Alabama was the first state to recognize Interior Design as a legitimate profession. As the legislation gathered momentum in other states, battles were fought and won-by interior designers.

None was as tough in terms of passage as the bill in New York State, guided for more than six years by a determined woman architect and interior designer, Ruth Lynford. New York, with a large number of interior designers (10,000), was seen as a bellwether state and thus one in which architects should take a stand. That Ruth Lynford pitted herself and her small coalition of six interior design organizations against the mighty AIA and emerged successful is a lesson in the power of persistence, tactics, and sheer charisma on her part. “I was taught to take risks, to put your life on the line for what you feel is right. I just had to do what I had to do,” she explains. Once New York, Illinois, and California were in the bag in 1990, there was no turning back. Interior design was on the docket as a full-fledged profession, subject to specific exams and government regulation. It was no longer enough to be a woman of style and taste, to practice as, and call oneself, an interior designer.