way. The list of organizations, acronyms, and titles is impressive for a profession that is 100 years old…(or 50+/- depending on which flavor of Interior Design you prefer).

“Schism”….always wanted to use that word in a post….just what is a schism?
noun: schism; plural noun: schisms
a split or division between strongly opposed sections or parties, caused by differences in opinion or belief.
synonyms: division, split, rift, breach, rupture, break, separation, severance; More
chasm, gulf; discord, disagreement, dissension
“the schism between her father and his brother”
the formal separation of a church into two churches or the secession of a group owing to doctrinal and other differences.

What’s my point?……Glad I asked.

To me it is clear that interior design, unlike “architecture” or “accounting” or “law” is a relatively new profession in comparison* that has taken an incredible effort to define and validate its place in the building design professions. Kudos to our earlier professional leaders for their time and dedication to get us to this point. Interior Design’s march to societal respect and legal recognition as peers with other licensed design professionals has been challenging at best, definitely frustrating and fraught with legal and political missteps. But trying to stay on the positive side of this process I see a very constant state of evolution mostly for the better.

It is time to keep the evolution going. It is time for those of who wish to practice regulated interior design to the fullest potential of our learned and vetted abilities. It is time that we have a meaningful credential and it is time that we have a professional organization whose sole purpose is the legal, political and public advocacy of our rights to practice as peers with, or independent of, other licensed building design professionals.

History is on our side.


PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER has been pondering this issue for few seconds….

What is the brand identity of professional interior design?

Essentially a brand is not a logo, or a color, or a product per se’. A brand is a memory. It is the mental vision, or “mentalization” of the entire experience one has with a product and/or service.

That experience could be positive or it could be terrible….obviously a positive brand identity is the desired outcome.

So when we try to envision our brand, the one for our profession, Professional Interior Design, the resultant mental image, at least for me, is very fuzzy. And those portions that are bit more in focus really have nothing to do with the profession. You know….the “interior design” as defined and promoted by HGTV and an ever-increasing number of on-line do-it-yourself “I just work up this morning and decided to start an on-line interior design blog cum interior design business”. At least that is how I see our brand. To say our brand is not really effective is an understatement.

Recently I have become aware of two highly polished videos promoting the effort of two very talented architects and their dream projects. What strikes me about these videos is that the message is clear, it is impactful and it is accessible. The Skyhouse project, although designed by Architect David Hodson, is despite his spin, an interior architecture/design project of the highest order.

SKYHOUSE- https://vimeo.com/57106369

The Private Library designed by architect Andrew Berman, is more of a traditional architecture project but here the interior space and the exterior space are inexorably linked. The exterior design becomes the interior design and vice versa. The progression from Landscape to Interior Architecture is seamless. Mr. Berman caught lighting in a bottle.

PRIVATE LIBRARY- https://vimeo.com/1696112

But I am not here to elaborate on the projects. What struck me is how these two videos left an impression on me as to the brand identity of these two architects. Both are eloquent and their projects are treated with respect. There is no drama…not even close. Anybody who watches these videos will get it.

If we demanded better of those who claim to represent us as a profession…maybe just maybe we could start promoting our abilities to create awe-inspiring interior design projects that will educate and inspire.

Seems to me to be a far better investment than several dozen lobbyists and lawyers whose goal it is to validate us via the law…..but then what do I know?


Okay off of my legislation/regulation high horse for a moment….”whoaaa Nellie…somebody get me a step stool…” Even PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER missed this trend when it first became public over a year ago. Seems some entrepreneurial real estate developers are trying to weasel in our Health Safety and Welfare trifecta by creating residential real estate that literally improves your HEALTH and subsequently improving one’s WELFARE. If we assume the residences to be SAFE you have to admit that they have a runner on all three of our bases….and these are real estate people…..people.

So maybe I am jealous I did not think of this first…my hats off to the folks at Delos. First published in the Daily Beast here;


And then more widely publicized this past weekend in the New York Times here;


Why don’t we own this? This is all about interior space right?

Yes there is a bit of hucksterism and elitist sales pitching going on here, fortunately aimed at the uber-rich, but you have to admire the concept. Who would not want to live in a house that does not merely keep them healthy it actually improves their health. Granted most of the elements of Delos’ “health-centric” residences have been around for a couple of years…if not more. Anti-microbial self-cleaning ceramics, HEPA/Ultra-Violet filtration systems, Bio-Rhythmic LED lighting, and my favorite walls and windows -that attenuate outside sounds (duh!), are all tools that have been available to us (thanks mostly to USGBC). However, Mr. Scialla and his partners were the first to package it and they have even trademarked the concept. Not sure how that works but I am sure we’ll find out when another less ambitious developer or one of our interior design brethren decides to mimic the idea.

I do think ID educators and researchers have an opportunity here to fully investigate this new marketing approach to validate its effectiveness….it seems to ring true but what is the evidence and how can we help make the concept more affordable. I won’t get into the whole socio-economic bias here but let’s face it…eating healthy is more expensive than eating junk food or non- “organic” vegetables…so maybe this living healthy is a similar paradigm….another research topic no doubt.

This reminds me of the ” trend du’ 2006 “aging in place” in which the National Association of Home builders capitalized on the benefits of our tried and true “Universal Design” and packaged that knowledge and skill sets in a credential known as Certified Aging In Place Specialist or CAPS http://www.nahb.org/category.aspx?sectionID=686 .

Again we, as a professional domain should own this concept…nay many ASID’ers also claim the CAPS credential due to its marketing potential- kudos to the NAHB

So yes it is easy for me to pontificate to the drivers of this profession from the proverbial back seat but I have to say for creative problem solvers we sure miss some golden opportunities to advance the professional domain…and these opportunities don’t involve a bunch of political and legal drama.

It simply is what we do. Fail to define what we do and others will do it for us.

Carry on.

What is Our Message?

Ran across this missed opportunity this morning. Given ASID’s recent newsletter article advising it’s members to be more…ahem…professional when they are communicating with the press ( http://icon.asid.org/index.php/2013/03/08/designers-mind-your-language/ ) I read this Associated Press article in the Washington Post with interest;


Did the author heed ASID’s recommendations? Did ASID have anything to do with the article? Well after reading it I am not sure. The article quotes two “designers” who do not claim the ASID credential- but they do point out ASID as a source for “interior designers”. If ASID had nothing to do with the article then they probably should. If they did somehow/someway approve the content of the article that references them they missed a great opportunity to provide a clearer distinction between a professional interior designer and an interior decorator. Instead we get this half baked description;

“Training varies: An interior designer “typically has a bachelor’s degree in interior design, and in several states must be certified,” Davin says. They can collaborate easily with engineers, contractors and architects, and should have a full understanding of color, proportion and other elements of design.

A decorator “might be just someone who has a flair for decorating and wants to hang up a shingle,” Davin says, and it’s possible their style will fit perfectly with yours. But they probably won’t have as much training as a designer.”

Those of us who struggle with earning the respect of the public for providing services that protect them while creating healthy environments that enhance their well being find this to be the usual mixed message further confusing the public and disrespecting our professional status. We should demand better of our public relations efforts.