PLEASE don’t call me a dec­o­ra­tor!

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - ARTFULLIVINGBYDESIGN - LISA SAMUEL

The­words above are a state­ment res­onat­ing among pro­fes­sion­ally trained and qual­i­fied in­te­rior de­sign­ers all over the United States and Canada. For rea­sons that may not be widely un­der­stood or well known among the gen­eral pub­lic, there is a vast dif­fer­ence be­tween an “in­te­rior de­signer” and an “in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor.” In­te­rior de­sign­ers are highly trained (for- mal col­lege ed­u­ca­tion) with doc­u­mented ex­pe­ri­ence with a qual­i­fied men­tor/ teacher. In the U.S. and in­many Cana­dian prov­inces, laws have been passed re­quir- ing prac­tic­ing in­te­rior de­sign­ers to earn the NCIDQ cer­ti­fi­ca­tion; this has been in place for over 40 years and re­quires ar­du­ous guide­lines that en­able clients to have con­fi­dence in the cal­iber of work from cer­ti­fied de­sign­ers.

In­te­rior dec­o­ra­tors by stark con­trast re­quire no for­mal ed­u­ca­tion, train­ing, ex­pe­ri­ence, or li­cen­sure. The in­di­vid­ual state statutes vary as to what the ver­biage is that one can use to de­scribe their pro­fes­sion, but make no mis­take: in­te­rior de­sign­ers may dec­o­rate, but dec­o­ra­tors do not design. The ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing re­quired to be an in­te­rior de­signer is not with­out war­rant, be­cause our work af­fects the health, safety, and wel­fare of the oc­cu­pants of any given space. Safety codes and reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments gov­ern the art and sci­ence of in­te­rior design. Cre­at­ing func­tional spa­ces re­quires knowl­edge and co­or­di­na­tion within the build­ing struc­ture, ac­knowl­edg­ing the phys­i­cal lo­ca­tion and social con­text of the project. Knowl­edge of ma­jor el­e­ments of light­ing, plumb­ing, and build­ing sys­tems is es­sen­tial for li­censed in­te­rior de­sign­ers. They ap­ply creative and tech­ni­cal so­lu­tions that are func­tional and are ap­peal­ing to the senses and ben­e­fi­cial to the oc­cu­pant’s well be­ing and culture. The in­te­rior-design process ob­serves a very clearly de­fined method­ol­ogy, in­clud­ing re­search, study, and in­te­gra­tion of knowl­edge into the creative process— to sat­isfy the client’s needs and bud­getary re­quire­ments.

To be el­i­gi­ble to sit for the NCIDQ exam, you need a bach­e­lor’s or mas­ter’s de­gree from a Coun­cil for In­te­rior Design Ac­cred­i­ta­tion in­te­rior-design pro­gram and 3,520 hours of work ex­pe­ri­ence. There is only a hand­ful of li­censed in­te­rior de­sign­ers in Santa Fe and many, many in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tors.

There is a new pro­gram of NCIDQ Am­bas­sador’s that I am proud to be part of. This pro­gram gives newly ed­u­cated in­di­vid­u­als in in­te­rior design to seek out pro­fes­sional men­tors/train­ers who can guide and ad­vise them on the jour­ney of be­com­ing a li­censed skilled pro­fes­sional and pass­ing the NCIDQ exam. NCIDQ Am­bas­sadors are prac­ti­tion­ers, ed­u­ca­tors, or ad­vo­cates who are stel­lar ex­am­ples and mo­ti­va­tional role mod­els of the in­dus­try.

There is much work to be done in ed­u­cat­ing the pub­lic as to the dif­fer­ence of in­te­rior design and in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tion, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing “design TV” that in­ter­change­ably uses the terms “dec­o­ra­tor” and “de­signer.” So, please don’t call me a dec­o­ra­tor!

Lisa Samuel ASID, IIDA, is a Santa Fe na­tive and prin­ci­pal of Samuel Design Group, lo­cated in the heart of down­town Santa Fe. She is an award-win­ning in­te­rior de­signer known for cre­at­ing unique in­te­ri­ors im­bued with warmth and elegance. Lisa ([email protected]­sign­ is pas­sion­ate about good design that sup­ports well-be­ing.


An ex­am­ple of light­ing de­sign, ap­pro­pri­ate fin­ishes as well as fur­ni­ture de­sign in a newly con­structed space

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