Interior Design Protection Consulting

April 5, 2011

Student indoctrination rampant in Florida

Attention Florida Interior Design Students!

Will deregulating interior design allow ONLY architects to do commercial design?

In a word. . . NO!

The statement that deregulating designers will mean that only architects can do design work in commercial spaces is nothing more than a deliberate attempt by ASID and their puppet coalition IDAF to mislead their members, the design community, legislators, and students, in a planned effort to confuse them as to the true purpose of the bill.  No one, other than ASID/IDAF, says that the law will limit the ability of designers to work and seek jobs.  The entire purpose of deregulation is to remove barriers to entry, reduce unnecessary governmental regulations which hinder small businesses and entrepreneurs from starting or expanding their businesses, encourage new businesses to grow and hire, and provide consumer choice. 

What ASID/IDAF has done is take the language of the bill regarding the definition of “architecture” and taken words out of context, while ignoring the full language of the definition, to claim that if architects are the only ones left in the architecture law, that means that no one else can do work in commercial spaces.  That’s not what the law says, that is not what AIA says, that is not what the bill sponsor says, that is not what the Building Officials Association of Florida says, that is not what the Florida Engineering Society says, and that is not what is contained in the Building Official’s Guide to the Professional Practice of Architects & Engineers in Florida.  Architectural services as defined by law, and which designers may not perform unless licensed as architects, “means the rendering or offering to render services in connection with the design and construction of a structure or group of structures which have as their principal purpose human habitation or use, and the utilization of space within and surrounding such structures.”  Taken to its illogical extreme, ASID/IDAF ignores the language that sets out the parameters of the work as “the design and construction of a structure” and references only the portion that talks about utilization of space and designs and drawings.  Again, it is only related to the design and construction of the structure.  But since designers can’t do that anyway, saying that would not generate the outpouring of letters and phone calls that their campaign has generated.  We have worked with the bill sponsor and the legal counsel for the Committee to ensure that what ASID/IDAF are claiming is not accurate, and they have told us that if it helps, they would add language to the bill to make it absolutely clear that all interior designers will be able to perform the services that only registered interior designers may perform today – no one intends to limit their work or restrict commercial design to just architects.

Students are receiving a grave injustice from their “professors” who are not telling them the truth about the profession or the affect of deregulation. As Florida law currently stands now, if they want to become registered, students must only work under the supervision of a licensed interior designer (only 2560 in the entire state of Florida), or an architect or engineer.  Where are the 2,000 design students that were testified to going to get a job upon graduation?  How many of the 2560 designers are still in business, or are not solo practitioners who don’t have enough work for themselves let alone enough to hire a new designer, or who do not work for a large architecture firm and have the ability to hire a designer themselves?  And even if they have the means, how many are in favor of training up their future competitors in such a difficult economy?  Not to mention, we hear numerous complaints from student “interns” that they feel like indentured servants, making little or no pay, and relegated to non-related design work like filing and answering phones.

The schools have greatly expanded their design programs over the past few years chasing tuitions and fees, far beyond the capacity of the profession to absorb the graduates.  These students are in for a rude awakening upon graduation.  By allowing more businesses to work in the field, their job opportunities and ability to be hired will increase.  Only in the hallowed halls of academia can limiting the number of businesses that can operate, especially in a down economy, increase job opportunities for graduates!

I strongly encourage all students to seek out the facts of this issue rather than take at face value the intentional misleading by instructors who have their own personal political agenda.   The truth is always the best place to start out in your career. 

Please share this information with your fellow students, and for more information, please visit our website where we have a special page dedicated to student licensing issues.  I guarantee you’ll find the information there very eye-opening.

Best of luck to you in your interior design career!

Patti Morrow, IDPC Director



January 21, 2011

More red tape for Florida interior designers…students beware!

Read this excellent investigative report by David Arthur Walters of the Miami Mirror:

October 26, 2010

Student speaks out against NCIDQ, interior design licensing

Student Exposes Truth About NCIDQ Exam and Licensing

This is probably the best post we’ve ever received.  It just came in as a reply to an article I posted ( couple of years ago, but I can’t take the chance of it getting buried — EVERYONE needs to read this, especially the ASID/NCIDQ/CIDA Cartel.  It proves EXACTLY what we’ve been saying!:

“You’re 100% right – there are not enough experienced designers out there who are giving the newbies a chance to “sit” and those that do give this opportunity, are usually cruel and unjust, not to mention they rarely follow the apprenticeship guidelines. (uuhhh, like give us the chance to get our feet wet by letting us do the tough stuff).

As for the NCIDQ exam – talk about raping someone of money! OMG. I think I’ve spent a total of $2,000 at this point. The questions they ask require so much analysis it’s no wonder 50% fail it multiple times. I keep running out of time analyzing them. Because the reality is – Not every interior design firm operates EXACTLY how the NCIDQ council “claims” is the “official” way of the entire industry. For instance, I “sat” under Architects, and their system was fairly different than the NCIDQ’s. So I had to buy all kinds of books and reprogram myself, but when I would read a question on the test, there were moments when I would have to recall my real life experience and compare it to the NCIDQ books. WHOOPS. Times up! You fail! Example: What’s considered a part of the “Schematic Design” phase is often times very subjective.

And what’s up with the NCIDQ judges who judge Part 3? They probably have to fail half the people b/c this is how they make their money. Designing what normally would take at least a week, in three hours? SO lame. Even more lame was how they threw in a huge ADA factor – my client was in a wheelchair and he wanted a classroom designed for photography students which had to include a darkroom and this was directly adjacent to the office space we had to design. What the heck? Honestly, most of my studying for the test was on what system to use so that I could finish it on time. I hate the NCIDQ council AND their ridiculous exam. It needs to die! I spent over $60,000 to get a BFA in ID, spent over two years working 60 hours a week for $30,000 a year for architects who lorded over me b/c they didn’t take interior designers seriously, had to move back to my parents to pay my school loans, then got laid off b/c of the sucky economy right before taking the exam, only to fail it. Ironic that I failed too considering I gave the Architects I worked for a run for their money. I know I’m skilled. I LOVE interior design with a heartfelt passion. Yet honestly, I have no choice but to give up at this point. There are no jobs and if there are jobs, it’s almost impossible to find them. And if one does find one, the job probably requires the 3d software they DIDN’T learn in college not the one they DID learn. Speaking of which, there is always a new version of the software coming out and I can’t afford  it and I’m not into stealing copies. So, I think the decade I’ve invested into the field of interior design has been enough. Sadly my college, although one of the best, operated much like the NCIDQ council and they have been no help to me. Really, really sucks. Goodbye Interior Design. Hello – reception job? Oh it gets better. Now people won’t hire me b/c they think all I can do is interior design and they don’t really understand what the field is about. Even after I explain  all the transferable skills there are between project management and office administration. It’s just SO sad. All of it.

This includes you Harrington College of Design. What a bunch of liars. Money hungry thieves who get 22 year old kids to the point where they are so broke (b/c they have no time by jr./sr. year to even think about a job but are most likely slaving away at their full time internship for free) that they have to take out personal loans with 15+% interest rates! Little do they know that when they graduate, they are screwed. Not exactly easy to pay off and get ahead when it’s hard to even get paid $25,000 a year as an entry level designer.

Sorry, but someone had to say it.

Signed. . . “Frustrated”

October 4, 2010

Reversing the Indoctrination of Interior Design Students


On September 15th, the IDLNY conducted a pro-legislation meeting.  While very little input from those opposing their agenda to expand the current title act was allowed into the forum, subsequent to the meeting, a very interesting email debate ensued between Patti Morrow, founder and director of the Interior Design Protection Council and Chris Cyphers, Ph.D.  and president of the NY School of Interior Design.

That unedited exchange can be found here.

Students — it is important that you take the initiative to educate yourself as to both sides of this important issue.  You are being indoctrinated with ONE SIDE — by teachers who desire to impose their own political agenda.   In order to make an informed decision about your future rights and livelihood, you need to know the FACTS.

To read about IDPC’s exposing of student coersion at the Art Institute of Pittsurgh and Florida State University, click here:

For more information, please visit the IDPC website, where you will find the most comprehensive collection of truthful and factual information on this issue available anywhere:

May 11, 2010

Interior Design Freedom Movement

Establishing the Freedom Movement

 Not a week goes by that I don’t receive multiple inquiries as to why I became involved in fighting the interior design cartel and how the interior design Freedom Movement started.  I’m not an attorney, not a lobbyist, never wanted to be a political activist.  I’m just an interior designer who couldn’t bear to see the entire interior design industry destroyed.  Yes, interior design is more than decoration, but it’s also more than just being able to read codes.  All designers want their clients to be safe in their spaces, but our opponents’ drive to deny the aesthetic aspects of the profession smacks of lack of confidence in their ability, vision, and creativity.

I now find myself in a totally unforeseen career – educating, organizing and mobilizing grassroots and traveling the country with pink slingshot and pink boxing gloves in tow.

Last month, after sharing my story with a fellow designer, she said, “That’s so inspiring.  You should write a book.”  So after giving it some thought, I decided to craft not a book but instead a short autobiographical documentary which details my motivation, experience, and the pathway to protecting the design community’s rights to earn a living.

It’s been one wild rollercoaster ride, but second only to motherhood, no other endeavor has ever been so gratifying.  I know, we’re not curing cancer or solving world peace, but saving thousands of jobs, well, that’s a good thing.

The Beginnings of the Movement

The Establishing of the Movement

The Future of the Movement

Click here to read entire autobiographical article:

May 5, 2010

“Three E’s” Myth of the Interior Design Cartel

How the Cartel Uses Their Own Self-Annointed Version of the “Three E’s” to Exclude Fair and Qualified Competition

Proponents of the interior design regulatory scheme (a.k.a. “the Cartel)[1] have long advocated a single entry method into interior design under the guise of protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public.  Their self-anointed standards are known as their “Three E’s” – Education, Experience, and Examination.

Education, experience and examination – individually or jointly – can and should be used to attain a higher level of proficiency as well as used to gain a better marketing position.  But the so-called “Three E’s” should not be used to stifle fair competition.

For more than 30 years, cartel members have worked furiously, spending over $7 million dollars lobbying to establish their own self-interested qualifications as the minimum standard for the practice of interior design.  Their definition is based on their own limited view of minimum competency, but in reality, the closest description we have to an “industry standard” definition is taken from the Department of Commerce, emphasizing the nature of the work.[2]

Despite 30 years of lobbying, ASID and its allies have failed to produce any evidence that interior design work impacts or jeopardizes public safety, thus negating the need for creating a regulatory scheme for their Three E’s.

Until 2006, the Cartel had a measured amount of success in defining interior design.  Although its attempts to get practice acts adopted – which is their true goal – almost always failed, 21 states have fallen victim to their incremental regulatory scheme by adopting titling laws.  The recently established and growing effort to resist and repeal regulation (a.k.a. “the Freedom Movement”) has rejected the Cartel’s doctrine which is wholly based on conjecture, rhetoric, opinion, scare tactics, and other misinformation, and has defeated over 100 individual pieces of legislation that would have expanded or enacted new regulations across the country – and not a single new title or practice act has passed since 2006.

Are aspirations to higher education, gaining hands-on work experience, and achieving (private) certification wrong?  Absolutely not.  Those are all valid ways to enter the profession, either together or separately.  What is totally unacceptable is the government’s mandating a single entry method as the only way to practice.  Creating such a monopoly is antithetical both to the basic spirit of creativity that characterizes the practice of interior design and to the notion of free markets and consumer choices. As attorney Robert Kry explained in a friend-of-the-court brief he wrote for IDPC in a challenge to Florida’s interior design law,

“What separates the truly great designers from the mediocre is artistic vision, not a superior ability to place air conditioning units where they will not obstruct wheelchair access.”[3]

In order to continue to effectively beat back the Cartel’s mission to monopolize the entire industry, grassroots activists need to be aware of the Three E’s, and be armed with factual information to rebut them.

This paper documents the positions falsely portrayed by the Cartel as standard, but proven by the Freedom Movement as merely optional.

Click here to read entire white paper Three E’s Myths of the Cartel”:

[1] American Society of Interior Designers, National Council for Interior Design Qualification, Council for Interior Design Accreditation, and International Interior Design Association

[2] Designed to Mislead, Dick Carpenter Ph.D., Institute for Justice,

[3] IDPC Amicus Brief in Locke vs. Shore, No. 10-11052EE (11th Cir). 2010 available at

March 3, 2010

IDPC: “Freedom Reigns in Minnesota!”

As you know, a hearing was held yesterday on SB 2591, a bill which would have expanded the current “Certified Interior Designer” title act into full occupational licensing — and would have become the most restrictive practice law in the country.   Senator Linda Scheid, Chair of the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection scheduled the hearing based on the proponent’s claim that they had enough votes to pass it out of committee.

Good news, my friends, that did NOT happen!

Due to the large opposition turnout and testimonies, and rather than allow another overwhelming vote to kill the bill, Chair Scheid graciously granted that the bill be “tabled” (according to our sources, at the request of the bill’s sponsor, Senator Dibble), which means the practice act is dead — at least for this year.    Professor Caren Martin testified on behalf of interior designers who support the bill.  You may remember Professor Martin as the author of the failed attempt to discredit Dick Carpenter, Ph.D.’s highly acclaimed and meticulously researched Designing Cartels, and her efforts yesterday met a similar fate.

Click here to read details, including a link to the audio recording of the hearing.

Click here to support the Freedom Movement:


February 14, 2010

IDPC: “Practice act coming to Connecticut?”

CT student email verifies restrictive practice act is long-term goal

A bill which would amend and reinstate the unconstitutional title act in the form of “Registered Interior Designers” has been introduced and is scheduled for hearing by the General Law Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 16th.  The Connecticut design community has been largely apathetic to this regulatory scheme, thinking a modified title won’t hurt them.

WRONG.  Like other states, CCID will use reinstatement of the title law as a toehold for their practice act.  That is what they have been selling Connecticut students, and they are planning to mobilize them in large numbers for the hearing.  If you don’t believe that students think they are supporting full-blown licensure, see angry, shrill email below from a student at the University of New Haven (emphasis mine).

From: Christine Bottacari
Sent: Friday, February 12, 2010 1:34 PM

Dear Patti,

I am a senior at the University of New Haven. I am graduating with a bachelor’s degree in interior design. My next step is to sit for the NCIDQ. I can only do this after I gain two years of experience. Interior Design is a true profession and deserves to be licensed. A profession is defined by education, experience, and examination. It will only be a matter of time before there is hopefully a practice act, protecting the health, safety and welfare of the general public.

The driving force behind CCID is gaining momentum, students all over Connecticut are going to stand up for our educations. We are the professionals. We will not stop until we are heard.

I will be heard,

Christine M. Bottacari, University of New Haven/Interior Design Student



Contact the General Law Committee and attend the hearing.  Click here for details:

January 6, 2010

IDAF employs scare tactics to defend bogus interior design licensing law

Attention Florida interior design students!

Have you been bombarded with increasingly urgent requests to participate in the “Yes I Am” lobby day on January 12th in order to “protect your profession?”  Please be advised that the shrill, desperate messages you may have received from the Interior Design Associations Foundation (IDAF), some professors from the Florida State University (FSU) and/or faculty of your own college, are nothing more than a SCARE TACTIC – an underhanded scheme to manipulate and intimidate interior design students who are not familiar with Florida law.

The “prepared script” which will be given to you on the bus trip to Tallahassee will consist of nothing more than unsubstantiated rhetoric.  By contrast, legislators will be receiving factual information from IDPC and others that will directly contradict the IDAF scripts, and it is likely that you will be asked some very blunt questions by legislators that you will be unable to answer if all you have to go on are the baseless assertions and misrepresentations that have become IDAF’s trademark.  As a result, anyone who takes IDAF’s script at face value, without doing their own homework, is going to look very foolish when they run into legislators who have taken the time to actually study the issue.

  • YOU SHOULD KNOW… that contrary to IDAF’s blatant misrepresentations, if Florida’s interior design law is struck down in court, it will NOT be illegal for you to provide commercial interior design services, nor will it be necessary for you to work under an architect in order to provide those services.

Here is what IDAF is telling people on its website:

“If we [students] want to do commercial work, we will have to work under an architect.”

“Without the interior design practice act, the laws clearly indicate that commercial interiors can only be completed by licensed architects and projects that currently allow some 2,300 interior designers interior designers to sign and seal drawings for building permits (as permitted by the state) will be lost forever. Should the interior design practice act be removed from the books, due to a suit by the Institute for Justice and those by associated with their cause, you will immediately loose [sic] business opportunities, right to practice your chosen profession.”

Those statements are TOTALLY FALSE.  There is NO law in effect in Florida that would prohibit interior designers from working on commercial interior design projects or require them to work under an architect if the existing practice act is struck down.  Period.  And unlike IDAF, we can prove it:

  1. Emery Johnson, self-proclaimed author of the current practice act and former BOAID enforcement expert, testified under oath that he did not know of any current law that would require commercial interior designers to work under architects if the interior design law were to be struck down.[1]
  2. Joyce Shore, who is not only the current Chair of the Board of Architecture and Interior Design, but also the state of Florida’s representative to the NCIDQ, past president of IDAF, and past president of ASID Florida South, also testified that there is no law on the books prohibiting people from providing commercial interior services except unless under an architect. (Note: Ms. Shore also admitted that given the credentials she possesses right now, she would not be eligible for licensure in Florida as an interior designer today.) [2]

To see a full rebuttal to all the numerous untruthful statements listed on the IDAF website, click here:

  • YOU SHOULD KNOW… that the Interior Design Protection Council is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization founded for one – and only one – purpose:

             To protect the rights and livelihoods of all interior designers.

That is our sole mission.  For more information about IDPC:

  • YOU SHOULD KNOW… FSU professors disseminated FALSE information to students and educators about the Interior Design Protection Council.  Subsequent to IDPC’s request for retraction, they admitted that much of their information was incorrect, but failed to share that fact with all of the students who had originally received it (or were forwarded it), as they should have if they were genuinely committed to a free and open debate, as they claim.

Click here to read IDPC’s request for action:

Click here to read IDPC’s correction of FSU’s additional misinformation and request that they send their retraction to students:

  • YOU SHOULD KNOW… that as a direct result of IDPC’s providing factual information to the Department of Business and Professional Regulations about IDAF’s false and deliberately misleading website, the DBPR no longer recognizes IDAF as a public source of information and has removed the IDAF link from their Board of Architecture and Interior Design web page:

Thank you for taking a few minutes to read the information provided.  Whether or not you decide to support or oppose Florida’s licensing scheme, you should do so based on truth, facts and empirical evidence – certainly not on the false and deliberately misleading scare tactics of IDAF or the inappropriate and heavy-handed coercion of some interior design faculty.


[1] Deposition of J. Emory Johnson taken by Counsel on behalf of the Plaintiffs in Glynn County, Florida, November 23, 2009

[2] Deposition of Joyce Shore taken by Counsel on behalf of the Plaintiffs, in Dania, Florida, November 24, 2009

FSU retracts disemmination of inaccurate information about IDPC

January 5, 2010

Dear Professors Butler and Wiedegreen,

We wish to gratefully acknowledge your retractions. Much as we appreciate them, these admissions are unfortunately insufficient because there is no indication that you have shared them with the parties to whom the misrepresentations were originally disseminated, as we have requested.  I cannot think of any reason why you would be unwilling to set the record straight, particularly in light of the admissions and retractions you have made in your most recent letter to me.

In addition, your latest correspondence contains a number of new errors, which we will once again endeavor to correct in the attached letter:



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