This video from ReasonTV talks about interior design licensing.
Nick: With all that artistry and attitude, it’s no wonder that design shows are so
much fun but what if these people are actually putting your life and even
the president’s life at risk.
Natasha: We can’t figure out how we’re actually hurting the consumer.
Nick: Natasha has been an interior designer for more than 20 years.
Angie: I think certain people have a gift and Natasha has that gift.
Nick: Angie hired her to design her home.
Angie: My home is fabulous. She brought so much warmth to it.
Nick: She started her own business and is president of the Designer Society of
America. She has an extensive portfolio and magazine features. What she
doesn’t have is a state license.
Natasha: I’m not sure if we did ask her if she was licensed.
Nick: Should Yanza been forced to go through an extensive licensing process.
Male: I felt compelled to sponsor the Alabama interior design consumer
protection. The act insures the health safety and welfare of the consumer
in the State of Alabama.
Nick: Under the Alabama law moving a throw pillow could get you hard time,
practice interior design without a license and you could spend up to a year
Male: The public has a right to know when they hire interior designer that they
are hiring a qualified professional.
Nick: Why the stiff penalties, it’s to protect consumers says ASID, the American
Society of Interior Designers an industry group that lobby’s for licensing
Interior design is more than meets the eye. This ASID video suggest that
license and interior designers are uniquely qualified to undertake
important jobs like designing kid friendly library groups.
Female: The children’s area employs brighter colors and smaller scale furnishing
so that children are naturally attracted to the space.
Male: Apparently only government certified interior designers know that kids
like kid sized furniture. Just imagine what an unlicensed designer might
have done but the bigger issue is safety. This less 10 ways interior
designer save lives was compiled by another group that pushes for
licensing laws. Did you know that painting prison cells pink saves lives
because the color temporarily neutralizes anger and aggression?
Notice you never see any pink during prison riots. The same group implies
that confusing floor patterns and other items installed by unlicensed
designers cause 11,000 deaths each year. Every decision an interior
designer makes affects the health, safety and welfare of the public.
Nick: Really does every decision affect health and safety, well yeah, just look at
what happens when an unlicensed person like me attempts interior design.
Ynsa’s Alabama’s counterparts no longer have to worry about being in jail
because that law was recently declared unconstitutional but 22 states and
the district of Columbia regulate interior designers. In Ynsa’s state of
Florida, designers must get licenses or face stiff restrictions on what they
can do. For instance unlicensed designers may work on homes but not
Speech is also restricted, simply call yourself an interior designer can get
you into trouble.
Natasha: That was the catalyst for this entire mess.
Male: The catalyst was an add in Lincoln road magazine, the magazine published
the add for free in exchange for work Ynsa agreed to later. Ynsa say she
did not create the ad or write the copy, all that was done by magazine’s
staff. She didn’t even see the ad until the issue was published.
Natasha: They put that I was an award winning interior designer.
Male: Florida’s Board of Architecture and Interior Design saw the ad and
launched a legal case against Ynsa.
Natasha: She’s that girl. She’s calling herself interior designer.
That lead to count again shots offering crown molding and related services
got her another count. Anybody can walk into home depot, anybody, and
buy crown molding and if they’re smart enough they can install it
Male: All in all she face 5 counts $25,000 in fines and the possibility she feared
most the end of the career she loves.
Natasha: I received a cease and assist letter to stop designing. I couldn’t breathe. I
was crying so much.
Male: Why not just get a license? Well she would have to graduate from a
government approved college. Complete an apprenticeship program and
pass a long government approved test. The whole process could cost her 6
years and hundreds of thousands of dollars
Nick: I was chosen by America to be the host of my own series. So many of
America’s favorite designers are unlicensed are they putting lives at risk.
Male: Maybe the president put his own life at risk when he chose the White
House Interior Designer.
Female: He can choose absolutely anybody he wants but he’s going based on talent
and dedication and he has chosen Michael Smith.
Male: Michael Smith maybe talented and dedicated but he’s also unlicensed.
Secret Service Agents will jump between the president and a bullet so why
don’t they jump between Obama and his interior designer.
Female: It’s good enough White House and I think it should be good enough for
the rest of us.
Male: But what about those maimed and mangled bodies. I wanted to ask ASID
to name some victims of unlicensed interior design but no one there was a
available for an interview.
I did however find an answer in the Lonestar State, a group of unlicensed
designers saying there’s a bill in the legislature that would make their jobs
Female: Whether it happens in a session or not, it will happen, we will be licensed.
Female: Marilyn Roberts helped draw up the plans for this legislation. She says it’s
to protect the public safety to insure public places are designed by people
who knows safety code.
Female: Are there any examples in Texas where there has been some sort of a
safety problem because somebody that wasn’t a licensed designer
Female: Actually there are not things that I can document right now. There have
been all sorts of situations where people slip on the floor in a public
Male: Well even if people aren’t getting slaughtered by unlicensed interior
designers what about quality of work. How are consumers supposed to
know who’s good without the politician stamp of approval?
Female: Sometimes that piece of paper. I’m not sure how important it is as long as
they have the tenacity, they have the experience, Natasha have the
experience that I saw in the portfolio I liked what she did and she has a
great vision and then the end result is something that my husband and I are
Male: Is Angie Stoker’s experience typical? Well it turns out that state with strict
licensing regulations have more customer complaints that states with no
regulation so if licensing laws don’t help consumers why do groups like
ASID keep pushing for them?
Female: I hate to say this but the only thing I can come to is profit to get rid of
Natasha: You make more money if you have less competition. In this institute for
justice study find that licensing laws are especially likely to exclude
minorities and older workers from careers in interior design.
Ynsa recently relocated for her husband’s cattle ranching job. She had
hoped to travel back and forth to near by florida to practice her passion
and although regulators reduced her fine substantially she’s too afraid of
prosecution to go back.
Female: It has just made me rethink everything because I always thought that the
government protected you.
Male: She can’t afford the time and money that would take to get a license in
Florida and designing in Georgia would mean starting all over in an area
with more cows than potential customers. Plus Georgia regulates interior
design so if Ynsa does start a new business in the peach state a new band
of politicians might put her through the same old hustles for reason TV
I’m Nick Gallespe.
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