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Posts Tagged ‘Interior Design’

House in Hawaii, The Wiseman Group and architect Ricardo Legoretta
photo – Matthew Millman

I was just reading an article in Fast Company about why generalizing is often better than specializing in the job market, despite the push we’ve seen for decades to specialize, and it got me thinking of one of my pet peeves in the interior design world.

Today, most business consultants who work with interior designers are advising us to specialize for marketing reasons, often in a particular style or look, or targeting a particular demographic, which I think is a huge mistake.  Clients also often look for designers who do the particular style they want to the exclusion of everything else, thereby likely ruling out a tremendous number of other highly competent designers who might actually do an even better job for them.

Oftentimes designers who only work in one style are basically repeating what they themselves prefer, which is fine if that’s what you really want, but if you want a really creative, and truly customized design, you want someone who has the ability to bring as broad a set of resources and skills to the table as possible – and the interest in doing so.  It takes a little more work to keep up on a wider range of resources, to be sure, and not all designers really want to be bothered.

Apartment on Nob Hill, The Wiseman Group
photo – Tim Street-Porter

Speaking from experience as someone who has worked for and learned a great deal from a very gifted designer who nevertheless tends to stick to a similar aesthetic for all projects, it can also get really boring to a creative mind that gets fired up by a range of options and the process of really digging in and solving the specific problems each individual client has in a unique way, not applying the same solution to them all.  Working in aesthetics other than those towards which one is personally inclined is a key way to keep the creative fires stoked, in what is fundamentally a creative discipline, and to keep that saw sharp.

The thing is, the fundamentals of the interior design, and the design process itself, are largely the same regardless of style, and a good designer who wants to create truly personalized solutions will deliberately cultivate the ability to work comfortably in a wide range of aesthetics.

The Wiseman Group
photo – Matthew Millman

What really matters most is the ability to truly listen to the client, and then to translate the client’s desires into tangible reality, and that entails a skill set that is completely independent of the style or color scheme selected.  Scale is scale, balance is balance, etc., whether you are dealing with a modern building or a traditional one, and if someone is really good with color, they should be able to produce a wonderful color scheme in any hue in the rainbow.

Anyone can learn to repeat the same basic thing over and over again, but a big part of the point of hiring an interior designer is to have a customized solution that is unique to you and your own particular needs and style, and of course the architectural realities of your own home or office.

The reality is that not every designer can actually do it – or wants to be bothered.

Seeing projects that all look similar in someone’s portfolio raises the question about how versatile that designer really is.  When you see a range of project styles that are all well done, you know you’re dealing with someone who has the ability to really customize as needed, and likely has a wider range of resources to bring to bear on the project as well.  It takes more work to keep up on that range, but that also means the designer is clearly exposing herself to a wide range of options on a regular and ongoing basis – which can only mean good things for clients.

One of the world’s greatest designers, the Paul Vincent Wiseman of The Wiseman Group, who has long been one of my most revered design heroes, regularly demonstrates his ability to work brilliantly in virtually any style, as the contrasting photos above of his work attest.  The first two projects shown, both frequently published and among my favorites of his work, could not be more different – the first, an apartment in an historic landmark building on top of San Francisco’s Nob Hill; the second, a vacation home in Hawaii built by one of the foremost modernist architects of our time.  The third, equally distinct from the first two, is an estate in the Napa Valley with a 20th century design aesthetic with midcentury touches in a house built in a somewhat Spanish colonial style.

This is really what it means to be a great designer, in my opinion.  You know just by looking at the range of his projects that Wiseman has both listened to and actually heard what his clients have said they wanted – and then delivered.  Many of his clients have done multiple projects with him that span a wide range of styles, and he has to be able to handle that range, or frankly, he’d lose those clients to someone else when they want a different aesthetic in a new home.  You know without asking that he could do anything asked of him, even if he hasn’t shown an example of that style or project type in his portfolio.  Whether you like these particular examples or not, and regardless of your preference for these color schemes or others, these projects share the qualities of being perfectly scaled and designed for their respective spaces and environments, and every detail contributes harmoniously to the whole.

When you get into things like green design, aging-in-place/accessible/universal design, commercial design, or design for special functions like doctors’ offices or jails, then you do indeed get into a greater need for specialization and often additional training beyond that which is usually taught in design school.   When dealing with nonresidential environments, building codes tend to play a larger role than they do in private homes, and the more specialized the function of the space, the more specialized the code and other technical issues.

Aging-in-place, etc. is becoming the big buzz word these days, and there is clearly growing demand, but I’ve encountered very few designers who have actually got the necessary training, or who otherwise show they’ve learned what they actually need to know to work with this specialized and growing market effectively, dealing with both the architectural requirements down to the selection of fabrics, colors, and furniture styles that are best for this market or subsets of it.  With a few exceptions, most I’ve seen only understand part of the requirements.  Strangely, most people who are Certified Aging in Place Specialists (a designation I hold, as one of only about four such certified interior designers in Northern CA) aren’t even designers, and while they could certain tell you where to put grab bars and how to build a ramp, and maybe do the work to install them, many couldn’t design their way out of a paper bag and integrate accessibility features into an overall beautiful aesthetic that doesn’t scream “institution” or “add-on” at you because they are simply not trained as designers.

For the vast majority of interior designers, however, and certainly within residential design or commercial design as broad overall categories, the ability to generalize and work in a wider range of styles is truly an asset, and the mark of a really proficient creative person – and one who is truly more interested in giving clients what they want than imposing a particular style upon them. Whether your project is a large estate or a single small room, wouldn’t you really rather know that this is your designer’s honest focus?

It is, of course, essential that your designer fully understand the code issues that are involved in whatever type of project you have, but at the end of the day, the way most people interface with their space demands the ability to produce the creative vision, and to make the technical matters disappear and to function seamlessly behind the scenes, supporting the overall desired function and aesthetic of the space.

If the designer is properly conversant with residential codes, she will be able to deal with them whether it’s a modern building or an older one, and the same for the commercial designer int he world of office buildings.  Some designers know both, but not all.  Don’t assume; ask what types of projects they have done and/or are trained to do.  Just because there isn’t an example in her portfolio of exactly the type of space your project entails doesn’t mean she isn’t trained to handle it and can’t still do an excellent job.  (Beware if the designer doesn’t know that there are huge code differences, however!  And that they may need to use different contractors for different job types.)

It takes staying on top of continuing education whether it is required for local certification or not to maintain one’s knowledge of the technical side of things (and doing that is vastly more important in the end than any alphabet soup of professional designations a designer may or may not choose to obtain – and almost all of them are entirely optional and not required in any way by the vast majority of states and countries), but it is critically important not to forget the creative side of things, either, and to select a designer who shows she has the ability to do what a range of work, and to think outside the box.

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Louis Tenenbaum has written a very nice article  about the basic strategy for aging in place remodeling, discussing the important considerations.  I wrote a short response on his blog, then decided to take a more comprehensive look here on my own.

In addition to the main points inherent specifically with aging in place, Louis has hit on a couple of things I rarely see spoken about, namely the challenges inherent in figuring out what a client wants and needs, as well as their aesthetic preferences, and translating it all into something workable – and the design team’s role in helping the client envision what is coming from a medical point of view.

One thing that really surprises me is how seldom anyone involved in universal design and aging in place ever thinks to include an interior designer on the team.  Most interior designers really have no idea what they are doing with respect to aging in place, etc., but all really good ones certainly know how to figure out a client’s aesthetics at minimum and translate them – and how to work with a team of architect, contractor, and other consultants to create a comprehensive whole.

A few undertake additional training to learn about this specialized area of design, but exceedingly few go the extra mile to obtain the Certified Aging in Place Specialist credential that verifies the designer really understands the needs of this population.

What good interior designers in general do, however (even those without such specialized training), perhaps more than any other party to the design team, is translate all of the needs and desires to a workable daily interface that also meets all of the client’s aesthetic requirements, both interfacing with the structure itself, and in selecting the most appropriate finishes and furnishings, and all other interior elements.  The best designers know how to get past what is not said or is poorly articulated to ferret out the real needs and desires and to translate it all into what is actually wanted and needed, both functionally and aesthetically.

A good interior designer adds far more value to this whole undertaking than most people have a clue about, both in this arena and in working with any other kind of client as well.

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Lately I’ve been pondering how to communicate the value of what professional interior designers bring to a design project that no one else can, and like many other designers, coming up a bit short on a good explanation, although it’s something we designers certainly all know intuitively.  Conveying that to the public is a different matter, however.  The following articles explain it better than any I’ve seen elsewhere.  Stanley Abercrombie is one of the most influential design writers of our time, for many years the editor of Interior Design magazine, one of the industry’s most important professional journals.  In a profession sadly lacking in philosphical underpinnings such as architecture has, he’s also written one of the most thoughtful (and indeed only) books on the subject with the appropriate title of  A Philosophy of Interior Design.

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The value of interior design, 1994. (interior design as an artform) (Editorial)

Article from:Interior Design Article date:January 1, 1994 Author: Abercrombie, Stanley

Please don’t think I plan to make a habit of this, but just this once I want to take more than the usual space for an editorial statement. On this page in October, comments titled “It’s the Design” urged designers to value–and to charge for–their design expertise. Some of you agreed with my comments (for example, see Marvin Affrime’s letter in our forum section); some of you didn’t agree; and the following expansion of those thoughts will also, inevitably, be controversial. That’s fine. But I feel passionately about the danger of something important being lost if designers continue disguising their profession as just another business.

Interior design is a business, we recognize, and a demanding one; the forum instituted exactly two years ago and dedicated solely to business and professional news and opinion, demonstrates that recognition. But, for most of us, the business aspect of interior design is not its chief attraction. What drew most designers to their profession is the fact that interior design is an art.

It is not a fine art, but an applied art. It cannot luxuriate in its independence as can painting and sculpture, forming itself without regard to any but aesthetic demands. It is, instead, a hardworking art, with serious and sometimes mundane problems to solve. And just as there are a great many buildings that never achieve the status of architecture, there are a great many interiors that never achieve the level of art. But there are many that do, and, at their best, interior designers are artists. Although the artistic element is difficult to separate from interior design’s more practical elements, it must not be denied that it often exists and can add an important extra value to our work. Granted, a designer who idealistically focuses solely on art may have trouble finding any opportunity to practice the art; still, it seems undeniable that in today’s difficult economy, the art of interior design is undervalued. Talking recently with the impressively articulate principal of one of our Giant firms, I was told that the firm’s emphasis now, in its efforts to get new work, is on economic benefits for clients. Similarly, a fine designer in California told me a couple of months ago that he never mentions appearance or design in making a presentation these days, but that instead he promises to produce a more efficient plan than his competitors. And one firm that used to call itself “architects” is emphasizing its technological savvy by now calling itself “cybertects.” If the work of these firms sometimes transcends problem solving and becomes art, they’re certainly not bragging about it. One likely reason is that in interior design, the element of art is inseparable from more practical elements.

It arises, in fact, from the thoughtful accommodation of very practical needs, not from any impulse or motive that is extraneous to such accommodation. As architect W. R. Lethaby wrote in Form and Civilization, “Art is not a special sauce applied to ordinary cooking; it is the cooking itself if it is good.”

Another reason for ignoring the element of art in interior design is that the value of art is notoriously difficult to measure. The essence of art is intangible. It cannot be quantified as a number of square feet or pounds or yards; consequently, it is difficult to value in terms of dollars. It is true that the number of hours taken to achieve a work of art can be recorded, but such records rarely include the value of previous experience. Whistler, accused of excessive pricing for one of his paintings, was asked, “For two days’ labor, you ask two hundred guineas?” He replied, “No, I ask it for the knowledge of a lifetime.” Which reminds us that, if it is both an art and a business, interior design is also a craft.

Technique and experience count a lot in this field, just as they do in the finest of fine arts. Whistler had more than a painter’s vision; he also had the technical expertise to effectively manifest that vision. Such expertise is not achieved by the novice or the housewife-with-flair or the guy-who-can-get-you-a-good-deal. It is achieved through the increasingly rigorous education that our profession requires and through the subsequent practical application of that education. Like the surgeon or lawyer, the interior designer must be both educated and practiced. Like them, the designer deserves appropriate compensation.

But Whistler’s vision was his main asset. Beyond skill and competence, there remains the special but hard-to-measure value-added element of art, and only the designer’s education, practice and vision can combine to produce that element. The designer does more than plan; the designer designs [emphasis added]. I believe it is the difficulty of determining appropriate compensation that has led to attempts by many interior designers to measure their art in inappropriate ways. Sometimes, by ignoring their art altogether, they underestimate their own value; at other times, by confusing their art with the more mundane functions of their practice from which their art arises, they overestimate that art. Art, for example, does not necessarily solve social problems.

I do not mean that interior design cannot address and sometimes solve such problems; in some cases, it must do so. But the aspect of interior design that is aesthetic does not solve them; it does something quite different.

In the early 1950s, designer George Nelson, speaking to the American Institute of Architects, expressed it this way: “…nothing is less consequential in the creation of a work of art than good intentions.”

And a couple of years later, lecturing in Vienna, Alvar Aalto made a similar point: “Form is a mystery,” he said, “which eludes definition but makes us feel good in a way quite unlike social aid.” [emphasis mine]

If art is amoral, then, and “quite unlike social aid,” what is it that art can do for us? How is it that it “makes us feel good?”

Art heightens the quality of our lives. Walter Pater, in the last paragraph of The Renaissance, his book of just more than a century ago, observed that “Art comes to you proposing frankly to give nothing, except the highest quality to your moments as they pass, and simply for those moments’ sake.” This view has been criticized as proposing “art for art’s sake,” but, at least in this passage, Pater is clearly proposing art for the sake of the quality of our lives and of our clients’ lives. It is this heightened quality that interior designers as artists can offer and that no one in related fields–not space planners, nor realtors, nor developers, nor construction cost analysts, nor facility managers–can. These people perform useful functions; interior designers can perform them too; but interior designers can bring something more to a project. It is this heightened quality, this civilizing of our living places and working places, this art that designers not only must continue to offer but also, I believe, must emphasize. Despite the difficulties in isolating, measuring and evaluating the artistic element of interior design, that element must be recognized [emphasis mine], and even be bragged about, for it cannot be appreciated and will not be properly rewarded unless it is recognized. A question designers should ask their clients and their potential clients to ask themselves is this: What are you going to be seeing in your new space? Assuming that your newly planned environment is going to be efficient, well organized and supportive of increased productivity, is it also going to be interesting, uplifting, enriching–or even bearable–to look at and to be in day after day, year after year?

Art is worth paying for because, in these days of social discontent and random violence, in these days of homelessness, drugs, guns and plaque, when our urban environments are becoming increasingly brutalized, we increasingly need both physical and mental refuge from that brutalization. We need the solace of interiors that are not only intelligently functional but also intelligently artful. In these days more than ever, the art of interior design is worth paying for, because a heightened quality of life is worth paying for.

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It’s the design. (design profession)

Article from:Interior Design Article date: October 1, 1993

Author: Abercrombie, Stanley

It is commonplace these days to hear architects and interior designers describe job meetings at which they are surrounded by various representatives of the client’s interests: lawyers, developers, real estate brokers, strategic planners, programmers, construction managers, project managers, facility managers. Every one of this new crop of experts demands and gets reasonable time for performing a function; every one demands and gets reasonable pay for doing it. Only the designer is expected to turn out overnight miracles, and it naturally follows that work done quickly comes cheap.

Today’s designer, it seems to this former designer, will not be paid what he’s worth without conveying a clear idea of that worth, not by competing with all those lawyers, brokers and managers, but by proudly providing the services the designer alone can provide; not by presenting the profession in some new guise but in the old and honest way; not by pretending to do work that necessarily saves the client money; but by doing work that is worth the client’s money. That client must somehow, gently, tactfully, but firmly be made aware that:

1. The primary function of a designer is to provide design (and that design includes not just decorating but an interrelated network of problem solving) [emphasis added].

2. Good design requires the time and effort of highly educated professionals.

3. Such time and effort deserve fair compensation.

Not every prospective client really needs design services, perhaps, but those who do should be prepared to pay for them. The current abhorrent practice of clients demanding severe cuts in designers’ fees cannot be expected to end until those clients are reminded of what those fees are purchasing. In these economically troubled times, the design profession does not need to be reshaped; it needs to be reasserted.

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Thanks to Vicente Wolf for raising the issue of why designers ourselves tend to undervalue what we do.

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Image from Sparkly Like a Holiday

OK, I admit it.  I’m stealing this topic from Paul Anater, over at Kitchen and Residential Design.  But I’m not going to say the same things.

Yes, I quite agree that chalkboard paint is overdone – and way overdone in several of the images he shows.  It’s old.  It’s boring.  It’s dated.  There are clearly limits to its usefulness, safety, and definitely to its appearance.  Not only can it be toxic when it gets into your food as Paul mentions, but chalk dust can also be a major problem for people who have allergies, asthma, or chemical sensitivities, so it would not foster an accessible design for people who suffer from such afflictions.  It would also violate universal and visitability design principles, as it could create a similar hazard for other users of the space, particularly visitors whose sensitivities might be unknown.  Chalk dust doesn’t do anything for overall air quality, either, so that lowers the green design reusability quotient of the paint, never mind what the VOC content of it might be.

Now that we’ve looked at the potential health hazards, let’s focus more on the visual elements.

Looking at the images Paul posted, the ones that really offend me the most are the refrigerator fully covered in the dreadful green version of the paint, that huge, frightening expanse of black wall and door, and yes, that hideous kitchen. (more…)

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9119_B52_rgb

(ARA) – When you think of the colors associated with fall, green doesn’t necessarily come to mind. Environmentally speaking, however, it should. There’s no better time than now to lessen your home’s impact on the environment and change the way you decorate and live. So, why not go green this fall? It’s not nearly as difficult to become earth-friendly as you might think.

“From products that contribute to good indoor air quality to ones that truly reflect the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra, the number of affordable green interior decorating products has literally exploded within the past five years,” says Donna Schroeder, Dutch Boy color marketing and design manager.9119_B53_rgb

These days, you can find stylish, eco-friendly design elements for every room in the house. And, contrary to popular belief, going green doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style for sustainability. The two can coexist quite effortlessly.

You can start simple by dressing your bed in luxurious sheets, throws and comforters made from fabrics such as rich, renewable bamboo or soft, organic cotton. Cover your floors with formaldehyde-free carpets constructed of recycled fibers or select a natural material, like stone, slate or even concrete. Then, hang energy-efficient window treatments with high insulation and shading properties.

Don’t stop there. Spice up your tired sofa with a design-forward slipcover and throw pillows crafted from 100 percent recycled materials. Add bright recycled glass plates and serving pieces to your china cabinet. Buy furniture made from sustainably harvested wood or, better yet, visit local secondhand shops and repurpose. Or, look around your own home and see what you already have that can be adapted for a new use. You’d be surprised what a little creativity and some good old-fashioned elbow grease can do.

If you’re looking to add bold, fun color, paint fits perfectly into this overall green scheme. It’s an inexpensive, effective and, most importantly, environmentally-minded way to change the look and feel of an entire room. Many paint manufacturers now offer coatings that contain few, if any, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), or vapors that are released from paint as it dries.

Using paints formulated without VOCs, such as Dutch Boy’s new Refresh interior paint with exclusive odor-eliminating Arm & Hammer technology, takes your home one step closer to reducing your environmental impact while leaving your interior looking fresh, modern and filled with personality.

Many home improvement products, including Refresh, are also Indoor Air Quality certified by The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute, a nonprofit, industry-independent organization that certifies indoor products that meet satisfactory indoor air emissions standards.

Keep in mind that greening your home, inside or out, doesn’t happen in a matter of minutes or even overnight. It’s an ongoing process. The limit to how green your home can be is up to how willing you are to adjust your lifestyle. The choice is yours. “It doesn’t take any grand gestures to start going green,” Schroeder says. “Tiny changes add up to make a big overall impact on the environment.”

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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remodelling-buyers-market

If you’ve put remodelling and redecorating plans on hold because of the economy and thinking you can’t afford to do it right now, it’s definitely time to rethink that position, for a variety of reasons.

If you’re like many people, you’re likely spending more time at home these days instead of out and about, eating out, going to theater and concerts, travelling, etc. So why not be sure the space you’re spending all this additional time in is your dream place to be?

Unlike the money you spend on vacations and the like, which brings fleeting joy, the money you invest into your home may pay back when it comes time to sell, but just as importantly (or even more so), it will also reward you psychically and emotionally every single day you live there by making your home even more comfortable for every day living. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to come home at the end of each day and feel that thrill of being in a space that you love and that nurtures you no matter what else is going on in your world? To have a home that you actually don’t even want to leave?

You don’t have to spend a lot of money, if you don’t want to or really can’t afford to – even just a fresh coat of paint, some new throw pillows, a new painting or area rug, or moving the artwork or furniture you already have around to different locations can give you a facelift and needed boost. New lighting, new fixtures, and new hardware for your doors and cabinetry are other inexpensive upgrades that can pack a lot of punch.

Don’t know quite what to do, and can’t afford to hire a designer to do the whole thing? Most will consult on an hourly basis to give you any needed advice that can help you avoid expensive mistakes, and to get you pointed in the right direction to complete the job yourself.

However, if you can possibly come up with the cash, now is very definitely the time to go ahead those more major remodelling projects you’ve been putting off, or to remodel a home you’d hoped to sell but now find you have to remain in.

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Cricket looking more disgruntled than she really was at the time

Cricket looking more disgruntled than she really was at the time

I’m sitting here with Cricket on my lap, my boyfriend’s cat who’s “on loan” for a few days, since I volunteered to cat sit while he’s out of town. It’s been a few years since I had a kitty of my own in the house, my beloved old Standard Poodle Fennel

Fennel

Fennel (RB) at "summer camp" - where I used to board him when I traveled.

died last fall, and I’m still hunting for my next puppy, so I’ve been completely petless for a little while now – for the first time in 18 years. It’s really weird. Although I live about half time with Cricket and her daddy, it’s really not the same as having one of my own, in my own home all the time. So, while I really miss my guy, I’m really enjoying having Cricket here, and as I deal with the fur and litter box, I’m reminded of all of the fun – and the hassles – of pet ownership – including the implications for interior design.

Anyone who has ever had a pet knows that they pose a challenge to having and maintaining a beautiful home, even when they’re very well trained. Accidents and messes are just a part of life with an animal in the house, which includes vomiting, tracking dirt in, and anything from occasional incontinence to outright bad behavior making them soil anywhere they want, as well as other issues such as cats scratching the furniture, climbing the drapes, etc. The soiling issues also get worse as the pet ages, or if it develops health problems.

People often ask me how they can still have a nice home when they share it with pets, so here are some thoughts.

PREVENTION FIRST

No matter what materials you choose for your home, your first line of defense is obviously to make sure that Fido or Garfield are well-trained so that they do their business where they are supposed to, and use scratching posts, climbing towers designed for the purpose, and their own chewtoys instead of the furniture and drapes to exercise their natural instincts to chew, climb, and scratch. Keeping the critters off of the furniture altogether will help preserve it, but for most people these days, that’s not an option, and you still have to deal with the floors anyways.

Regular bathing and grooming of your pet will also keep it clean and prevent shedding, which will help immensely with maintaining the cleanliness of your home.

WHAT’S UNDERFOOT?

(more…)

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This post has been moved to the No Design Legislation blog at http://nodesignlegislation.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/asid-backpeddling-as-fast-as-they-can/

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http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs060/1102107213116/archive/1102484179858.html

Interior Design Protection Council
YOUR STORY IS NEEDED!
Proof needed to DEREGULATE Florida’s Anit-Competitive Law

Our voice has been heard…now let’s finish the job

Members of the Florida design community:

Governor Crist has indicated that he is interested in deregulating professions that have been faltering under the burden of excessive and redundant governmental regulation which is stifling Floridians’ ability to earn a living, as well as hindering growth of the state’s economy. Senator Don Gaetz, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Florida’s Economy, has also expressed a keen interest in deregulation, particularly of interior design.
Both the Governor’s office and Senator Gaetz are seeking real life examples of how the current anti-consumer, anti-competitive practice law has negatively impacted your ability to market yourself and/or how it has restricted you from practicing to the full scope of your abilities and caused you to turn down business that you would otherwise be able to perform.
This is the opportunity we’d hoped for!
You can change the future of interior design in Florida

and be a part of this exciting historical opportunity!
Please compose a letter detailing how this law has hurt you over the years. Be specific — list:
  • Examples of jobs you have had to turn down, like small offices, common areas of condos, community centers, hotel foyers, etc.
  • How not being able to accurately describe what you do or market yourself in the yellow pages, website or search engines, advertisements, has cost you business because potential clients cannot find you
  • How not being able to fully practice is making you less competitive
  • Names of individuals or organizations that have recently emailed or telephoned you to do commercial work, but that you had to turn down
  • List examples of any and all disciplinary actions inflicted on you by the prosecuting attorney, detailing exactly why you were cited
  • List any fines you had to pay
  • List any attorneys fees or legal bills associated with defending or answering disciplinary charges
  • List any costs associated with being forced to come into compliance
  • State if you had to sign an affidavit to avoid fines, basically signing away your right to ever practice interior design or call yourself an interior designer and how that has hurt your ability to earn a living
  • List any particularly egregious charges, such as being disciplined for “referring to yourself as interior designer on a bookmark” or “listing yourself as interior designer on your application for licensure,” etc.
  • If you live in another state, but are prohibited from working in Florida and contributing to the Florida economy through the products you would purchase and people you would hire to complete your projects, you should also write to the Governor and Senator.

Please email all letters to me at pmorrow@IDPCinfo.org by Thursday, March 5th. You may sign them or remain anonymous using just your first name, initials, or pseudonym if you prefer privacy. Keep them to one page, and attach as a word document, if possible.

I will collect all the letters, fax them with a cover letter to the Governor and Senator Gaetz, and follow up with a phone call on behalf of the interior design community. I understand that at least one other group is doing this as well.
It is important that the Governor and Senator understand the we are a LARGE, organized group and that WE represent the majority voice of the design community. They’ve already heard from ASID/IDAF… NOW IT’S OUR TURN!
LET’S MAKE OUR VOICE LOUDER THAN THEIRS! Let’s shout it from the coast to coast,
“Florida’s interior design practice act is unjust,

unconstitutional, and unnecessary

and needs to be undone!”

Now it’s up to you
  • Do you want to continue to let this cartel restrict you from performing services that you would be perfectly able to provide in 47 other states?
  • Do you want to continue to let this cartel take away your First Amendment Right to accurately describe yourself and what you do?

Please email your letters to pmorrow@IDPCinfo.org by March 5th.

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

Click here to become a member of IDPC.

Click here to read IDPC’s call to action on February 19th.

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, including the 1999 Florida report recommending that the profession of interior design be deregulated.
DID YOU KNOW THAT….

Juanita Chastain, who is working for the Department of Business Professional Regulation as the Executive Director for the Board of Architecture and Interior Design, is married to Dwight Chastain, who is working as an investigator for the firm responsible for prosecuting designers and decorators? This was confirmed on February 5th by David Minacci of Smith, Thompson, Shaw & Manausa, the private prosecuting firm for the Board.

While we have no direct proof of unethical or illegal conduct, the obscure nature of some of the disciplinary actions brought against the design community leaves us highly suspicious. For example, about a dozen individuals were disciplined for using the words “interior designer” on their application for licensure. How would the attorney and/or investigator know about those instances if not for the direct communication of such, and is the alleged feeding of such information to the prosecuting law firm or its investigator an accepted activity? It would seem that the privatization of the prosecutions should have eliminated any oversight capacity Mrs. Chastain might have had, should it not?

These and some of the other ambiguous disciplinary actions at the very least give the appearance of impropriety, and should be addressed.
We will stay on top of this and keep you informed.

THIS IS THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY TO RID FLORIDA
OF THIS UNNECESSARY AND ANTI-COMPETITIVE LAW!
Patti PR headshot
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at pmorrow@IDPCinfo.org.
Patti Morrow

Executive Director
Interior Design Protection Council

Join Our Mailing List!

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This post has been moved to the No Design Legislation blog at http://nodesignlegislation.wordpress.com/2009/03/03/wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee-in-sb-337-will-hurt-your-ability-to-compete/

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Thousands of designers in Texas rally against possible legislation that would prohibit unlicensed designers from doing commercial projects, and would put at least half of the state’s 10,000 designers out of business.

And Marilyn Roberts, ASID, the president of the Texas Association for Interior Design, which along with ASID is responsible for promoting anticompetitive legislation in Texas,  also admitted that there is “no documented case she knows of in Texas where an unlicensed interior designer created a safety hazard“.

Read the full story and watch the video here:  http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/Interior_designers_rally_for_rights?disqus_reply=6433417#comment-6433417.

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ACTION NEEDED!

Interior design SB 337 passes Senate committee 6-1

Bill goes to Senate floor on Tuesday, February 24th

Yesterday, February 18th, the Senate Committee on Commerce & Public Policy passed SB 337.

This bill would create a new state registration for a small group of interior designers who have passed the NCIDQ. It appears that this bill would benefit less than 10% of IN designers who would not qualify under the guidelines, thereby resulting in the state becoming the marketing agent for these select few, while placing the majority of the design community at an unfair competitive disadvantage.

Beware! While this may on the surface appear to be an innocuous piece of legislation, historically the pro-regulation faction will accept any piece of legislation in order to get their foot in the door. Once some kind of regulation has been established, they will come back year after year, and quietly, under the radar, attempt to incrementally amend the law until it meets their true goal: a full blown practice act.

This is not speculation.

It has, and is, happening in many states.

Incredibly, Governor Daniels, whose strong veto message denounced the 2007 Indiana title act bill, is now said to be in support of this bill because it could bring in state revenue. This is not true! The fiscal impact statement provided with the bill absurdly claims that 950 interior designers in Indiana will register @$100. The truth is that only a very small percentage of these designers (reportedly less than 100) are either qualified or willing to register, thus it will COST the state many thousands of dollars that would be better spent on recovering from the difficult economy.

Reportedly, Sen. Ron Alting, the Chair of the Committee commented in a prior meeting that he is tired of the constant barrage from ASID.

THAT IS NO REASON TO PASS LEGISLATION!!!

Are you going to let ASID’s relentless whining that they “just want some recognition” result in their getting the business you deserve? Please note:

  • According to reports that have come in referencing the ASID website, there are only 67 “professional” ASID members in Indiana [and many of those were most likely grandfathered and did not pass the NCIDQ.]
  • According the the [ultra-conservative] BLS statistics, there are approx. 1512 interior designers in Indiana.
  • Are you going to sit back and let this 4% [less if you take out those grandfathered] of elitist insiders dictate how the remaining 96% of designers in Indiana market themselves? Surely not!

THIS BILL IS GOING TO PASS UNLESS

THE SENATE IS BARRAGED

WITH LETTERS AND PHONE CALLS

OPPOSING THE BILL!!!

IMMEDIATE ACTION:

  1. Contact your Senator. Phone and fax are best, followed by email. Do ALL THREE if possible.
  2. Ask your clients, vendors, friends and family to contact their Senators and register their opposition to the bill.
  3. Contact the Governor and ask him to withdraw his support for the bill.

Link to sample letter provided below.

PLEASE DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE of thinking that others will do this for you!

THE ASID-LED CARTEL IS

“BOMBARDING” THE

SENATE WITH LETTERS RIGHT NOW!


Without a groundswell of opposition, this bill is going to pass. But with your help, we can defeat it.

If you live in a state surrounding IN and currently have business there or would like to work there in the future, please contact IN Senators and the Governor.

Do not let this special interest group reduce you to a second class citizen within the design community.

Protect your livelihood

Protect your rights

Protect your future!

Executive Director

INTERIOR DESIGN PROTECTION COUNCIL

Legislator Contact Info

Click here to find your Senator

Governor Contact Info

Governor Mitch Daniels

Phone: (317) 232-4567

Fax: (317) 233-4275


Sample Letter

Click here for sample letter

Contact Us

email: info@idpcinfo.org

phone: 603.228.8550

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Sick and tired of the state of Florida meddling in your design practice? Learn how to support the growing movement to deregulate the interior design profession, and why it should be deregulated.
Here’s a link to the full article, since this has gotten cut off and I still don’t know how to fix it.

Interior Design Protection Council

TAKE ACTION!
Florida deregulation will restore your right to practice!

Florida Statute 481 is anti-competitive and anti-consumer

Members of the Florida design community:

The Interior Design Associations Foundation (IDAF), the ASID-supported and funded coalition responsible for the perpetuation of Florida’s monopoly practice law, is mobilizing their licensed designers in a mass letter writing campaign in an attempt to derail the deregulation movement and save their ruthlessly enforced protectionist interior design law.

The talking points email that IDAF sent to their members to “remind legislators” is filled with misleading and blatantly false information in what appears on the surface to be an intentional effort to mislead government officials.

Click here to read IDAF talking points, 02.10.09

We cannot allow your Florida legislators to be hoodwinked into believing that (1) IDAF’s information is true, or (2) that it reflects the will of the design community. IDPC has written a STRONG REBUTTAL, which factually, statistically and empirical disproves ALL of IDAF’s claims.

Click here for IDPC Rebuttal to IDAF Talking Points.

The rest is up to you…

  • Do you want to continue to let this cartel restrict you from performing services that you would be perfectly able to provide in 47 other states?
  • Do you want to continue to let this cartel take away your First Amendment Right to accurately describe yourself and what you do?

Their lobbyist, Ron Books, is already working behind the scenes and allegedly has $400,000 at his disposal to distribute to legislators as he sees fit.

But a strong grassroots movement can trump the pocket-lining! And that’s where you come in…..

TAKE ACTION NOW!


You must act
now to let your Legislators and the Governor know that, especially in this difficult economic climate, the state government should continue no laws which 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:

Fax, call, and email the following Legislators (click on committee or legislator link below for contact information):

Faxes are prefered over emails. Please follow up with a phone call to make sure they received your letter and see if you can answer any questions. If you can’t send a fax or email to every member of each committee, at least send one to the Chair of each committee.

It’s very important that at least one person in each committee gets a letter from you! Note: one option is to select 2 or 3 committees to send to each day. Another option is to fax a letter to the Chair, and send one email addressed to the rest of the committee members.

Fax, call and email the Governor

Rally all students you know to write as well. Licensing HURTS not helps them. (See details in Rebuttal)

Ask your clients, vendors, friends, family, and other consumers, to call or write to their legislators, asking them to deregulate the interior design law as it restricts their right to hire whom they choose, serves no ligitimate public good, and is bad for the Florida economy.

Designers in other states — If you currently do any kind of design or decorating work in Florida, or if you plan to in the future, then you also need to contact the government officials above to protect your rights.

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

Click here to become a member of IDPC.

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, including the 1999 Florida report recommending that the profession of interior design be deregulated.

DID YOU KNOW THAT….


Interior design practice laws affect more than just interior designers? In Florida, approximately 22 professions have been the subject of disciplinary actions of Statute 481.

If you work in any of the following professions, beware — you could be the next victim!

*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 *paint store

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.

Click here to see the list of hundreds of Florida disciplinary actions.

THIS IS THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY TO RID FLORIDA

OF THIS UNNECESSARY AND ANTI-COMPETITIVE LAW!

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

Patti Morrow

Executive Director
Interior Design Protection Council

Join Our Mailing List!

Forward to a friend!

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

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Thanks to the Interior Design Freedom Coalition blog for the following post. I’m a little behind in updating my blog. And I’m really, really sad that, as stated, “ASID is not the organization it once was”.

================================================================================

We just received a copy of this letter from IDPC:

www.idpcinfo.org

ASID RESIGNATIONS
-GROUP 2-

January 16, 2009
Michael Alin, Executive Director
The American Society of Interior Designers
608 Massachusetts Ave., NE
Washington, D.C., 20002

Dear Mr. Alin:

Once again Allied designers have come together to state the reasons for their dispute with ASID and to resign as a group in protest of the organization’s policies and practices.

Despite the fact that ASID leadership thinks it knows better, designers who have been practicing for years understand what they do for a living and how clients react to their work. And what they know is that they are not endangering the health and safety of the public, nor are they prevented from practicing by the IBC – both simply serve as excuses for licensing.

What they also know is that licensing is totally unnecessary, and basically a device that is used by ASID and its testing partner, NCIDQ, to DISQUALIFY, not qualify, designers through legislation, and through NCIDQ requirements that cripple designers’ ability not only to take the test, but to pass it as well.

Most designers have absolutely no desire and see no reason to take the NCIDQ. Nowhere has it ever been proven that designers who take it are any better than those who don’t. Many of the most accomplished, famous designers in the world (notably those often featured in Architectural Digest) have never taken the test and certainly don’t need to. What they have is talent, plus the ability to be creative and visionary. Techno-engineering is not what we want to study and it’s not what we want to do. But this is what ASID is trying to force upon us.

We see increasing comprehension and anger from young design graduates who were fed on the milk of ASID’s policies from an early age, and were uneducated as to how these policies would negatively affect their careers. They are now coming to understand how ASID’s methodology will keep them from moving on up into the so-called professional ranks. NCIDQ’s requirement for years of what many young designers are calling “indentured servitude” makes it impossible for anyone coming out of school to immediately take the test.

And the lack of NCIDQ-certified designers who could or would hire these young graduates into that required indentured servitude makes even the possibility of taking the test very unlikely indeed.

Many young designers have simply abandoned the desire to take the NCIDQ and are taking other roads – which is apparently another way that ASID deliberately decreases the ranks of future interior designers.

Additionally by requiring young designers to work only with NCIDQ certificate holders (few that there are) they also deny them the possibility of working with the top designers in the world who are not NCIDQ-certified.

Once again, we are appalled by the situation unfolding in Florida, which, sadly, has provided a glimpse into the real future of the meaning of design legislation.

If it has been your goal to cut the ranks of interior designers in Florida, you have succeeded
If it has been your goal to restrict decorators to the bare minimum of “legal” services where they would be less competitive, you have succeeded
If it has been your goal to use the Florida practice act to cause much pain in the design community in Florida, you have succeeded
If it has been your goal to cause Florida designers to operate in a state of fear, you have succeeded
If it has been your goal to penalize and exact huge fines against interior designers and collateral trades just trying to do business as they were used to doing, you have succeeded
If it has been your goal to destroy the ability to design in freedom in Florida, you have succeeded.

It is, however, our goal to inform designers of the type of restrictive actions heading their way if they allow ASID to pass legislation in dozens of states where legislation is slated to be introduced. And it is our goal to make sure that you never succeed in forcing this legislation on the design community, causing this type of damage to our fellow designers again.

Designers no longer feel that ASID’s dues represent a good value. In letters written by Allied members, they cited over and over again the fact that better information could be had over the internet, that Connex is worthless because of extensive censorship, that mandatory dues force people to pay for lobbying efforts they do not support, and that ASID does not do what it should to promote designers (especially Allied designers). Most agree that they can buy their own magazines, and for far less than $440 a year!

And perhaps the most important reason of all is that clients simply don’t care whether prospective designers are members of ASID – only that they like their portfolios, feel comfortable with the designers and agree with the proposed financial arrangements.

Additionally, ASID’s claim that it promotes the interests of Allied members is particularly ludicrous since other than paying dues that support lobbying for legislation that will put us out of business, the Society seems to have no use for us. Cited over and over are the elitist attitudes that permeate leadership and chapters around the country, creating an uncomfortable and unwelcome atmosphere for Allied members who are looked upon as second-class citizens.

Just because a designer passes the NCIDQ test and serves an NCIDQ certified practitioner for a number of years, does not make that designer a professional, nor does it entitle those designers to take an elitist attitude that is unwelcoming to others within the same organization who are not NCIDQ-certified.

Professional designers are those whose vision and creativity evolve over time, and who serve their customers successfully with expertise that is derived from any number of different sources, and these professionals include people who are self-taught through their own hands-on experience. “Professional” status is something designers earn through the quality of their work in the competitive arena of a free market – it is not something that can be conferred simply by passing a test or obtaining a government-issued license.

ASID will continue to lose members as long as it pursues professional licensing through legislation; as long as it continues to lose credibility by misrepresenting to its membership that licensing is necessary and good for the profession; as long as ASID continues to deny that licensing will put thousands of designers out of business; as long as it continues to ally with NCIDQ to disqualify designers from practice; as long as it continues its elitist attitudes; as long as it continues to mislead newcomers about their future in design; as long as it continues to deny designers who disagree with policy a voice; as long as it continues its policy of mandatory legislative assessments; and as long as it continues to promote its dictatorial policies, while denigrating its own membership.

ASID is not the organization it once was. We see that clearly, and have no desire to continue our membership.

And so we are resigning.

Thomas M. Bauer, #29892, Indiana
Paula Bertucci, #52512, California
Denise Bressler, #1485955, Florida
Edith Clamen, #42256, New York (previously resigned for above reasons)
Diann Gibson, #1226118, Florida
Starr Gobtop, 1868762, Illinois
Amy Hart, #1503605, Virginia
Melodie Hunt, #39056, Missouri
Patrick Mallaley, #1894927, Canada
Carolyn McComber, 1538456, Florida
Nicole Mitchell, #1527699, Pennsylvania
Emily Nagel, #1860696, Washington (state)
Richard Parker, #1480188, Florida
Deborah A. Rodeghier, #1485759, California
Kelly Savell, #1551058, Tennessee
Janet Schmierer, #1238256, New Jersey
Cricket Seal, #2440, Texas
Mimi Swerdlow, #1223205, Connecticut
Margaret Vogt, #84751, North Carolina
Corey Zucker, #1222704, New York

cc: Bruce J. Brigham, President
Board of Directors:
Bruce Goff
Charrisse Johnston
Doug Hartsell
Lisa Henry
Mary G. Knopf
Rachelle Schoessler Lynn
Stephanie Clemons
Sybil J.B. Van Dijs

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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.

Join Our Mailing List!

Forward to a friend!

Email Marketing by

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

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Please see the No Design Legislation blog at http://nodesignlegislation.wordpress.com for further information, extensive links about fighting interior design legislation in all affected states, and to discuss the issues. Please post your legislation-related comments there.

===========================================================================================================

Concerned about your right to practice interior design anywhere in the country? Think you’re alone?

No, there’s a very strong grassroots opposition movement well underway spearheaded by the Institute for Justice and the Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), and a wide range of individual grassroots organizations in affected states – and we’re having huge success blocking anticompetive laws, and in some cases, having existing ones overturned.

All this takes money, though. ASID reportedly has spent nearly $6,000,000 to the date of this post on their campaign to disenfranchise the majority of designers and has an army of paid lobbyists. We’re winning, as my previous post indicated, and expanding like crazy as money comes in to pay the support staff, despite being all volunteers, and operating on donations.

Join IJ and IDPC today to help fight anti-competitive legislation nationwide, and preserve interior designers’ right to make a living at our chosen profession. Please also see the No Design Legislation blog for a list of links to individual known state grassroots opposition organizations.

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Press Release

superheroGROUP RESIGNATION FROM ASID

SENDS A STRONG MESSAGE:
STOP THE PUSH FOR REGULATION

On December 19, 2008, Michael Alin, Executive Director of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) was sent a letter via Fed Ex with the signatures of 27 Allied and Professional members resigning their membership with ASID, designated as “Group One.”

Among the reasons outlined in the letter was the groups’ pronouncement that legislation supported and funded by ASID is not in the best interest of the Allied members, and has requirements so restrictive that they would be denied the right to practice. Allied members in states where licensing has been enacted have suffered terrible persecution and lost their right to earn an honest living. The group expressed concern that in a failing economy such as this, ASID should be using all its resources to support and market designers, not to destroy them through legislation.

The group resignation was coordinated by Jayne Rosen, a long-time Allied ASID member, in response to colleagues voicing their desire to resign. Rosen commented that she has seen ASID’s focus shift from education and networking to pushing a legislative agenda that does not include their own Allied members and that she feels is dangerous to the future of the profession.

The Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the rights of interior designers, has led the national movement to expose and neutralize ASID’s lobbying efforts to monopolize the interior design industry. “Interior design is a dynamic profession that celebrates innovation, creativity and diversity,” stated Patti Morrow, Executive Director of IDPC. “ASID’s attempt to impose its one-size-fits-all occupational licensing scheme on the profession is not only contrary to those values, but also hurts Allied Members, the majority of ASID’s own constituency, who while successfully working as professional designers, do not possess or wish to poses ASID’s self-mandated credentials which it claims are necessary to be considered a “professional” or to work as an interior designer.”


Diane Plesset, a “professional” member of ASID who resigned her membership earlier this year also added her name to the protest letter. “I’ve passed the NCIDQ exam required for licensing, but I cannot in good conscience support legislation that will put many honest, hard working designers out of business,” said Plesset. “A true professional is always confident enough to compete based on the merit of the work they produce.”

Rosen expects the news of the multiple-signer resignation will be a wake-up call to ASID’s Allied members, and could even be the catalyst for more resignations to take place before the December 31st renewal deadline. “The more resignations, the stronger our message becomes,” said Rosen. “ASID has neither a right nor a mandate to dictate who may or may not practice interior design.” ASID members interested in participating in another group resignation can reach Rosen at libertyforpadesigners@yahoo.com.

Morrow reported that she has been flooded with emails from Allied members indicating they do not intend to renew their 2009 memberships. “Allied ASID and independent designers need to wake up and smell the coffee,” said Morrow. “2009 could be a financial disaster for them if they do not support and join IDPC’s effort to stop the insidious spread of anti-competitive interior design regulation that may put them out of business.”

Click here to read the Resignation Letter sent to ASID.

ASID Renewals Lapse

chartIn our last newsletter, we extended an invitation to anyone not planning to renew their ASID membership to tell us why.

We have been astonished at the incredible number of responses flooding our office! Even more amazing is that unbeknownst to each other, most designers said basically the same thing. You can read a small sampling of these messages in our Letters to the Editor section below.

If you are also not planning to renew your membership in ASID, please feel free to voice your concerns and opinions at pmorrow@IDPCinfo.org. Your name and email address will be held strictly confidential and used only for IDPC internal survey purposes.

If you are interested in adding your name to an additional group resignation letter to send a message to ASID, please contact libertyforpadesigners@yahoo.com.

ASID President’s Letter
December 18, 2008

superheroIt appears that IDPC’s newsletters are reaching thousands of their Allied members, causing them great concern and prompting them to contact the ASID national offices. ASID recently wrote to their members attempting to assuage the growing fears of their membership. As usual, ASID provided nothing substantial or empirical as backup to their rhetoric. Below are some of their statements followed by IDPC rebuttal.

“ASID is working tirelessly to advocate for the right regulation that enhances your right to practice.”

Wrong. ASID, through the coalitions it funds, initiates and funds legislation which puts their Allied members’ right to practice in jeopardy. Just look at the laws already in place as well as every single bill proposed. They have three lobbyists working to enact and expand legislation, and they charge a $15 mandatory assessment, whether or not you agree with their agenda

“ASID is actively recruiting Allied members and welcomes new Allied members into ASID each and every day.”

Of course they do! Dues from Allied members make up the majority of their income. If Allied members decline membership, the money available to push for licensing drastically declines.

[ASID provides] “Listing on the national designer referral service.”

Until recently, the ASID website had been changed so that the default said “Show Professionals Only.” Clearly, this was demeaning to Allied members, demoting them to second-class status, and made it difficult for consumers to find the Allied listings, not to mention subliminally indicating to consumers that they would be choosing an “unprofessional” designer.

IDPC brought this matter to the attention of the design community, many of which are Allied ASID, and in response to what must have been (should have been) outrage by the Allied members, it appears that the default has now been changed back to “Show All Practitioners.”

Another victory for IDPC, the only national organization that truly looks out for all designers!

“Use of the ASID Allied Member appellation” [as a benefit]

We have received copious amounts of email from Allied members as well as unaffiliated designers stating that their clients neither know about nor care whether they are ASID members. They care only about the quality of work they produce.

“Each state is defining interior design – and no two definitions are the same.”

Misleading and disingenuous. There are of course subtle differences to comply with the detailed process in each state where ASID is supporting legislation. But in virtually every proposed bill, the requirement for licensure, registration, or certification has and continues to be passage of the NCIDQ exam. Most successful, practicing Allied designers do not possess the criteria needed to even sit for the exam, thus excluding them from qualifying.

“We have not and do not seek to restrict others’ livelihoods.”

The legislation they support and fund HAS and DOES restrict the livelihoods of the majority of interior designers in this country who are not NCIDQ certified, including ASID’s own Allied members. Just take a look at the situation in Florida, as just one of many available examples. Many, many Allied ASID members and independent designers in Florida have been fined or ordered to Cease and Desist. Their names will appear on Google forever as having been prosecuted. This is a foreshadowing of what will happen in every state if practice acts are allowed to be enacted unchecked.

“Currently, interior designers in many jurisdictions are prevented by existing laws from offering services within their scope because the profession is not legally recognized.”

Absolutely false. As we have reported many times, the IBC’s actual language is: “[C]onstruction documents shall be prepared by a registered design professional where required by the statutes of the jurisdiction in which the project is to be constructed.”

The International Building Code (IBC) establishes common code and other safety requirements for various building types. It does not regulate any design profession, nor does it require that any design profession be regulated or not be regulated. Nor has the International Code Council (ICC) ever taken a position to the effect that “interior design services must be regulated in order to protect the public.” It is telling that there is no citation or reference whatsoever supporting the false statement that it has.

For detailed information on why the IBC is a non-issue, click on these two newsletters:

Don’t Let Codes Scare You

10 False Statements About Licensing

“If your state does have an interior design law on the books, it may not affect you or the type of work you do.”

Nonsense! States with a practice act take away your occupational freedom to practice to the full scope of your abilities — they allow only work with “surface materials,” i.e. “decorating.” States with a title act take away your free speech right to accurately describe your work or yourself, thus making it more difficult or impossible to market yourself

“Our Society is what it is today because of you.”

The membership dues and mandatory legislative assessment you pay to “your Society” ARE FINANCING THE LOBBYING EFFORTS THAT MAY PUT YOU OUT OF BUSINESS!

Isn’t it time for YOU to stop “YOUR” society from using YOUR dues to push an agenda YOU do not agree with?

Isn’t it time for you to join IDPC?

Tattletales
And other despicable creatures..


ratDid you know that under the Florida interior design practice law, licensed designers are legally required to turn in other designers, decorators, architects, employers, co-workers, competitors, anyone they see or know of who is just trying to earn a living but is in violation of the Florida law?

That’s right. Here’s the statute:

455.227 Grounds for discipline; penalties; enforcement.
(i) Failing to report to the department any person who the licensee knows is in violation of this chapter, the chapter regulating the alleged violator, or the rules of the department or the board.

Is this how you want your life to be? Constantly looking over your shoulder for (1) someone to turn you in for just trying to put food on the table, or (2) in constant fear that they’ll come after you, in spite of your license, because you failed to rat out one of your colleagues…?

This is the kind of KGB-like state you will be faced with if the cartel is successful in getting more practice acts like Florida’s.

And it doesn’t only affect interior designer and decorators — the office furniture and restaurant equipment industries are also being targeted and prosecuted in Florida!

It’s time for Florida designers, decorators, office furniture dealers, restaurant equipment dealers, kitchen and bath designers, architects, etc. to join our movement and help us create a plan for your state for 2009.

It’s time for the design community in the rest of the country to join IDPC and stop practice acts from getting enacted in your state.

Your future is in your hands.

ANTI-licensing article
Insurgence of the Independents by Patti Morrow

Window FashionWindow Fashion Vision is the second national, unaffiliated magazine this year to publish an article from the point of view of the resistance movement. Click here to read Insurgence of the Independents, an exposition on why unaffiliated designers — the vast majority of practicing designers — are resisting the effort led by ASID to regulate the profession, in the November issue of magazine.

Click here to subscribe to Window Fashion Vision.

www.wf-vision.com

Letters to the Editor

“I am not planning to renew my ASID Allied membership. They have not listened to my objections to licensure. I have made my voice clear for twenty years and they are still trying to regulate a profession that does not need it. I have also felt that they haven’t given me anything for my dues money as an Allied member. Clients and prospective business contacts never ask about my membership, so what’s the point?”

* * *

“All this licensing really comes down to is money. Money for NCIDQ, money for ASID, money for the legislation………and lots of it! It would take over $2,000 for me to get my license (with the STEP course, hotel and travel, the test, registration fees, and purchasing extra practicums and templates – from ASID, of course). It’s not worth it at this point in my life to become licensed. It will benefit me none. I believe my work speaks for itself. Plus, the multiple choice part of the test material is irrelevant to real-life daily practice…even in the commercial world (for which I work). They do not deserve my hard-earned money. I do not currently believe in this process to be licensed.”

* * *

“I am one of those allied ASID members who is NOT renewing my membership. The economy is only part of the problem. I do believe that ASID’s push for legislation is self-serving, and does not help me, as I am always on the bottom of any referral lists, because I have not sat for their exam, although I graduated at the top of my Interior Design Curriculum. I have NEVER been asked by a client whether or not I belong to ASID. My work and referrals speak for themselves.”

* * *

“I have decided not to renew for a few reasons, most importantly because I do not agree with their proposed legislation of interior designers. Secondly, I do not feel that it is currently worth $400+ for the benefits that they offer.”

* * *

“I have chosen to not renew my ASID membership this year. The high membership dues in this economy are coupled with the fact that I do not feel that I am getting anything out of my membership. That is magnified by their apparent lack of concern for allied members (with the legislation they are pushing for, etc). It is outrageous that a professional organization like ASID supports a move toward licensing that excludes those who have chosen to take an alternate path of education, and practical, professional experience, rather than paying to take an exam to become a ‘Professional Member’ of ASID.

Thank you for the thoughtful and researched material. I plan to forward this e-mail to design & construction colleagues who are affiliated with other professional organizations”

* * *

“I’ve been a professional designer for 30+ years (Allied Member ASID for about ten years) and have never been responsible for any harmful circumstances to my clients. It seems to me that this is an attempt to make the public view Interior Designers as having expertise beyond our scope of training/education/experience…such as architects/electricians/plumbers and building contractors……Not so!!! If those are the credentials they want to present, then they should achieve the education/training and accredidation necessary to qualify them to attach those titles to their names…..passing the NCIDQ does not nearly come close to filling that level of expertise.”

* * *

“Why align myself with an organization that is costly to maintain and may put me out of business?”

* * *

“I am not renewing my ASID membership for 2009 because ASID has done nothing to promote my business or assist me in any way. I just read the list of ten reasons a licensed interior designer is necessary and I laughed it was so absurd. I am not licensed and I am fully aware of all code requirements, ADA specifications, etc. as I regularly pull permits for jobs. Every time I read something from the IDPC I get madder! I will be joining your organization in January. Thank you for all you do.”


-Letters may have been edited for length only-

Special thanks

superheroOn behalf of the Board and Staff of IDPC,

we’d like thank our

troops and veterans

for their selflessness and courage in protecting that which we hold most dear:

OUR FREEDOMS

Please do not let their sacrifices be in vain. Do not let the pro-regulation Cartel take your economic liberty from you without a fight. Help IDPC protect your Constitutional rights to occupational freedom and free speech.

giftAsk for a membership to IDPC for Christmas.

Or better yet, why not give yourself the gift you richly deserve?

$100 a year for Members of the design community and supporters

$ 20 a year for Students

CAN YOU AFFORD NOT TO JOIN?superhero

Happy holidays and a prosperous and regulation-free new year.

signature-black
Executive Director
Interior Design Protection Council

info@IDPCinfo.org

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Case Statement

Please forward this email to every interior designer, interior decorator, student, vendor or industry partner who would be negatively affected by regulation

Who is IDPC?

The Interior Design Protection Council is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the rights of interior designers, interior decorators, office furniture dealers, showrooms, suppleirs and other businesses who would be negatively affected by interior design regulation.

We also actively influence legislation germane to protecting the livelihood of our members.

For more information on IDPC, please visit our website at

http://www.IDPCinfo.org

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We just received a copy of the letter below sent to ASID Headquarters. Thanks to the Interior Design Freedom Coalition http://www.interiordesignfreedom.org/blog.html for posting it.

Please see the links on this blog in the Interior Design Legislation Opposition section to the Interior Design Protection Council and the Interior Design Freedom Coalition for more information on licensing efforts and how to protect your real right to practice in your state, and how ASID efforts will put thousands of designers out of business.

=======================================================================================================
ASID RESIGNATIONS
-GROUP ONE-

December 19, 2008

Michael Alin, Executive Director
The American Society of Interior Designers
608 Massachusetts Ave., NE
Washington, D.C., 20002

Dear Mr. Alin:

Over the last several years, we have watched as ASID has recklessly spent our dues and MANDATORY legislative assessments on a failed policy falsely proclaiming to “raise the level of the profession” and to cull what you have decided are the “real designers” from those not following the path you dictate. The legislation you support has requirements so restrictive that most designers would not be able to comply and will therefore be denied the right to practice.

Over and over… we have watched as ASID’s president, members and board repeatedly mislead their own ASID colleagues about the EFFECT of legislation on our right to practice, while currying support from the very designers who would be put out of business by your legislative actions. And we have listened as Allied Members were described as the “Cash Cows” of the organization – too stupid to understand that we were being used to fund our own demise.

Over and over… we have watched as ASID betrayed its own ethics to push its own agenda – an ego-driven agenda that has the potential to destroy more than half of its own membership.

Over and over… we have listened as ASID members said sweetly, “We’re not trying to put you out of business.” [Subtext: as long as you forego your practice to go back to school for at least 2 years, do a supervised internship with an NCIDQ certified designer – if you can find one who also happens to be hiring – and intern from two to five years while being paid virtually nothing; then if you have any money left, pay about $2000 to take step workshops, purchase study materials, and take and pass the NCIDQ test (which is rarely passed on the first attempt), and then prove to the satisfaction of your own competitors that you actually are a designer, and comply with any regulations they happen to write.] But nobody’s trying to put you out of business; after all, there’s grandfathering. And from what we’ve seen of the way “grandfathering” is often written into the legislation, that’s just as bogus a claim as the rest of the pro-legislation argument.

Legislators have told us that representatives (either ASID and/or IIDA members) have misrepresented the content, objectives and design support for their legislation while governors of four states have clearly understood it to be anticompetitive and protective.

In states where practice acts have been enacted, designers have suffered terribly – persecuted for what they have done successfully for years, sustaining huge fines and legal fees for miniscule “infractions” and in some cases, bankrupted and driven out of the state in order to earn a living.

Florida designers bear witness to the travesty of your actions, and we hear more and more from them every day. The disgraceful behavior of Florida ASID members who deliberately work to expose and report their own members, as well as others, and help to put them out of business tells us what we need to know about ASID as an organization and about how legislation really works to
destroy designers’ rights to practice. And Florida is not the only state where this happens or has happened: try Alabama, Texas, New Mexico, Connecticut and others.

There are estimated to be between 200,000 and 400,000 interior designers in practice in the U.S. today. ASID claims membership of only about 20,000 practicing designers, the majority of
whom don’t even care about “raising the level of the profession”. Many are not even aware of your legislative agenda. They just want to practice design successfully as they always have.

We have personally spoken to Allied designers all across the country, and have found the vast majority to be opposed to your actions. As we’ve said before: the only designers who benefit from your tactics are the so-called professional designers who have passed the NCIDQ – and those are few and far between.

You do not represent independent designers as you have claimed, hence the title independent. They don’t want ASID’s interference in their right to practice, and have told us that they resent ASID’s efforts to dictate policy in which they have no say. Even ASID members are not welcome to disagree with your policies as the invitation to the Arkansas conference clearly shows, where attendees were carefully vetted to make sure that there would be no discordant voices.

ASID HAS NO RIGHT AND NO MANDATE TO DICTATE TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DESIGNERS ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTY WHO WILL BE ALLOWED TO PRACTICE AND WHO WILL NOT. YOUR LEGISLATION IS BEING DEFEATED BECAUSE DESIGNERS DO NOT SUPPORT YOUR OBJECTIVES.

It is clear to us that ASID no longer advocates for all of its members. This is illustrated in the make-up of the board which is ponderously commercial, in the membership of your pro-legislation coalitions across the country, where the majority are often commercial designers and in your undue influence in the schools, where students are pushed toward architectural/commercial design and where residential design gets short shrift. Students have told us that ASID has misled them, pushing them into commercial/architectural design on the premise that jobs at the commercial or architectural firms would be awaiting them when they graduate, and that ASID would help them get those jobs.

Even before the economic downturn, commercial jobs were very hard to come by – by ASID’s own statistics, only 15% of the market – and the few students who manage to land those jobs do so without ASID’s promised-but too often undelivered assistance. Many students, unable to secure those jobs have wound up selling commercial furniture and other commercial products. And most residential designers cannot hire them, as designers who have, have told us that they can draft, but cannot do other things that are crucial to residential design.

ASID’s preferential conduct is also apparent in the way Allied Members are treated on the national website’s “Find a Designer” page, where potential clients searching for referrals are offered a choice of “Show Professionals Only” (listed as the default) vs. “Show All Practitioners” which they have to search for [note: this appears to just have been changed]. This is insulting and clearly shows a bias toward “professional” members, which is especially unjustifiable considering that many so-called “Professional” designers have never passed the NCIDQ test and have just been allowed in. Allied Members pay the majority of dues and mandatory legislation fees, are no less professional in their work, and do not deserve a lesser marketing effort than any other members.

Additionally, by promoting its single-entry method as the one true path to design, ASID has created a rift between practicing designers and those who take ASID’s EEE path, with the younger designers evincing rudely worded disrespect for their more experienced elders – a situation which is not conducive to job creation.

Interior Design is a creative field. Yet ASID is determined to legislate creativity out of it by restricting the many paths of entry into the field that have nurtured that creativity and vision for years, producing brilliant designers – down to one path that is engineered to produce – engineers.

In a failing economy such as this, ASID should be using all its resources to support and market designers, not to destroy them through legislation. And make no mistake, we completely understand your actions and your intent.

We are ashamed and deeply disappointed by this organization. We can no longer support a Society that deliberately destroys its own membership and endangers the future of design and designers in its unending desire for power and dominance. And because of your exclusive policies, we know there is no hope of changing the trajectory of your actions.

ASID had a slogan: PROTECTING YOUR RIGHT TO PRACTICE. You are, in fact, subverting your own raison d’etre by deliberately trying to destroy our right to practice. And that is unethical, unconscionable and unacceptable.

And so we are resigning.

Jacqueline Bazaar, #1533586, Pennsylvania
Margaret H. Benson, #1504190, Texas
Gayle Beyer, #1519494, Colorado
Loraine Brown, #1250453, Georgia
Christine Colman, #1534167, Washington
Ellen Fernandez, #1239917, Maryland
Diane Foreman, #61436, Oregon
Debbie Gersh, #1485135, Texas
Noreen Dunn Gottfried, #1502827, Pennsylvania
Carol Gumpert, 1550669, California
Karen K. Hartley, #75601, Georgia
Nancy Hartsing, #1559067, Arizona
Henrietta Heisler, #1859365, Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Kauermann, #97269, Pennsylvania
Nancy Phillips Leroy, #1231856, Pennsylvania
Christie Meehan, #1201627, Pennsylvania
Tonya Morrison, 1487732, Pennsylvania
Jayne Rosen, #78935, Pennsylvania
Rebecca Ruediger, #1250458, Missouri
Carly Sax, #1500172, Illinois
Anne-Marie H. Schimenti, #1504255, Florida
June Shea, #1486996, Virginia
Nadia T. Tanita, #1542001, Hawaii
Terri Temple, #18099, Connecticut
Mary Sue B. Wiedmer, #1215131, Pennsylvania

Resigned earlier this year for the above reasons:

Janice Onsa, Pennsylvania, former Allied Member
Diane Plesset, Oregon CMKBD, CID #5818, C.A.P.S., former ASID

cc: Bruce J. Brigham, President
Board of Directors:
Bruce Goff
Charrisse Johnston
Doug Hartsell
Lisa Henry
Mary G. Knopf
Rachelle Schoessler Lynn
Stephanie Clemons
Sybil J.B. Van Dijs
According to a survey by Interior Design Magazine as quoted in the New York Times, January 29, 1987

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12-9-2008-2-56-39-am1

Do you have an old beat-up piece of furniture or other family heirloom that you’re debating what to do with? Should you just get rid of it and replace it with something new? Is it worth restoring or refinishing, or would it be more economical to just start over?

The answer is – it depends.

What does the item mean to you? How does it fit in with the other things you have or want to obtain? What memories do you have that are attached to that item?

The value of family pieces go well beyond the monetary, so before you make any knee-jerk decisions to get rid of something or to relegate it to the attic just because a designer or anyone else tells you it’s not worth restoring, or doesn’t fit with everything else you have or are about to buy, think about the article below. This is a sentiment I’ve always held, and why I love working with people’s family pieces, antiques, etc. Well-loved furniture and other items have a life to them that no new things ever can. They embody the history of a lot of people, carry many stories within, and when it’s your family’s history they carry, it’s all the more special.

And kick that designer out who summarily announced that it’s got to go, if it’s got meaning to you, and look for another who will understand your attachment to the piece and find a way to fit it in to your new home design in a place of honor.

=========================================================

Interior Design That Builds A Family Legacy

By John VerHines

After 40 plus years as a furniture restorer, it still warms my heart when a client brings in an old item for review, wondering if it might be possible to do something with it. There was a time long ago when if the item presented was not really worth the time, I would recommend against the restoration. As I have grown a little older I have begun to realize, there is a kind of value that defies appraisal.

The furnishings and other artifacts we have, and pass along to our kids and grandkids are more about preserving a family tradition and carrying on a pride in our family and loved ones than just a place to sit.
As I slow down and really listen to what my clients are saying, it starts to become more and more clear, It isn’t really about the chair or end table or whatever on the surface it seems to be. The little thing they brought along for me to see. The thing they are trying to grab onto is really more a legacy than any thing else. It’s a way to preserve what seems good about the past, and to bring that forth in their home today.

Maybe that thing lives inside the chair, where as a kid they remember Grandpa sitting on the front porch, smoking his pipe and telling stories of how it was when his daddy raised him. It’s a reminder of stories from a time before people had electricity in the house, and chilly visits to the outhouse on a cold November night.

For example, not long ago, a client of ours named Barbara stopped by to drop off a family piece. My associate commented about a rocking chair, it was laying just inside the door of our shop in pieces where barb left it just a moment before, I think something like “why in the world, would anybody spend money on that?” At face value, it’s a valid question. The chair wasn’t that good. The cost of restoration probably was every bit or more what it would cost to replace the rocker, but there was more to it than that, he had totally, missed the point as so many do. The rocker belonged to Barbara’s Mother whom had used it to rock barb and her little brother when she herself, was a young mother, it was a gift to her from her mom and in turn Barbs Mom had given to her just before passing away. I’m pretty sure that Barb had a lot of other chairs, and I’m sure she could have gone out and bought one just as nice for the money she was spending for the restoration, but knowing what we now know, that’s not the point is it?

As time goes on, my hair gets thinner, and my belly gets thicker, and I see more and more, the importance of leaving a legacy, as individuals, families and even as a country. And the stuff we have in and around our homes, while it is so true that we can’t take it with us, what we leave behind helps us to tell a story. The story of what we hold dear, the values we ascribe to and the example we set for future generations to model.

Christmas dinner on Grandma’s dining set will always taste better, and a book enjoyed in front of a fireplace is more intriguing if you are seated in mom’s rocking chair.
So, when taking inventory and planning what to do with potential heirlooms when they come your way think twice. Remember, it’s not only about cost benefit analysis and replacement cost.
When you decide to keep that rocker, or table or dining set, keep this in mind, these things are heavy laden vehicles, vehicles that transport fond memories, important values and sometimes several lifetimes worth of identity. I believe, that if you plan your interior design projects with these thoughts in mind, you will develop a real beautiful and warm home, a back drop for all the things you hold dear, and an opportunity to teach the next generation what is good and true and praiseworthy in life.

John VerHines is a seasoned restorer and president of Gramco. With 40+ years experience in the craft of furniture restoration.To learn more visit http://www.GramcoFurnitureRestoration.com
Copyright 2006Gramco Furniture

Article Source: http://www.artipot.com

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