Sunday, May 31, 2009
What's been on everyone's mind this week in design? Below are slices of conversation from my blog favorites from the past week as well as my own commentary on an unusual experience that prompted me to get on top of my Sunday soap box for a good old fashioned rant. One thing you will notice about these fine people and fellow bloggers is their passion for their profession. No matter what you want to call us, your designer, your decorator, that kitchen lady, that cabinet guy, whatever, it doesn't really matter to us, as long as you call us and hire us.
What does matter, and what you should know is that we are very dedicated to our profession. Some of us who have blogs have made them an extension of our daily work. (I mean, you have to be a little bit obsessed to spend your off hours to blog about, what else, work!) I know there are others, regardless of having a blog or not, that are just as obsessed as me, that bring spec books home, attend seminars or research new materials at home as an extension of our work life. It's a 24/7 profession. The spec sheets and nitty-gritty research we pore over will never really make it as a blog item because you would be bored to tears. So blog fodder is limited to fun stories, factoids and cool new items we find. Interested in hiring a designer, decorator, whatever you want to call us? Ask us what else we do to further our professional goals. What seminars we took in the last 6 months, what books we read, what professional organizations we belong to, and how we are active in our community. It will be evident when you talk to us. We care about what we do and have a passion for sharing our observations and knowledge with you.
Kitchen and Residential Design.
Paul Anater is spreading the word about The 3/50 Project. A nationwide, grass-roots effort to save independent businesses that were already reeling from the incursions of the Wall Marts and the Home Depots of the world before the bottom fell out of the economy. This is an effort we can all get behind and support.
Kelly Morriseau has posted a hilarious but sadly familiar spoof on bargaining. Click here to watch it there.
Ann Porter had Jaime Goldberg, from Gold Notes, drop in as guest blogger, providing great coverage on 2009 KBIS Product Showcase. Toto introductions knocked my socks off. Unbelievably cool new products for Toto.
And you must check out the island design made out of one massive chunk of Carrara Marble designed by Patrick Jouin and partner Sanjit Manku, a Kenyan-born Canadian architect.
The Kitchen Designer
Susan Serra, always one to show new ways of thinking about kitchen design, discusses alternate options for the backsplash, thinking beyond tile in her post, Creative Backsplash Inspiration.
I caught a glimpse of a similar idea using alternate backsplash materials in my own post earlier this week when I introduced Teo Jasmin to my readers.
Peggy Deras has posted a safety recall notice “GE Recalls Ranges Due to Fire and Burn Hazards”. And over at her other Blog, Kitchen Exchange, she has profiled a new product. Scotch Brite Slashes Paper Towel Use.
I would love it if I could cut back on my paper towel use. I may have to give Scotch Brite's new absorbent cloth a try.
Pam has posted a great item coming from Woman's Day, Life In the 50's through Today
Did you know that the average house size in the 50s was 983 s.f. — and that today, it’s 2,349 s.f.?
No Design Legislation
Wendy Hoechstetter puts forth an exemplary essay critiqing ASID's hypocrisy in their report: Consumers Very Satisfied Working with Interior Designers. Which is it ASID? Sounds like more double talk. Is the public satisfied with Interior Designers or does the public need more regulation to protect them from unlicensed designers.
Patricia Gray| Interior Design
Patricia has a beautiful pictorial posting entitled, Passion- That is the Key. This is an excerpt taken from the book: INEX by Wolterinck, featuring the interiors of homes and shows how the surrounding gardens have been designed to complement the interiors, creating a total lifestyle concept. Just beautiful!
What's in a title really?
A TALE of FLUTES and RIDGES; or the response to the Inquiring Professor.
I had a disappointing experience with one "professional" designer this past week solidifying my position that a title after your name is not worth the paper upon which it is printed if you cannot live up to the standards upon which the credentials are based. Maybe she has a "flair" for design, I don't know, but competency and preparedness was surely lacking. This designer is in need of a refresher course on the three E's.
Meanwhile this week the "professor" at Kansas State with a lot of time on his hands sends me an email wanting to know if I consider myself a professional interior designer. Er, let's put it this way, apparently he is on a one man mission to, em, here is how he puts it: "...as long as you and your decorator cronies continue to include the education, experience and examination model for professional development in your deprofessionalization effort I will continue to call you on your collective fallacious propaganda." Excuse me while I stop to laugh a little here. ....;-)
HELP ME HELP YOU
Back to my story trying to help the "professional interior designer" looking for her vessel sink.
ME: "You say you recall the vessel has flutes?" (I pull open my Kohler catalog the size of two Bibles and one Koran stacked on top). THUD. Is the design located inside the bowl or on the outside?
PID: No, the design is on the outside. It's white and it has this vertical fluting on it.
ME: Is it this one?
PID: No. I'll know it when I see it.
ME: Do you remember the manufacturer or the name of the sink?
(More catalogs opened, flipping pages in search for fluting. Fluting. Fluting? I started to question what I was doing looking for fluting? A fluted sink? Does this even exist?)
ME: Can you call your client to see if he has a copy of the spec sheet you gave him?
PID: No, I gave him the print out and he lost it. That was my only copy.
ME: Oh, I see. And you say you need to order it right away? (A sea of catalogs between us in search of fluting on a vessel sink.)
How about this one? Or that one?
PID: No. No. It's the vertical fluting that wraps around the bowl.
(She holds her hand horizontally as the word comes out of her mouth: "fluting".)
ME: Oh, I see! You need a ridged detail.
(Hand gestures are the international language of common sense.)
PID: Yes, that is what I have been telling you! Didn't I say ridged? You know, I am in a hurry; I have to go, if you can just call be with the information that would be great.
Having never worked with this designer before, I saw that the title after her name on her business card reads ASID Interior Designer. I was anticipating a pleasant exchange with a "design professional". After all, ASID is the sign that a professional interior designer is 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." Source: ASID's Position Statement. www.asid.org/events/CLC/clc07/interiordesignregistration.htm
Further, ASID's position statement pulled from their website says:
"ASID advocates that the interior design profession is a single profession, regardless of specialty, and that the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination (including all its parts) is the basis for testing minimum competency for interior designers."
Based on my short exchange with a "professional interior designer" who sent me on a wild goose chase looking for a fluted vessel sink, when she really meant a ridged design on the vessel sink. Of course, she was on a time crunch too and flounced off. Meanwhile, I have this professor emailing me wanting to know if I think I am entitled by birthright to call myself an interior designer. I have been holding back a belly laugh all week! Oh gee, thanks, this is comic relief. I have to scratch my head and wonder aloud the following:
- Regardless of your specialty, shouldn't a qualified "professional interior designer" know the difference between a flute and a ridge?
- ASID beats their drum about "education, experience and examination". Who cares if you passed the examination but cannot practice it in everyday practical exams when your clients order is on the line?
- In case you were wondering: The definition of a flute: Fluting in architecture refers to the shallow grooves running vertically along a surface. source: wordnet.princeton.edu
- The definition of a ridge: a long narrow natural elevation or striation. Any long raised strip. source: wordnet.princeton.edu
- Why would you hand off a tear sheet to your customer and not keep a copy for yourself?
- If your clients are entrusting their design details to you for purchasing, wouldn't it make sense to keep a record of all specifications in a project binder or file or on your computer?
- Why wait till the last minute to source out your products on a job?
ASID would like to have the public believe that the only ones who are qualified to design interior spaces are registered interior designers, and represent themselves as having the qualifications to do so.
Oh really? Being ill prepared to order a sink, not knowing the manufacture name of the sink, or even able to describe key features has me wondering what else can go wrong for that unsuspecting client if we are already having problems with just a sink? So what's the point of differentiating a "professional" from a "non-professional" with an arbitrary NCIDQ exam that is supposed to prove competency? Don't start writing to me, I am certain there are competent licensed designers, so do not accuse me of painting all licensed designers with the same broad brush stroke. I have nothing but admiration and respect for those who pursue their accreditation, if that is their goal.
What I am protesting is the broad brush stroke used to portray non-licensed designers, (me included), as nothing more than those with a flair for decorating and get our decorating advise from HGTV. Drawing assumptions or forming stereotypes related to a designer not pursuing a license, or that it means lack of professionalism about his or her career is no better than assigning other equally offensive stereotypes to various groups. Ageism, sexism, racism, decorator-ism. It is discriminatory and divisive.
It would be pretty silly for me to tell my clients I am a kitchen and bath decorator. I am not against education, I am against useless legislation. Although the Professor at Kansas State, who continues to pester me with his rude, patronizing emails would rather I put decorator on my business card than describe what I really do, is really huffing and puffing a lot of hot air at best. I do not decorate kitchens. I design them. And I certainly do not need to pass the NCIDQ exam to prove I know the difference between a flute and a ridge. This is about the ASID thirty year battle forcing others out of the business that will not play along with their rules. The lack of acceptance of other forms of professional achievement, education and experience is elitist. Fix the one-size fits-all requirement to pass the NCIDQ exam and then you will gain my interest. I would rather not have anything to do with the ASID and would rather spend my hard earned money and precious time becoming certified in everything else offered, and perhaps pursue a license that has more teeth to it such as a contractor’s license or an architect’s license. To pay dues and belong to the ridiculous ASID organization and waste my money on the arbitrary NCIDQ testing, I think I would rather live in Europe and do better things with my time.
Set aside the commercial interior design work for a moment. The reality is that people do not really care one way or the other about your credentials as a designer or decorator. Most people use the term interchangeably anyhow. The public will determine who is good enough to work on their project. And in this economy, homeowners are doing it alone or using their contractor to "design" the project while the design community continues to argue over what they can call themselves.
As long as the ASID Coalition continues to push our legislators to pass new laws that prevent people from earning a living in the occupation of their choice, the majority of opposed groups, furniture dealers, lighting designers, restaurant equipment designers, and the majority voice coming from interior designers/decorators will continue to push back this unconstitutional legislation on all fronts. Look at Florida's witch hunt. It is discriminatory, it restricts the public freedom to choose competent design services from interior designers of their choice and it is bad for the economy. “This law is absolutely riddled with constitutional problems that prevent people from earning a living in the occupation of their choice and we’re going to get rid of that law by challenging in court,” said Clark Neily, Senior Attorney for the Institute for Justice, referring to the lawsuit filed Tuesday, May 26, 2009 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Tallahassee, challenging Florida’s interior design law.
The following statement comes from their own website: source:
"ASID believes that, in the interest of the public good, the professional responsibilities of interior designers warrant state regulation."
ASID will continue to waste our legislator’s time with new attempts to pass unnecessary legislation. And who pays the millions of dollars spent to push for this legislation? Membership dues paid by students, other allied members and professional members. In the long run, ASID stands to hurt the public more protect than protect the public by imposing new legislative "practice act" barriers preventing the public access to professional design help, licensed or not. If it is good enough for the White House, it is good enough for the rest of us.
Join organizations that are Against Interior Design Legislation.