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AIA Small Project Design (SPD) Knowledge Community supports, celebrates, and promotes small projects by engaging designers and the public.

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Designers/Interior Designers

  • 1.  Designers/Interior Designers

    Posted 09-18-2019 05:39 PM
    My work is primarily residential architecture. I work with a builder, too, who is good with interior design. I have this one residential project that was just completed where the builder, homeowner and I worked on paint and tile selection. Towards the end of the project, the homeowner hired an interior designer to help with furniture. I recently checked the interior designer's website and in her gallery of pictures, she showed pictures of this project's bathrooms, kitchen finishes, and other details that the builder worked on without the interior designer's input. In other words, she is taking credit for other people's work. I don't know how to approach this issue. Any suggestions?

  • 2.  RE: Designers/Interior Designers

    Posted 09-19-2019 05:27 PM
    It happens more than you think.  Send a friendly email saying that you were happy to have worked on the project with her, and ask if she would be so kind to add credit to the other people that worked on the team. I have found that approach has worked, unless there was a blatant attempt to take credit for other people's work.

    Andreas Charalambous AIA
    FORMA Design, Inc.
    Washington DC

  • 3.  RE: Designers/Interior Designers

    Posted 09-20-2019 11:02 AM
    This is not the first time this happened. Another designer on another project did the same thing. She came in to do furnishings only and posted pictures of interior details. I sent her a nice email telling her to give credit to the builder who did the interior design work. She did but it was in small text at the very bottom of the pictures. You could hardly see it. It's just disheartening to see this kind of practice among interior designers. I don't want to go to any legal means since we are just a small business. 
    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond! 

  • 4.  RE: Designers/Interior Designers

    Posted 09-19-2019 06:56 PM
    The most friendly thing to do would be to telephone the designer and in a diplomatic way discuss the matter with him or her.  You might give the designer an "out" by suggesting that posting the photos in question must have been an innocent oversight.  I would do this before taking any other action.  If the designer argues they feel they are within their rights to post the photos, you can explain your point of view.  Making a big stink about the issue with the owner, contractor, or others would only make you look small and petty.  I recommend reading Ralph W. Emerson's essay on "Compensation" where he says one cannot be cheated in life, nor can one cheat in life, because Nature seeks balance and any injustice is inevitably corrected.

    Robert Larsen AIA
    Robert R. Larsen, A.I.A.
    Denver CO

  • 5.  RE: Designers/Interior Designers

    Posted 09-19-2019 08:49 PM
    I think the first thing to understand is what do you want as the results

    Do you want her to credit you for the work you did on her site or do you want her to take the work down.

    You could contact the designer and work it out a solution.

    Otherwise get a lawyer or your lawyer to send a letter to take the information down or you are going to take her to court.

    Good luck

    David DeFilippo AIA
    Tsoi Kobus Designs
    Boston MA

  • 6.  RE: Designers/Interior Designers

    Posted 09-19-2019 10:50 PM
    Thank you David for a good response. I have received many suggestions in private. However, your response is out of the box, which gives me something to think about. What do I want to accomplish. I don't need credit, the builder does not need credit. We only want that she does not take credit for work she did not do. It boggles my mind that they have the nerve to do this.
    I had the same problem with another designer and I wrote a nice email to tell her to give credit to the builder. She did in small text at the very bottom of the picture.

  • 7.  RE: Designers/Interior Designers

    Posted 09-20-2019 11:25 AM
    Please excuse me for "double-dipping" here but I'd like to add to my previous comment.
    It is really unfortunate in our day and age that people don't TALK to one another, but resort to writing impersonal emails ( which can easily be misinterpreted ) or sic their lawyer on someone.  Dale Carnegie would counsel against passing judgement on others, ( as would a certain spiritual teacher 2000 years ago ) but rather to give them the benefit of the doubt.  Why not invite this person out to lunch which might give you an opportunity to not only discuss this matter face to face, but perhaps actually make a friend and future working relationship?

    Robert Larsen AIA
    Robert R. Larsen, A.I.A.
    Denver CO

  • 8.  RE: Designers/Interior Designers

    Posted 09-20-2019 06:53 AM
    Is any of the work she claims yours? If not, then it's not your battle.The builder should call her on it and request the photos be taken down.  If not, a letter from his attorney threatening a law suit should work.

    If it is actually some of your work (drawings) then you should call her on it and request the photos be taken down.  If not, report her to the State Board for practicing architecture without a license..

    Please note my new email address 
    John A. Feick, AIA, CSI, LEED AP 
    224 East Water Street 
    Sandusky, Ohio 44870 
    419-625-2554 (w) 
    419-656-3017 (c)

  • 9.  RE: Designers/Interior Designers

    Posted 09-20-2019 09:32 AM
    Interior designers hired at the furnishings phase "finish" the spaces that we've created. Their work can enhance or ruin the space, or may just be meh. I much prefer to team with an interior designer early in the project but often, the owner isn't ready to think about that when they have so many architectural decisions to make.
    The interior designer, in my opinion, has a right to show their work, no matter how minor. People love to see the tumbler and soap dispenser that were selected for the master bath vanity. Likewise the canisters and towels and other accessories in the kitchen.
    I think you might ask the designer to credit you and the builder on their webpage and you could do the same for them. That makes it clear that there was a team involved. Approach the designer positively and professionally. If you like how the designer fitted out the spaces, you may have found someone to work with in the future.

    Carol De Tine AIA
    Carriage House Studio architects LLC
    Portland ME