Interior designer gets license, society membership

June 01, 1994|By From Staff Reports

Lately, for Maryl Harshey good things have been coming in bunches.

Not only is her interior design studio, Maryl Interiors in Westminster, the first in Carroll County to become licensed under a new state law, but the owner has been inducted as a professional into the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

"I've been waiting for this for so long," Ms. Harshey said.

For several years, ASID pushed Maryland's legislators to license designers and hold them to a professional standard, as is done with hair stylists, Ms. Harshey said.

The legislation was passed in 1993, and the state found the money in 1994 to implement the program, she said.

"The public does not know the difference between a decorator and a designer," Ms. Harshey said.

Usually, a decorator is interested in putting colors and styles together for a client, she said. A designer, she said, has the same interests as a decorator, but has taken courses in architecture, art history, furniture and textiles.

A designer also works with space planning and has a knowledge of building codes, she said.

"People don't know and it's not fair to them," Ms. Harshey said. "The industry wanted people to meet a certain criteria to inform and protect the public."

For Ms. Harshey, the new license also means graduating from allied membership in ASID to recognition as a professional member. Both honors required completing college courses in interior design and a number of years of experience in the field, she said.

"The number of years' experience depends on your educational background," Ms. Harshey said. "Different schools have different classes for a degree, but ASID has a number you need for membership, such as architecture, furniture, art history, drafting, textiles and lighting."

Among Ms. Harshey's credits are completing the interior design courses at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, working for a design firm in Baltimore and running her own design firm for 14 years.

But Ms. Harshey did not graduate from the Maryland Institute.

"I completed all the credits I needed for ASID," she said, adding that she had been a registered nurse until her four children entered school. "I did an internship for six months as part of the Maryland Institute program and then worked for a large design firm in Baltimore, Eloise Childs and Associates."

Meryl Interiors in Westminster was created after Ms. Childs was killed in an automobile accident 14 years ago, Ms. Harshey said.

"I like people, basically," Ms. Harshey said of why she became an interior designer.

"I love color and design and the excitement of creating something beautiful, pleasing and helpful to others."

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