DSA Newsletter - June 2010

Notes from Natasha

Our latest offering - the Residential Interior Designer Exam (R.I.D.E.) is taking off like wildfire! Do you need a leg up on the competition? Can your business benefit from additional credentialing? Do you want to take your career to the next level? Designer Society of America has the solution for you. Come along for the R.I.D.E.!

We've heard from designers with 27 plus years in the industry who are still looking to advance their career with additional education and credentialing. Nationally recognized, R.I.D.E. is also perfect for those working in other industries that touch on interior design. Our program can give you the confidence you need to expand into interior design and add to your client list.

The R.I.D.E. qualifying examination is available to residential interior designers who want to advance their education, career and professional status in the industry. If you are driven to succeed and dedicated to your profession, successful completion of the R.I.D.E. will enhance your status among residential interior design peers who have also reached this higher level of certification achievement.

Recognized as an industry standard for excellence and certification, the R.I.D.E. testing program can be the professional boost you need to grow your business and your reputation.

A two-part examination, the R.I.D.E. fully conforms to established testing standards and is administered by testing centers across the country. For your convenience, the exam is available both on scheduled dates and on an as-needed basis.

Call Cindy directory today and you will receive a discount on the exam as well as three additional months on your DSA membership! For more information about the R.I.D.E., visit us online at http://dsasociety.org/certification/benefits.cfm

Best wishes for a successful R.I.D.E.

Natasha Lima Younts

Designer Society of America

What's in a name? Apparently, a lot.

In a recent Interior Design Journal article, What's in a Name?, Alison White, Ph.D. joins previous IDEC members as they flounder about like fish out of water, stunned by the explosive success of the Freedom Movement in beating back their licensing scheme, and at an utter loss as to how to stop this moving train.

At the heart of the article is the conundrum of whether to continue their efforts to regulate the title "interior designer" or to surrender their claim and switch gears to gain exclusive right to use "interior architect." White outlines four possible scenarios (paraphrased):

  1. Licensure of interior design in all 50 states;
  2. Interior design continues to be one of several terms used, and the current diversified entries into the field are maintained;
  3. Interior architecture becomes their new term, restricted to those who graduate from a CIDA program and pass the NCIDQ;
  4. A split in the profession - interior design used for residential practice and interior architecture used for commercial practice.

White goes on to outline the external challenges "exacerbated by lawsuits brought by the Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC) and the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA)," yet fails to provide citations to the alleged legal challenges. That's because contrary to White's claim, there are none. Neither IDPC nor the NKBA have filed a single lawsuit challenging existing interior design laws. However, IDPC has, as White suggests, attacked the pro-regulation camp's "three E's" so-called minimum standard for competency, and quite effectively at that.

Identity in the legislative arena is targeted as another area of concern by White. She states that there are 25,000 NCIDQ certificate holders - a misleading statement at best, since it's been documented that only 10,500 are currently active. Unfortunately, failure to truthfully provide accurate data is a hallmark of the pro-regulation camp.

She further cites the necessity of examination and legal regulation, two of Caren Martin, Ph.D.'s seven steps for professionalism. White states,

"[T]his is the area where interior design is coming under fire from the Institute of [sic] Justice, Interior Design Protection Council, and the NKBA, among others. The IDPC argues 'it is not the function of the legislature to enhance the stature or respect of a profession.' Further, the IDPC contends that the practice of interior design has little or nothing to do with protection of the public health, safety, and welfare, an argument that Martin effectively refutes. Institute of Justice advocates Carpenter and Ross suggest that their constituents' First Amendment rights are being violated in that they are unable to communicate effectively with the public about the scope of their services, and their economic viability in the marketplace is being harmed. NKBA effectively sums up the argument when they state: 'Such laws harm the public by artificially inflating consumer prices, erecting unnecessary barriers to entry into the profession, giving government-imposed advantages to those already practicing and failing to demonstrate any social benefit.' In response, ASID has issued the following statement: 'ASID will continue to support legal recognition of the interior design profession, but not if that recognition prevents individuals from offering basic interior design services as they have in the past.' Until both the legislative arena and the public understand that interior design is different from interior decoration, these continuing battles will extract a toll on the profession."

My first response was "You've got to be kidding me. These are the alleged best and brightest of our educators? This is the best they can do?" Any publication that cites Professor Martin as a legitimate source in the legislative arena cannot be taken seriously. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Martin could be a proficient educator, but she's certainly out of her league when it comes to justifying licensure of interior designers. Her 2008 attempt to discredit the meticulously researched Designing Cartels by Dick Carpenter, Ph.D., fell flat on its face. Writes Carpenter,

"Martin's work was verbose, yet provided no evidence of the need for or benefits from regulation, while essentially conceding that the push for such regulation comes exclusively from industry insiders. Moreover, her missive is laced with logical and factual errors that severely undermine its conclusions. In short, Martin's attack on Designing Cartels not only fails to refute its key findings, it is yet another in a long line of examples of design industry insiders' complete failure to make a persuasive case for regulation."

Further, her unsuccessful testimony in support of a practice act in Minnesota earlier this year was based on opinion and conjecture, and contained errors which were easily rebutted and absorbed by the Committee Chair.

The solution to White's identity crisis is so simple it's child's play...

  • Number 1 is just not going to happen. I hope they are enjoying their visit to Earth. Here's a very, very brief synopsis of what has transpired on the regulatory front... Since 2006, 113 efforts to enact or expand new interior design regulations have been defeated or derailed, and not a single new title or practice act has passed. Multiple states have either had their regulations struck down or scrambled to correct the constitutional defects in order to avoid defending against an inevitable legal challenge. Additional legal challenges are pending.
  • Number 3 is not going to happen. The architectural community surely will not permit their well-guarded term "architecture" to be used without adhering to their firmly entrenched criteria, namely, graduation from a NAAB school and passage of the NCARB.
  • Number 4 is not going to happen, although efforts in that vein have already been implemented during 2009/2010. Virtually all new legislation proposed now exempts residential design, and everyone, including the main proponent of the regulatory scheme, ASID, has given up their dream of restricting the title "interior designer." However good those concessions are, they fall short of the mark. Many residential designers also practice some aspects of commercial design such as condos, hotel lobbies, restaurants, offices, etc., and they do so without causing any harm to the public; they will not allow part of their scope of their practice and resulting livelihood to be snatched from them.
  • The obvious answer is Number 2, which White calls the "do nothing" approach. It's time for ASID, NCIDQ and IDEC to stop spinning their wheels. Yes, it's a bitter pill to swallow, but denial only prolongs the inevitable. The sooner they stop whining about their perceived lack of status, and face up to the reality that competing fairly on the merit of work produced is good for consumers, good for the economy, and good for the profession, the sooner this contentious and controversial "turf war" will cease and the healing can begin. Small business entrepreneurs are the backbone of the American economy, and the free market systems WORKS. Period.
The message to Dr. White and her IDEC colleagues: you want to "move the profession forward?" The answer lies in educating the public - not in eliminating your competition.

Why is it that the overly educated cannot grasp the simplest, most logical solutions? Don't answer. It was a rhetorical question.

1 A Single Interior Design Professional Association, Kucko, Turpin and Pable, Journal of Interior Design, May 8, 2009
2 Myth of the Three E's, Patti Morrow, IDPC, May 2010 http://www.idpcinfo.org/THREE_E_s.pdf
3 The NCIDQ: Does It Still Pass the Test?, ASID Icon, May/June 2009
4 Rebuttal to ASID's Message Guide, IDPC, May 2008, http://www.idpcinfo.org/Rebuttal_to_ASID_Message_Guide.pdf
5 Designing Cartels Through Censorship, Carpenter & Ross, Summer 2008, http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv31n2/v31n2-3.pdf
6 Position Statement, National Kitchen and Bath Association, February 2008, http://www.idpcinfo.org/NKBA_Position_Statement.pdf
7 Designing Cartels, Dick Carpenter, Ph.D., http://www.ij.org/images/pdf_folder/economic_liberty/Interior-Design-Study.pdf
8 Misinformation: How the Interior Design Cartel's Attack on IJ's Designing Cartels Misses the Mark, Dick Carpenter, Ph.D., http://www.ij.org/images/pdf_folder/other_pubs/misinformation-report.pdf
9 Testimony of Patti Morrow/IDPC, Hearing before the Minnesota Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection, March 2, 2010.

Patti Morrow

Interior Design Protection Council
Patti Morrow is the Executive Director of the Interior Design Protection Council (IDPCinfo.org), principal of Juxtapose, RIDE Certified #105105 (Residential Interior Design Exam), author of Getting Grassroots Galvanized, adjunct faculty at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, Professional Member of the Association of Design Education, Professional Member of the Designer Society of America, and V.P. Government Relations of the NNE National Kitchen and Bath Association. Nicknamed the "Mother of the Movement," Morrow is credited with organizing the Freedom Movement. Her writings and views have appeared in dozens of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Design Trade magazine, and Window Fashions Vision. pmorrow@IDPCinfo.org.

Mary Dennis - School of Graceful Lifestyles

I love the vivid colors of the springtime landscape. It appears as if nature yawns and awakens and everything is lush and alive once again. As a Graceful Lifestyles Re-Designer, I ask myself how I can bring this feeling of timeless natural grace into the homes of my clients.

How can I create a design statement that is easy on the eyes, as well as the environment? Remember, one of the most profoundly healing aspects of nature is the presence of color.

Enjoy the feng shui design tip below and the essence of spring.

Live with Abundance,
Mary Dennis

Feng Shui Tips On Color

By Mary Dennis


Excerpt from 5 Day Feng Shui Interior ReDesign Certificate Program June 21-25, 2010 in Celebration, Florida

Take all your designs very personal. Listen and look for your clients' needs. Ask your clients what emotions they would like to feel in their space. Examples could be quiet, energized, and relaxed. Pair the emotional wish list with your ba gua (the invisible map of 9 energies) and five elements for color choices and use the hues that best fit into personalizing their environment and activating their intentions. Their choice of words expresses an elemental emotional choice so listen carefully.

Use Harmony from Sherwin Williams.

It is zero-VOC paint, eliminating emissions that can irritate eyes and lungs. It is a good choice for today's green movement - and by the way FENG SHUI is GREEN!

Earth Elements

The element most missing in modern day American homes is earth, which is represented by neutral tones of beiges, yellows, creams, browns and the like. Incorporate a neutral earth color as your base throughout the space and then go about adding your accent colors. Harmony earth tone suggestions: NATURAL CHOICE, and UNBELIEVABLE BUFF, use LATTE for mid-shades of brown. Using the earth element will help calm the fast pace of families in today's culture!

Bring the sky into your clients' homes

Add a Harmony selection, SKY HIGH, and add expansion! Paint the ceilings of kitchens, garden rooms, patios and bathrooms. Be mindful to balance the chi and still keep the client feeling grounded, use your magic! Be mindful - if you are placing a sky-like effect in the kitchen not to place it over the stove. We do not want this important position to be depleted in any way.

When adding an accent color, be mindful to add it somewhere else in the design of the space. It adds to the comfort of the environment by adding a touch of familiarity.

Remember to marry the chi/energy flow from one room to another. Use color to replace a missing or awkwardly shaped Gua. If you are concerned about adding too much of a bright color to a space, add it to only two connecting walls and leave the other two walls as a neutral for relief. Be on the lookout for Benjamin Moore "chameleon colors." I believe they will soon dominate the new scene for paint colors. These are paints that, because several different color tones are mixed in, take on a different tone at various light levels. For example, in low evening light it might look more pearly or luminescent than it would with bright morning sunlight streaming through the windows. The luminescence may bring in a subtle metal energy.


The use of silver, gold and bronze seem to be the hot colors for 2010. Use sparingly with clients that suffer with asthma, as these metal elements are related to the lungs!!

Color enhances the chi/energy of any space:
  • Lift energy: yellows, reds, turquoise, any bright color
  • Slow down energy: browns, rusts, all dark colors
  • Soften energy: light pinks, greens, corals, pastels
  • Draw energy: reds, purples and gold
  • Neutralizes energy: whites, beiges and tans
  • Enhances creativity: oranges, teals, vibrant blue
  • Enhances spirituality: purples, violets, white
  • Romantic colors: pinks, reds, oranges, hot pink
Mary Dennis

School of Graceful Lifestyles


(615) 867-71891

The Value of Color While Aging in Place

By Carolyn Richardson


The life expectancy of a baby born in 1900 was less than 50 years. Houses at the time were designed for those under 50, with steep staircases, cramped bathrooms and narrow doorways being the norm. A child born in 1960, in comparison, will more than likely will live 78.4 years.

With age, abilities will change and environmental needs will change as well. As our population is living longer, becoming incapacitated is very likely, whether temporarily or permanently. Many times maturing people will choose to stay in their homes rather than to uproot and relocate. Often it reduces healthcare costs by keeping them out of highly priced and impersonal environments.

The maturing population that chooses to "age in place" needs a totally different color palette than a younger population. The ability to distinguish colors in certain values diminishes with age, and a highly saturated color palette, along with high contrast, becomes necessary. The lens of the aging eye starts to yellow, growing harder and thicker. The yellow will filter out short-wavelength colors in the blue, blue-green, violet and blue-violet ranges.

The ability to distinguish between blue and green slowly starts to diminish around age 40. Brown and dark blue eventually will be seen as black. Colors of the same value will start to merge together. In addition to the lens change, various eye diseases, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration are possible contributors. A dark rug on a dark floor (or a light rug on a light floor) can easily be tripped over. Chairs need to be high contrast in relation to the rug or floor. White walls can often provide a tremendous amount of glare, further contributing damage to eyesight. Abundant lighting at night is essential.

Color coding in the kitchen is extremely helpful. White plates on a white placemat make it difficult to find the edge of the plate. The high contrast remedy is to use a darker placemat so the plate can be easily recognized. Colored mixing bowls rather than white can be designated for flour and sugar. Knowing the "blue" bowl is for flour and the "red" bowl is for sugar is easily remembered. In addition, the white contents can be easily seen when placed in the colored bowl. Colorful cutting boards can determine which is for meat and which is for vegetables to avoid contamination from raw meat.

Color coding works with sheets and towels, by knowing that it's time to "change the color." When more than one person has towels in the bathroom, sticking to one particular color is an advantage. Eye make-up can be kept in the pink box, with lipsticks in the green box. In fact, anything that can be color coded will be an asset, as long as it is not a similar value.

High color contrast, color coding and sensitivity to the aging-in-place clients' needs can be easily worked in to the overall design plan for superior functionality.

Make YOUR life easier! - Tips from Studio WebWare

Last month we shared with you some information about Studio WebWare and all the benefits their Studio Designer software program offers to interior designers. This month we'll address the ease with which designers can use the program on the go via Blackberry, iPhone and Droid.

While designers can access their entire Studio Designer application from any computer, they can also log in via cell phone to the mobile portion of the application, said Lance Haeberle of Studio WebWare.

The mobile app provides two primary features: One allows users to access their address books where they can view and edit and have an unlimited number of entries. From there they can also link to websites or view of map with directions to a particular client or vendor, he said.

Secondly, users can also maintain their activities such as scheduling meetings, tracking conversations and entering and receiving reminders. Users can also access their "to do" list for the day and enter start and end times for meetings and appointments.

"That info is tracked in real time in the main application so they can generate their time billing invoices at the end of the month," offered Haeberle, noting that accessing Studio Designer via phone does not require synching the activity with a computer later.

"If they make changes on their phone it automatically updates on the main system," he said.

Tune in next month for more helpful hints regarding Studio WebWare and Studio Designer. Visit them online at www.studiowebware.com

The Business of Interior Design is Just Like Riding a Rollercoaster

The interior design industry has been on a roller coaster for the last few years, and it's not just the economy that created the stomach-churning ride. It's the influence of the Internet on consumers and even HGTV.

Most consumers search online for products and information, and that affects their relationship with you and ultimately controls your profit. We can't put the genie back in the bottle, so we must adapt to the new market conditions. Do you have a strategy?

We surveyed our colleagues last year and produced an Interior Design Fee & Salary Survey eBook that was downloaded by thousands of your peers. What did they find out?

They found out whether their peers were busy or they had no clients. They also found out what the average income was...and it was shocking.

Request your copy of the 2009 DSU's Interior Design Fee & Salary Survey eBook (interior designers only), and we'll also send you a link to participate in the 2010 survey.

2009 was dismal for many of our peers, and yet there were a few firms that were extremely busy. What made the difference for them? Be sure to read my next blog post for the answer.

Although this is not a scientific survey, it provides data that is helpful to all of us as we consider how to structure our fees. We requested information from our membership as well as groups within LinkedIn and other membership organizations.

We're updating the survey results and we need a few minutes of your time to provide your information. We'll send a copy (2010 eBook - $79 Value) later this summer when the results are compiled.

We are not suggesting that you follow specific pricing or fee strategies. The results of the survey are for information purposes only. You will want to consider local market conditions, services offered, experience and confidence in your ability to present and get fees based on these criteria.

When you request your copy of the eBook, we'll also invite you to a complimentary webinar, How You Can Create Client Evangelists with Brand-Defining Fees & Services...& Thrive During Turbulent Times.

Gail Doby, ASID, DSA
Interior Design Business Success Mentor
Social Media Strategist to the Architecture & Design Community

Design Success University Needs Your Help

Gail & Erin are revising the Interior Design Fee & Salary eBook ($79 Value) and when you participate, you will receive a copy of the results when it is compiled.

Here is the link. The deadline has been extended to June 30, 2010.

Decorati Article - written by Gail Doby ASID, DSA

Gail Doby, ASID, is co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of Design Success University Gail is an Interior Design Business Success Mentor to thousands of interior designers globally. DSU's mantra is to "define your success strategy and make your competitors irrelevant." DSU's Business Mastery Membership and classes include Value Based Fee System, Marketing Intensive I - Winning With New Strategies for Traditional Marketing, Social Media Intensive - How to Engage Your Prospects Online, and Positioning for Profit & Market Domination. Request your complimentary copy of DSU's Interior Design Fee & Salary Survey eBook and IDEAS newsletter subscription filled with inspiration, business tips and time-saving resources.

Member Spotlight

Sandy Schiffman

Honorary Member (retired)

Sandy Schiffman wanted to retire when she moved to New Mexico some time ago, but demand from fellow retirees also relocating to the area kept her working for a time. Now the economy has basically forced her to retire. Nonetheless, she has enjoyed a career in interior design that spanned many decades, growing up in the business her parents owned in Key West.

Cutting her teeth in the industry by working at her parents' showroom, Schiffman had other career ideas when she left home to attend college. "Like a lot of kids that grow up with a family business, I didn't want to do what my family taught me to do," she said. "I had some artistic ability and dreams of being a clothing designer."

And that's exactly what she did, both in Miami and New York. And while she absolutely loved designing clothes, she absolutely hated the industry and soon got out of the business. Meanwhile, she married and had children, moving her family to California in 1959.

A friend with a small design studio in California needed some extra help to cover the business during summer vacations and asked Schiffman to fill in for her. "She pushed me to go back to school and then she pushed me out of the door to open my own studio," Schiffman recalls.

One of the earliest designers to be a member of ASID - formed through the merging of AID and NSID - Schiffman was also one of the first groups to sit for the NCIDQ exam, which she took in 1973. Some years later, Schiffman moved to Paris for her husband's career. She maintained her California studio and flew back and forth every six months, juggling clients on two continents.

Schiffman had a number of American clients in Paris, where she enjoyed membership in the American Women's Club in Paris and Friends of the Old Houses of France. The latter affiliation gave her the opportunity to visit numerous old chalets and abbeys not usually open to the general public. She also had the chance to visit the Normandy estate of the great grandnephew of artist French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

When her husband died, Schiffman returned for a time to Florida, where she still had the family home, but was never crazy about the weather there. When a friend in Texas called to say he was retiring and wanted her assistance in helping him find and decorate a home in New Mexico, she headed west for the project, only to fall in love with the area and purchase a home for herself.

Schiffman has seen a multitude of changes in the industry through the years, but two that have made the biggest impact, in her opinion, are the advent of the Internet and the down economy of the past few years. She says the Internet has been both good and bad for designers.

"The bad part is that now we're competing with our own clients. Everyone thinks that because they can buy on the Internet they are getting wholesale prices. Everyone thinks they can be a 'decorator' or that they have 'flair.' People are buying for themselves and others through the Internet, and it's been quite a problem," she says.

But for those still working, which she does on occasion, the Internet is also beneficial. She recently had a request to select some wall covering for a client, but didn't have the sample books she needed. She was able to search for products online and get the client what she needed immediately. "In that respect, it's made life easier for us."

One drawback of the town she loves so much is that sales reps never call on her. "They just don't go to small towns," she laments, adding that it's a three hour drive to Albuquerque, where all of the showrooms are located. "They'll go to towns 50 miles away but bypass us."

All in all, her mostly-retired state is satisfying, with part of her year spent in New Mexico and the rest in Key West. Schiffman fondly recalls a long and successful career in the interior design industry and is pleased to have spent her life doing something she loved so much.

Credentialing within the US Green Building Council

Last year brought with it new and expanded credentialing opportunities within the US Green Building Council. Professional accreditation began with what is called LEED AP: LEED Accredited Professional. Prior to 2009, one test, based on LEED NC (New Construction), was used, and all who passed the exam were accredited for life without any credentialing maintenance required.

Now, there is a tiered approach to credentialing and a specialization based on the variety of rating systems now available.

Tier 1 is LEED Green Associate. This is intended for people who work in a supportive role related to green building design, construction or operations and who want basic knowledge related to green building principles. This may include marketing professionals, facility managers and sales representatives. This credential is also for professionals working toward LEED AP with Specialty.

To take the LEED Green Associate exam, a person must meet one of three requirements: documented involvement in a LEED project, employed in a sustainable field of work, or engaged in an education program that addresses green building principles. One type of education program that qualifies is a LEED Green Associate study group. These groups are sometimes offered by local chapters and are a good way to prepare for the exam.

Tier 2: LEED AP with Specialty. For people working directly with a rating system and who want a more rigorous credential, this is the next step after passing the LEED Green Associate exam. LEED AP with Specialty options include: LEED AP ID + C (Interior Design and Construction), LEED AP BD + C (Building Design and Construction), LEED AP Homes, LEED AP O + M (Operations and Maintenance) and LEED AP ND (Neighborhood Development). To take a LEED AP with Specialty exam, a person must document involvement on a LEED project.

Tier 3: LEED Fellow. This credential is under development and will be for professionals who have made major contributions to the green building field.

Once LEED Green Associate or LEED AP with Specialty has been achieved, each requires credentialing maintenance on a two-year cycle through a variety of CEUs.

If you already are a LEED AP, then you can choose to remain LEED AP without specialty or choose to enroll for a LEED AP with Specialty credential choosing a prescriptive path or testing. For more information, visit www.gbci.org. Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) is a non-profit organization affiliated with the USGBC tasked with building certification and professional accreditation.

It's a great time to get more involved in green design by becoming a LEED Green Associate and then stepping up to LEED AP with Specialty.

Go Green,

Sue Norman

Managing Editor