COTE DE TEXAS: ASID: An Agency Out of Control

ASID: An Agency Out of Control


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:


Work by Wearstler - not welcomed in Florida.



Maybe Florida is against faux zebra?



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:  - 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.



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:


 Caplan house 004

Living room in a client's house.

or this:

 Caplan house 058

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.


  1. Oh, Joni. You have NO idea how much this burns me up........whew. I don't even know where to start. I live in a state where the "practice act" has been recently passed, and it made me want to vomit when I read it.

    ASID keeps pushing and pushing for all of this, yet most of their demographic is a mere allied member status (not licensed/but possess degrees). So, they are in turn disenfranchising something like 85% of their bread and butter. They PREY on students and scare the shit out of you, making you believe the term "decorator" is as bad as a cardinal sin, and that state licensure is an absolute must. What they fail to mention is you stated.... NCIDQ is so crazy commercial and terribly unrelated to residential design. OR THAT 97% of "designers" are really decorators and don't give two squats about licensure. Ooooooooh. SNAP.

    We have had some serious wars here in my little city about all of this BS. It's so sad...and you have no idea how mis-informed the gen. public is about this.....a lot of my clients ask me if I'm licensed and if I am ASID, etc. I then reply " Oh, yes! I have loads of creative license, and I am governed by none other than A-N-D-R-E-A!" They don't understand what the real skinny behind all of it is, and ASID does such a good job at scaring them into believing that an ASID member will do them so much more justice than one of those lowly, bored housewife turned decorators (which is everyone who is unlicensed, you know). Uggggghhh. I know I'm not putting forth such a great argument here, but this subject just really bums me out and makes me really angry. I'll just go on being the best Inferior Desecrator that I can be ;)

    Thanks for blogging about this...I can't wait to see what others have to say on the subject.


  2. Oh for goodness sake, is someone going to sue for MALPRACTICE in a dining room and the state of Florida is afraid they will be held accountable for not properly regulating this industry and the client being inflicted with an improper wallpaper??

    I guess I'll be sued next for
    "plagarism" since my carpenter built my present GORGEOUS kitchen based on a photo of a Clive Christian kitchen in England. This is educated aesthetics and opinion, NOT open heart surgery.

    I'm astounded.

  3. Geeeezzzz, can't they find some other more productive way to spend their time, and the tax-payers' money? This is insane!

  4. Joni - this is an amazing piece of work you've put together. Brava and thanks for your research. I've been pointing out on many blogs that designers like Kelly Wearstler aren't "interior designers" by the quote-unquote "legal" definition of ASID, but to see that legal action has actually been taken out on her, and so many others, really puts it into perspective. While, in reality, it's not the end of the world to be called a decorator, clearly, ASID is not going to stop at a simple name. They will most certainly want to legislate the actual tasks being done - so a "decorator" will not be able to even do certain things - like specify cabinets or moldings because these are under the perview of "design". It really is a ridiculous state of affairs. Thanks again for posting on this!

  5. Ugh! Reminding me of Florida ... where we made the mistake of opening a branch of our mortgage company. They seriously regulate and require licensing (aka tax!) everything at every level, state, city and county. If you want to be a pooper scooper in Tampa, you better get a license.

  6. That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard! I had no idea that was happening in the US. I must say though... Venus Williams probably does deserve it! Her, an interior designer, that is a joke!

  7. I am copletely astounded!
    I can't believe that it passed legislation in 4 states.
    It seems though that some work is being done to stop this nonsence nd not a minute to soon....

  8. How on earth do they say that stuff with a straight face, without collapsing in hysterics over the sheer idiocy of it???

  9. This is just more bureaucracy. That is why the states support it. Arrogant is hardly a strong enough word. Christy:-)<><

  10. Wow, who knew? Sounds like these people have way too much time on their hands. How sad.

  11. As an interior design student, it is so true that ASID (I'm a student member) and my school both "highly recommend" that we as students take the NCIDQ exam. However, Joni nailed it on the head...good luck finding a licensed interior designer to work for for two years! It's practically impossible! My school is in Manhattan and almost all of the big names in (residential) design are NOT licensed. Most students then decide to work/intern for architecture firms instead (which is what I did). ASIDs scare tactics are so obvious to students, but they seem to be working. They are definitely in bed with interior design schools as many of my fellow students have decided they HAVE to get a four year degree (many already have a degree in something other than design) in order to get licensed. I'm sure design schools love that! The whole thing makes me nauseous. Grrrrr.

  12. This is stupid!!
    but good news for design schools....

  13. Joni - I worked for a wonderful woman who was ASID - as I mentioned, she was so committed to going to school and getting a degree. Later, I talked to another very respected decorator here in town who said, "Sweetie, forget about it. The only thing you are going to learn to do is set a toilet." Now, I know that is an exaggeration, but some of our best decorators in town do not have design degrees. Decorating without a license, clearly, is not dangerous. Thanks for the information on this.

  14. Sheer CRAZINESS... seriously and we wonder why Florida lot most of their rights in the primary :)

  15. Good posting Joni. It certainly is a dilemma. Our Design Association here in Vancouver, IDI, has been trying to legislate with the government for years, but thankfully to no avail. Years ago to cover myself, just in case, I wrote the NCIDQ exam. ASID and IDI, says that liscensing for Interior Designers is protection for the Public. I think that the public needs to hire a designer with the right experience for each job, liscensed or not. They need to ask the right questions and do their homework, just as you would do in hiring any professional. You might not pick the same designer for a living room remodel as you would for a full scale renovation that requires working drawings.

  16. This is crazy! I had no idea it had reached this level of insanity.

    What an amazing post--loved all the photos that went with it, too! -Julia

  17. This from the state that completely botched the 2000 presidential election with the ridiculous "hanging chads" backed by an intellectually bankrupt U.S. Supreme Court. Eight years later, the 2008 Florida presidential primary remains in turmoil. The Florida lawmakers do not even have the wherewithall to compose interior design laws.

    Thank, Joni, for this eye-opener! More than ever, God Bless Texas!

  18. Oh, I've heard of all this, being in the business that I am in. What a ridiculous mess they are creating for themselves! I think they need to think of a new title for people who are licensed to install safety bars or wheelchair ramps or or adhere to codes whatever is in the public safety realm. Interior Safety Contractor or something.

    Here is the key for me. The words "interior design" are kind of like q-tips or kleenex, no longer only associated with a brand but a description of what we all do from a visual standpoint. People understand those words to mean designing a beautiful interior with furniture fabrics accessories & material choices, not actually being responsible for construction or safety or designing a building that might collapse if we don't know what we are doing. BORING stuff. Stuff architects should do or contractors should do. We do stuff any homeowner could do for themselves with NO LICENSE if they are so inclined. Is there a trademark on the words "interior design"? I think probably not.

    I saw in one of the lawsuits there that there was a case against someone who advertised in the interior design section of the yellow pages! Oops! I think a section for licensed safety monitors would be a good place for those qualified and interested in that sort of thing. Interior design is too common and general these days to fuss over.

    Thanks for sharing such a timely and interesting topic!


  19. I looked into joining ASID and taking the test. Although in the state of CA - you do not need a license to call yourself an Interior Designer SO FAR.
    I did buy a book to see what the test entailed. I don't understand why it is necessary for me to know all that information about electric, plumbing, codes when what I do is come up with interior designs, find fabulous appliances, fabrics, furnishings, etc. The building, blueprints, etc are completed by licensed architects and contractors for me. I draw sketches of what my clients desire and the architect puts the technical aspects together. Then I keep in contact with the contractor throughout the job to keep the project on schedule.
    I don't think being a member of ASID or passing that test makes you a better interior DESIGNER...
    and to not be able to call yourself a designer is ridiculous -"A designer is a person who designs something" according to the dictionary. It does NOT say "a member of ASID that designs." "interior is all or part that is inside"
    BTW... I do have a degree in ART and a minor in Art History - I have taken drafting, colour theory, space design, model building, and I have learned the history of architect and furniture design, etc etc. I also have a diploma in interior decorating - within the course in our textbook which I might add said "Interior Design" on the cover - we learned about drawing floor plans and placing electric, plumbing, windows, furniture, etc. I also have a real estate license which entails building codes. Why should I not be able to call myself an Interior Designer? Because I don't join an affliation?
    Most clients tell me... I don't care about your degrees, diplomas which I bring along when meeting a new client... show me your portfolio and give me references!

    More "interior designers" without license to add to your list... Nate Berkus and Kenneth Brown both well known in the media and called interior designers. And there are MANY more... the list could go on and on... many featured in MAGAZINES we all read and love. I would say the major are NOT ASID members.

  20. Joni,

    I think FL is a Nazi state. A good friend of mine who was a diehard prosecutor in Texas moved to FL. He went to work for the State's attorney's office doing prosecution but left b/c they were so draconian. Prosecutors had no freedom to dismiss b**s**** cases. He was raised on the a prosecutor's job is to seek justice under TX law, not, just get a conviction. He's now in private practice. I had 2 aunts & uncles in business in FL & they regulated them to death. Texas has a similar law? That's crazy. It's just a way to make money for the State, kind of like traffic tickets here in TX.

  21. Awesome post Joni, you're a superstar. This is a subject close to my heart and it so complicated in its deception to the general public and the the industry. Can you imagine being able to start a private association of lets say, gardeners. You charge all your gardeners in the group exorbitant dues and then spend all of that money to limit their ability and the ability of every new gardener who ever enters the industry again to garden. Then you attack the amateur gardeners and make it illegal for them to garden. Then you make the requirements to become a licensed gardener so severe and unachievable that very few gardeners can enter the field and those that do are so expensive because they have to pay their dues and licensing fees that their clients cannot afford them. Then you sue all of those regular gardeners and drive them out of business leaving only an elite few who really have no gardening talent but have jumped through the hoops to be able call themselves gardeners and in turn pay more dues back to the organization. There would be a lot of fuggly gardens out their!

    Design is an art form and art cannot and should not be regulated or licensed .

    Keep the Faith Girl - Jackie

  22. When I was in design school, our department head was in ASID and practically tried to brainwash us into thinking that one must join it to be successfull in the design field. While I do think the licensing test and the code information involved in it would be useful for someone heavily involved in commercial work, especially if they are truly designing architectural elements of the interior space and have to abide by myriad state, local and federal safety code, I find that there is little relevance to residential design. In fact, most successful decorators I know are unlicensed. And considering how much time ASID activities, meetings, and continuing educational seminars take up, I find it hard to believe that someone running a successful, thriving business would have the time to devote to ASID. And frankly, some of the ugliest, least inspiring interiors I have ever seen have been designed by people with licensing. Finally, one of my instructors was licensed. I never saw examples of her work, so I don't know how talented and skilled she was; however, at one class she arrived basically frothing at the mouth because a national magazine (I think it was Southern Accent), was featuring a decorator she knew. Her anger was because she felt that even though the article was under a section with the word decorating in the title, that major magazines should only featured licensed designers. That's when it hit me. I honestly think a lot of this ASID insistence on liscensing is because they are jealous of the success of others that they feel are somehow inferior to themselves in terms of education and experience.

  23. OMG seriously? I mean - REALLY?! So many of these 'professional' organizations take themselves way too seriously and because of that and going after their 'own' -they are only hurting their cause. AIA and architects is one thing (i can see the safety reasons ) but interior designers are another thing - a few power hungry people are out of control!

  24. Fabulous post, Joni! I appreciate the work you do here!

    Learned all sorts of new information, today.


  25. ASID is taking itself way to serious!!!!!!! These people need to get a life..or maybe a job. If they have so much time on their hands for lawmaking they can't be doing too much designing. A client should be able to hire the designer of it's choice, license or not. There is so much more that goes into the relationship. The client/designer must click,if you will. Talent can come from many different fields like the comment from the lady with an art degree. Not to mention a God given gift.
    I hope ASID is reading all of this!

  26. A shame that the organization is scaring students and forcing out wonderful artistic creative souls from a business that is getting national recognition in all kinds of media worldwide. Perhaps the ASID should regulate HGTV? Really -- there are far better projects --for far better causes around the nation -- that could have used those funds!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  27. Joni,
    How in the world do you have the time? Amazing research, again.
    Angela P.

  28. oh Joni, pls don't be so naive. You know perfectly well that all those miles of glamorous tile, artfully arranged dishes and pops of yellow here and there could very well make someone Go Postal. I, for one, am so very glad that Florida is looking out for its citizens and the courts are spending time working on this devastatingly important case. I feel so much safer (Kelly may be skinny but I bet she packs a mean punch). Thank you Florida for looking out for my welfare.

  29. Very interesting, Joni. I knew this had been a major topic for years now, the snobbery of ASID and all, so it was great to read your synopsis on it all. I just call myself a decorator, to be safe from any and all lawsuits, but good to know AL gave it up.

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  31. It seems very anticompetitive to me, and of little public benefit. I hope KWID can afford to take this on legally, since it'll take legal challenges to break the back of this law. Melissa's suggestion of an interior safety consultant sounds better, but look at the way safety consultants on cranes in NY, or the AMA manage the public safety. Really interesting post and discussion.

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. I am familiar with the Institute for Justice and was aware of this issue, so I am glad that you blogged about it. The Institute for Justice is a libertarian organization that challenges, among other things, laws regarding economic protectionism. I think that ASID is a prime example of the dangers of such protectionism. Unfortunately, interior designers are not the only industry that is highly regulated.

  34. So, I have been reeling about this all day. Like Jackie, this is a subject very close to my heart and it dictates the line between me making a living and me NOT making a living. Technically, I am ILLEGALLY practicing in my state, but I'm gonna keep on keeping on.

    Okay, I just want to point out a couple of commercial projects that deal with *public health, welfare and safety* just for arguments sake.

    Lets use Versailles, and the Greenbrier Hotel for example.

    Both of these structures were erected WAY before ASID and regulation was in place. Has ANYONE died or been blinded by the ray of a chandelier prism b/c of the finish selections that were selected by the specifiers? seriously. Those structures are toured heavily by the public and are precisely the the types of environments that ASID is attempting to regulate present day. How is a public library/hotel/ insert whatever public structure (with the exception of hospitals) any different than Versailles? (besides the fact that The V is about ten trillion times more gorgeous than any building being spec'd out these days) You know what I mean, though. Did Dorothy Draper REALLY lose sleep over the flammabilty of the chintz that she used in the Greenbrier? No. She was concerned with comfort and beauty and visual impact. Also, If I'm not mistaken they JUST RECENTLY remodeled it in 2007 after 60+ years since it had been touched. So, I ask, WHAT GIVES? 60+ years with no deaths or or broken jawbones directly attributed to finish selections? They must've done something right.

    I JUST.DON'T.BUY.IT. ASID. I don't.

    AND! I'm kinda glad that they decided to shut down KWID. Why? B/C she has the financial means to go toe to toe with this big entity and will hopefully begin a revolution that starts a huge domino effect and ASID will have to own up to the narrow path that they have carved out for themselves.

    Okay, it's time for me to have a glass of wine and calm down. I'm REALLY passionate about this subject, and it truly makes me sad and angry that a so-said public welfare agency is built upon such complete and utter deception.

  35. wow, what a great post! My husband has a 5 year bachelors of architecture and has been tring to pass the ARE exams for years(there are many). In the meantime he can work under a licensed architect in a firm or by himself but getting his construction docs always signed off by a stuctural engineer or a licensed architect. This way the work is always insured. In the meantime he can never call himself and architect, but can call himself a designer, project manager, etc. I think the ASID is trying to follow in the AIA's footsteps, but from what I have learned with my husband working with a commercial interior design firm for awhile is that a licensed interior designer still needs an engineer signature on certain work. So whats the point of the ASID license? (except some buliding codes, like disabled access requirements for commercial work, also every city has different codes/requirements i.e. door widths etc.)
    We have lived in San Diego for most of our lives and I automatically assumed that all Interior Designers were licensed by ASID. Just from reading the AIA website and eduction requirements etc. I have also read online that the ASID is after the schools and associations that claim to certify decorators, mine included. I am waiting for the day my certification will be invalid! I cannot believe some of these cases in Florida and how in the heck can they be so stupid to go after CLIVE! CLIVE is bigger than they are! fyi, that top photo is my favorite kitchen design ever!! someday I will get it.....

  36. This issue boils down to two issues, revenue and fear of competition. I am a Licensed Interior Designer in the State of Florida. I have taken and passed (by the skin of my teeth) the NCIDQ Exam, and I am a Professional Member of ASID. I value an education, and I felt that taking the NCIDQ and being licensed would enhance my continuing education as an interior designer. But all it really boils down to is revenue for the State of Florida, in the form of license fees, revenue for ASID, with their exorbitant yearly dues, and revenue for the license providers who have expensive courses I am forced to take to maintain my CEU's. I just want to bring to your attention one point you missed: Florida's Board of Architecture and Interior Design is a self-regulating agency, meaning that members of our profession must report unlicensed activity, the State DOES NOT actively pursue Kelly Wearstler or Venus Williams, other interior designers or interior decorators turn them in. So what you deal with is a general fear of competition. I have never, will never turn any one in, but most other designers will. Imagine the arrogance it takes to think that Kelly, Philip, Juan and Clive are actually your competition?

  37. This issue boils down to two issues, revenue and fear of competition. I am a Licensed Interior Designer in the State of Florida. I have taken and passed (by the skin of my teeth) the NCIDQ Exam, and I am a Professional Member of ASID. I value an education, and I felt that taking the NCIDQ and being licensed would enhance my continuing education as an interior designer. But all it really boils down to is revenue for the State of Florida, in the form of license fees, revenue for ASID, with their exorbitant yearly dues, and revenue for the license providers who have expensive courses I am forced to take to maintain my CEU's. I just want to bring to your attention one point you missed: Florida's Board of Architecture and Interior Design is a self-regulating agency, meaning that members of our profession must report unlicensed activity, the State DOES NOT actively pursue Kelly Wearstler or Venus Williams, other interior designers or interior decorators turn them in. So what you deal with is a general fear of competition. I have never, will never turn any one in, but most other designers will. Imagine the arrogance it takes to think that Kelly, Philip, Juan and Clive are actually your competition?

  38. Hi everyone - these are all wonderful comments - I am reading each one and trying to respond individually - as long as there is an email address. Anons! sorry!!! Seriously great comments from everyone.

    Just an additional point: while I think the licensing of I.d. is ridiculous = I totally agree with and support the regulation and licensing of architects. Totally different bird. That IS a public saftey issue. I.d. is not.

    thanks again everyone!

  39. Just crazy! Love the living room and bedroom you did for your clients!!! Dreamy.....

  40. Well said Lesa!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for giving us your educated view!

  41. wow - an amazing post Joni! a friend of mine in seattle is currently getting her degree in interior design, and they have been trying to pass similar laws there. she and many others petitioned against it and it didn't pass, but the whole thing is just ridiculous! especially when obviously respected designers are getting cease and desist orders. the INSANITY!!! thanks for educating all of us on this issue a bit more! yet another reason for me not to move to florida ;)

  42. andrea - on the web sites you can read that ASID is claiming that two large fires were the blame of bad interior designing which has been totally debunked. they have tried for years to find a safety angle without success. you must read the grass roots web site to fully understand how crazy they are.

  43. Lesa - great comment - thanks for taking the time to leave it and explain things. good luck - I would hate to have to practice in Florida.


  44. Can I also just add, I'm assuming organisations like ASID are originally founded to look after their industry and profession, as well as the consumer. Doesn't sound to me like they're doing either.

    I'm very very surprised about it ! I've always thought that America was the country for easy , unrestricted and freee business . I've thought that if you wanted to work , you could and earn money . I've thought that adverts were easy and everywhere without "dumb" rules ...I've thought that America was the country for interior designers .And I've thought France was the opposite , we have a lot of administrative things ...but interior designers are still pretty free to do what they want !
    So may be all the american interior designers should come to FRANCE !!!
    I may translate your post in french if I have time because this is unbelievable !
    Lucky you (and us ) ,you don't live in Florida

  46. Slightly off topic. I'm originally from Florida. While living in Boston and having my first child I was shopping around for cord blood banking facilities. I told my Boston OB I was considering one in Florida. He said, "Nooooo. Don't do business in Florida. Have you ever seen the show Cops? Florida is full of the criminals!" I can't help but agree. These bullying tactics sound near criminal, imo. Way to discourage business and shrink economy...

  47. It's ridiculous to see how sometimes Justice can be fooled by an organization, just because they called themselves ASID in this case. I mean who says that a group of people can declare or decide what makes an Interior Designer or not. That is ashamed and even more ashamed to see how Justice falls for that. I have a suggestion why don't all these incredible designers who have been band from the state of Florida don't initiate a separate organization, (maybe NASID) and set their own Accreditation standards? I mean that would solve much of the problem. I think...

  48. Joni~ It is absolutely inconceivable how moronic this is! My experience is that it is the wheel that squeaks the loudest that gets the oil, no matter how ludicrous or unfair it may seem. These bullies that lobby for favor with legislators (many of these elected officials completely crooked sell-outs) need to be challenged and put in their place! Perhaps a new term should be coined for design professionals that circumvents the need for "licensing" which is just another term, in this case, for control and monopoly. The government might want to invest their time in actually doing something that could REALLY benefit and protect their residents from people/businesses who are real threats rather than hunting down productive citizens who don't play ball with stupid organizations.

  49. Wow. The idiocy of this is crazy. I've never HEARD of such a thing.

  50. IMHO...those are such lovely spaces created by really talented people and they are being stopped to spread beauty and elegance? That's real crazy.

    Loved this post...real fierce.

  51. I don't have anything to add except that letter to Venus Williams cracked me up!! And I might have to side with anybody who takes away her style cred (kidding). Fascinating post, Joni! Lots of intelligetn comments, too.


  52. Don't have anything too intelligent to add to the ASID discussion, but I am madly in love with your blog!!!!!!!!!!!! I guess I no longer have to buy magazines and rip out my favorite pictures because you're doing it for me. Thanks!

  53. What are we coming to? I admit it is frustrating when someone hires there hair dresser or shoe salesman to decorate thier house, but it is the clients decision. The general public hasn't a clue what ASID even stands for. For several years now, the floral industrys version of ASID; AIFD has had some talk of doing something like this, too. If only we could somehow promote designers that are truly talented and know the basic rules, with some education; whether it is from a design / art school, or from years of expierience. But if you want your hair dresser to decorate your house because you like her style... who are we to say that you cannot do that?

    Love the transferware collection!
    Karla & Karrie

  54. This is censorship at it's worst. There is no way to regulate 'The Arts'! It is far too subjective. This is as silly as saying Picasso can paint but Monet can't. Wake up people. Let's start a revolution!

  55. I beg to differ. No one is asking anyone to stop doing business all they are doing is differntiating between those that have the education, etc. to call themselves Interior Designers. Interior Designers are trained on the particulars in re-configuring space, Decorators are just as important but work within the given space. There is room for all, however there should be differentiation!

  56. I am amazed! I really had no idea. Thanks for such an enlightening article, Joni. Love the Scalamandre Oriental toile, the cream kitchen (with the chandeliers!), and your client's bedroom by the way.

  57. Joni-
    I read your blog every day but this is the first time I've just had to comment. This is another example of government deciding that we are too stupid to take care of ourselves and it is up to them to take care of us. I'm not against regulation when there are safety issues (FDA, CDC, licensing of architects, etc.), but to me this represents something larger than the asinine measures of ASID. It is indicative of yet one more example of personal responsibility and self reliance gone away. Didn't choose a designer well? It's not your fault. It's the fault of govt. failing to protect your right to a licensed designer! Ugh. Sorry to go on such a rant.
    On a happier note, visiting here is like taking a mini vacation every day. Thank you so much for all the I begin to undergo major renovation on a newly purchased home, it's a welcome respite!

  58. Anon 4:04: you could not be more mistaken. They ARE asking people with education to cease and desist - you can have the same education but choose not to take their exam and not be allowed to call yourself an interior designer or practice commercially, or have a web site, etc. YOu can be in business for yourself - never do an apprenticeship - for 30 years - and not be allowed to advertise youself as an interior designer. You can not practice commercial I.d. without a license and they are pushing for residential in the future. slippery slope. They represent 3% of the interior designers in the country, yet they want to regulate the other 97% percent without their approval or desire. There is no reason for the regulation, none at all. Kitchen and bath planners are licensed by their own agency - they too are opposed to the ASID lobbying efforts. educate yourself.

  59. I have a degree in Art. I work as an Interior Designer. I am not ASID. Taking that test and paying their fee would not change the placement of one single item I have used. I want Anon 4:04 above to know that I have as much education as any working ASID designer.

  60. Joni, I am so glade you are talking about this. I dont think people are aware of whats going on. I am going to donate money towards this cause. No one should be forced to join an organization to do business. I think its great to be educated but you should have a choice to belong or not. this club is telling you to join or you cant work. Please keep us informed. Julie

  61. Joni,

    You are totally amazing as ever. I always thought that whether you were certified or not by ASID as the determining factor to call one's self an Interior Designer was silly and stupid. It's such a general term that it's ridiculous. That's like saying, you shouldn't call her a home maker, she should be called a domestic engineer - basically all different terms that mean the same exact thing. Many of the most prominent and famous designers are not members of ASID but it doesn't take away from their work at all.

    It's even more ridiculous for someone like Kelly Wearstler to be served this notice when her Husband owns the Realty group that Owns the Hotel she was designing in Florida for them. That's like telling Donald Trump that his wife or daughter cannot have a hand in designing their own properties. Totally beyond any reason or common sense.

    I'm with you on this one Joni. Totally outrageous and a very clear play for money and power. People should have a choice. If you are a part of the club, you can put the words ASID behind your name. If you aren't, then you can't put the initials there - but it shouldn't have any bearing on what you call your profession - it's not exactly like medicine or law.

    My two cents on the topic.


  62. Way to post this!!! I cant even believe it! I agree with comment from muralimanohar. :)

  63. Wow , isn't that shocking , and pathetic, I will have this problem , so I am going to call myself a interior decorator to be able to work, which is ok , I can deal with that , I started to go to school for design and found that the teachers knew nothing more than was in the books, personally designing a beautiful home , putting colors together is a talent and natural ability for those who are great at it .
    My husband works in the arts and they care nothing for certificates or there are no licences, the artists are hired on ability alone.
    I decided what I do is like an instinct and I love to help friends and family and now will offer myself full time in the fall , I don't feel that going to school for three years will give me an edge on what I know I am meant to do .
    Thank you for sharing the info , it is eye opening.

  64. Billy Baldwin called himself a "decorator" rather than a "designer". The test given to prospective candidates for the ASID is geared toward space planning and architecture rather than decorating. I once sat for the exam in front of the head of the design department of a major university who had failed the test and was taking it for a second time. One of the most successful designers I know failed the test 3 times. Unfortunately it is impossible to test the ability to decorate or design a great room. (Former ASID associate)

  65. Billy Baldwin called himself a "decorator" rather than a "designer". The test given to prospective candidates for the ASID is geared toward space planning and architecture rather than decorating. I once sat for the exam in front of the head of the design department of a major university who had failed the test and was taking it for a second time. One of the most successful designers I know failed the test 3 times. Unfortunately it is impossible to test the ability to decorate or design a great room. (Former ASID associate)

  66. Anon10:57

    if your comment doesn't sum it all up perfectly - imagine - the head of the department couldn't pass test. amazing - the hubris of it all. Thanks for your comment.


  67. Someone forwarded this blog to me -- I'm so glad to see that designers are finally openning their eyes to what is happening! It's not too late to stop ASID from monopolizing the interior design profession. They have a long term, patient agenda to enact practice acts which would severely restrict or eliminate the practices of the majority of interior designers. If you live in one of the 47 states that currently does not have a practice act, just wait, you'll be next. Last year, 24 new bills were introduced which would have imposed some type of interior design regulation. So far this year we have managed to defeat or sidetrack at least 21 pieces of interior design regulation.

    We are the Interior Design Protection Council, as referenced at the beginning of this blog. We are a national, nonprofit association of interior designers whose mission is to protect our rights to practice. We CAN stop ASID, but need your help. Please visit our website at for the most comprehensive listing of information on this topic, and then JOIN US. The more members we have, the louder our voice will be. Help us to shout "STOP!" at ASID and their minions.

    Patti Morrow
    Executive Director
    Interior Design Protection Council

  68. Wow. Another reason I am glad I do not live in Florida any longer!
    This is awful. I know about the ASID but had no idea they were doing such nastiness.
    Does this mean if I help a friend decorate a house in Florida (I did too!), I could be arrested for *toile-ing* without a license? Ack!
    Or, *Aggrevated Fluffing and
    Tweaking*? Think of it!

    To think that these fantastic decorators (and I put you at the head of the list)
    would not be *allowed* to work in Florida, well, that is daft.

    Protecting the "health, safety and welfare of Florida's citizens."?
    Aw come one now. From what exactly?

    Crazy is just crazy.


  69. Joni, Please write more on this. Please do a piece on this agency thats trying to protect designers of all kinds. I would love to here more on what they have done. thanks

  70. you outdid yourself on the client's bedroom!

  71. WOWSA!!! I have had to read this post several times as I was always under the impression that to be a "designer" one had to be a member of ASID..... This post and all the comments to go with it is very enlightening. How sad that ASID has to muck things all up. Can't powers that be at The Tides step in and have whomever they want re-vamp the hotel..??? I just don't get it!! It is certainly going to be Florida's loss to not have such a wonderful talent work on one of their hotels...Great post though!!!

  72. WOWSA!!! I have had to read this post several times as I was always under the impression that to be a "designer" one had to be a member of ASID..... This post and all the comments to go with it is very enlightening. How sad that ASID has to muck things all up. Can't powers that be at The Tides step in and have whomever they want re-vamp the hotel..??? I just don't get it!! It is certainly going to be Florida's loss to not have such a wonderful talent work on one of their hotels...Great post though!!!

  73. Joni-

    I just had to weigh in on this discussion since I have been an ASID Allied Member (have not taken the NCIDQ test) for close to 20 years. For almost as many years I have been aware of ASID’s legislative efforts and scare tactics. ASID members were always given the option to allocate money at the time of membership renewal to go toward those legislative efforts until about two years ago. At that point in time, all membership renewals were required to pay an allocated amount into the ASID legislative coffers whether or not they were in agreement with the political antics of ASID’s legislative licensing efforts. Essentially, I believe that at least 40%-50% of ASID’s membership consists of primarily residential designers, many of whom are Allied Members of the organization. With the licensing as it stands now, ASID plans to cannibalize their own organization with such restrictive limitations on their Allied Members!

    During this twenty year period while these legislative efforts languished in many states and after spending a purported $6,000,000 toward that effort, ASID Allied Members have practiced their trade - all the while “endangering the health and well being of the public”! Well, shame on ASID for talking out of both sides of their mouths! Their own Allied Members, whom they gleefully accept membership dollars from are the very culprits!

    In almost twenty years, I have never been polled by any ASID Chapter or ASID National as to whether or not I agreed with the costly legislative efforts, until about two months ago. Isn’t this a bit like closing the barn door after the horses have escaped! Doesn’t the National Board of ASID have a fiscal responsibility toward the wishes of the members of the organization they are supposed to represent? If so, do they honestly think all those Allied Members really want not only the licensing to be a fait accompli but are agreeable to the stunning millions of dollars spent to this end? Couldn’t this staggering amount of money been spent on something that would have been more educational or enriching?

    At this juncture in my life, I am really sickened that I have affiliated myself with a so called professional organization that would stoop to such repugnant tactics. This certainly has the wafting aroma of a union dressed up in designer clothes!

  74. A few additional comments: In Florida, there is no Sunset Review provision so this law will never come up for regular review with an opportunity to decide whether to renew it or not. Quite an "oversight." In some states where reviews have been held, ASID has been asked to provide evidence that there has been material harm to consumers by unlicensed designers. Since, as Joni pointed out in her blog, there IS NO EVIDENCE....

    Every single person who has commented here should be aware that there are many active opposition groups that have been very successful against licensing. If you live in the states of Alabama, Arizona, California, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania or Washington State, there is an organized opposition group actively working TODAY for you and you MUST get on board with these groups. In addition, there are less active groups in Massachusetts and Texas. If you are from any other state, you should take the "bull by the tail" and form a group in your state. It's not difficult and any of the existing groups will be happy to guide you. The above listed organizations proved that when legislators are faced with ACTIVE opposition armed with well researched data against licensing (which you can get on the Institute for Justice website, they back away from licensing.

    Despite defeat in countless states, ASID NEVER quits, so be prepared to stay on this issue until they finally get the message. They aren't too bright, apparently, so it could take a while.

    The NCIDQ is more expensive to take than the Bar Exam, the architects exam and other professional exams. In addition, it is customary to do an internship AFTER the applicant has actually passed the exam. Not so with the NCIDQ.

    And finally, NEVER, NEVER believe anything that ASID tells you regarding licensing. Or the "required" education, which in ASID speak means from THEIR CIDA accredited schools. NO OTHER education will be considered "education" for the purpose of taking the NCIDQ. Many states have only 3-4 CIDA accredited schools or no schools at all. How insufferable of ASID. Suggest you NOT renew your ASID membership. Without your money, they can't pay their lobbyists.

  75. Great great comments! Thank you to all who have commented!!!! Much appreciated.


  76. And- great thought - quit your membership - without your dues money, ASID is out of business.

  77. this is the craziest thing i've ever heard! i understand the necessity of an architect being licensed- i mean if a building collapses on someone, that's a big deal. but who's ever been seriously hurt by a bad paint color, or an ugly fabric?

    having worked on a a project in florida, i guess that makes me a law-breaker- come and get me FBAID!

    seriously, i don't know ONE asid member, and i count many, many, interior designers as friends.

    thank you for a fantastic post bringing this farce to light. my guess that the state of florida will get a whole lot uglier if they keep trying to enforce this ridiculous law!

  78. Contrary to one of the recent posts which said it is not difficult to start a grassroots opposition group, it is actually very time consuming and can be costly if you don't know what you're doing. When I first organized the NH grassroots group, Live Free and Design, I felt like I was a lone voice in the wilderness. I had no assistance whatsoever, and had to spend a lot of time researching and finding ways to get the word out.

    IDPC was formed to make sure that not even ONE more interior designer will have to give up his/her profession to fight these anti-competitive bills. We have assisted several states to organize grassroots opposition -- and all of these have been successful in keeping legislation from being enacted. My book, "Getting Grassroots Galvanized" is a step-by-step guidebook to help grassroots leaders set up and maintain a strong resistance group. IDPC can (and has) help every step of the way.

    If ASID wins this fight, it will be because of the apathy of the design community, particularly independent designers and Allied ASID members. YOU can make a difference. YOU can save our profession.

    ASID is a national organization with a long-term, patient agenda. The ONLY way to stop legislation from being introduced year-after-year is through a similar NATIONAL organization solely dedicated to this task. Please visit our website at and JOIN US!

    If you want to receive our email newsletter, or if you are interested in starting a grassroots opposition group in your state, please email me at

    Patti Morrow
    Executive Director

  79. I checked out the Interior Design Protection Council site and they do have good information. Also checked out the Institute for Justice site and had to search to find information on interior design but I clicked Other Cases and then put Interior Design in the search box. Then click on the entry about New Mexico and you will see a publication called Designing Cartels. That is a mighty informative report and tells you everything you need to know about licensing.

    But I know people who are involved with a grassroots organization and it's clear that anyone can form one. It can be as simple as a few dedicated soles committing to the effort or as involved as setting up a political action committee. I think it is just whatever works for your situation in your state. It is work for sure, but you don't need any knowledge that is not already available. What you really need is the guts to do it, a commitment to follow through with it to the end, an absence of fear of the process and the willingness to meet with your state officials. They survive on votes like yours so don't be afraid to insist on a meeting with them or at least a phone call first to tell them about this problem. Then a meeting.

    And the idea to drop your ASID membership is the best yet. Hurt them where it counts. I dropped mine and it hasn't hurt me a bit.

    The most important thing is not to wait for someone else to do it for you. If everyone waits for someone else to do it, who is going to do it?

    Thanks Joni for bringing this subject and your information to your site. Keep up the fabulous good work.

  80. This whole topic absolutely gets my blood boiling. I live in Texas, and own an interior DECORATING business in Waco. Yes, I'm a interior decorator, because here in Texas, I'm not allowed to call myself a designer, even though that's what I do every day, and I'm damn good at it.

    Not only does the arrogance of ASID get me, but I've absolutely HAD IT with the arrogance of the member designers.

    My city is a small one...about 200,000 people. We have a local magazine publication called The Wacoan, and each year, they have people here vote on the "Best of Waco". The categories range from "Best Place for Martinis" to "Best Obstetrician."

    One category is "Best Interior Designer", and I was so honored after, only one short year of being in business, I was voted as #3 in that category (first place went to Christi Proctor of Trading Spaces).

    However, my honor was short-lived, as a "real" designer in the city got bent out of shape that my name would be mentioned in that category, and the next month, a retraction was printed, and my honor was given to another "real" designer...who had received FEWER votes that I had received from the people in Waco.

    I'm tired of the arrogance--of the "real" designers thinking they're better than me.

    And to prove that they're NOT better than me, I was recently involved in a Designer Showhouse here, and my room was the overwhelming favorite. It felt great, to say the least.

    You can see photos of that room at

  81. Joni~
    After reading and re-reading this,along with the comments, I'm a bit confused. You said that in the state of Florida, you wouldn't be able to call yourself a designer. But do you call yourself a designer here, in Texas?

    Although Texas does not seem to be as aggressive with filing suits against people, we do have the same type of legislation here. If you have not passed the NCIDQ, you are not allowed to call yourself a designer, and are relegated to the title "decorator".

    Please let me know if you have a different understanding of the law here. I got my information from the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners website, which regulates architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design.

  82. To Kristi @ addicted:
    The Institute for Justice is prosecuting a case in the Texas courts on behalf of four designers/decorators whose work is also top notch. I believe the case is based on free speech issues similar to the one that was successful in New Mexico. You can check with the IJ for clarification. The case, as I understand it, is based on the absurdity that one can ACT as an interior designer, they just can't be truthful about telling people that is what they are doing. Therefore, if licensing is about protecting the health, safety and welfare of the consumer, as ASID claims with a straight face, why is it OK to PRACTICE as a designer but not OK to SAY that is what you are doing? But again, check with IJ to clarify if this is the basis for their case. That IS what the NM case turned on.
    The other question I have: what is a decorator anyway? Years ago, everyone in the industry was a decorator and damn proud of it, doing exactly what we now call "designers" do every day. The difference is terminology that never mattered until ASID made the very word "decorator" into an invective. The reason you, Kristi, don't understand the law in Texas is because it makes no sense to any thinking person. I'm betting that when that law got passed, it was secretly, under the radar, the design community was never told the truth and there was no opposition. Opposition is KEY to defeating these laws.

  83. Joni, thank you so much for posting this information! We know these things are happening, but it's great to see actual cases posted - especially those of such prominent designers. Maybe now designers across the country who have thus far been completely apathetic to this issue will start to recognize just what a slippery slope we are headed down.

    As the founder of California Designers Against Legislation (CADAL - see our website at, I have been working closely over the past year with Patti Morrow of IDPC who has already weighed in here, and with a growing number of other designers nationwide who are involved in starting up and growing grassroots organizations in a number of states.

    As Patti mentioned, it's not easy to do this - but it is absolutely *essential* for every single one of us who recognizes the danger that ASID is putting our entire profession in to dig in and get active - in any way you can.

    One of the most effective ways you can take action is to join the Interior Design Protection Council It not only takes hard work but it takes a lot of money to fight this battle - and we need *everyone's* help.

    Please, please, send your friends and colleagues nationwide to this blog and to the IDPC site - and start telling everyone you know what is going on.

    Both Patti and all of the current individual state grassroots organizations have tons of useful links to information that will help you learn more, and become (and stay!) well-informed about the issues so you can more effectively help spread the word.

    And finally, for those of you who are ASID members, come join the new Connex website they conveniently set up recently at and join in the debates on legislation to tell ASID exactly what the majority of us think about this subject! (It's easy to sign up - you use your same log-in information as you use for the rest of the ASID website.) They are actively censoring posts that are opposed to legislation in some cases, which is probably keeping a lot of people from speaking out, so we need more members who are opposed to speak up right there.

    Wendy Hoechstetter, Allied Member ASID
    California Designers Against Legislation (CADAL)

  84. Just to comment on a couple of things (GREAT info here by the way): I know that in at least one of the Florida cases cited, the decorator's listing under "Interior Designers" was a mistake by the Yellow Pages company and not the fault of the decorator, who was aware of the category she should have been listed in and did not intend to call herself an "Interior Designer" illegally. However the state was threatening to fine her over this. Also--I suggest that anyone not a member of ASID look into joining or forming a chapter of IDS (Interior Design Society) in their area. This organization focuses on residential design and is also working diligently to offer an alternative to state licensing (already approved in several states) for decorators/ designers who pass the CQRID exam sponsored by IDS. I took and passed this exam last year--it is very challenging and comprehensive; requires that you have a knowledge of standards for working with disabled persons, etc. as well as other general competency in the field. The requirements for IDS membership and eligibility for taking the CQRID exam allow someone like myself without a degree but with many years of experience and education attained while owning my business to achieve professional certification in my chosen field. I see this as a viable alternative for those who do NOT wish to be a part of ASID and take the "other" exam (which does not relate to someone with a mainly residential business) to be able to demonstrate to the general public that they are a knowledgeable, competent person worthy of taking on an interior design project with no danger to "public safety". IDS is doing a good thing and deserves our support also! Cinda Borling, Training Manager, Interiors by Decorating Den, Easton, MD

  85. I’m confused as to whether Cinda is advocating for an additional licensing for CQRID as a requirement to practice residential design…?

    First of all, the ONLY reason for the state to regulate an entire profession is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. There is NO evidence whatsoever that the unregulated practice of interior design places the public in any form of jeopardy. “Public safety” is a non-issue. It’s been proven in state after state. Please read "Designing Cartels" for statistical, empirical evidence on this issue.

    If a designer wishes to be distinguished from his/her peers, she can certainly take the CQRID, NCIDQ, or other exam, and then publicize that distinction. Since there is no issue of “public safety” however, it is not a legitimate function of the legislature to provide government-sanctioned enhancement to some in a profession while placing others at an unfair competitive disadvantage.

    IDS is a great organization, and a very good alternative to ASID, but it’s my understanding that they are not in favor of ANY type of state-imposed licensing or certification, although I am not a member and could be misinformed.

    We do not need an “alternative” which is state-imposed. Consumers are quite capable of reviewing portfolios and websites, interviewing potential designers, checking references and checking PRIVATE certification credentials to determine what level of designer meets their needs -- they do not require a nanny state to assist them with that decision.

    If you live in one of the ten states that already has a grassroots opposition group, you should join them. If not, you should contact the Interior Design Protection Council to help you get one started. You future ability to practice your chosen profession depends on it.

  86. After practicing and running my own successful decorating firm for the past 6 years, I am now back in school in order that I will be able to meet the stringent requirements I know will be in my near future.
    Sure, it is a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mentality, but ultimately I am just thinking that I have to be able to put my 2 kids through college.

  87. Joni,

    I live in the State of Florida and the rules are stringent for using the title Interior Designer. Interior Designers (in the State of Florida) are on level with Architects. It's more than picking wall paper or paint or fabric. In Florida an Interior Designer can recommend the modification of structural elements in addition to picking out decorative elements. It's a little detail but one that ASID has used (maybe even developed it) to their advantage. Of course, it's rather convenient that ASID has an inordinately weighty input into what Florida dictates as the requirements for calling oneself an interior designer.

    I've never been happy about the ASID's strong and dominating push to control or create ridiculous barriers to entry into the interior design field through the use of State legislation. Of course they have a strong lobbying effort in Florida and they are only getting stronger as they continue to influence which schools get the almighty accreditation to teach ID.

    I let my student ASID membership lapse because I don't support their agenda and I certainly don't want to be part of its funding.

    Joni, thank you for bringing this topic up and thanks to all the commenters here with information on ASID opposition groups. I've got lots of reading to do :)

    The Decorating

  88. To Design Diva on Cinda's comment vis a vis IDS... I'm sure she can speak for herself, but I didn't read that she was advocating for an additional test for licensing or for any test for licensing or for licensing at all. For those who want to pass an exam for any number of reasons, the CQRID is an excellent alternative to the NCIDQ and much more relevant. It is also a broader test than the CKB and CKD, both excellent exams for those specialties. I think you misunderstood her remarks completely. There are many people who simply want to belong to a professional organization whether it is this field or accounting or whatever. The point is that IDS may be a good way to go if designers do what an earlier blogger said and lapse their ASID membership (a great idea). There is a similar focus (except for the need to control an entire industry) in both organizations and IDS can serve to connect professional designers to one another. Many designers like that type of networking and support and it's good to point out that other groups can supply that better than ASID. In fact, Cinda made it sound pretty enticing so I'm thinking I will check it out. I'd love to see ASID fall to number 3 or 4 in membership and become completely as irrelevant as many of us already think they are. They are doing such a fine job of sinking their own ship with this licensing hocus pocus. It's a good time for IDS to step in and fill the gap.

    Thanks for the heads up, Cinda. and again to you, Joni, for starting this very interesting blog. It is surprising how knowledgeable some of these people are.

  89. Again, thanks for all the great comments. I want you to know that I have posted a link to this post and its comments on my front page right under my oh so beautiful picture! ha!

    Seriously, now anyone who comes onto my blog will read about this issue and will then be able to jump directly here and leave a comment if they so wish. Hopefully this is a small way that I can help the fight.


  90. I cannot tell you how your article on A.S.I.D. struck such a nerve with me. (we used to call it acid). I got a design degree in mid-life from a college in Dallas because I wanted to learn. Little did I know anything about the tyrannical A.S.I.D. (They have heavily influenced the design curriculum at the colleges and universities and -- for the worse). Dallas is a very competitive area, and I believe that a lot of interior designers initially wanted licensing to keep the competition out. They created a system whereby they could grandfather themselves in if they had been in practice for a period of time, whether or not they had an education. They just shot themselves in the foot. The schools are dominated by the alphabet groups, A.S.I.D., Fider accreditation, N.C.I.D.Q, etc. It's just a convoluted mess. (Did you hear about the conflict that A.S.I.D. and I.I.D.A. had? They wanted to merge, but couldn't come to an agreement. It's so confusing for the student, the dues, (we were encouraged to join as students) are high and you get nothing in return; just membership in a useless organization. Because my degree was from a two year institution (although I have a prior B.A. Degree in Art) I would have had to work for 4 years under a licensed designer before I would have been eligible to even take the test. I did find a job working for one designer for $8.50 an hour. She had me clean the office and go to the convenience store for cokes, etc. She told me I needed to do something with my hair (even through she had a ratted bouffant and false eyelashes). My husband was furious! Indentured servitude is what it is -- don't you see why the existing people wanted A.S.I.D? Don't even get me started on the continuing education program one must be in in order to stay licensed -- it is expensive and has very little to do with real design work. I found it impossible to get a job for a major furniture store in this area because I wasn't licensed. After gaining confidence and coming to my senses, I decided to reinvent myself in another endeavor, but I still love design. The whole licensing thing was a very embittering experience for me.

    Joni, I can't thank you enough for your beautiful, informative website. I came across it by chance and enjoy it tremendously. You are thoughtful and a great storyteller. Thank you so much.

  91. Anon- 4:01 thank you for a wonderful comment! And to all of you - the comments have been so informative. I am glad I have provided a way to pass the word around, I never imagined I would get so many stories from you!!!

    thanks again,

  92. Sorry, I would rather take the NCIDQ test and be with a lic. in the states that I do business than be called a decorator.

    For me to be called a decorator would be considered an insult.

    Bored housewives that shop all day call themselves decorators.

  93. Texas interior designers/interior decorators....this is URGENT! Please be informed, and please TAKE ACTION....

  94. Anon 12:23 - are you an id or are you just acting as if you had to make a choice? It's not just a matter of taking the test. First - you have to have two or 4 yeras of college at an accreditated school. Then, you have to work for a licensed ID as an intern for either 2 or 4 years depending on your college years. THEN, you have to apply to take the test. Only after 6 years of studying and working are you allowed to take the test. Think about that. Six years to sell pillows and curtains - if that's all you want to do. So, yes, I would take the test too - if that's all I had to do - no way I'm going to give myself over to slavery to some licensed I.d. with shitty taste.

  95. Those who can,design, those who can't work for ASID.....need I say more!

  96. As an NCIDQ certificate holder, with both a Bachelors and MFA, AND 20 years experience- I support the issue of regulation of the profession. Much of what Florida is doing is in regards to the business of operating an interior design firm.

    Regarding KW- her projects are hospitality based- so her decisions are not just effecting one homeowner/family, but may impact hundreds of people who move through these public spaces. At one point Venus Williams was "going to get a degree" to fulfill her requirements to become a Registered Designer. All of those who are against licensing could do the same.

    I agree with annonymous though- there should be a right to differentiate.

    Fact check people- ASID is an advocacy group for interior designers. Until now, many of us in states without licensing have seen this as the only way to set ourselves apart. IIDA is also involved, NKBA involved against licensing. So for any of you in other groups, know that your dues moneys are still going into the mix.

    ASID doesn not monitor the day to day requirements as set by an individual state- this is done by an independent board of review. This is often a board that is already in place. ASID does not actually "license" the designer, the state does. This is a huge misuse of terminology, and contributes to so much misinformation that is out and about.

    I have had interactions with the IJ, and they don't specifically care about interior design/decorating or any other nominclature- they are just out for a fight that stirs the pot and fits their parameters.

    I have served on a coalition with members of IDS, IIDA and ASID. I know great designers who are not afilliated with any of the above groups, and ones who speak against the groups when ever they can- but still pay their dues to keep the appellation after their names.

    Not that any of us would EVER want to differentiate ourselves.

  97. Anonymous, I have to wonder if you have actually researched the topic fully, or if you are only in favor of legislation/regulation of the industry because it would benefit YOU.

    Your statement that legislation is simply an effort to regulate design firms is completely inaccurate.

    The ultimate goal of the ASID, if you'll research it, is to see each state enact Practice Laws, which would effectively put every single non-licensed designer out of business, regardless if they were doing commercial design OR residential design.

    The more I learn about the ASID, the more I think their tactics are underhanded, dishonest, and frankly, should be illegal.

    Let's put it in a nutshell:

    Of the estimated 112,000 designers in the U.S., only an estimated 4000 have passed the licensing exam. In keeping with that ratio, an overwhelming majority of ASID's members are Allied members--they have a degree. But they have not done their required internship and/or have not taken the licensing exam.

    However, each member of ASID is required to pay annual dues, regardless of level of membership. A portion of each person's dues are being paid towards lobbying efforts in each state to encourage the state's government to enact a Practice Law, meaning only LICENSED interior designers could, by law, practice design.

    So essentially, the ASID is using money they receive from their non-licensed members, and putting that money towards lobbying efforts in an attempt to get legislation passed that would effectively make it ILLEGAL for the large majority of their members to practice interior design, and would put those people out of business.

    Does that not seems underhanded to you?

    And again, what they're lobbying for isn't simply about "regulating design firms", as you'd like to believe.

    In fact, as a result of the successful lobbying efforts of the ASID in Alabama, legislation was pass in 2001 that made it ILLEGAL for Alabama designers to even offer advice for a fee on the color or placement of throw pillows without a state-issued license.

    So you think the ASID is simply looking out for the interests of the public? Absolutely not!

    The ASID is an absurd organization, and I hope that every single unlicensed designer who is a member (Allied member) will cut ties with this organization immediately. They are NOT looking out for your interests, and are using YOUR MONEY to work AGAINST YOU!!!

  98. Anon: speaking specifically about Kelly Wearstler and hospitality design - you say her designs "effect"- your misspelling - people in the hotels - are you even aware that Ms. Wearstler IS an interior designer primarily for hotels? She has a long history of rehabbing old hotels. As far as I know, no one has been injured or hurt by her designs for such. Unless, you have a specific case you want to share? That Florida feels the need to protect the state against Ms. W. is laughable. That those who sit on judgment of her have zero talent is also laughable. Her talent probably is greater than the sum total of Fla ASID board. This is not about protection, this is about a jealous designer in Fl turning Ms.W into the state board. Pure and simple. You may claim it's about safety and protection, but it's not - it's about greed.

  99. I just got back from dinner with my husband, and regrettably, I couldn't even enjoy dinner with him because I was so frustrated with and consumed by this topic.

    I simply cannot understand how someone could think that Kelly Wearstler (or any other non-licensed designer) could be putting people in danger because she is not licensed.

    Do you think she operates in a vacuum, completely free from outside accountability, or other checks and balances? Absolutely not!

    Can you even IMAGINE the following (HYPOTHETICAL) situation happening:

    Kelly Wearstler: Ummm...excuse me, Mr. Licensed Electrician, I'd like you to install a light here, here and here.

    Mr. Licensed Electrician: I'm sorry, Ms. Wearstler, but according to the building code, I can't do that. However, I can install them there, there, and there.

    Kelly Wearstler (throwing a fit): But I'M THE DESIGNER! And I said I want them here, here, and here!!!

    Mr. Licensed Electrician: Oooohhhhh, I'm so sorry. I didn't realize you're the DESIGNER! Okay then. Say no more. I'd be happy to risk my reputation, my business name, and my electrician's license, AND put myself at risk of fines and a lawsuit.....all for YOU...because YOU'RE THE DESIGNER!!

    I mean, seriously, Anon, do you REALLY think things like that are going to happen?

    This assertion that there has to be legislation to regulate interior designers in order to keep people safe is insane. THERE'S ALREADY PLENTY OF CODES, LAWS, AND LEGISLATION IN PLACE!!!!

    Architects have to be licensed, electricians have to be licensed, contractors have to be licensed, building permits have to be obtained, building plans have to be submitted and approved, improvements to buildings have to pass inspections....

    For once, I would like PROOF that the lack of a license leads to injury or death. I would like SPECIFIC EXAMPLES that can be substantiated by REAL PROOF.

    I'm tired of hearing people spout off about "keeping the public safe" and thinking that they've got a good argument with that line.

  100. I need to know who is on defense in Florida?
    I will support and defend designers right to practice. Where is the grass roots groups in Florida? How can we support them? I am not finding the outrage coming from Designers working in Florida, at least not in print.

    In California, I can’t tell you how quick we were to fight the legislation and continue to do so as ASID will not relent. What is going on in Florida to reverse this indefensible law? I am speaking up about this all the time to anyone who will listen.

    A Practice Act is redundant. There is no proof that additional legislation will bridge the gap for “Protecting the publics health and safety”, from the existing building codes already in place to protect the publics heath and safety. This is nothing more than a draconian government supported anti-business, anti-consumer monopoly that criminalize hard working people doing what they do best to learn a living.

  101. kristi = there is no proof. ASID has tried for years to come up with anything, but they can't. They have tried to link several fires with unlicensed designers, but their arguements were quicky discredited. Believe me, they have tried to come up with proof that pillows can kill - but they just can't!

  102. For more information on this issue go to:


  103. Hey Joni - I'm shocked, but not surprised. I've lived in Florida only 4 years but it took no time at all to realize this is the most litigious state in the union. Every other local TV ad is for a trial lawyer.

    I wasn't aware of this ASID issue, but I can tell you what FL licensing costs the consumer. Our pool was built in 2005 while the FL legislature was considering a law that required EVERY SUBCONTRACTOR who works on any part of a pool to be a STATE LICENSED pool contractor. Yes, that means the guys who lay the pavers on the pool deck. And everyone else. Our contractor told us the cost of installing our pool would double in the next year to $80K if the law passed.

    I blame the vulture trial lawyers. Shame on ASID for helping them. No wonder ASID's membership is so low. I had no idea. You've really opened my eyes!

  104. I joined ASID as a student member 28 years ago, moved up as an Allied Member upon graduation with a B.S. in Interior Design, and then as a professional member once I passed the NCIDQ Exam. Most of my work is in the residential field.

    My experience with ASID has been one of continued learning through CEU (continuing education units) classes, an invaluable network of professional interior designers that I consider friends, and many opportunities to grow personally and professionally. ASID has never forced anyone to sit for the
    NCIDQ Exam, and does not force states to pass laws pertaining to interior design practice. Until recently, ASID did not even require CEUs to maintain membership. That is why you find so many designers as Allied Members instead of Professional Members----they have not made it a priority to meet the requirements to become a professional member---much less be involved with their local ASID chapter. Passing the NCIDQ Exam took a tremendous
    amount of work, but I will say that I am a better designer for going through that process. (By the way, NCIDQ is also an independent company---totally
    separate from ASID, or IIDA. It is the recognized exam endorsed by ASID and IIDA to achieve professional status once successfully passed.)

    If anyone practices design in Florida, even if it is only one project, they must get a license in the state of Florida. That is the law. (If I'm not mistaken, the same type of thing applies when a contractor or architect is
    handling a project outside of their state of practice---they would have to get a separate license to practice in each state.) If a designer chooses to
    work on a project in another state, they must abide by state laws.

    Currently, the states that have an interior design licensing law are each written differently, so I can not comment on all of them. I do know that the intent of laws passed in several states recently is to set apart professional interior designers, especially in the commercial field of design, and not to put anyone out of business. Coalitions of interested designers joined together independently of any interior design organization
    to put together the legislation for their state.

    It is my hope, that all designers will take the time to gather more facts and information for themselves, instead of allowing themselves to become upset over the comments someone else writes that may not be totally factual.

    This whole issue is an opportunity for all of us to grow as
    designers---misinformation only hurts all of us in the long run.

  105. "misinformation only hurts all of us in the long run."

    I agree fully with that statement, and unfortunately, Rebecca, your comment is full of "misinformation."

    It would appear that you are the one who is misinformed. Perhaps you should spend a few minutes looking at the website of the very organization you defend:

  106. From the ASID website:

    "ASID has a full-time government and public affairs staff that includes three lobbyists registered with the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. ASID staff works with a board-appointed volunteer council - the ASID Legislative and Codes Advisory Council - to forward the Society's legislative and codes objectives. "

  107. Kristi is right, it is Rebecca who is “misinformed.”

    Contrary to Rebecca assertion that ASID “has never force anyone to sit for the exam,” by virtue of their alleged $6,000,000 spent on lobbying to pass laws that prohibit anyone who HASN’T taken the NCIDQ from practicing, they indeed WOULD BE FORCING designers to either take the exam or stop practicing. How sad that Allied members (which make up the majority of ASID’s members) don’t have the foresight to see that their own organization is pushing for regulation that will not include them! They should absolutely refuse to pay the mandatory $15 assessment fee that funds ASID’s legislation efforts. They are, in effect, paying to put themselves out of business. I get almost daily requests from Allied ASID in Florida asking if IDPC can help with the horrible situation there. These designers, many of whom had successful practices in other states, cannot practice in Florida. Trust me, this can also happen in any other state if the design community does not join our efforts to stop ASID and its funded coalitions.

    If a designer (like Rebecca) wishes to take the NCIDQ to distinguish herself from her peers, that process is already in place. It is absolutely inappropriate to ask the government to mandate what is essentially a marketing tool, placing many honest, hard working designers at an unfair competitive disadvantage so that only a small handful of industry insiders can have a monopoly on all the business. This has already happened in 22 states because designers were asleep at the switch and allowed the laws to pass, unopposed. IDPC is tracking interior design legislation in all 50 states. Last year, 24 interior design bills were thwarted. So far this year, we have helped to defeat or sidetrack an unprecedented 30 bills. We want to continue, but we need help from the design community. Please consider becoming a member of IDPC – your ability to stay in business could depend on your taking action NOW.

    Rebecca admits that she has not read the laws (or bills) in every state. I have. She says the intent is to set designers apart. . .
    (1) It is not a legitimate function of the legislature to enhance any occupation. The state should regulate an entire profession only if the health, safety and welfare of the public compel it, which in the case of interior design, it clearly does not.
    (2) Even if their intent was not originally to put others out of business, that is the EFFECT and it has been brought to their attention, repeatedly. They simply do not care about the lives they destroy in the effort to cartelize the profession.

    To say that legislation comes from “coalitions of interested designers” is extremely disingenuous. It is mainly through ASID’s support, grassroots training, and funding that these coalitions are able to move forward AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT! If ASID were to withdraw their support for legislation and their funding to coalitions and lobbyists, this whole push for regulation would disappear. Overnight.

    I, like Rebecca, hope that all designers will take the time to gather more facts and information for themselves. Those who do usually side with us. Please visit the IDPC website at for the most comprehensive information on regulation to be found.

    Patti Morrow
    Executive Director
    Interior Design Protection Council

  108. I live in Alabama. Approximately 8 years ago I completed a 2-year interior design program at a local university, only to be told near the end of the program that the laws in Alabama prohibited me from practicing interior design. I could call myself a "decorator", but according to the literature then presented, I was only qualified to assist people choose fabrics or paint colors. The law in Alabama is written as to be virtually undecipherable as to what constitutes interior design, but it does appear that there is a link between ASID and the Alabama Board of Architecture to prohibit decorators. We cannot be licensed. However, I would say the majority of those performing interior design services in this state are not licensed interior designers. It is infuriating, frustrating, and maddening to think that ASID has this much power.

  109. Hello all, I am happy to see this happening....I just left a long comment at
    I grandfathered before the licensing mess started. If you are not familiar with this term, it means, that I had to prove to State Board of Architectural Examiners in Texas that I was already practicing and owned a business. This took away from my productivity for 8 months. There are so many talented creative people and this was like stealing from small business owners to be a member of a society that wants money from you hand over fists yet you never know where the money goes...I imagine it is support all of world travel events they love to put on the social pages.
    Again, thanks for publishing this article, I am a follower and would love to have you follow mine as well. I made Code Texas a link, I feel everyone should read about this article.

  110. Cynthia i can't add you without an url! haha!!! let me know.


  111. I have so enjoyed reading everyone's comments. The one thing that was not mentioned, is that the licensed ASID'ers are not real loyal to the showrooms that jump when the showroom is asked to. I have been on both sides of the market, showroom/sales representative, and having my own little design business. And let me tell you that the high and mighty ASIDers do not hesitate to knock off your product if at all possible. Now is this not a double standard???? Is it okay for these showrooms to pay HIGH rents, employ inside and outside sales people, and usually the showroom is asked to contribute to an ASID function. But, if the high and mighty licensed designer can knock off the product, (textiles, lamps, upholstery etc...) then you can bet your sweet fanny that they are the first ones out there doing it. I will tell you all from experience that there is NO LOYALTY to the trade!!!! So ASID needs to quite whining, and practice what they are preaching. Let everyone design where and whatever. We all will make more income and be alot happier!

  112. Anon: 10/2
    very well said. exactly right! they always want to use the showrooms for their product and showhouses. thank you!

    Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”


  114. Interior Decorating vs. Interior Design:
    Although many people use the terms interior decorating and interior design interchangeably, there is actually a difference between the two. Both interior decorators and designers create beautiful and functional spaces; however, interior designers are licensed professionals who coordinate projects that may involve architecture and construction. Interior decorators make aesthetic improvements, but they don’t make structural changes to interior spaces. Consequently, interior decorators don’t need to be knowledgeable about building and safety codes.

    Because interior decorating is less technical than interior design, there are no formal education or licensing requirements for interior decorators to fulfill. However, taking interior design classes can help you develop your skills and give you an edge over the competition as you start your interior decorating career, yet you shall not call yourself an interior designer unless you have fulfilled the required education such as a bachellors degree; Like any other profession.


  115. John and Ed,
    With all do respect, I think you both need to get over yourselves. I'm so tired of this arrogant attitude among licensed designers.

    Let me direct your attention to this bathroom remodel that I recently completed:

    I am not licensed, and I have no formal education in design. This bathroom remodel doubled the size of the bathroom, and required that a load-bearing wall be moved. The slab foundation had to be jacked up in order to lay new plumbing.

    Now the b.s. that you spew, along with the b.s. from the ASID and most other licensed designers would lead some to believe that my clients are now in danger somehow due to shoddy work. But to suggest something like that is absolutely absurd. Why?

    Because I hired a LICENSED CONTRACTOR who is familiar with the building codes in my city and has an extensive work history and portfolio. He hired reputable sub-contractors to do their parts of the work. Each part of the process was inspected by the CITY INSPECTOR, who made sure that it was up to code.

    I can assure you that my clients are perfectly safe in their new master bathroom. There are PLENTY OF LAWS in place to make sure that buildings and remodels meet city building codes.

    Your assertions (as well as those of the ASID) that I must also be licensed by my state are ridiculous, and nothing but an effort to create fear in potential clients in an effort to eliminate competition in the market.

    Again, get over yourselves.

  116. Kristi - love that bathroom !!! great work. Thanks for keeping up with these comments - very very much appreciated.


  117. John in Florida: What a hoot!

    Any owner of a building that relies on an interior designer for structural safety is an idiot. Those issues are for architects and engineers, not interior designers. Interior designers are not architects and they are not engineers, nor will they ever be.

    The codes that interior designers need to be aware of are so simple, a monkey would know them. Architects and engineers have successfully pushed asid back to where they belong. Designers have no business encroaching on their territory, though asid would like to get their seal in order to legitimize themselves.

    Me thinks what you are saying is wishful thinking - thinking that will never happen. Interior designers are never going to get the seal to sign off on plans.

    Go back and worry whether you should put polished marble in a high traffic area or whether you should put a desk in front of a fire escape. Interior designs design interiors - just as the words say. It aint rocket science.

  118. Ed, Ed, Ed,

    Your comments not only demonstrate your ignorance of the interior regulation issue, but are biblically illiterate as well. The quote you cite [Matt. 22:21] was taken out of context as it was originally made in answer to the Pharisee’s “trick question” about payment of taxes and pledged loyalty, and had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with occupational freedom! Caesar’s image was on their currency. Last time I looked, ASID’s was not on ours. But you do make one excellent point [though I doubt you intended to] – IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. Controlling who can practice will control the money.

    Respect the law, you say? One does not respect laws that are unjust. One determines to change them. Stay tuned. The interior design law in Alabama was overturned, New Mexico was amended to correct its constitutional defect, and lawsuits in Texas, Connecticut, and Oklahoma have been filed. Will Florida follow suit. . . .?

    Competence is best judged on the basis of work produced. Degree programs are one, but not the sole, means to acquiring knowledge. Competence can and often does exist in the absence of a credential. So, you see, there is no need to force anyone “go back to school,” as you so shrilly demanded – it is our clients, not the government, who determine whether we are “professionals” or not. The majority of designers in this country are happy to compete on the merits of work produced. Why is it that the Cartel is not? Could it be that their work is not up to the caliber of the loathed “unlicensed?”

    I’ll leave you with this last thought: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed, lest he fall.” [I Cor. 10:12] The arrogant, supercilious, and general Pharisee-like tendencies of the Cartel will be their undoing. We who are fighting for our freedom will prevail. Like others who have been oppressed before us, we will resist ALL new legislation, and repeal the old.

    And we will do it with facts, statistics, and truth. Selah.

    Patti Morrow, Interior Design Protection Council

  119. In response to John in Florida, interior designers are NOT required to be “licensed professionals” except in 3 states. That is ASID’s definition. The U.S. Dept. of Commerce defines interior design as:
    “Plans, designs and furnishes interior environments of residential, commercial and industrial buildings.”

    Hmmmm. No mention of the “Three E’s. . . ”

    Is interior design different than interior decoration? Yes, it can be. But given the absence of any harm to the public, it is the responsibility of each designer to distinguish him/herself – it is neither legitimate nor appropriate for the State to become their marketing arm.

    Interior designers, even in states where they are allowed to submit plans for pulling permits, are not allowed to alter structure or egress. That’s because they are NOT architects, although John seems to think they are. If there is any issue of placing the public in jeopardy, it comes from interior designers who strive to be architects without having fulfilled the required criteria of that profession.

    Many, many other professions do not require licensure in order to practice. Only professions where the health, safety and welfare of the public are in jeopardy should be licensed. Clearly, interior design is not one of them. Any interior designer who desires to be an architect should complete the schooling and internship required for that profession, and stop trying to destroy the profession of interior design, which has been working perfectly fine thus far.

    Unfortunately, the ravings of Ed and unsubstantiated rhetoric of John and others like them are well-funded. . . If you want to STOP ASID and their funded-coalitions from hijacking the interior design profession, you need to JOIN IDPC, the only organization exclusively dedicated to protecting your right to practice. 2009 will see an unprecedented number of bills. WE CANNOT DO IT ALONE. The choice is yours. And your future will depend on what you do NOW.

    Patti Morrow
    Executive Director

  120. hi ya'l!
    since you all decorators want to be called interior designer, which is a term now used to denote a licenced and a higher education carrer person, can I, as a paralegal, become an attorney? also, can my lovely mom, sell real state without a licence and can my neigbor's son perform electrical work without a license? Please advise since you all are very confusing. Are you doing illegal work?


  121. Leslie,
    To answer your question, I would say that you DEFINITELY should not be an attorney if this is the type of incredibly ridiculous argument you make. I'm afraid if you use those types of empty arguments as an attorney, you would starve, my dear.

  122. well, well, appears I made some of you quite furious about my comments. Please note, I did not intent to, I simply spoke my mind about this unmerited issues. I trully respect the fact that some of you are infactuated about the subject but the reality is that many of us, Lic.Interior Designers, also have the right to be lincenced and to be recognised as such. We are just as talented as you are, we are just as energetic as you are, we are just as human as you are. We all have grown up receiving diplomas and written recognitions for our achiements since kindergarden, why can we all be at peace and redeam ourself to highest being?
    Please remember this:
    Grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.


  123. Unfortunately, the ravings of Patty Morrow and her unsubstantiated rhetorics, and others like them are also well-funded. . . If you want to STOP and their funded-coalitions from disturbing the interior design profession, you need to join, the only organization exclusively dedicated to protecting your right to practice legaly. 2009 will see an unprecedented number of leftist liberals. WE CANNOT DO IT ALONE. The choice is yours. And your future will depend on what you do NOW.

    K. Myers, AIA

  124. If you don't know the codes that interior designers need to be aware of you are a "MONKEY".

    You are wasting you time doing this. Start learning more about the profession and you will discover a better future. Be smart.
    (this goes to Mrs. Morrow too)

    Lynn Rsemberg, P.A.

  125. Hi Kristi,
    I am glad you are addictive to decorating, and you should stay that way. It appears that you already have a client base and perhaps you don't need to become a licensed Interior Designer. Your project looks great and perfectly safe since you hired a licenced contractor. So, I don't know why some people want to be called Interior Designer when they are already very talented as Decorators. I would avoid you first paragraph if I were you, it may scare your potential clients. Just look at Phillip Stark -- He is not fighting this issue. Yet he has been able to accomplish a lot by just naming himself designer when signing for large hotel and condominium projects. Let's be positive and help each other, even when our points of view are different. Congratulations!

  126. John, nobody was "furious"...just passionate about the topic.

    I think everyone here would fully agree with you that you have the right to be licensed and to be recognized as such. The fact is that your license and your work should speak for itself and make you competitive in the market and even give you an edge over your non-licensed competitors. However, what we have instead is a state government making it ILLEGAL for your non-licensed competitors to do their work. They have eliminated the need for competition and the need for your work to have to excel above others in order for you to succeed. All they have done is eliminate the competition.

    Quite frankly, if your work can't stand up against that of your non-licensed competitors, then you should probably begin looking for another career.

    Your state government's position also takes the stance that consumers are stupid and helpless, and need to have decisions made FOR them. Do you really think that someone wanting to build a state-of-the-art hospital would hire a non-licensed interior decorator to do the job? Absolutely not! Such a person would shop around for the most qualified person for the job, researching license, credentials, portfolio, references, and tons of other information to be sure that they hired the most competent person.

    And nobody here would argue that there are no regulations and codes that need to be considered in interior design. Of course there are! But to make the argument that interior designers need to be licensed because of this is ridiculous. I have never met an interior designer who knew ALL of the building codes by heart. They had resources--resources that are available to everyone.

    Also, to make such an assertion is to insinuate that interior designers somehow work in a vacuum, completely independent from other accountability. That's absurd! Interior designers work hand-in-hand with LICENSED architects, LICENSED general contractors, LICENSED electricians, etc. The building plans are filed with the city. They must apply for building permits, which must be obtained before work is started (which means that they plans have been approved by the city). Then, every step of the project must be approved by the CITY INSPECTOR.

    So I'm afraid that your argument that you need the government to protect your occupation is nothing but a desire to see your competition eliminated. It's sad that you don't feel that your work can speak for itself.

    Fortunately, most of our lawmakers in this great country also see that to require a license for such work is completely redundant and serves no purpose that hasn't already been served by existing laws.

  127. Anonymous, I'm afraid that your comment has shown that you do not understand the argument that is going on here.

    First of all, I have no idea what point you're trying to make about Phillipe Starck. Starck is French, and he was educated at École Nissim de Camondo, which is a five-year school of environmental design and interior architecture. Graduates of the school are recognized as architects by France.

    Second, I call myself an interior decorator because the state of Texas won't allow me to call myself a "designer", although designing interiors is CLEARLY what I do.

    Last, the issue of simply "naming oneself as an interior designer when signing for large hotel and condominium projects" is the the issue at the heart of this argument. Kelly Wearstler, one of the most talented designers in America today, who is highly accomplished and has a large portfolio of commercial projects that demonstrate her talent, was issued a cease and desist notice by the state of Florida because she's not licensed. She's free to call herself an interior designer in the state of California where she lives, but the state of Florida won't allow it.

    If you're going to argue a point in this discussion, I would encourage you to be sure that you understand what the argument is actually about.

  128. This discussion about licensed versus un-licensed interior designers needs some clarification.

    These so called state licenses such as "certified interior deisgner" which is what the 25 or so states that ASID claims have licensing have are nothing more than bogus "Merit Badge" licenses.

    The reason these statutes use the word "certified" is because that is the best ASID could sneak through the legislature at the time.

    The claim by the "licensed" designers in these states that everyone else is "un-licensed" is just not the case.

    In the "Merit Badge" states anyone can still refer to themselves as an Interior Designer which drives ASID crazy.

    That's why what they really want is Florida style Practice Acts in every state.

    These "Merit Badge" licenses are nothing more than stepping stones to a Practice Act and they don't mean a thing in the marketplace.

  129. you all need to drink a glass of water, get dress and go back to school. (oh, and put some make up on)


  130. Wow,'ve just shown that having a degree in design certainly doesn't guarantee that a person has class.

    And the fact that all you can do is hurl insults, rather than engage in healthy debate, shows that you have absolutely nothing substantial to back up your view.

    Professions are a way of being integrated into an educated society. Many years ago, Architects opposed designers from naming our practice interior architecture based on the same arguments posed in this blog against Licensed Interior Designers. Many of us then, happily agreed that the Interior Design profession shall be one that mandates higher education and continuous studies on construction codes, CAD, etc to protect the public's health. On the other hand, most Decorators are very much interested on the "look" of a place without ever looking into a building code book.
    I truly undestand your position on this matter but you must understand that both carrers, Decoration and Interior Design are fundamentally different; just as arguably as Architecture is in relation to Interior Design.

    Arthur Giller, Assc/AIA

  132. Arthur, with all do respect, your comment includes the same fear-based claims that the ASID uses--the claim that interior designers must be licensed "to protect the public's health." However, in the 30 years that ASID has been pushing for regulation, no evidence has been presented that the unregulated practice of interior design places the public in any form of jeopardy.

    This fear-based message of the ASID and those who adhere it simply cannot be substantiated in any way by the facts.

    Construction codes are public information and can be researched by anyone. CAD, just like any other computer program, does not require a license to obtain or use. Anyone with a computer and a checkbook can obtain a CAD program and learn to use it.

    And I'll make this point for the 50th time--there are already plenty of laws in place to make sure that the public is kept safe in regards to new building construction and remodels.

  133. Kristy, I do respect your opinion however, I too have the right to be licensed and I want to be. Why can't you just leave us alone? why can you just concentrate on your work and be the best you can be?


  134. I agree with Arthur, I am a housewife, a homemake and decorate part-time. If you all continue to complaint too much it may back fire and I may become a victim. We are just fine the way it is. If I wanted to Be a licensed Interior designer I would have done it before I got married and have children. Now I can be a good decorator by simply studying correspondance courses or training at the



  135. No, Arthur, you do not have the right to "be licensed" when it puts others out of business, and for absolutely no reason other than to enhance yourself.

    It is YOU who will not leave US alone! We are not the ones proposing legislation that will destroy YOUR livelihood.

    Why can YOU just concentrate on your work and be the best you can be and compete on the merit of the work you produce rather than asking the government to eliminate your competition?

    Rest assured of this one thing, Arthur: the resistance is excited, energized and expanding.

    We are not going away.

  136. Thank you Interior Design Protection Council! For years legislation has been pushed down our throats and we were told it's inevitable. Now I know it's not. Thank you for standing up to protect the rights of ALL designers, not just NCIDQ-certified.

    I intend to join your organization, and I hope every designer who wants to preserve their ability to earn a living do the same.

  137. Arthur, my comment was not "opinion". It was fact. And if you feel that it is not factual, I challenge you to find information that contradicts it.

    I never said that you do not have the right to be licensed. Of course you do, and there are certainly situations where that would benefit you, i.e., commercial design. But your license, in addition to your portfolio, should be sufficient to allow you to compete in the marketplace. But instead, your position relies on the government to make your competition unlawful. That's sad.

    Also, the entire foundation of your position is based on a lie...that a non-licensed designers put the public at harm. Sorry, but I can't sit back and let you and others propagate that lie.

    And regarding your question "Why can't you just leave us alone?" First of all, I won't leave it alone because the ASID is pushing for legislation that would put me out of business. So no...I won't leave it alone. If the ASID would leave ME alone, it wouldn't be such a big deal for me. But they ultimately plan to put me and thousands like me (including Nicole who commented above) out of business.

    But let me also say that "Why can't you just leave us alone?" is a child's argument. That's not an argument of a well-educated adult who feels that his position is supported by facts. If you have a factual argument, I'd love to hear it. But "Why can't you just leave us alone?" is best left on the playground at recess.

    Nicole, your comment shows that you do not understand the issue. I would encourage you to educate yourself on the issue at hand. If we simply sit by and say nothing, the ASID, with their millions of dollars poured into lobbying efforts to establish Practice Laws in all 50 states, will make it unlawful for you to do your job without a license.

  138. Kristi, you sound very angry and...well you know. Just get over yourself. Don't you have better things to do? Do you work? Does your family and friends know what you are doing? are you related to Joe "the Plumber". LOL.


  139. Hi ya'll, I am taking a short break at lunch time and I see Kristi and IDPC are having having a hard time reading my comments. You, ladies, are geeting too violent for this business. I think Nicole is right on target.


  140. And again, Nicole and Arthur resort to hurling insults rather than engaging in debate on the issue. Interesting.

    I am becoming more and more convinced that the two of you are actually the same person (you show up on the same day, and comment within a few minutes of each other), and that you're probably a 12-year-old child who enjoys annoying people on the computer, as you certainly display the reasoning capacity (or lack thereof) of a child.

    If, by chance, I am wrong, and you truly are an adult, I look forward to reading your valid points to defend your point of view, backed by facts and evidence. But until you can actually form a well-reasoned argument, I won't continue to respond to your comments. You only make yourself look ridiculous, petty, childish, and uneducated.

  141. LOL LOL LOL!!! Kristi kristi, that is hillarious! I Have no idea who Athur is. I think I am being stolked here. I... love it! love it! love it!

  142. Hi there! where are you? are knitting red socks for xmas decorations?...I am.


  143. How Ridiculous!

    First of all, if you are going to right such a ridiculous article you should get all of your facts correct. ASID is an organization for Interior Designers. It does not grant interior designer’s licenses. Licensing and the requirement to be licensed are established through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (also known as NCIDQ), not ASID. ASID is an organization that supports and fights for designer’s rights. I do not know where you got your information that only 3% of designer’s are members of ASID, but that is simply not true (unless you are calling decorator’s designers, which they clearly are not). You also failed to mention that there are many professional organizations that a designer can be a part of, for example: IIDA, NEWH, AIA, etc…

    I truly don’t understand why you have such a problem with these standards. Is it because you are unable to meet them? Many professions require licensing, for example, doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, teachers so on and so forth. Why should our profession not be held to the same level of excellence?

    Furthermore, no one has but a standard or band or decorators. So why don’t you just accept that you are a decorator and more on. If not, start studying, b/c the codes and requirements that you are expected to understand to pass the NCIDQ exam are important to our profession and you should want to be knowledgeable. You should understand codes and building requirements. If not, you have no business designing these spaces.

    PS. There is ALWAYS a clear difference of the work that is completed by a designer and a decorator. Your clients are probably asking if you’re a designer for a reason!


  144. First, I would like to point out that checks and toile is a hideous combination.

    Second, I would like to commend Leslie on her post. As an interior design graduate of a little over a year I am planning to sit for the NCIDQ next October. I currently work in high end residential kitchen design and although my use of codes is minimal the knowledge still comes in handy. While you claim the NCIDQ is only for commercial designers I disagree and look forward to culminating my education by becoming a licensed interior designer in the state of Texas.

    As Leslie mentioned, as designers who have worked hard through rigorous schooling, internships, and now our jobs why wouldn't we want to reach a high standard of excellence? I think the real problem here is decorators - who most likely woke up one day and decided to put some fabrics and furniture together for family and friends - are afraid of being put out of business by highly trained and educated designers with more knowledge to offer. It is not difficult to match colors and patterns however, when you add expensive architectural knowledge to the high level of taste you have an entirely different career field. In response to the fact that it’s impossible to find a licensed designer to work for, I disagree. 17 out of the 20 students in my class now work for licensed firms – of all design genres not just commercial.

    In the future, before you go on more outrageous rants please educate yourself on the design field and all it's facets. The general public is educating themselves that is why they are asking questions and they have every right to.

  145. Sorry! I forgot to sign my name to the post above:

    Jennifer, Dallas

  146. I completly agree with Jen on all of the above, especially the comment on the checks and toile room. It is grotesque. As is the scalamandre Oriental toile room. No wonder you people are decorators!

    - Leslie (again)

  147. Leslie and Jennifer~
    In your comments, both of you have demonstrated such a complete lack of understanding of the issues at hand. I have neither the time nor the energy to educate you at this time. But I would suggest that both of you re-read the original post, as well as the comments above, and see if you can gain a better understand of the ACTUAL issue.

    However, I did want to address a couple of other issues, mainly with Leslie.

    First, Leslie, it would appear that in your zeal to complete your interior design classes, you possibly skipped over a few of your English classes, as parts of your original comment are incomprehensible, while others are just silly, i.e., most people "write" articles. I don't think I've ever seen anyone "right" an article. If you truly want to present yourself as an educated professional, you might consider revisiting some of those English classes that you obviously slept through.

    Secondly, I just wanted to issue a warning that your pride will eventually bite you in the ass. Are you seriously suggesting that, if a room does not satisfy your own personal taste, it is not "worthy" of being called "design"? Do you seriously not take into consideration the fact that different people have different tastes in design?

    Let me warn you...if you go into your first job as a "licensed" designer with the type of arrogance you've demonstrated here--the type of arrogance that would cause you to rear up on your hind legs and launch insults at someone with tastes that differ from your own--you will certainly make a name for yourself, but it won't be in a good way.

    It takes years and years--sometimes decades--to get to a place in a design career where where clients will seek you out because you've developed a style all your own. But most designers spend an entire career working to carry out their client's wishes, even when the client's taste and style is not their own. But regardless of the category into which you fall, any good and successful designer knows that comments regarding a client's personal taste must be tempered with grace, civility, and tact--things which you clearly lack.

    I have owned my business for three years now, and I can tell you first hand that the attitude which you have demonstrated here today is the exact attitude that frightens most homeowners. They are afraid that some arrogant, wet-behind-the-ears designer is going to come into their home, carry out their own agenda and their own design plan, and leave them with a house that does not represent their own taste. You DO NOT have the right to do that. As a designer, it is imperative that you are always mindful that you will never see that room or home again when the project is finished, but your client must live there.

    Last, I wanted to address your ridiculous claim that you can tell by looking at a room whether the person is licensed or not. I can't believe that any educated person would make such a claim. I can speak first hand about this.

    I run a website that includes an Interior Designer Directory, and I give free Premium Listings to designers and decorators who have beautiful portfolios and allow me to use their photos on my website. I am always receiving requests for free Premium Listings. Because of this, I am constantly viewing portfolios of designers and decorators.

    I can assure you that, when it comes to talent, a license means absolutely NOTHING. I have turned down many licensed interior designers' requests for listings because their portfolios were absolute crap. Sure, they had a license and they were professional members of ASID, but they had not even a hint of talent. Some of them are almost embarrassing.

    So again, that claim is absolutely preposterous. Anyone can get a degree and have book knowledge. Not everyone has talent.

    I'm afraid your arrogance is your biggest liability.

  148. In reference to the article above...I don't think you quite understand what Leslie is trying to get across. Sure, everyone has there own personal tastes and can "design" however they would like...BUT you are then only a "designer" OR "decorator"...not an "interior designer." That's the main point here. They're using a title that is not there own. Would you want someone operating on you that called themself a "doctor" or "surgeon" but was actually not educated or licensed in that field? I think NOT! I sure wouldn't...that's for sure. So...THAT's the main point. Anyone can be a decorator or designer, but NOT an "interior designer." It is a specific title to a specific profession. ie. a nurse vs. a doctor...they're not the same thing even though they might do a few similar tasks...a doctor goes far beyond the duty than that of a nurse. Just one example for you to think about...

  149. Dear Decorator,
    Interior Designer

  150. Dear Decorator,
    Interior Designer

  151. I do not think it is necessary to make jabs at peoples education of the topic at hand. Just because someone has a different opinion does not mean they don't know what you are talking about or are mis-informed.

    If one loves decorating their homes and developing spaces aesthetically. Then do it - be a decorator but if you want the rights and title of an interior designer than you should gain that through education and experience and do what the law requires, it is there for a reason. As mentioned before most careers require licensing and continuing education. I think that is all those who in favor of such legislature are trying to say.

    It is obvious we are not on the same page and our opinions are different but let’s listen and learn from each other. I would hope that those who are upset by what we would have to say would respect how hard we have worked to get where we are in our careers - and being fairly young in developing those careers cannot grasp having what we worked so hard for come easy to anyone else.

    - Jennifer

  152. Anon 3:06, Leslie said "...the checks and toile room. It is grotesque. As is the scalamandre Oriental toile room. No wonder you people are decorators!" That was clearly meant as an insult to suggest that "mere decorators" have no taste.

    Also, I laughed out loud at your comparison of interior designers to medical doctors. Are you serious? Of course medical doctors have to be educated and licensed. If they're not, they could kill people!!! They literally hold people's lives in their hands. However, there has not been even one single shred of evidence to substantiate the claim that unlicensed designers place the public in danger. Why? Because there are already laws in place to ensure the safety of the public.

    Jennifer, my comment was not meant as a "jab", and it's only partially due to a "difference of opinion." You clearly do not understand the full extent of the issue being discussed. So let me make it plain:

    The ASID spends millions of dollars on their lobbying efforts in an effort to persuade state legislatures to pass laws regulating the interior design industry. Their goal is to have Practice Laws established in all 50 states, which would not only regulate the use of the term "interior designer", but it would make it ILLEGAL for non-licensed designers/decorators to do work construed as "interior design", which not only includes modifications made to a building's structure, but also includes other activities routinely performed by non-licensed designers/decorators, such as furniture placement. In other words, if the ASID's lobbying efforts are successful, it will effectively put thousands upon thousands of people out of business overnight. These laws would turn hard-working entrepreneurs into criminals.

    THAT is the issue!

  153. Kristi…

    It is very interesting how quickly you jump to conclusions. My post was mainly regarding the fact the this blog was not researched fully and was very one sided. I am a designer and have taken the NCIDQ. I work for a one of the top design firms in the country and have wonderful client relationships. I do design for the client; however, many of the images used as evidence of good design I personally disagree with. As a designer I am constantly striving to learn and achieve more, not settle for only what I have to know to get by. Maybe you should reread my original post. My point is why should our profession not be held to the same level of excellence as many others. Also, I stated that the work completed by a designer and a decorator is different. I’m not saying a space is “better” I’m saying the complexity of work is different. We do check that furniture, fabrics, and material pass specific test before putting them in a space. It’s a mater of the health, safety, and welfare of anyone who occupies the space. We as designers have worked very hard for what we do. If you are so passionate, maybe you should do the same. Why don’t you study for the test… you would be surprised with how much you could learn.


  154. Wow Kristi...I'm sad to say that you STILL do not understand the difference between a decorator and a licensed interior designer.

  155. Wow Kristi...I'm sad to say that you STILL do not understand the difference between a decorator and a licensed interior designer.

  156. I fully agree with Leslie. As an designer who has taken the time to educate myself with a degree in the design field, and now work for a licensed architecture/interior design firm, it is hard to argue with the other side. I myself have not yet taken the test, but will definitely do so in the future to better my career. You don't think I'm not upset that I have a 4 year design degree and work for an Architecture firm, and still can't yet call myself an "interior designer??" Of course I am, but that's the law. The laws are put in place for a reason. Once I take the exam and get the certification, then I can have that title. Like Leslie said, you should do the same. Now THAT's the point Kristi!

  157. Leslie, your comment "...the checks and toile room. It is grotesque. As is the scalamandre Oriental toile room. No wonder you people are decorators!" was clearly meant as an insult. You can try to backtrack all you want, but your original meaning was clear.

    I have an idea. Instead of this ridiculous back and fourth, with your absurd claims of "check[ing] that furniture, fabrics, and material pass specific test before putting them in a space" and claims that your work is "more complex" than mine, why don't you show us your work. And I don't mean work done by your firm. I mean work done BY YOU--complete projects that you have overseen from conception to completion. Let's see it. Give us a link to your portfolio. I've given mine, now it's your turn.

  158. thank goodness there are interior decorators, because if i had to do work like shown above... i would rather vomit. i will leave the frills to y'all and i will design.

  159. Anon 4:35, again, you're missing the point.

    Even if I'm fully content calling myself an "interior decorator", the ASID is lobbying to pass laws that would put me out of business and make the things that I do regularly as an "interior decorator", such as assisting clients with purchasing new furniture and helping them with furniture placement, against the law.

    Surely you can understand the issue. I hope so, because I don't know any smaller, simpler words.

  160. I'm not retracting any of my statements. That room is grotesque! As I said, poor choices of "good design". I do NOT have time for this, I have a job to get back to, and sorry I don't have a portfolio of projects I've completed 100% on my own. We work as a team with other designers and architects to complete large multifaceted projects. But the next time you walk into a Ritz- Carlton on St. Regis let me know what you think...

    On that note, it's been fun, but I have lots of work to do and don't have the patience to deal with this childishness. Good luck Kristi, it's a shame your so bitter!

  161. You're damn right I'm bitter. I'm bitter that the ASID has the audacity to try to put me out of business when I'm damn good at what I do.

    And I'm sure I will enjoy the next Ritz-Carlton that I walk into. Thank your team for me. And please let us know when you have work of your own to show.

  162. sounds like your best bet is to suck it up and take the test. so you can continue to do your amazing work.

  163. Your portfolio is just about as grotesque as the checks and toile room! I have nothing to prove to you lady...

    Learn what the actual difference is between a designer and a decorator then maybe you'll understand the root of all your problems!


  164. Kristi, I took a look at your portfolio and now know the real problem. No one is going to sue you for selecting furniture and placing it in someone's home...anyone can do that. What you CAN'T do is the built-ins that you're claiming to have done. That's construction and can only be the work of a licensed interior designer. If you're so hell bent on not taking the NCIDQ exam, why don't you just do your research on an interior designer (licensed) vs. an interior decorator, and stick to what you're allowed by law to do? Simple as that...end of story.

  165. Awwww...Leslie, now I'm afraid that YOUR bitterness is showing.

    The first room in my portfolio was part of a designer showhouse, and was the overwhelming favorite room of the house. The fact that you look at that and call it "grotesque" just makes you look pathetic and petty. ROFL!!!

  166. Looks like we're going to be the only ones "ROFL" when you get sued for being too lazy (or too busy blogging) to do your research missy! ;)

  167. i think the fact of the matter is it's life... you can fight fires all day long but can't be a firefighter, so why do you think you can decorate and call yourself an interior designer.

  168. Leslie - This is my blog. My name is Joni. The work that you called grotesque is done by Philip Sides. My dear, I would argue, without even seeing your portfolio, that your work can not complete on ANY level with that of Mr. Sides. Feel free to google him and while you are at it, why don't you tell him TO HIS FACE that his work is grotesque? I'm sure he would get quite a laugh out of that. And also my dear - why don't you tell your boss that you have called Mr. Side's work grotesque. I'm sure he/she will get quite a laugh out of that also.

    The point here to this post being - if Kristi wants to call herself an interior designer, all she has to do is move to another state where she would be free to call herself that which she is --- a designer of interiors. She would be free to practice to her heart's content without the involvement of ASID or the state of Texas. So - feel free to insult Kristi in Texas because you (who has not even passed the test!) in the next state, would be on equal footing with her. So sorry to tell you that. So boast in Texas all you want - just watch what you say in another state.

    I have no doubt that Kristi could pass the test if she wanted to and could go work for slave wages for a designer for 2 - 4 years if she wanted to. The point being - she does not want to, nor does she need to.

    Hopefully the case against licensing in Texas will prevail as it has in other states. Kristi has every right to call herself what she is - an interior designer.

    And please - do you actually think you need four years of education, a certificate, and working for another designer for 2 - 4 years, to design built ins????? That is so laughable on its face it is ridiculous - but sad too, for you. I suppose someone has been hurt by poorly designed built - ins somewhere? Care to name where please?

    And Leslie, my dear, I have the ablity to track your comments and the address it came from, which I will be doing right now, and I will be forwarding to Mr. Sides your insults along with a copy to your boss. Just for your information.

  169. And Leslie, for someone who is SO busy - you spent 1 hour and 42 minutes - almost 2 hours alone at on the blog this afternoon during business hours! how productive you are!!! Your boss would be so proud of you - wow!

    While I appreciate the long hours you spent here - you only spent time on the ASID post = why don't you look around the blog, maybe you might enjoy something else here beside the one post on ASID? You might even find it interesting or enjoyable!

    Thanks so much for spending so much time today on my blog - much appreciated "Leslie."

  170. And the other "anonymous" poster who works at Huckabee in Ft. Worth - thanks so much for you too spending so much time on my blog today talking trash about Philip Sides. I wonder if Mr.Tommie Huckabee would say to Mr. Sides that his work is disgusting? I wonder if Mr. Huckabee would like to be told by someone just out of college that his work is disgusting? mean! to talk trash about professionals. Whether or NOT Mr. Sides is licensed in the state of Florida - he is STILL a professional. you know? Don't you think it's r rude to talk trash about professionals????

  171. And Leslie = I was wrong about the time you spent - actually, it was OVER three hours (so far!) that I've documented! Must be SO busy there!!! over three hours, just in the afternoon alone!!!! wow!!!! interesting. I'll bet Philip Sides would be interested in hiring you to work at HIS firm! you being, such you know a critic of his work!!! Perhaps you could show him a thing or two while your are blogging all day while at work? I should ask him if he is hiring!!! Would you like me to? I will - I can't wait to ask him - he probably would love to have the chance to explain his disgusting designs to you, the great designer of hotels, you know how toiles and checks don't go together. In fact, why don't you explain that theory to the entire nation of France (who only are the purveyors of fine design!) - I KNOW that YOU, Leslie, know more than all the designers over the centuries in France who have used toiles and checks together! Gosh Leslie - You may just end up being the one designer who knows better than alllllll the designers who have come before you! What a burden to have.

  172. Leslie, and Jen, and..Brian or something?? All of the rest of the Anons...You have not given me one solid, believable argument why I should give credence to anything you say. I'm reading with an open mind, to educate myself, and all I'm seeing is childishness and ignorance. Wow.

    Kristi and Joni-the time, energy, and solid arguments are much appreciated. :)

  173. I have never been so disappointed by a group of people and I am not talking about the ASID.

    "Instead, the test focuses on endless rules and regulations for commercial applications such as fire retardant fabrics and codes, contract language, and administration... (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? " What kind of statement is this? Are you serious?

    Taste can not be taught. Color combination, fabric selections, are you serious? If you think interior designers should spend months studying what looks pretty you are outstanding. As fashion and trends change with every season, so does the "image" of interior beauty.

    Do you know what many us spend months studying? What you say is practically nonsense. Codes to keep a ceiling falling on your head while you work, means of egress so we know how to properly layout a space so when there is a fire you can get out as safe as possible from 50th floor. Choosing a wallpaper that will not absorb bacteria that could be deadly to a child that has cancer. I could go on!

    As for jobs, if you are a great designer you can find a job. Most intelligent people who are about to graduate do their research and understand the importance of finding internships before they graduate. Two years before I graduated I found an internship at a firm because I didn't want to worry about the falling job market. Guess what? A job was waiting for me. No two year wait.

    I have worked so hard to get where I am. I know so many other people who have studied and educated themselves to get to where they are as interior designers. The fact that you can sit here and blog away about such nonsense amazes me up.

    If you think that many states will get rid of accreditation and licensing, you are misdirected. Each state has different codes and regulations because there are different environmental issues that need to be faced. If you are an interior designer in New York or L.A. you are not familiar with Florida's infamous hurricanes and the requirements you would need to know to maintain structural safety.

    Interior design, not just about putting together fabulous color schemes and furniture.

  174. TO: anonymous - I am wondering why you didn't leave your name. My name is here, so is Patti's, and so is Kristi's. If you want to have an honest debate - why hide your name? We have had a lot of trolls here, so we are very suspicious of anons, but you do seem honest. so, here goes:

    You said:

    I have never been so disappointed by a group of people and I am not talking about the ASID.

    I SAY:

    Why: Because we disagree with your viewpoint about regulations? No one is stopping you from being accredited, that is your right. You will have asid behind your name and for a lot of appications, it will get you in doors, especially for commercial jobs. Fabulous! The state does not need to regulate all interior designers just so those that want to go the extra mile can shut everyone else out. Most interior design work does not require four years of college, a 2 to 4 year internship, etc. It just does not.

    You said:

    "Instead, the test focuses on endless rules and regulations for commercial applications such as fire retardant fabrics and codes, contract language, and administration... (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? " What kind of statement is this? Are you serious?

    I SAY:

    Yes, quite serious. What is wrong with that statement? Just as an interior designer that is a kitchen planner is specialized, and advertises as such, why shouldn't a residential interior designer be able to advertise too? I wouldn't sell myself as an interior designer for commercial or hospitality jobs - and I wouldn't be hired to do a job like that. Firms that specialize can advertise - no one is stopping them. There have been no lawsuits against interior designers who were unqualified to design a pedi clinic. None. the public doesn't need protection after rogue interior designers. Period.

    You say:

    Taste can not be taught. Color combination, fabric selections, are you serious? If you think interior designers should spend months studying what looks pretty you are outstanding. As fashion and trends change with every season, so does the "image" of interior beauty.

    I SAY:

    I'm sorry - I don't understand your point here. sorry. totally unclear.

    You say:

    Do you know what many us spend months studying? What you say is practically nonsense. Codes to keep a ceiling falling on your head while you work, means of egress so we know how to properly layout a space so when there is a fire you can get out as safe as possible from 50th floor. Choosing a wallpaper that will not absorb bacteria that could be deadly to a child that has cancer. I could go on!

    I SAY:

    OK - DO GO ON! I would love to hear why it took you 4 years to learn what wallpaper harbors bacteria. And how to design a clear path to a fire escape? Again - 4 years? Seriously - this is your defense? A ceiling fan falling on your head? OMG - I need to keep from laughing at that one!!! Let's see, how to keep a ceiling fan from falling down 101. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU HAVE STUDIED FOR FOUR YEARS!!!!!! NOBODY! Least of all, residential interior designers. The schools, in order to be accredidated by the ASID, have stuffed their programs with mind numbing classes that teach factoids that are basically useless for a residential interior designer. Totally useless. If I choose to practice residential interior design, I don't really need to know about slippery marble and handicap restrooms. That is my choice. The state has no right to tell me that I can or can't advertise that I am interior designer because I am not a commerical interior designer. If the ASID has a problem with that - let them come up with a new title, ASID-C. That could clear it all up. Then someone that wants to do hospital interior design, could take a test, get accredited by the ASID or someone company that wants to hand out certificates and viola~! Problem solved. Instead, the ASID decided that they (3% of working interior designers today) want to involve the state in which the state has no business. You have been sold a bill of goods by the ASID and you chose to believe them and sell yourself to them. I didn't. I don't want to do commercial I.D., I don't need the ASID, I want them out of my life and out of my business. They have no right to interfere with me or my clients. PERIOD. I am not harming anyone, there is no safety issue with my work. There is no reason for the state to take money from me so that I can sell furniture and fabric to clients. You have not given me one reason why I shouldn't. AND, btw, I don't install ceiling fans. That's why I hire an electrician. I would advise you to do the same thing.


    As for jobs, if you are a great designer you can find a job. Most intelligent people who are about to graduate do their research and understand the importance of finding internships before they graduate. Two years before I graduated I found an internship at a firm because I didn't want to worry about the falling job market. Guess what? A job was waiting for me. No two year wait.

    I SAY:

    A two year wait? What does that mean?????? You are required to take work for two years under an approved by the state interior desiger before you can take the test. What are you saying here? No one is saying you can't get a job. Not sure what you mean here exactly.


    I have worked so hard to get where I am. I know so many other people who have studied and educated themselves to get to where they are as interior designers. The fact that you can sit here and blog away about such nonsense amazes me up.

    I SAY:

    Listen, my dear, everyone has worked hard. Whether I went to school to study interior design (which I did, btw, - University of Texas) - everyone who starts a business has worked hard. Do you think because you went to school, you have earned some right to deny someone who is much more talented than you, more capable than you, more intelligent than you, more in demand than you, more versed than you, etc. etc. the right to practice and advertise that they are an interior designer? Sounds like sour grapes. Because the truth is - look around - most, if not ALL of the successful, talented, published interior designers working today are NOT ASID and are NOT accredited. Does that not mean anything to you? Do you not see the hypocrisy here? I could name you right now 100s of interior designers who are fabulously talented, who are not ASID or accredited. LISTEN: If being accredited or ASID was actually necessary to be a successful interior designer - how do you explain the legions of interior designers (97%) who are not? It just does not compute. Think about that. Obviously you must have some love of design - you must have someone you've seen in magazines or books who has inspired you, who is talented, successful, no lawsuits, no ceiling fans on their heads, no babies dying from tainted wallpaper, no one dying from raging fires, - ask yourself HOW do they do that without the ASID or State accredidation if it truly, truly means anything? Think about that. NOW, quick, name me 20 ASID interior designers who are successful - published, and I don't mean someone who designs showcase homes that no one has ever heard of before, or someone who designs schools that no one has heard of. Name me 20 ASID designers that you admired, that inspired you to take up interior design. I'm waiting.


    If you think that many states will get rid of accreditation and licensing, you are misdirected. Each state has different codes and regulations because there are different environmental issues that need to be faced. If you are an interior designer in New York or L.A. you are not familiar with Florida's infamous hurricanes and the requirements you would need to know to maintain structural safety.

    I SAY:

    WRONG! There is no state mandated accredidation in NYC, probably because the most talented interior designers actually work there. Not all states have rules and regulations that have been pushed on them by the ASID. And they have been overturned in several states. Check out Alabama and their state Supreme Court, if you don't believe me. OK? ASID doesn't want you to know about Alabama - they don't actually talk about it on their web site. Wonder why????? While interior designers were silent, the ASID went about their work. Now that what they have done has come to light, they are scurrying around like roaches, hiring people to defend their stance. Courts are not looking favorably on their bogus claims of safety issues becuase they have no data to back them up. And answer me this - if you go to school in Texas, how then do you learn about Florida's special "structural" issues? The test does not cover individual states - it is a national test. Has that ever given you pause????? Your argument about individual states doesn't wash.

    YOU SAY:

    Interior design, not just about putting together fabulous color schemes and furniture.

    I SAY:

    Oh, yes, but it is! You see - it IS that simple. To most people in the residential sector, it IS quite that simple! Try being a successful interior design who can't quite put together color schemes and furniture layouts - good luck! And if it was SO easy to be a good interior designer, why are there so many struggling ones, who can barely get enough work to eat? While others are fabulously weathly? It is called TALENT and you can't teach TALENT.

  175. Joni, what a fabulous comment! Very well though out.

    Anon 11:31, I just have a few additional comments. First, out of your entire comment, I did find one thing upon which you and I agree. You said, "I have never been so disappointed by a group of people and I am not talking about the ASID."

    I couldn't agree more, but I'm afraid that my disappointment is directed toward a different group of people. I personally am completely disappointed that so-called "educated" people such as yourself have managed to graduate with a reading comprehension level of a fourth grader. What the heck is going on with our "higher" education in America??

    Nobody here is suggesting getting rid of licensing. If you think that's what this argument is about, you clearly missed the point. All of us agree that if someone wishes to become "licensed", they should have every right to do so. Again, that's not even the issue at hand!!!!

    But let me direct my attention to the "argument" that you tried to make. You said, "Do you know what many us spend months studying? What you say is practically nonsense. Codes to keep a ceiling falling on your head while you work, means of egress so we know how to properly layout a space so when there is a fire you can get out as safe as possible from 50th floor. Choosing a wallpaper that will not absorb bacteria that could be deadly to a child that has cancer. I could go on!"

    The ONLY WAY that you could convince me that your argument holds any credence whatsoever is if you could convince me that:

    1. You PERSONALLY are the one designing buildings from the ground up (interior AND exterior), including all electrical work, plumbing, etc., and you are doing so with absolutely no accountability from other professionals, i.e., licensed architects, licensed electricians, licensed building contractors, etc, AND,

    2. That YOU PERSONALLY are the one showing up to the construction site each and every day, putting hammer to nail and constructing the buildings from conception to completion YOURSELF, AND

    3. That you have somehow found a way to circumvent the existing laws that are already in place to protect the public from faulty building procedures, and have somehow found a way to convince building inspectors from showing up on site to check your work, and therefore, the safety and lives of your clients lie fully in your own hands.

    When you convince me of those three things, I will gladly tell you that your argument is strong and valid. In fact, you have my word that I will personally take out a full-page ad in the newspaper of your choice (Dallas, New York, wherever!) and I will recant everything I've said here, and I will make every effort to convince the public that they should only hire a licensed interior designer.

    Until then, your arguments are nothing but a regurgitation of the weak, unfounded arguments presented by the ASID. (You might want to wash the Kool-Aid stains off your face before you leave your house today.)

    Regarding the "wallpaper...[for]a child that has cancer", I couldn't help but laugh out loud at that ridiculous statement.

    Families with these types of SERIOUS environmental/air quality issues are NOT going to hire some random interior decorator to do the job. But I can assure you, they're also not going to hire some newbie, wet-behind-the-ears "licensed" interior designer, either. Families with these types of SERIOUS issues are going to hire tried-and-true companies with a proven track record of dealing with these environmental issues. Exactly how stupid do you think the average American consumer is?? Do you really think that the average American consumer is so stupid that they need the government to tell them that they need to hire a someone who specializes in these areas and has a proven track record when they're dealing with these issues? must really think alot of yourself if you think you're so much smarter than most other Americans.

  176. Anon 11:31, after giving your "wallpaper for child with cancer" statement much more consideration, I have concluded that it is even MORE preposterous than I had originally thought.

    New information on environmental issues is being brought to light on an almost-daily basis. Let's look at the issue of paint. Just a few years ago, it was widely accepted that the regular 'ole paint you buy from any home improvement store is perfectly safe. Sure, it stinks, and we all knew that pregnant women probably shouldn't breathe the fumes for extended periods, but everyone thought that once the paint was dried on the wall, it was considered "safe".

    Now, however, it is widely known that the off-gassing from these standard paints is very harmful, contains known carcinogens, and the paints can release these gases in our homes for up to six years.

    But yet, how many licensed interior designers, do you know who are still using these paints?

    It was also widely accepted (and still is by most interior designers, both licensed and not) that the chemicals used in fabrics and carpets to make them stain-resistant are perfectly safe. However, we now know that they also produce harmful off-gassing and can be detrimental to a person's health, especially those with already-compromised immune systems.

    I could go on and on, but hey...look at that! I KNOW THIS INFORMATION!! Which is exactly my point:

    To suggest that you are privy to this information because you are somehow part of some elite group is nothing short of preposterous. This information is readily available to anyone who can read! And as I said, new information is being made available on an almost-daily basis. many LICENSED INTERIOR DESIGNERS do you know who put granite in just about every kitchen remodel they do???? But just within the last few months, it was shown that some slabs of granite can actually be very dangerous, as they release dangerous levels of radon. Sure, this is still being researched...but my goodness, literally EVERY DAY we learn something new like this.

    True "education" is in the field...not sitting your ass in a classroom for four years. In fact, the majority of interior design graduates have never even so much as picked up a paint roller and put paint on a wall!!!

    My point: Anyone worth their salt as a designer, and who wishes to remain competitive in this field--licensed or not--will take it upon themselves to continue learning and educating themselves. And most of us do it even without the government mandating that we do so.

  177. Kristi, kudos to you for keeping yourself educated and informed. However, it would be safe to assume that there a lot of people out there calling themselves designers and selling their services who are not so diligent as yourself. How is the general public to know the difference when flipping through the phone book without some kind of set standard?

  178. Kristi, kudos to you for keeping yourself educated and informed. However, it would be safe to assume that there a lot of people out there calling themselves designers and selling their services who are not so diligent as yourself. How is the general public to know the difference when flipping through the phone book without some kind of set standard?

  179. AJ: this is Joni - the blog writer. how would you know???

    Well, let's see - ask to see a portfolio? Ask for three references. How would you know when you hire a builder or a carpenter or a plumber? Ask for references, look at pictures of their work. It's really isn't hard. Call the BBB. Just the normal steps you take when hiring anyone to work on your house. If you are going to be building a multi million dollar home, you would probably want to hire someone who has worked on expensive projects before, someone who has extraordinarily fine taste, someone who has been published, someone who deals with the more exclusive showrooms, you would want to see their portfolio to see their taste level and abilities to work with high end materials, and you would want references from other people who live in multi million dollar homes. A state license would not tell you ANY of this and would be completely useless to your project. All a state license would tell you was they had passed a test that is heavily weighted for commerical applications, that they have paid their dues, and that they have taken CE courses, which are just more of the same bs regarding residential interiors.

  180. I am amazed that you have spent so much energy on this topic. You have preached upon several of these commenters getting their facts straight. This is hilarious, because the first case that you mention is Kelly Wearstler not being able to do the Tides Hotel in Florida. HELLO she did the hotel, it is up and running, in all of her Wearstler glory! This is what Ocean Drive said about it, "This luxury hotel is the best ting to happen to Ocean Drive since Versace moved in. The KELLY WEARSTLER designed masterpiece is an instant classic and provides guests with their very own personal assistants."

    Maybe you should use examples that make more sense, and you might be taken more seriously.

  181. aj, the same way they know whether or not they're hiring a "licensed" interior designer who actually doesn't even have a shred of natural talent, and who simply memorized a bunch of facts that they could regurgitate on a written test and then purge from their mind (and don't tell me that doesn't happen. I went to college. I remember the drill):

    1. portfolio,
    2. referrals,
    3. applying common sense and an ounce of discernment when meeting with the designer during the first meeting to see if he or she is qualified for the particular project or not,
    4. questioning said designer regarding the licensing and legitimacy of contractors and subs used on projects, and seeing their portfolios,
    5. understanding that there are already laws in place to protect the safety of the public.

    I could go on, but the bottom line is that your stance is built upon the basic assumption that the average American consumer is dumber than an box of rocks, and needs Big Brother to hold their hands and tell them exactly what they need to do in the area of interior design.

    I tend to give the average American consumer a great deal more credit than that. Most consumers apply some amount of due diligence when hiring someone to do things that will cost a large amount of money, or that could have dire consequences if done poorly.

    And can you honestly say that you believe all "licensed" interior designers in this country--every single one--is fully informed and up-to-date on all issues in the field of interior design, including environmental issues and green design? Seriously? That's absurd!

    I would wager that there are thousands of licensed designers (especially those who have been out of school for more than 10 years) who wouldn't have a clue about the info I shared above, or who are so set in their ways that they don't care.

    Any consumer would be foolish to place their full trust in a designer simply because he or she is "licensed."

    But the bottom line is this:

    Should the ASID be free to lobby for Practice Act laws that would put me out of business because I'm not licensed, even though I make every effort to be "educated and informed", while at the same time, protecting others who do not make an effort to remain educated and informed simply because they have a license hanging on their wall?

    I say NO!!! Keep the ASID and their lobbyists out of it. LET THE AMERICAN CONSUMERS DECIDE!

  182. Anon 3:57, I fail to see your point.

    Whether or not she was finally able to do the project is irrelevant to me.

    The important fact of the matter is that the state of Florida had the audacity to take legal action against Kelly Wearstler because she is not licensed. This no doubt caused her to have to turn her attentions from her work and her interior design business, secure legal counsel, spend time researching the issue, paying a legal team for their time, etc. It should have never happened!! Whether or not she was victorious in the end is inconsequential. The government of Florida should have never had the power to do that to her (and the scores of other designers who find themselves in a similar position) in the first place!

  183. Anon: 3:57

    Did you not read the case against Wearstler? Her CEASE AND DESIST CASE brought against her by the State of Florida? - I posted it on the blog:

    here it is again:

    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.

    Obviously Wearstler paid the fines which only further bolsters our argument that this is all about money. so now that she paid her fine, she is qualified to be an interior designer in Florida? Give me a break. Wearstler is lucky, she is wealthy and can afford to hire lawyers to make her case. I daresay that the majority of designers who go up against the state of Florida come out on the losing end, unlike Ms. Wearstler precisely because they can not afford legal representation.

    Thank you for making out point on the absurdity of licensing.

  184. Kristie, dear, what are you "addicted" to? you need clinical intervention.


  185. God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if I surrender to His Will;
    That I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with Him
    Forever in the next.

    --Reinhold Niebuhr

  186. Arthur, the name of my site is "Addicted 2 Decorating" because Addicted 2 Design was already taken. And your point??

    Clinical help? Well, I'm sure many people said the same thing about MLK, Jr. and many, many others for "bucking the system". Thank God those people stayed the course to change the existing laws and the culture of ignorance in America.

    We live in a country where the people are given a voice and our Constitution protects that right. It's interesting that you would choose to silence mine when it's in opposition to your beliefs. I would suggest that either you're not American, or it is YOU who needs clinical help (or possibly just a good lesson on the Constitution).

    And again, all I've gotten from the voices of opposition here is name-calling, pleas to "let it go", and other ridiculous comments and weak arguments. I have yet to see a well-though-out argument to support the opposing view--an argument that can stand up to scrutiny when it is dissected and examined.

    So Arthur, dear, if you possess the intellect and critical thinking skills necessary to craft such an argument, please, be my guest. If not, I have nothing more to say to you.

  187. Kristie, dear, what are you "addicted" to? you need clinical intervention...and quick!!

  188. The important fact of the matter is that the state of Florida took legal action against Kelly Wearstler because she is not licensed. This no doubt caused her to have to turn her attentions from her work and her decorating business, secure legal counsel covered by liability insurance, spend time reading this blog, entertaining a legal team for their time, etc. It should have never happened!! she was ridiculous in the end. The government of Florida had the power to do that to her (and the scores of other decorators who find themselves in a similar position) in the first place! watch out!!!get legal.

  189. who is Kelly Wearstler?
    She is a daughter of Terry Wearstler and his former wife, Nancy Dowling, Wearstler is a 1985 graduate of Myrtle Beach High School.

    She is a decorator with her own studio, House of KWID (Kelly Wearstler Design) and is particularly well-known for colorful mod-baroque commercial decorations, such as those of the Viceroy hotels in Palm Springs and Santa Monica, the Avalon in Beverly Hills, and the Tides in Miami Beach. She is currently a talent judge on the second season of Bravo reality television show Top Design, and her books include Domicilium Decoratus (Harper Collins, 2006) and Modern Glamour: The Art of Unexpected Style (Collins Design, 2004).

    Wearstler is married to hotel developer Brad Korzen and has two sons. He helped her finance her office and market her talent.

    As Kelly Gallagher, she was Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month for September 1994. Her centerfold was photographed by Arny Freytag and Stephen Wayda. Her centerfold appears very briefly in the 1995 film Welcome to the Dollhouse, affixed to the inside of a school locker.

  190. I have to echo Fab Sugar’s “girl crush” on Kelly Wearstler. Fab Sugar dubbed our gal as a standing out as an eclectic and a risk taker in January’s Vogue.

    For me it’s been love since check in - at the ultra, hip Viceroy in Santa Monica. One of my fav hotel stays ever! Beyond being the owner’s wife, Kelly is the creative eye and lifestyle muse for all the Viceroy resorts. Her cabana’s at the Viceroy’s Cameo Bar make it a celeb staple hang out.

    While being a judge on Bravo’s Top Design she proved she dares to mix prints, play with color, and experiment with whacky footwear or hairstyles (ala crimped or poodled). Let’s not forget Wearstler is married to a millionaire and co-hosts parties with Vogue. She currently has her own boutique within Bergdorf Goodman in New York and is launching a clothing line.

    Kelly Wearstler: old-world Hollywood

  191. Arthur-did you just say Kelly Wearstler was ridiculous for standing up for herself against an unfair law?? Are you serious?? Just because a law is written on the books, does not make it the be all and end all. If that were the case, in Hawaii, I could be fined for not owning a boat. In Massachusetts a goatee is illegal, unless you pay special license fee for the privilege of wearing one in public. In Arkansas, if I were a man, I could legally beat my wife, but no more than once a month. Or, holy crap, it is still written in the books in Nevada that I could hang you for shooting your dog on your property.

    Seriously, that was the dumbest counterargument yet.

  192. Earlier, I said, "So Arthur, dear, if you possess the intellect and critical thinking skills necessary to craft such an argument, please, be my guest."

    I'm still waiting.

  193. Of all the opportunities now facing interior design professionals, the movement to secure interior designers' right to practice is among the most significant. ASID is the interior design profession's leader for the advocacy of interior design right-to-practice issues, building codes, public health, safety and welfare concerns, and other governmental issues relevant to the interior design profession. ASID has a full-time government and public affairs staff that includes three lobbyists registered with the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. ASID staff works with a board-appointed volunteer council - the ASID Legislative and Codes Advisory Council - to forward the Society's legislative and codes objectives.

  194. [edit] History
    Founded in 1975 with the consolidation of the American Institute of Decorators (AID) and the National Society of Interior Designers (NSID), the American Society of Interior Designers is the oldest and largest professional organization for interior designers. Through a network of 48 chapters in the United States and Canada, as well as 325 student chapters, ASID establishes a common identity for professionals, aspiring professionals and businesses in the field of interior design. Of the Society's 20,000 practicing interior designers, 6,500 practice primarily in the commercial field with 4,000 practicing primarily as residential designers. The remaining 9,500 work in both commercial and residential design. ASID Industry Partners include more than 2,500 member firms with more than 6,000 individual representatives, uniting the professional designer with manufacturers of design-related products and services. The Society's membership also includes more than 12,000 students of interior design. ASID has Student chapters at colleges, universities and design schools with 2-year and 4-year programs throughout the U.S. and "virtual" chapters, such as Rhodec International.

    Members are qualified by education, experience and examination, and adhere to a strict code of ethics and professional conduct. Through educational programs, research and conferences, ASID members receive the most current information on developments in design, as well as appropriate materials, technology, building codes, government regulations, flammability standards, sustainable and green design, product performance, design psychology, occupant populations, and more. Armed with this knowledge, ASID designers can create engaging and functional spaces to meet client needs, while protecting the health, safety and welfare of people in interior environments. ASID also supports legislative and advocacy efforts to protect interior designers’ right to practice.

    ASID designers practice in all areas of interior design, including » Home/Model Homes » Office/Corporate » Health Care » Hospitality/Entertainment » Government/Institutional » Retail/Store Planning » Facilities Management

  195. Hey Kristieeeeeeeeeee. Please take note:

  196. Brandon, that was a fantastically pre-packaged comment, full of the pretty language and fluff that we've all become accustomed to from the ASID. You've given us absolutely no new information. Where's the support of your viewpoint? Where's the evidence that such laws are needed?

    I'm still waiting for an intellectual argument from the other side that can withstand scrutiny when dissected and examined. Dissecting your comment would be like dissecting a cotton ball--there's not much there.

    And I'm sorry...but the description of the ASID as an organization that is a "the movement to secure interior designers' right to practice" made me laugh out loud.

    Is there threat to the licensed interior designer's "right to practice"? Are there laws in place to restrict a licensed designer's "right to practice"? Are there people lobbying state legislatures to put licensed designers out of business? Ummm...NO!

  197. "Right to practice"

    Translation: Remove the competition by making it illegal for anyone without a government-issued license to "practice" interior design, including such basic tasks as furniture placement. To remove the freedom of decision from the consumer, and limit their choices, and in doing so, driving up the costs of such services so that the majority of people in America can no longer afford such services.

    I could go on, but let's be honest about the motives of the ASID. There's no shred of evidence to support your "public health, safety and welfare concerns" stance. So there must be another explanation...MONEY.

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  199. AIA,
    Hopefully when you come after me, you can bring an intelligent argument with you as well.

    I fail to see the relevance of your link. Yes, we all know that people in business can be sued by a client. And your point is?