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Posts Tagged ‘interior designer’

Do you need modifications to your home because of injury, illness, or just plain aging and a desire to stay in your home, eliminating obstacles that may exist to doing so, but don’t think you can afford them?

First of all, many modifications may cost far less than you might expect, because they often don’t need to be as extensive or labor-intensive as you might imagine, and can actually be quite simple.

For example, sometimes all that is needed to ensure wheelchair accessibility may be to remove the moldings from around your doors and finish off the opening without them, and maybe either add new doors that fit the enlarged opening better, or in some cases, dispense with them altogether.  This alone can add a couple of inches of width to the doorway that can make all the difference, without getting into major remodeling.

And in places like the bathroom, as long as you can get the chair in there (which the door width may be the only obstacle to), depending on your particular situation, all you might need to be able to shower or bathe on your own might be a transfer bench and grab bars – although of course, you could certainly also opt do a full remodel with a wheel-in shower, step-in tub, and many other helpful aids that can be created in a way that no one else needs to know their purpose if you prefer.

Your best bet to determine what will serve your needs the best in a way that will fit your budget will be to consult a professional with the CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) designation to find out what’s necessary and possible, and to get a realistic idea of what it will cost.  You can search for an appropriate professional in your area via the National Association of Home Builders CAPS Directory.  CAPS specialists are specifically trained to manage the changes needed in the residential built environment in order for people to age comfortably and safely in their own homes – and that same training applies to both accessible and universal design as well.

If you have an occupational or physical therapist, you might want to involve them in the process as well, even if they have not already done a home visit, so that your needs and the specific obstacles in your home are most appropriately identified from a medical/functional perspective, leaving the design professionals to create a solution that best implements those requirements in the most aesthetically-pleasing way possible within your budget constraints.

Accessible design is created for people with specific, known needs, and universal design is a more general concept that allows people of a range of ages and abilities to function well together in the same space, anticipating potential needs along with addressing actual existing ones.   They overlap with each other, and both overlap with aging-in-place.

If aesthetics is important to you (and it should be, because that greatly impacts your enjoyment of your home), start with an interior designer or architect who is CAPS-certified, and hire a contractor who also holds the designation for the optimal combination of design and construction knowledge.  No one wants to – or needs to – live in a home that looks institutional in order for it to function well for physical needs.

Some contractors, although far from all, may have some training in interior and/or architectural design, so unless you know you only need or want the most basic of changes like functional grab bars and/or stair glides, the best outcomes in any renovation or new construction project will usually come from hiring a team that works together to address not just the technical issues but also the aesthetic ones, and not just the physical house issues, but also furnishings, color, lighting, etc., all of which can also be modified as necessary to address various types of disabilities, including normal age-related vision loss.

Most designers and architects will meet with you initially at no charge to explain their services, find out generally what your needs, budget, and preferences are, and to make a proposal, so don’t be afraid to call one even if you think you can’t afford our services.  If it does turn out to be more than you want to spend to hire one to do the whole project, many, myself included, will also work on an hourly consultation basis to give you advice, review contractors’ plans before the proposed modifications are built, etc.

Finally, when it does come time to do whatever work needs to be done, if you find that you really can’t afford them on your own, you may be able to locate some surprising sources of help in funding the modifications.

While it is beyond the scope of this blog – and indeed the scope of any design or construction trade professional – to offer specific advice about financial assistance, or its appropriateness for any specific situation or type of situation, I would like to share some resources that you can investigate on your own.  Please do consult with your own financial, tax, and legal advisors to determine the impacts and pros and cons of any financial options you may be considering.  In some situations, there might even be tax breaks associated with such modifications that might increase their affordability, but again, please do consult your own advisors for details.

One place to start, certainly, is asking your bank about a loan, and another is to ask your accountant and/or attorney about any sources they may know of.  Likewise, your church, synagogue, or other house of worship might be able to suggest or offer assistance through either that particular facility or through the religion’s local or national agencies and charities.  Fraternal organizations might have options as well, if you belong to one.

The Our Parents blog (which is a wonderful general resource for information about aging in general, and caring for older adults) also has a nice article on where to turn to seek financial aid with an assortment of links that will help you research options in your area, or that apply to your particular circumstances.

Don’t be put off by the name of the blog or references to aging and seniors if you are not of that “certain age”, as many of these agencies might also have programs that could benefit younger people as well if they have significant disabilities, and the blog certainly has information that would be beneficial to people with other disabling conditions.  They also have a nice article with other links about the possible pitfalls of reverse mortgages, which many people think of, and which may or may not be appropriate for a given situation.

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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.

(more…)

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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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Canned Foods (Consumer Reports)

Image courtesy of Consumer Reports

Almost everyone knows by now that many of the refillable water bottles we love are lined with an epoxy-based material that contains carcinogenic chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA). Public outcry has resulted in several manufacturers now offering bottles with alternative, non-epoxy-based linings.

What is not quite so well known, however, is that the linings of most food and beverage cans are also this same type of epoxy resin that also contain BPA. This is the chemical that is responsible for the vastly longer shelf lives of canned foods in this day and age, which is why it’s become so ubiquitous.

Consumer Reports recently tested a variety of canned foods for its presence, and found that even organic foods, and those made by manufacturers who make a concerted effort to avoid the epoxy resins still have significant levels of BPA in the food samples tested. Only one manufacturer, Eden, has so far managed to find a source of cans that was even willing to address the problem and attempt to make cans without BPA.

Despite being packed in cans made by the Ball Corp. with the oleo-based material previously known as “corn enamel”, which was common in food can linings prior to the 60s, testing still found measurable levels of BPA in Eden’s foods (although vastly below those found in other brands), suggesting that there may be multiple sources of exposure to the chemical in the food chain, not just in the cans.

You can read the rest of the whole article about this, and learn about the FDA’s new assessments of what a safe level of BPA exposure may be on the Consumer Reports blog.

So should you clean out your kitchen cabinets, throw away all of your canned foods, and never buy any more? In the ideal world, perhaps yes, but we all know that we don’t live in one. BPA is one of the highest volume chemicals in the world, though, even found in dust and water samples from all over the world, so at this point, it’s completely unavoidable in the environment, and it would be a reasonable assumption that this is one of the additional sources Consumer Reports speculates about. Eliminating BPA from food can linings may help, but until that happens, you can at least dramatically decrease your exposure to it by avoiding canned food wherever possible.

So what does this have to do with interior design?

Kitchen Storage

Kristi Stratton, CountryLiving.com

Well, clearly kitchens are where food is stored and prepared, and most are now designed with as much storage space as possible for both housewares and packaged foods. You may find, however, that as you reduce your reliance on canned goods and other processed foods, that you may need different types of storage, and it may need to be configured somewhat differently. Many things can be packaged in glass or ceramic containers instead of plastic or cans, but both glass and ceramics tend to be a lot heavier and bulkier than cans and plastic containers, and of course will break if dropped, so you’ll need to pay careful attention to how your storage is laid out so that they are easily – and safely – accessible. Increased refrigeration space may be required as well, in order to accomm0date a wider range of fresh produce and other foods.

It may be that you won’t actually even need as much space, though, because the shorter shelf lives of fresh foods and those that come in jars instead of cans means you’ll probably be shopping more often, but for smaller quantities. Or perhaps you’ll start buying in bulk and doing your own canning and preserving.

Well Stocked Pantry with Preserved Foods

Library of Congress via TheSustainableKitchen.com

You’ll be chopping up more things, so ensuring adequate preparation space that suits your needs and ideally allows you to work while seated as well as standing will be useful.

You may need or want additional cooktop burners or additional and innovative cooking sources like the marvelous new steam or combination steam/convection ovens. Steaming is one of the best possible ways to prepare food, locking in both nutrients and moisture, and these ovens make it so incredibly convenient that you wouldn’t believe it.

Miele Steam Oven

Miele Steam Oven

And because it’s healthier for both you and the environment, avoiding canned foods and learning to make your own fresh, more healthful meals from scratch, you’ll also be being much more green. True sustainable design doesn’t end with the cabinets and other finishes used; it translates through to how the space is used, how waste is removed, and much, much more.

So, if you’re designing a new kitchen, you’ll need to take these changing food preparation habits into account, and communicate your desires to your designer, so that the space can be optimized for food preparation patterns that are less common today than they used to be, and with which you yourself may not yet be as familiar with the requirements of and ways to optimize.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Google Listing

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

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

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

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

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

“Interior Decorator

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

Interior Designer

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

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

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

Interior designers do it all

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

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

What will it cost?

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

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

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

 

Do they have to be licensed?

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

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

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

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

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

So how do I find a good designer?

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

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

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


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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.

(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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This post has been deleted.

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This post has been moved to the No Design Legislation blog at http://nodesignlegislation.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/iowa-hsb-203-would-exclude-majority-of-designers-from-many-public-projects/

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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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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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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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Click here for information on becoming a sponsor.

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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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We all admire the gorgeous spreads by famous designers in the various shelter magazines, but many people think that working with a designer is out of reach for them, and only for the rich and famous.  In reality, that’s only part of the story, and a good interior designer can help people at almost any budget level, whether you want a complete remodel from top to bottom, or just some advice on what colors to use.  Many very good designers are perfectly willing to consult on an hourly basis just to help give you some tips, get you started, or help evaluate what you’ve already started and point you in the right direction.

There are many benefits to working with a designer, other than a fabulous end result, and they start with how a good designer can actually save you a lot of time and money in the process of getting there, regardless of what your budget is.

What, you ask?  How can hiring a designer save me money?  Aren’t they all really expensive?

Well, yes, fees can indeed be high, if that’s all you’re looking at – but when you consider the degree of expertise, experience, and professionalism a professional designer brings to the table, along with the creativity and eye and ability to make it all happen efficiently,  and end up giving you exactly the space you’ve been dreaming about, that will truly make your heart sing, and the mistakes that are avoided, all while meeting extensive building code requirements, most people think it all balances out and is actually much less expensive in the end.

If you look around, too, and ask people whose taste you admire who they used, and research well online as well as in shelter magazines, you’ll find plenty of excellent interior designers who offer a wide range of fee structures.  Even if you can’t afford the stars, there will still always be someone else who is just right for you who can bring it all in at a cost you’re willing to pay.

First and foremost, a designer has an extensive network and range of resources available, most of which only work with “the trade”, and therefore which clients would never have any access to start with.  This not only means that you will end up with something truly unique, but also that a lot of time will be saved because the designer already knows where to get most of the kinds of things you will likely want in your home or office.  S/he will have already done all of the research you’d spend weeks or months doing, sussing out the best products and tradespeople, developing relationships with suppliers that typically result in better pricing and service, etc., so that her time can be devoted to customizing a solution for you, and getting your project completed far more quickly and efficiently than the average client could ever do.

Time, as we all know, is money, so a designer’s bringing in top workmen and craftspeople who are up on the latest techniques, tools, and materials will also save money by saving time, often allowing work to progress much more quickly and simultaneously than it might with older or less efficient techniques and tools.

Because a professional designer will approach the project in a methodical way, starting by measuring your space and creating a floorplan before going shopping, as well as any pieces you already own that you plan to keep, she will also already know in advance exactly what size and type of pieces will fit and work in your space, and will have a comprehensive overall plan, which she will have developed with your input and gotten your approval on.  This narrows the options dramatically, and allows her to focus like a laser only on those items, and not to get distracted by the vast range of other choices out there.  It also enables her to customize pieces that may have other dimensions than what is needed, which most high end manufacturers do all the time, so that they are exactly right for you.

How many times have you gone furniture shopping and gotten excited about a new couch or rug, only to get it home and realize it’s just too big, or the wrong color?  And then you usually have to just live unhappily with it, or get rid of it and start all over again, both of which end up costing you psychic energy as well as additional money.  Or you find something you love, but then it starts to fall apart or look shabby in a year or so, or worse, in as little as a few months?  Or the new lamp you bought still just doesn’t give you enough light to read by, and you don’t know how to fix the situation?  Because a professional interior designer thoroughly understands the requirements of the space, and how to scale things appropriately for both your own body as well as your space, and has extensive knowledge of fabrics, finishes, proper furniture construction, lighting design, building codes, construction, flooring, space planning, color, etc., etc., these kinds of errors are dramatically less likely to happen.  It gets done right, the first time.

High quality, well-made goods and workmanship may certainly cost more initially, but in the long run, they will definitely save you money because you won’t have to replace them anywhere near as often – if ever.  Really good furniture will last a lifetime, for example, and often multiple lifetimes, so it’s entirely possible that your children and even your grandchildren will still be using it, and it’s a good bet you’ll still love it years down the road yourself.  When you look at the long term costs of owning anything, including repair, cleaning, and replacement costs, these are what is called the “life cycle costs”.  The less often you have to replace something, the less expensive it is in the long run, regardless of the up front costs.

This is another major place the designer can save you money, because she will understand the life cycle cost tradeoffs for each option, and be able to help you understand what the cost savings – or increase – might be for each possible choice.  And as a side benefit, this is also a much more green approach.

Also, you are probably an expert in your own field, and can most likely make a lot more money continuing to work at whatever it is that you do instead of trying to deal first hand with all of the hundreds or thousands of little details a successful design project entails.  Your work is probably a lot more fun for you than sorting through technical specs and detail drawings of bathroom fittings and cabinetry, or spending endless hours on the phone and in email following up on hundreds of details with potentially dozens of sources.

Hiring an expert to design your home or office can take a big load off of your shoulders, both in terms of time and energy, and will leverage both.  Basically, we do all the legwork and bring it to you, which frees you up to do whatever else you do best or would prefer to be doing with your time, whether it’s closing another deal, taking a trip, or just spending more time at home with your family relaxing or playing.  Now how cool is that?

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