Interior Design Protection Consulting

April 6, 2011

FL dereg: Who can practice, and Tea Party joins in

Exactly WHO would be able to practice commercial interior design if deregulated?  The answer is in this Press Release sent to all members of the House, designers, students, and the media.

The Florida Tea Party joins IDPC’s crusade to open commercial design, create more jobs, and stimulate Florida’s economy!


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:

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

December 30, 2009

IDPC requests retraction from FSU professors

September 28, 2009

Mr. Eric A. Wiedegreen, Professor and Chair

Mr. David M. Butler, Associate Professor

The Florida State University, Department of Interior Design

Mr. Wiedegreen and Mr. Butler,

I am in possession of your September 4th letter to the attention of Florida Interior Design Educators and Students, in which the Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC) was cited several times, charged with an attitude, behavior and/or tactics that are neither true nor supported by any documentation. I hope you will agree that it is important to the principles of higher learning to ensure that students are presented with factual information on issues relevant to their chosen profession, particularly a matter as controversial and impacting as the topic of government-imposed regulation. FSU’s own “A Summons to Responsible Freedom” states “Truthfulness in one’s claims and representations and honesty in one’s activities are essential in life and vocation, and the realization of truthfulness and honesty is an intrinsic part of the educational process.” Sadly, that policy appears to have been abandoned. Since the information in your letter was inaccurate, unsupported, and rhetorical rather than factual, I am requesting that you issue an immediate retraction of all references to IDPC to all recipients of your letter.

In addition, kindly provide us with a list of all the alleged “false accusations brought about by the Interior Design Protection Council.” IDPC takes great care to thoroughly research and provide the design community with factually accurate information, and if you feel we provided anything untruthful during the course of our lobbying the legislative or executive branches of the Florida government in the 2009 legislative session, we would certainly like the opportunity to review these potentially factually incorrect statements. Regarding this statement that you did provide:

“The IDPC has recently contacted Allied ASID members nationwide with the claim that Florida law is excluding them from practice and targeting them for possible fines and cease and desist orders.”

This is not a false accusation at all, but rather, a truthful exposé of the devastating effects of Florida Statutes 481. Allied ASID members are not NICDQ-certified, and since NCIDQ certification is required for licensure in Florida, naturally the law excludes them. It is also true that many Allied ASID members have been the victims of Florida’s aggressive disciplinary scrutiny – actions, which if you are not aware, remain on the Board of Architecture and Interior Design website and internet as having been disciplined, and even the BOAID – by way of consenting to the Institute for Justice’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction – appears to agree (or at least capitulate) to the premise that non-NCIDQ residential designers (which would include the Allied ASID) have been unfairly targeted.

Regarding the issue of whether or not interior designers should or need to be regulated, certainly you are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own set of facts. If you wish to believe that licensing will save the world from negligent, unqualified designers, so be it. The facts, however, demonstrate otherwise.

  • FACT: In the 30-year, multi-million dollar lobbying campaign for state-sanctioned regulation, not a shred of evidence has been presented to warrant a conclusion that the unregulated practice of interior design places the public, “unsuspecting” or otherwise, in any form of jeopardy whatsoever.
  • FACT: 12 government agencies have studied the need for interior design regulation and without exception, all recommended against any type of regulation on the basis that it would add absolutely nothing to the protection of the public beyond that which is already in place.
  • FACT: Of the more than 600 disciplinary actions brought against the interior design community in the last five years by the Smith, Thompson firm on behalf of the State Board, not a single individual was prosecuted for having harmed the public.
  • FACT: According to the Better Business Bureau and other sources, since 1907 only 52 lawsuits have been filed against interior designers, in the entire country, and contract issues, not safety concerns, clearly dominate the claims asserted. If the pro-legislation faction’s claim had any legitimacy, it would stand to reason that consumer advocacy groups, the Division of Consumer Affairs, states’ Attorney General’s Offices, etc., would be converging upon the state legislatures demanding regulation of the multitude of unqualified, dangerous designers who are allegedly harming the public in the commercial spaces each day. Nothing of the kind has occurred.
  • FACT: There has been no public outcry from consumers indicating that they have been unfairly treated, physically harmed or that they are confused about interior design services. The public does not lack the ability to make informed choices about who they retain for design services – they do not need, nor is it appropriate, for the government to take this decision out of the hands of the consumer and dictate who they may or may not hire.
  • FACT: The only ones clamoring for “regulation” are a small handful of industry insiders who are looking to the state to “regulate” their competitors who obviously are contending for business and earning a living without any public concern.

Your assertion, “Education has already come into question by some who support the initiative to abandon licensing of Interior Designers nationwide,” is also unsupported and deliberately misleading. Susan Morgan, President ASID FSC recently published similar rhetoric declaring that the IDPC and the Institute for Justice are “NOT interested in education and experience and have little regard for public safety.” Yet, neither FSU nor Morgan supplies any evidence to support such provocative claims.

  • FACT: IDPC is a strong advocate of higher education and private certification as a means of increasing knowledge and ability as well enhancing market presence – the IDPC does not believe, nor is there any supporting empirical evidence, that there should be a government mandated, single-entry method into the field. And any comments purporting that IDPC has “little regard for public safety” or would in any way place “an unsuspecting public in potential harm” are ludicrous and serve only to undermine the credibility of the author.

Moreover, you assert, “We believe the only way to [promote the protection of the public in matters of health, safety and welfare] is to maintain laws that protect an unsuspecting public from potential harm brought about by those who are under educated and/or inexperienced attempting to practice in a discipline in which they are not qualified.” Kindly provide us with even one example of a consumer being harmed by interior design services performed by someone you and/or FS481 deems as “uneducated” or “inexperienced.” The absence of pragmatic substantiation for this inflammatory statement reduces this claim to nothing more than a scare tactic with which to ensure impressionable students will march in lockstep with your own political agenda. This kind of heavy-handed influence is inappropriate in an educational setting which should embrace the principles of honesty, integrity, and academic freedom. You may recall the incident of student coercion which took place at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in June and in which AIP President George Pry subsequently acknowledged and allegedly remedied. Undue influence of students to support an instructor’s own political agenda, particularly without being presented with both sides of the issue should not be allowed to go unchecked in any institute of higher learning.

Further, in your email of September 10th to educators in various institutions, you strongly advocate both Janice Young, President of the Interior Design Associations Foundation and IDAF itself. As you may be aware, IDAF recently revamped its website, and the new site contains a plethora of statements about interior design regulation which are blatantly false, misleading, and so nakedly partisan that we believe it is inappropriate for a state university to advocate it to students, other educators, or to the public at large. A sampling of some of the deliberately untruthful statements is attached to this document.

A question has also circulated as to why Mr. Wiedegreen uses the appellation “Allied” ASID, as that is generally associated with non-NCIDQ certified members. It would certainly give the impression of hypocrisy for Mr. Wiedegreen to be publically advocating the NCIDQ as the minimum standard for entry into interior design for everyone else, yet be “unqualified” to practice under his own scheme.

Lastly, your assertion that “the IDPC has mounted a nationwide campaign targeting students for membership” is blatantly untrue. While we freely acknowledge that student outreach and education regarding the negative impact of regulation is an important issue that needs future attention and action, no such operation has been enacted to date, either through email, postal mail, seminars, or any other means. Perhaps the time has come to begin, though.

In conclusion, we respectfully request that The Florida State University (1) send a retraction of the inaccurate information regarding the IDPC in its September 4, 2009 letter to all recipients, and (2) send a retraction of its recommendation of IDAF/Janice Young in your email of September 10, 2009, to all recipients including but not limited to students and educators, with copies sent to our email address above.

In the future, if you should have a question regarding any of IDPC’s positions, please feel free to contact us for clarification and/or accuracy, and cease distributing unsubstantiated assumptions.


Patti Morrow Executive Director

cc: T. K. Wetherell, President, Florida State University

Charlie Crist, Governor of Florida

Clark Neily, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice

Ed Nagorsky, General Counsel, National Kitchen and Bath Association

June 23, 2009

Student coercion swept under the [designer] rug

AIP officials sweep interior design coercion under the [designer] rug.

In a letter responding to multiple requests from the Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC) requesting action on an inappropriate assignment, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (AIP) has indicated that they consider the matter resolved and are not open to further discussion.

At issue is instructor Laura Musulin’s extra credit assignment entitled “IDLCPA Support” in which she offered to award students 20 extra points if they provided proof that they’d lobbied legislators to support Pennsylvania HB 1521, a bill to license interior designers that is currently before the House.  “It is totally unethical for a teacher to use such heavy-handed intimidation to influence impressionable students into supporting their own personal political agenda, in this case to support licensure proposed by the Interior Design Legislative Coalition of Pennsylvania on whose board Musulin sits.” said Patti Morrow, executive director of IDPC, “especially since no alternatives were offered, nor any information provided on the negative implication such legislation could have.”

Morrow, who first broke the story on June 11th, has made repeated attempts to persuade AIP administration that swift and corrective action to educate students about the improper assignment should be initiated by the school.  Under pressure from Morrow and others, AIP President George Pry finally admitted the “nature of the extra-credit assignment offered is inappropriate,” but according to students, not a word on this issue has been mentioned to them.  “It is of paramount importance that these students be issued an apology and an explanation of exactly why Ms. Musulin’s actions were inappropriate,” added Morrow.

Public reaction has been nothing short of outrage.  “This represents a gross perversion of the education system, the students’ grading process, and general tenets of intellectual freedom,” commented Bill Barrett, executive director of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.  “Whether you support or oppose such legislation, no one should be using students’ grades to generate support for a proposed law. Students should be encouraged to investigate the issue from all sides and make up their own minds. In this case, they were not. They were bribed.”

Kelly Spewock, AIP Interior Design Department Chair, initially responded to the complaint, stating, “Students had the opportunity to research and evaluate opposing views.”  However, according to Johnny Matia, a student in Musulin’s class, that assignment was only offered a week after the controversy exploded, and was never formally announced by Musulin, but just quietly posted on the school’s student server a few days before the semester ended.  “At the very least, this certainly gives the appearance of a cover-up,” claimed Morrow.

President Pry contends that the matter has been “sufficiently investigated, addressed and resolved.”  Morrow disagrees.  “Since the students have not been addressed, and until such time as they are made aware of Ms. Musulin’s impropriety, the matter is most definitely not resolved.”

A request has been made for Barrett and Morrow to jointly address AIP students on October 14th.  To-date, AIP has not responded.

“We’ve known for a while that student indoctrination was occurring,” added Morrow.  “We are just beginning to see how blatant and widespread it is, and we are considering launching a major nationwide investigation.  This could prove to be the proverbial Pandora’s box of interior design regulation.”

IDPC Letter to AIP 06-15-09:

IDPC Letter to AIP 06-17-09:

IDPC Letter to AIP 06-19-09:

AIP Unethical Assignment:

June 12, 2009

IDPC responds to AIP denial of heavy-handed influence

Thank you, Ms. Spewock, for your response (comment #10 posted with original article below) to the article “Coercion at a CIDA College”, clarifying that the Art Institute of Pittsburgh has not taken a position to support the latest proposed practice act in Pennsylvania and your commitment to informing students how to research so that they will be equipped to make informed decisions about important issues impacting their futures.  On that we agree.

However, it is clear that Ms. Musulin went far beyond inviting students to research this issue, and clearly did not adhere to your policy that “all extra-credit options are presented with equal consideration.”  Her extra credit assignment (click on this link to read: ) only offers the 20 additional points to those students who undertake lobbying in support of legislation.  In fact, the assignment is actually entitled “IDLCPA SUPPORT.” (emphasis added).  Nowhere on this assignment is there an opportunity to “research and evaluate opposing views” and according to the student in question, when Ms. Musulin was approached and asked for that opportunity, it was denied.  It is absolutely unethical to use this kind of intimidation and heavy-handed influence to push her personal political agenda!

I understand that subsequent to the publishing of our article, the concerned student has received an assignment to receive extra credit points.  Kindly provide the nature of the assignment, and whether or not the rest of the class also received an “equal opportunity” to do this assignment.  If this assignment was given only to the concerned student in a surreptitious manner, it would certainly give the appearance of impropriety – that of bribing his silence, which I’m sure you would not condone.  Unfortunately, under-the-radar techniques are the hallmark of the pro-regulation camp, and as the overseer of vulnerable students, you would obviously want to shield them from such tactics.

In addition, it is one thing for impressionable students to hear the facts about licensing (provided both sides are presented); it is totally another thing for them to be force-fed baseless propaganda.  The introductory section on the assignment in question contains the following inappropriate and blatantly false statements:

  • The bill now has a number and needs to move quickly through the House.  It is inappropriate to imply to students that a fair legislative procedure involves “shoving” a bill through the process.  Declaring it has to “move quickly” implies a deceptive practice whereby the other side will not have equal access to a fair hearing or due process.  Is that how we want our students to be first introduced to the legislature?  I think not.
  •  Only a registered design professional” may implement the IBC code.  This statement is absolutely false.  Again, students should hear the facts, not counterfeit propaganda.  Since Ms. Musulin is a board member of IDLCPA, she should certainly be aware that IDPC has written extensively on this issue, providing the actual language of the IBC, which contradicts Ms. Musulin’s and IDLCPA’s statements.  If Ms. Musulin wishes to cling to false information, that is her right, but allowing misinformation to be presented as fact certainly does not “present students with a clear understanding of the issue” in compliance with AIP’s mission. Click here for accurate information about the IBC:

Diametrically opposed to your statement of AIP’s position, Ms. Musulin DOES “wish to influence its students toward a particular “side” of the issue.” Manipulating her students and using them as pawns to accomplish her political objective is shameful and the national design community is outraged.   This information was sent out to approximately 30,000 designers throughout the country, which after the pass-through might well have exceeded 100,000 designers.  I’ve already received numerous emails from across the country about this situation and the AIP.  This is a serious matter, Ms. Spewock, that needs to be addressed head-on, and not with glossy platitudes about freedom of thought which don’t comport to the facts.  Ms. Musulin should be held accountable for her actions.

We appreciate your commitment to provide an excellent and fair learning environment at AIP and look forward to hearing that (1) this important issue has been resolved, and (2) it will not recur in the future.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me.  I would welcome the opportunity to have a dialogue on this issue.

Patti Morrow

Executive Director, IDPC

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