22 June 2008

ASID: An Agency Out of Control

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Kelly Wearstler can not practice Interior Design in Florida!  If this seems somewhat ridiculous and hard to believe, it is - both.    Apparently Kelly was hired to redo the Tides Hotel on South Beach, but - she is not licensed to practice Interior Design in Florida and a cease and desist order was issued to her.  Don't believe me?  Read her case file below:

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Work by Wearstler - not welcomed in Florida.

 

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Maybe Florida is against faux zebra?

 

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Or could it be they are sick of KWID's famous trellis fabric - shown here in a rug?  Don't miss the wall made out of stone behind the sofa.

 

Kelly Wearstler:    Case No. 2007-067706

Probable cause was found that Kelly Wearstler, Inc. of Los Angeles, California, is not licensed to practice interior design in Florida and contracted to provide interior design services on The Tides Hotel on South Beach in Miami. Ms. Wearstler specifically offers interior design services in the contract and is offering such services through a business entity without a certificate of authorization. An Administrative Complaint seeking fines will be filed and a Notice and Order to Cease and Desist will be issued.

 

And don't think poor Kelly is  alone - she's not.   This person, who has been declared by Florida to not be an interior designer, actually DID create this beautiful room below.   Juan Montoya, despite being named to Architectural Digest's Top 100 Designers list,  had Florida say this of him:  "also held himself out as an interior designer..."  Well, duh, he IS an interior designer, rather or not he is licensed in Florida.  What is going on in Florida?

 

Room designed by supposed interior designer Juan Montoya

 

Read the case Florida filed against Juan Montoya, THAT CRIMINAL!!!

 

Juan Montoya Design Group:  Case No. 2004-055870

Probable Cause was found that Juan Montoya of New York, NY is not licensed to practice interior design in the State of Florida and contracted to provide interior design services on a commercial project. Mr. Montoya also held himself out as an interior designer throughout the contract. Further, Mr. Montoya is offering such services through a business entity without a certificate of authorization. A Notice and Order to Cease and Desist was issued and an Administrative Complaint seeking fines was filed.

 

More beautiful work by Montoya.

 

Simply put, the ASID is out of control.   For the past thirty years, they have been actively lobbying for state regulation of interior designers  all over the country and it is rumored they have spent over $6,000,000 on their effort.  Their goal is twofold - they seek Title Legislation which bans the right to call or advertise yourself as an Interior Designer without state license AND they seek the more draconian measure of Practice Legislation which criminalizes the practicing of interior design without a state license.  So far, ASID has been successful in establishing Practice Legislation in four states, of which Florida is one.    You can read ASID's side of the argument here: 

http://www.asid.org/legislation  - that is, if you can stomach their arrogance.

 

So why does ASID want to regulate the Interior Design industry?  They claim it is to protect the public - or as they publicly state:  " Professional interior designers are qualified by education, experience and examination to enhance the function, safety and quality of interior spaces to the benefit of the occupants of such spaces."   But consider this, in the past 100 years only 52 lawsuits have been filed against interior designers - and these were mostly over contracts, never safety.    Because of ASID's forceful lobbying efforts several grass roots organizations have sprung up to challenge their push for state licensing.  These groups claim that the ASID is pushing for licensing out a desire to get rid of competition.  For example:  only 3% of interior designers are members of ASID.   ASID does not speak for the overwhelming majority of interior designers who are, undoubtedly against state licensing.   Despite ASID's extremely low membership,  they have been successful in getting "Title" legislation in many states.  This means simply that someone can not advertise or call themselves an interior designer without meeting the strict terms set up by ASID:  namely, a 2 to 4 year degreed education, followed by 2 years of apprenticeship spent working for a licensed I.D. (of which there are so few - most students would be unable to find work to satisfy this requirement.)   Additionally, you then must pass a 2 day test, which cost upwards of $1,000.  This test does not measure in any way a person's taste level or ability to put pleasing colors together or cohesive furniture schemes, or they ability to get along with clients - all important qualifications of successful interior designers.  Instead, the test focuses on endless rules and regulations for commercial applications such a fire retardant fabrics and codes, contract language, and administration.  Imagine Maria Buatto or Charlotte Moss or Miles Redd or John Salindino or (pick your favorite Interior Designer here)  not being able to  advertise or work as an interior designer because he is not versed in hospital or daycare fabric or wallpaper or proper placement of accessibility bars?   It is important to note that the qualifications for admittance into ASID are exactly the same as is required of state licensing as devised by the ASID.   There are grandfathering clauses for the lucky few  - and many foes suggest that most of those in the higher ASID ranks do not even qualify under their own rules and regulations but were actually grandfathered into ASID. 

Most shocking is this:  four states have enacted "practice" licensing - meaning not only can you not advertise or call yourself an interior designer, you can not practice as an interior designer without this license.  Florida is one of these states.    The sheer arrogance of Florida to declare that  Kelly Wearstler or Philip Sides or Juan Montoya are not interior designers is stupefying.  

What is being done:  after ASID's massive 30 year push for regulation, grass roots efforts are finally having a positive effect.  In 2007, ASID lobbied for 24 new bills, none of which were enacted.  Even more positive, the Alabama Supreme  Court ruled that Alabama's Practice laws (similar to Florida's) were illegal and were to be removed from the books.  Notice of this ruling is surprisingly absent from the ASID web site.   Interior designers in Alabama are now free to practice their trade without ASID involvement and regulation.  Hopefully, the three remaining states with Practice licensing will meet the same fate.   Additionally, several governors vetoed title and practice legislation put before them.  In Texas - which has a strong title law - a lawsuit has been brought before the state by 4 interior designers who have the backing of  The Institute for Justice.  The Wall Street Journal published an excellent letter from one of their attorneys, read it here to fully understand the absurdity of the licensing laws.   The Interior Designers Protection Council  has an great web site where you can further read about efforts to derail ASID's legislation push. 

If you are an interior designer or an interior design lover please take a few moments to read what is happening in your state legislature.  Protect Phillip Sides' right to practice doing what he does best, despite Florida's attempts to stop the prolific interior designer.

 

A Philip Sides' dining room.

Red toile bedroom with red-checked upholstery and linens.

Toile and checks - my favorite combination by Phillip Sides.

Room covered in green toile.

The beautiful Scalamandre Oriental toile as done by Philip Sides. This is one of my favorite toiles - I love the movement of its flower stems.  Also - notice the beautiful sconces and matching painted consoles.  Beautifully done room for such an amateur without qualifications or licensing.  I mean - how could he do this good of work and not have passed a test on contracts?

 

Read what horrors Sides is accused of by Florida's lawmakers:

Phillip Sides
Phillip & Co.
Case No. 2004-043524

Probable Cause was found that Phillip Sides of Santa Rosa, Florida is not licensed and is offering interior design services in an advertisement in the Southern Accents Magazine. A Notice and Order to Cease and Desist was issued, along with the request that Mr. Sides sign an affidavit stating he will refrain from offering interior design services and will change the advertisement deleting any references to interior design or words to that effect. If Mr. Sides fails to return the affidavit, an Administrative Complaint seeking fines will be filed.

Philip!  You should be ashamed!  Imagine calling yourself an interior designer.  Now, stop that - you are an interior decorator!!!  Got that??    You do not design, you can NOT design - you don't know how - you aren't licensed!!!  Shame!!!!

 

Clive Christian, the famous cabinet maker also ran into trouble with Florida. 

 

Christian, the cabinet maker genius - his cream painted kitchen.

 

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Clive Christian Gulf Coast LLC
Simon T. Ellis
Case Nos. 2006-060591 & 2006-060581

Probable cause was found that Clive Christian Gulf Coast LLC of Estero, Florida is not licensed to practice interior design or architecture in Florida and is offering interior design services in an advertisement in the August 2006 edition of the Florida Magazine.  Further, the firm’s web site is offering architectural services.  A Notice and Order to Cease and Desist was issued along with the requirement that Mr. Ellis sign an affidavit stating he will refrain from offering interior design or architectural services and will change his advertisement and web sites to delete any references to such services.  If Mr. Ellis fails to return the affidavit, an Administrative Complaint seeking fines will be filed.

 

And even Venus Williams the tennis player got in trouble with Florida.  Venus?  An interior designer? 

V Starr Interiors
Case No. 2003-001143

The Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design announces that on March 20, 2003, probable cause was found to issue a Notice and Order to Cease and Desist against the unlicensed design firm of V Starr Interiors, which is owned by tennis star Venus Williams. V Starr Interiors is located in Palm Beach, Gardens, Florida.

Ms. Williams has a licensed interior designer on staff; however, V Starr Interiors has been operating and offering interior design services since April 2002 without a license for the firm, which is required under Florida law. After being notified of the investigation, the firm has begun the process of obtaining a license.

After reviewing the evidence, the Board found probable cause to issue a Notice and Order to Cease and Desist and will require Ms. Williams to execute an affidavit that she will not offer interior design services through her firm until properly licensed. If Ms. Williams fails to return the affidavit, an administrative complaint seeking fines will be filed.

 

Interiors by Venus Williams - hmmm - maybe Florida IS right about this one!

 

It's a good thing I don't live in Florida.  I would not be a licensed interior designer, and would be unable to advertise or call myself an interior designer while doing work for clients like this:

 

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Living room in a client's house.

or this:

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Bedroom in a client's house.  Farrow and Ball Wallpaper, Chelsea Editions fabrics, Antique chairs from Tara Shaw, Antique mirror from Area, Curtains by Custom Creations by Monica.

 

Below are more interesting cases brought against Florida interior designers.  Not all are famous - but all are talented, hard working people whom ASID wants out of business.  Beware!!!

 

Norwalk – The Furniture Idea
Parker C. Kuldau II
Case No. 2007-037517

Probable cause was found that Norwalk – The Furniture Idea of Jacksonville, Florida, is not licensed to practice interior design in Florida and is offering interior design services in magazine advertisements.  A Notice and Order to Cease and Desist from offering interior design services was issued along with the requirement that Mr. Kuldau sign an affidavit stating the advertisement has been changed to delete all references to interior design.  If Mr. Kuldau fails to return the affidavit, an Administrative Complaint seeking fines will be filed.

 

Kreiss Collection
Case No. 2004-002015

Probable cause was found that Kreiss Collection of West Palm Beach, Florida is not licensed and is offering  interior design services in an advertisement and on its webpage. A Notice and Order to Cease and Desist was issued along with a request that Loren Kreiss sign an affidavit stating she will refrain from offering interior design services through Kreiss Collection unless it becomes properly licensed. If Ms. Kreiss fails to return the affidavit, an Administrative Complaint seeking fines will be filed.

Interiors by Decorating Den
Melissa and Eric Johnson
Case No. 2006-051229

Probable Cause was found that Interiors by Decorating Den of Dunnellon, Florida is not licensed to practice interior design and is listed under the interior design section in the Ocala yellow pages. A Notice and Order to Cease and Desist was issued along with the requirement that Ms. Johnson sign an affidavit stating the firm will refrain from offering interior design services and the advertisement will be changed to delete any references to such services.  If Ms. Johnson fails to return the affidavit, an Administrative Complaint seeking fines will be filed.

 

Patty Castillo
Case No. 2005-047653

The Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design agreed to enter a final order imposing a fine of $10,000.00 plus costs against Patty Castillo of Pembroke Pines , Florida . Ms. Castillo was offering “Professional Interior Design Services” in an advertising flyer.

Millie Becker
Case No. 2004-038448

Probable Cause was found that Millie Becker of Boca Raton, Florida is not licensed in the State of Florida but holds herself out as an interior designer on her business card. A Notice and Order to Cease and Desist was issued, along with the request that Ms. Becker sign an affidavit stating she will refrain from offering interior design services and will change her business card deleting any references to interior design or words to that effect. If Ms. Becker fails to return the affidavit, an Administrative Complaint seeking fines will be filed.

 

Jenny Cocanougher
Case No. 2003-050487

The Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design ruled to enter a final order imposing a $10,000.00 fine and costs of $318.00 against Jenny Cocanougher. The complaint alleged that Respondent was previously a licensed interior designer but her license was placed in a null and void status for failing to renew. Ms. Cocanougher's business card and resume held her out as an interior designer and she contracted to provide interior design services.

 
Rick Argov and Interior Design Center
Case Numbers 2003-002640 and 2003-001382
Rami Argov and Interior Design Center
Case Numbers 2003-002389 and 2003-050456
Uri Gavish and Interior Design Center
Case No. 2003-002387

The Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design announces that on October 30, 2003, a final order was entered imposing a fine of $15,000.00 against the Deerfield Beach design firm Interior Design Center and its principals, Rick Argov, Rami Argov, and Uri Gavish.

The firm and its principals were holding themselves out as interior designers and offering interior design services without a license. The firm also contracted to perform interior designs services.

After reviewing the evidence that showed the firm brochure and individual business cards offered interior design services, along with the numerous contracts for interior design services, the Board entered a final order imposing a fine of $15,000.00.

The Board is charged with enforcing the laws and rules regarding the practice of architecture and interior design, and to protect the health, safety and welfare of Florida's citizens.