barbie vs. building code – part one

Later this year, Mattel will introduce a new toy that caught our attention. In the 52 years that Barbie’s perky self has been around, she has had over 125 careers but this year she will be hitting the streets with blueprints and hard hat in tow. That’s right – Architect Barbie will be released in Fall of 2011 and it got us thinking…

You’re probably wondering at this point why dolls have anything to do with Building Codes and you’d be right to question us. What made our gears start turning was the fact that an Architect’s role is, at least, well known enough to have kids understand what this Barbie would do on a day to day basis in her career. But could the same be said for our profession?

Though the role of Interior Designer is still under debate in many states [including ours], Texas currently has a Title Act for Registered Interior Designers. It applies to those of us who have proven competency in the knowledge requirements of our field through licensing examinations.  It allows us to use the Title “Registered Interior Designer” and provide sealed Construction Documents for any non-structural work that falls within our scope. However, if you asked anyone on the street what they believe we do each day at our offices the responses are, typically, only partially correct…

Most think that what they see on HGTV programs is the full extent of our abilities but in reality many Registered Interior Designers do not do any residential design or mix residential in with the many commercial projects they do throughout the year. The selection of paint, fabrics, furniture, and accessories is definitely part of what we do but it’s actually a smaller percentage of the work than you’d imagine. Before we ever get to ‘the fun stuff’ we listen to our clients needs about how their business functions to get through the Programming and Schematic Design phases.

Our next post will go into detail about some of the processes we go through as Interior Designers – above and beyond what you might think we do…


Janna Paulson, RID, IIDA, LEED AP

Janna Paulson, RID, IIDA, LEED AP

President and Founder of PPDS since 1989, Janna directs and oversees company activities and personnel.