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Posts Tagged ‘interior decorator’

I just found out that I was quoted several times earlier this year about high end finishes and luxury amenities in Coldwell Banker’s prestigious “Coldwell Banker Previews International Portfolio: Exceptional Gold Coast Florida Residences”, Volume 2, 2009, in an article entitled “Finishing Touches Tell the Story” by Camilla McLaughlin.

“People just don’t want that run of the mill thing anymore. Everything is custom designed,” says Wendy Hoechstetter, an interior designer in the Bay area [sic]. Fabric that cost $580 a yard, custom furniture, even entire rooms brought over from Europe are not unusual.”

“One of the strongest trends is wallpaper, which is back in vogue. Large punchy patterns, often an up-to-date interpretation of a classic such as paisley, or fabrics such as silk or grass cloth, create dramatic focal points on a single wall. Elsewhere, whimsical patterns or luxurious materials turn small spaces such as powder rooms into jewel boxes.

“We’re seeing wall coverings made out of every material you can imagine—bamboo, mica, all kinds of metals.You name it, they’re putting it in walls,” says Hoechstetter.”

There is a lot of other good information on luxury home materials and designs in this article, as well as in other articles in the publication, so do take a look at the whole thing.

There doesn’t seem to be a way to link directly to the article, which is in PDF format, without linking to the boring, picture-less HTML version, but if you’d like to see it, you can either email me and ask me to send you a copy, or you can go to this Google search page, and click on the middle item, vapidly entitled “Layout1”, as shown below:

Google Listing

If the search page disappears or messes up somehow, just Google “Camilla McLaughlin” and “Wendy Hoechstetter”.

If I can figure out how to post it here on my blog, I’ll eventually get it up.

I am also expecting to be quoted in another article either Monday October 19th or 26th in the New York Times online and likely another website called Cyberhomes.com, about window treatments. Keep an eye out for the piece! I’ll post an alert and links when it comes out.

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There’s a lot of confusion out in the world about what the difference is between interior designers and interior decorators. Although in most states there is no legal distinction, and anyone can call themselves either a decorator or a designer – and practice their craft – within the profession, we do use the terms to mean different things, which amount to a difference in scope of work and expertise. In reality, many people use the terms interchangeably still, though, even in the profession, particularly among older designers, but many younger/newer designers will be very offended if you call them a decorator, because of the difference in scope of work and education.

One of the better, more concise definitions of the distinction I’ve come across yet comes from CCIDC, as follows:

“Interior Decorator

An “Interior Decorator” is someone who primarily deals with colors, finishes, and furniture and typically stays within the residential boundary of interiors. Typically they might charge a fee for their creative services such as laying out the furniture in a room, or putting together different colors and finishes in order to create several palettes from which the client can choose. In most cases a decorator will charge a “mark-up” on all the products they sell to you. This mark-up can vary wildly, anywhere from 20% to 50% in some cases. Most decorators are reluctant to prepare a formal contract or letter of agreement spelling out what the services are that they are going to provide, and how much they are going to charge.

Interior Designer

An “Interior Designer” is someone who can complete an interior design project from start to finish, including preparing construction documents for bidding and permitting, as well as supervising the construction and installation of the work. This person in essence becomes your agent to deal with local building codes and building departments, and licensed contractors. They have the expertise to handle all of these different players, whereas you may not, or may not have the time or inclination.

Interior designers cover all types of projects from commercial (offices, medical facilities, retail shops, restaurants, hotels, retirement and nursing facilities, to name a few) to residential. Typically an interior designer has a lot of education and experience, as well as possibly having sat for one or more examinations in order to test their competency and to attain state recognition of their profession.

Again, just because someone uses the title “Interior Designer”, it doesn’t mean they are any more qualified than an “Interior Decorator”, or any one who chooses to use either title irrespective of their qualifications or experience, which may be none at all.”

Interior designers do it all

I should add that interior designers also do all the same work that decorators do – this is definitely not an “either/or” proposition. Furniture, finishes, etc. are all integral parts of a quality interior design. It’s just that designers can do so much more, including manage the entire project, coordinating the work of all other design and construction professionals such as architects, contractors, lighting designers, landscape designers, and many specialty trades.

The very best interior design jobs happen when the designer is either hired first or at the same time as the architect and contractor, because then you get the input from all sides from the beginning, and you end up with a much more cohesive project than you would if you just hired a designer or decorator once the architect was finished.

What will it cost?

Interior designers typically charge an hourly fee (at least for residential design), often in addition to a product markup, which also varies, but will typically be around 30-35% in most places. Hourly fees will vary more widely, depending on geographical location, the amount of experience a designer has, etc., but you can expect them to start around $125 per hour (at least on the coasts) and go up from there, topping out around $400 per hour or more for some of the most prominent. Prices are probably somewhat less in more inland states. Decorators usually charge much less – and rightly so, since they are also doing much less, and typically know a lot less.

It’s very rare to see a flat fee any more, because every project is so different that it’s very difficult for even the most experienced designers to accurately estimate how long it will take or what will be involved, since there are often unexpected surprises, so the entire industry has moved away from this pricing structure.

(update October 2012)  We are actually now starting to see a move back towards flat fees (often now called “value based fees”), as we learn that this is what many clients prefer.  The hourly and other models still prevail at this time, however.

 

Do they have to be licensed?

CCIDC goes on to claim that the best way to ensure you’re hiring someone competent is to hire a CID, which is a CA certified interior designer, which obviously only applies in CA. Some other states have various different rules, but the majority do not regulate the profession in any way, except at most for restricting the use of a specific title such as *certified* interior designer. (Please see the NoDesignLegislation blog if you want to know more about these issues.)

However, since certification is entirely optional, and the vast majority of designers are not certified, you would be limiting your selection options tremendously to only select from this limited pool.

And since certification has nothing whatsoever to do with creativity in any state at all, and isn’t even tested for anywhere, it’s no gauge at all of the quality of the work a person does – only their ability to pass a test, really.

In fact, many of the nation’s top designers (some of whom call themselves decorators) do not hold any form of certification or any other credential, do not belong to any of the major design organizations, etc. Conversely, some of the absolute worst (or at least mediocre) design work I’ve seen comes from designers who do hold these designations or related credentials from one of a variety of professional organizations.

The reality is that great design knows no educational or legal bounds. Great designers exist across the spectrum, as to poor ones.

So how do I find a good designer?

The very best way to find a decorator or designer is really through word of mouth – and trusting your own eyes as to what you like and don’t like. Ask your friends whose homes and offices you like who they used, then check the designer’s website, call to request an interview and to look at their portfolio if they don’t have a website (and many designers still don’t). Alternatively, you can look through design magazines, find designers through local decorator’s showcases, or just do a Google search for designers in your area. If you know what style you are interested in, that can help narrow your search further.

Make sure this person does work you like, and that you feel comfortable with them, because an interior design project can be a very long and involved affair second only to marriage in intimacy, in some ways. This person is going to end up knowing a whole lot about you in order to do a great job for you and to see it through to completion, and you’re going to be spending a whole lot of time together, so you absolutely must be able to trust them and feel at ease around them. Ask a lot of questions about how they work, what you can expect, how they bill, what their contract terms are, etc.

In your interview, also ask them about their education, experience, and background. Formal training may be an asset – or it may not, but it certainly won’t hurt. Again, many of the world’s top designers have little to no formal training (including the designer tapped to do the Obama White House, Michael S. Smith!), so a degree is simply no guarantee that this person will be any better than anyone else. But this can be a very technical field indeed, so some indication that your prospective designer keeps up on what’s new is important, even if it’s not required for anything – so ask about how they do keep current. You want to know that they at least take some classes to keep up on changes in the building codes, if nothing else, but you also want to know that they know what the latest products and technologies are, and are able to source products that you yourself cannot, since that is a lot of the best reason to hire a designer in the first place.


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Here’s a link to the archived version of this post, since it’s gotten cut off here, and I don’t know how to fix it.

Please visit the NoDesignLegislation blog at http://nodesignlegislation.wordpress.com for more information on interior design legislation.


Interior Design Protection Council

Protect Your Right to Practice!
NEW Alabama Practice Act will PUT YOU OUT OF BUSINESS

Senate Bill 344 and House Bill 491 are anti-competitive and anti-consumer!

Members of the Alabama design community:

As we previously reported, the Alabama State Board of Registration for Interior Designers tried a back-door — and we believe illegal — attempt to reinstate the unconstitutional practice act by simply amending the language and not going through the appropriate legislative process. And it might have worked, if IDPC, ADAD, IJ and NKBA had not thoroughly exposed and thwarted their under-the-radar tactics.

So now they have introduced a new practice act in the Senate (SB 344) and in the House (HB 491), and allegedly they are going to try and ram it through both houses within the next two weeks.

This even more restrictive and confusing practice act is mislabeled as the Alabama Interior Design Consumer Protection Act, when in fact, the only people protected by this act are the 262 licensed interior designers in the state who will be protected from YOU and your [superior] design abilities.

The bill contains a broad, loose definition of interior design which will surely cover the many services you provide. Interior design is defined to include:

  • programming, conducting research, identifying and analyzing the needs and goals of the client or occupant of the space, assessing project resources and limitations, developing project schedules and budgets
  • specifications, studies, and research,
  • reflected ceiling plans, space utilization, furnishings, floor plans, including preliminary space layouts and final planning,
  • construction documents,
  • the fabrication of nonstructural elements within and surrounding interior spaces of buildings, and
  • construction administration to monitor the contractor progress relating to nonstructural interior elements of a building or structure

YOU WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO PRACTICE

AS YOU HAVE BEEN DOING

SINCE THE PREVIOUS PRACTICE ACT WAS DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

Although poorly drafted and without actually saying so, under the proposed law, no person may render interior design services without a license. In order to obtain a license, you must:

  1. Have an accredited degree in interior design. DO YOU HAVE AN APPROVED DEGREE?
  2. Prove, to the satisfaction of NCIDQ, that you have a minimum of 2-4 years of interior design experience under the direct supervision of a registered interior designer or licensed architect.
  3. Pass the NCIDQ exam. WILL YOU EVEN BE ELIGIBLE TO SIT FOR THE TEST? PROBABLY NOT. IT REQUIRES A DEGREE IN INTERIOR DESIGN AND BETWEEN 2-4 YEARS OF FULL-TIME, DIVERSIFIED INTERIOR DESIGN EXPERIENCE UNDER THE DIRECT SUPERVISION OF A LICENSED OR NCIDQ CERTIFIED INTERIOR DESIGNER OR ARCHITECT BEFORE YOU CAN TAKE THE TEST. And they determine exactly what “diversified” means!

GRANDFATHERING? Only if you already have a license, will you be allowed to continue to practice.

EXEMPTIONS? You will be “allowed” to provide consultations, NOT DESIGN.

There are other problems with the proposed bill, such as the Board’s ability to suspended or revoke your license if it finds that you violated any standards of professional conduct that they decide and file legal proceedings against you should it be determined that you were practicing interior design without a license. IF THAT HAPPENS, YOUR CLIENTS COULD REFUSE TO PAY YOU FOR THE WORK THAT YOU PERFORMED AND YOU HAVE NO RECOURSE IN THE COURTS! And of course, the Board has the power to impose fines and sanctions up to $2,000!

CONSUMER PROTECTION? Absolutely NOT!

Not a shred of evidence has ever been presented to warrant a conclusion that the unregulated practice of interior design places the public in any form of jeopardy.

In fact, 12 government agencies have looked into this issue and concluded that interior design licensing does nothing to protect the public beyond the processes already in place.

Click here for a list and access to all 12 government reports.

DID YOU KNOW THAT….


Practice laws affect more than just interior designers? In Florida, approximately 22 professions have been the subject of disciplinary actions.

If you work in any of the following professions, beware — if SB 344 and HB 491 are enacted, you could be fined or even lose your ability to earn a living:

*interior designer *interior decorator *office furniture dealer *residential furniture dealer

*restaurant equipment dealer *flooring company *wall covering supplier *fabric vendor

*builder *real estate stager *real estate developer *realty company *remodeler

*accessories retailer *antiques dealer *engineer *drafting services *lighting company

*florist *kitchen design *upholstery workroom *carpet retail *art dealer

Even if you are an extremely successful or even a “celebrity” designer, you will not be sheltered from this law. In Florida, even internationally known designers like Kelly Wearsler, Hirsch Bedner Assoc., Juan Montayo, Clive Christian, and Phillip Sides were victims of ruthless disciplinary actions.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!


You must act
now to let the members of the BOTH the Senate and House Committees know that, especially in this difficult economic climate, the state government should pass no legislation which would make it more difficult for its citizens to compete in the free and open market unless there is clear and compelling evidence — which is clearly lacking here.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED:

  1. Write to each committee member. A fax is best, followed by email if you don’t have access to a fax machine. Your letter should be no longer than one page.
  2. Call each Senate and House committee member, register your name, town, bill number and that you are opposed to it.
  3. Rally students to write as well. Licensing HURTS not helps them.
  4. Ask your clients, vendors, friends, family, and other consumers, to call or write to the committee on your behalf — especially if they are constituents of the member.

If you live in a surrounding state but work or plan to do design work in Alabama, then you also need to contact the Committee to protect your rights.

Click here for contact information on SENATE SMALL BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Click here for contact information on HOUSE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS COMMITTEE

Click here to read SB 344.

Click here to read HB 491.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at legislation@IDPCinfo.org

Patti Morrow

Executive Director
Interior Design Protection Council

Support our efforts to protect Minnesota interior designers’ rights and livelihoods.

Click here to become a member of IDPC.

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Interior Design Protection Council | 91 Reserve Place | Concord | NH | 03301

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