Forum for debate...Houzz: Damaging Professions or Public?
jen046
December 15, 2013 in Other
A debate has stated on a homeowner's dilemma thread that is very interesting, but distracting from the homeowner's issue. I'm starting a new dilemma for those interested in pursuing the discussion. Here is the link to the start of the discussion. http://houzz.com/discussions/770044 . Please refrain from posting any further comments on these issues there.

The issues:

Is Houzz (and other self-help design forums, shows, etc) causing damage to the design, building, architecture industries, or is decline in some of those professions inevitable?

Does Houzz (etc) do damage to the public by giving non-professionals a false sense of security as to their ability to tackle projects best left to professionals?

Does the entertainment value of Houzz outweigh other issues?

Is there a way to mitigate the more damaging (potentially) aspects and still allow a forum for entertainment and discussion among those who are design enthusiasts, but will never be professionals, nor will they likely hire one to decide what pillows accent their decor?

Anyone game here?
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dclostboy
Anyone who qualifies to participate on houzz as a professional can choose to do so OR NOT. Houzz provides a forum for discussion and ideas...as such, anyone is free to participate OR NOT. Incendiary or defamatory comments do not have a place on this site.
25 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 1:39PM
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PRO
Eagledzines
If I want to ask my neighbor his/her opinion, I will. If I want to hire an architect I will. If I want to get my name out there, I'll advertise and leave teaser answers. If my answers are crafted correctly, someone who is going to hire, will want more answers or an expounded answer from me. Not all professionals have great ideas, not all neighbors have lousy ideas. The internet has changed many things and it's not going to go away.
28 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 1:43PM
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sondramartina
Eagledzines did you mean this?
6 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 1:48PM
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PRO
Kevin Patrick O'Brien Architect, Inc.
Houzz.com is also a form "social media", so topics can drift from time to time. I think it is a great forum for professionals and all forms of design enthusiasts! I think it has personally helped me "hone" my listening and communication skills. I really enjoy participating and I hope my advice is helpful to anyone choosing to build their dreams!
31 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 1:58PM
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PRO
FINNE Architects
I think HOUZZ is terrific. Obviously, the advice given is very limited in scope, and almost everyone understands that situation . This site has put me in touch with several new clients.
21 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 1:59PM
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jen046
Dclosetboy, I agree that comments should be kept civil and respectful to the idea that we are all entitled to our opinions. Debates like this--in my opinion--do have a place on Houzz, just not on a homeowner's decorating dilemma. This conversation is fascinating to me. I love the mix of ideas and opinions I read here.

As a professional myself (law, not design), I can certainly understand those professionals who object to the perceived irresponsibly of allowing every-day people to "practice" design.

On the other side, I love to participate in ideas for those struggling with design issues. Yes, maybe I'm a "wanna-be" designer, but I would never tell someone how to tackle a structural issue. Also, I wouldn't take the advise of a non-professional on something as critical to my family's safety as a structural issue.

I would (and have) take advise from a non-profession as to what might be a good fabric for reupholstering my lounge chairs.

My point is that credit for intelligence to the non-professional Houzzers should be given and considered in this debate.

As for the decline of certain industries by the easy availability of free information, I say this is just the march of technology and cannot be stopped. I'm sure those making horse buggies and carriages were mortified about the invention of the automobile and were busy decrying it due to safety issues. That didn't work very well to stop the public's desire for more efficient, flexible, cost effective transportation, did it?
24 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 2:00PM
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printesa
This forum is great. We get to see ideas and discuss just as one would discuss with a friend or neighbour. Getting information or opinions from this site does not cause any damage to those whose profession is to design or landscape or anything that has to do with a home. There are people who want to get some ideas from here and then go with those ideas to a professional ( I did that for my landscape). Others cannot afford hiring a professional and they need some help from those who are enthusiastic about decorating. I also think that this forum helps a lot the pros by giving them the possibility to show their work. It's not easy finding a professional for certain projects. Times change and we need to adapt.
5 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 2:14PM
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jen046
By the way, my comments today included (1) that the size of the artwork above the fireplace was fine; (2) a suggestion to add three additional photos or canvases to increase the scale of a wall montage; (3) various nonsense on a slightly tipsy, goofy post I made on Friday night that included an anatomically-correct version of the Christmas Story leg lamp without skin; and (4) questioning whether a rug under a dining table might be too narrow. I feel extremely comfortable I have not participated in the unauthorized practice of design...at least today! ;)
18 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 2:21PM
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jen046
Bye-bye for now, everyone. I'm going upstairs to my home office to participate in the completely authorized, state-sanctioned practice of law.
7 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 2:26PM
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S. Thomas Kutch
I don't know a single professional (interior designer, architect or contractor) who is threatened by the forums of Houzz. I suspect that Fahrenheit and Rowena are one in the same and not faring very well in their "professional" endeavors and it's easier to blame all the "wanna bes" than to face reality............
17 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 3:10PM
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Ann
Houzz is wonderful social media for those of us who love to chat about homes. I have received wonderful suggestions, but only a portion of my favorites were from pros. There are some very talented "wanna bes" on this site and the mingling of ideas is extremely useful.
12 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 3:41PM
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mefor
The "pro" who sparked the debate doesn't seem to actually exist. Way too many bogus profiles being created lately. It's getting a little ridiculous.
This is a great site for knowledable people whether they are pros or not. The talented pros that most of us would recommend or work with, aren't threatened by the good advice given by amateur enthusiasts. The whole issue is really ridiculous. People should pour their angst and intensity into worthwhile pursuits that will make a greater impact on society. Just because we all love it doesn't mean it will cure cancer, or save the world, but it will bring a smile to our faces and make us happy.
17 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 4:35PM
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PRO
KShoa
Really? What's the benefit of creating a bogus profile? So odd. I never even thought about it. Pretty soon, Houzz will have to moderate the comments area, and the site will go downhill from there.
2 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 5:18PM
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J Petempich
A person may want to create problems between professionals and us who just love looking at design and ideas. Maybe someone who wants to stir the pot and sit back and see what happens. After giving advice on where to keep a toilet plunger, I can see it happening.
9 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 5:31PM
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hayleydaniels
This is the first fight I've seen on Houzz, and frankly, it renews my faith in the snarkiness of the internet. I've been on health forums where the fights went on for days and days with people threatening to kill themselves! Of course, I stayed out of them, but this is mild in comparison.

As to whether Houzz is killing designers' businesses, how many people with an income less than $150K can afford to hire one? And while the homes featured on Houzz are worth millions if not tens of millions of dollars, how many users actually live in one? Maybe 25%. Look at half the pictures of peoples' homes--they're ordinary homes in ordinary neighborhoods of people trying to fix up their house on a budget. I hardly think designers need fear people like myself offering advice on where to put a chair, advising someone to hang a picture over a sofa and the like.
24 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 5:41PM
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PRO
ReSquare Architecture + Construction
I happen to think Fahrenheit holds a valid perspective but presented it so poorly and negatively as to completely undermine any reasoned discussion of the topic.

This site's treatment of the professional portion of this site is basically to assure the bare minimum it needs to do to maintain the site's attractiveness to those coming here to get at it all for free (our work, our advice, our support.) Most of us professionals accept that arrangement for various reasons. Some gain customers, some gain respect, others gain a pro-bono platform. But while the site model remains one that fails to support the notion that what we do has actual monetary market value, it contributes to the decline of these professions in the whole.

The DIY portion of this forum is terrific. And it is *greatly* enhanced by the fact that professionals have been willing to post their work and time, uncompensated, for people to use freely. That's a delicate balance that Houzz must respect if they want it to continue fruitfully. If professionals feel they are being abused, they will leave, and their work and advice will leave with them.

There's no such thing as a free lunch: if you get it for free, someone else must have paid for it.
9 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 5:43PM
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Darzy
When someone is about to gut a space and spend thousands of dollars redesigning or landscaping, I (and many others) almost always suggest hiring local professionals as the design decisions are too important (and pricey) to take on-line free advice. Even though many, many pros and non-pros are so generous with their time and expertise, it cannot replace being there in person with a tape measure and good light. :) I've considered suggesting a "disclaimer" on each dilemma saying... "Paint colors, furniture, tile suggestions are only ideas and should be tested on site, in person for the best results!" lol Some people just want IDEAS and "second opinions" then move on...

But, heck, us Houzzers love design and if someone would like ideas... I'm IN!
11 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 5:50PM
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Darzy
BTW.. I think Farenheit's gripe has some merit, however.
2 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 5:53PM
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mdnotdr
I am not a professional. I can only speak from my own experience here on Houzz. I have benefited greatly from the generosity of many of the professionals on Houzz. And I have benefited greatly from the experience of lay people like myself who are living with the choices they made. I know the names of architects and interior decorators, etc. now that, prior to joining Houzz, I had never even heard of. I think Houzz is amazing in its global reach and am fascinated by all that I'm learning just by reading the articles posted and the cries for help. And it pleases me to know that every now and then I have something to offer from my own experience to someone with a dilemma. And sometimes it is simply pointing them in the direction of an article posted by one of the professionals on Houzz or a professional's response to me. It's hard for me to imagine that Houzz is detrimental to professionals. People like me have always had our opinions and likes and dislikes and monetary limitations that led us to either seek a professional or do our own thing with some input from a few friends or family. Houzz has allowed me to ask more people for an opinion on things I simply don't have the money to pay a professional for their help. I think Houzz provides great 'word of mouth' advertising for professionals. Even off-line I find myself referring to advice given by flooring specialist, architects, designers and giving the name of who ever the advice came from. Ripples in a pond.
10 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 6:21PM
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chookchook2
My own profession has gained registration inrecent years where I cannot give free advice or work, without being registered. To be registered, I not only have to be degree qualified, but have continued in formal post grad education and paid employment. I suggest Pros strive for compulsory standardised qualifications in their professions to keep standards high. One Pro on Houzz was very rude and when I looked them up on the Internet they had no formal qualifications listed on their résumé. One might say design is not life and death, but I say it involves safety of children, elderly and others. For example, the Pro who recommended an adult rocking chair in a kids playroom. Also, design involves very large sums of money. Meanwhile, there are often stoushes on Houzz, which have Pros attacking amateurs personally, or otherwise and I for one will always look up the qualifications of those Pros. and look at their work as a whole.
Secondly, and most importantly, this is a public forum, and the public will not want to hire a Pro who is perceived as having poor social skills, therefore interpersonal behaviour is closely monitored by potential clients.
13 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 6:24PM
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mkmort
Maybe the "professionals" need to move to another area where there is less competition. I know I called several to get assistance and no one called me back or was interested in the work. I'm sure the big box stores would love to have a "professional" on staff to assist customers with their selection.
7 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 6:52PM
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jen046
I helped a friend of a friend with some things in her living room when the decorator who had agreed to help her called and left a message that she was too busy.
3 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 7:23PM
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printesa
Agree that there is no free lunch, but I don't think that the help we get from this site will ruin someone's career. I buy magazines and I get ideas from there as well. I ask friends for advice. Hiring someone is not always the answer, especially for small things like hanging a painting or choosing between different pieces of furniture. For bigger projects I hire those who do what I need. It's not easy finding someone who understands or can come up with a plan for what we want. I've had to interview many pros before finding someone who actually did put thought into the plan (others just put on paper what I said without bringing anything creative). Here, we can get ideas, we find pros that we didn't even know existed. Everyone has something to gain.
10 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 7:33PM
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PRO
John James O'Brien - Design for Inspired Living
To me, social media is a vehicle for collaboration and exploring the abundance of community. I may sometimes be surprised at a question raised (or answers given) but recognize that everyone's experience differs. I do not share the view that certifications (which are a minimum standard) necessarily equate to superior performance--in any profession. They are a useful indicator of a certain foundation. They do not indicate the difference between one who gets 100% and one who gets 60%, or one who has 20 years of experience underpinning practices or 6 months.

Houzz offers a means for professionals to reveal who they are through interaction in the community as much through posting project portfolios and links to websites. Houzz also offers insights for the general public and professionals into the variety of practice. I am surprised sometimes that there's an assumption that US practice is universal and best. But, the size of the US market leans toward that perspective in many domains. It is a privilege for those of us in Canada to draw from practice models that reflect both North American and Commonwealth thinking. I'm grateful to have lived nearly a decade in Asia and have had a major project in Cyprus, offering yet more experience and perspectives on how to navigate toward realizing a client's vision and perspectives.

It's the variety of challenges faced, expectations and shared practices that brings me back to Houzz almost every day - thanks to all for participating--I try to give back as I can!
20 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 7:48PM
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rouxb
My $.02-"Is Houzz (and other self-help design forums, shows, etc) causing damage to the design, building, architecture industries"? I don't think "damage" is quite the right description but I think DIY/forums certainly have an impact. That being said, though, technology is changing everything and businesses will need to innovate, adapt or die. As for the "professionals" and their manner of expressing their dissatisfaction, the reality is that no one here "owes" you anything and are in no way responsible for the direction of your lives or your businesses. I find Houzzers, for the most part, to be respectful and appreciative of the help they receive but beyond that we/they have no obligation to meld our/their behavior to your desires. Rather than lament the "destruction" of your industry, you might be better served trying to figure out how to make this site work to your advantage.
14 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 8:07PM
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Nancy Walton
Disclaimer: I am not a "professional," but I play one on Houzz, LOL! All kidding aside, many of us who take a great interest in decorating might not have a degree in Interior Design (Caps intended), but quite a few of us have degrees in art. That said, many of our core courses are the same as those for interior design. We all learn the color wheel, and all of the various optical descriptions of what our eyes do with color, along with what constitutes balance and composition. Some of might also have had jobs in our working life that lent us to learning a little bit more than "Your average bear," to quote Yogi Bear.

I went to the discussion that led to this discussion, and I agree with dclosetboy, in that if you do not like something, either quit doing it or try to change it. I sincerely hope that the people who started Houzz don't try to turn it into a "pay for advice" site, because I, for one, will no longer participate if that is what it becomes. I read an article about the founders of Houzz.com, and it is a multi-million dollar enterprise for them now. At least we are not YET(!) innundated with advertising. I'm sure that sites we recommend to shop from are somehow connected to Houzz, but I'm not sure HOW.

And yes, I have been treated rudely at times when I post to others' dilemmas, but I have yet to post a dilemma of my own that I haven't done exactly what I wanted to do, despite others' suggestions. That is another bone to pick--about how some "Pros" post their comments. It feels like they are giving orders instead of suggestions.
12 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 8:24PM
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armygirl1987
But I see also that Houzz has become a haven for bully's who can hide behind a computer screen.
7 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 8:33PM
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chookchook2
Don't you let em Army, we have your back.
3 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 8:36PM
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Nancy Walton
Hear, hear, Angela!
4 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 8:37PM
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armygirl1987
Oh don't you worry as I have a life outside of Houzz. I love coming on here and have gotten huge help so for me it is a process. I have realized that you cannot satisfy everyone all the time. I would also think that as others have said that you should be able to use this site to your advantages vs complaining.
5 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 8:46PM
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PRO
Closet Experts
Ahh, Nancy Walton, I think you bring up an important point that differentiates the community. If Houzz is a multi million dollar enterprise, where does that revenue come from? I can tell you as a pro, I am regularly solicited for additional levels of participation. And we are not led to believe this is a "self-help design" site.

I am thankful to jen046 for posting this thread. I think every pro would be well advised to read it to develop their own strategy for participation on Houzz. I will be adapting mine.
4 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 8:54PM
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Lesley Delle_Grazie
I love Houzz for ALL of the ideas I see thrown around, and sometimes I throw my 2 cents in when it's something I've had experience with. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, not just the professionals, and I appreciate hearing from people who have actual experience with products, or something they've tried, be it a good or bad outcome. At the end of the day, we all have free will to choose what advice we will take, and what advice doesn't suit us, for whatever reason. Sometimes you just need an objective opinion. Am I going to paint every room in my house grey because all the designers say I should, because it's the latest trend? Probably not, I'm not a fan of it. Am I going to listen to a "lay-person" who had a bad experience with a rug, or a piece of furniture I'm looking at purchasing. I probably will, or I will at least enquire further. I like to feel I have made an educated decision with most things in my life, and Houzz is just one small piece of my DIY "degree". I love to learn from everyone and I think it would be unfortunate if all of the designers left Houzz, whether they actually wanted to or not.
13 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 9:08PM
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PirateFoxy
The thing is, from reading Houzz there are now situations where I would definitely say 'okay, I see where the value is going to come from if I hire a professional' and just do that, where before I might have held back because I wasn't sure if it'd be worth the expense.

Are there things where thanks to advice on Houzz I probably will do things myself? Sure. But I'm not a person who is going to hire a pro for every single thing anyway. I'm creative and artistic and I like doing these things and I enjoy the process even if I do make the occasional mistake.
10 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 9:23PM
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armygirl1987
I am not a pro and will not claim to be one but the help that I can give is from someone who just recently went through major updates in her house and can speak on the good and bad of the items that I have used. I have gained huge insights into a lot of things that a few months ago I would have never had any idea what to do. But I also used a local interior designer when I was stuck and lost. I also called local pros and never get any call backs or have a company come to my house and when they realized that my job was small never called me back to collaborate on the job.
10 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 9:30PM
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studio10001
Perhaps homeowners can help address one of the site issues for pros by leaving reviews when they have been helped by someone.
10 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 9:47PM
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mveasey
Has anyone even considered people who live in the middle of nowhere, that are at least lucky to have internet access? I had one person posting a dilemma that said he could not even get a plumber to come to his place because it was too far away. These people cant just have architects, designers and trades swarm around their project, because of their location.
But at least they can gather information, ideas and not to forget at least camaraderie.
On a personal level, I enjoy the ideabooks very much, saves money and space on magazines.
I live in a fairly rural locale myself and wish I would have found more people here with similar design interests. Houzz bridges this gap for me.
I wish I could meet some of the participants personally, since I keep "bumping" into them in the ideabooks and dilemma comments section over the last year. It is wonderful to be connected at least in a digital way.
19 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 10:22PM
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PirateFoxy
@studio10001 - Maybe part of the issue is that my instinct as a non-pro participant is that reviews only apply if you've paid for assistance, not if someone is just very helpful in comments on a dilemma? If that's not how they want Houzz to work then I feel like it would be good if that was more explicitly stated or there was an easy way to add a review FROM the comments page - so I can leave a review that's accurate. (Not that I think that people will give worse advice to paying clients, but I think the client-pro relationship is very different if you've hired someone versus if you just got helpful comments on a public post. So I don't feel like I can properly comment on how someone would be if they were involved in a project 'on the ground' start to finish, you know? Likewise if I was a paying client, I wouldn't feel like I could comment on how useful someone's online comment contributions were.)

An unrelated point about the non-pros issue - professional in what area? Some of the questions that have come up where I've participated a fair bit are related to aging in place or accessibility considerations. While I'm not a design pro or an accessibility specialist, I have worked for more than ten years caring for people with disabilities or mobility issues from injuries, plus having my own problems. So my professional experience is potentially very applicable to solving questions relating to designing a room or home when dealing with those issues. Should I not participate here because I'm not a design professional, even though my comments (and those of other people with similar experience) might help a design professional do their job better? What about my friend who is a computer professional who might be able to give very good advice about systems to make 'smart' houses or rooms? He's not an interior professional either but I'd certainly go to him for help.
11 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 10:30PM
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jen046
Another wonderful byproduct of Houzz is the opportunity to enjoy the company of like-minded (and not so like-minded) enthusiasts. I've come to feel I know some of them and would enjoy their company in person if the opportunity were ever to arise. Nice folks for the most part. A community of sorts.
12 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 10:32PM
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Darzy
@jen...lots of nice folks on Houzz like yourself. Some even have a secret recipe for the perfect martini. :)
9 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 11:00PM
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studio10001
Pirate, I think you are probably not alone in that feeling. Wording is certainly important in a review, so that the interactions are made clear. I appreciate when OPs specify that they received online advice, or that so-and-so took the time to give great ideas, and they look forward to being able to implement some of them w time. I haven't seen anyone link a comments page yet, but that might not be a bad idea,too.
Re. site use -I think both sides of the pro line are frequently solicited for greater participation, and all of us need to determine how to adjust our involvement to greatest advantage, whether that is through target marketing opportunities, or targeting needed services.
Meantime, I am waiting to eavesdrop on that secret ingredient...and for the Houzz Kilt Calendar......
5 Likes   December 15, 2013 at 11:31PM
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shelleyuk
I think there is a place for both professionals and amateurs. Some people will never ever pay to use a designer. The cost is simply prohibitive and for the vast majority of those on normal incomes, the proportion of their hard earned cash that would go on a designer could actually be used to pay for repairs to the roof for example or a new cooker or new lighting.

Others have vast amounts of money (as we know just from looking at all the wonderful pictures on here) and the cost of the designer simply isn't an issue for them. Or there are those who don't have vast amounts of money but who just don't have the confidence to go with their own ideas.

We are very fortunate in that we do have a good income but I still wouldn't use an interior designer. We wouldn't perceive value in it when we have firm ideas ourselves of what we like (or at least I do, DH goes with the flow). At the same time I wouldn't dream of building a house without an architect having input.

Houzz is fab. I spend LOTS of time on here. As a resource for ideas its invaluable and its a great place to chat with people with similar interests (on the UK thread we talk practically every day - probably more than I talk to lots of my Real Life friends).

For what its worth I don't think regulation will make one jot of difference. I work in a highly regulated profession (law) but that still doesn't stop everyone having a view on things and putting that view out there for the world to see/be influenced by. I might read it and think its utter rubbish but its out there nonetheless.

Now off to search for the bunfight before I do some real work to earn money to pay for my new kitchen and hallway!
11 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 12:27AM
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PRO
OnePlan
What an interesting read, but a shame that it came about from someone being rude on a thread ... In my opinion, most of us are on here because it's a natural human response to offer help. Yes, the odd paying job from here would be nice too - and it does happen... Occasionally !!
But that nice warm feeling when you have helped someone is payment enough in most cases !
15 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 12:39AM
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shelleyuk
Having found the bunfight and read through the views I would also comment that farenheit's statement that interior design is "serious stuff" is also where part of the problem lies.

Interior design for most isn't serious stuff, its nice its fun it makes our spaces good places to spend time in. But its paint, wallpaper, cabinets and soft furnishings. The world does not come to an end if you pick a duff paint colour.

If you live in a multi million pound mansion and your life is such that you need to impress with your great sense of style then good interior design might be serious but for most of us its a "nice to have" not an essential.
30 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 12:43AM
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Victoria
I'm a medical professional, that's serious stuff.
Decor and design is a hobby, my DH is a construction professional with over 20 years experience, so I am aware of many issues having lived in the business as it were. However, I would no more suggest construction detailing than he would tell me how to manage a patient! I love Houzz, I take safety issues very seriously but I enjoy reading and occasionally commenting on threads, giving my opinion on colours, curtains etc. Hardly life or death issues!
14 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:11AM
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J Petempich
About a month ago I saw a thread of someone asking about what color curtains would go with their walls. It was pretty obvious that this question was asked by a person living in a concrete row house in a poor country or city. I was very impressed with the level of thought given by professionals and others on the color. I really had never thought of using a Pro before but because of Houzz, If I had a large project I probably would.
9 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 4:32AM
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jn3344
I am in the process of building a home and I have been using Houzz for a year or so. It has been very helpful. In the process I have been paying professionals considerable sums. So as a consumer who is currently helping to pay the bills I feel like I can offer the following observations.

Everyone has a budget. Whether it is a million dollars for a new kitchen or a thousand dollars to refurnish a bedroom. So strangers help pick out a wall color! I used to ask my mom. But you would be silly to trust your expensive renovation to strangers on the internet. Some will! But they are the same people who used to buy house plan books at the hardware store. This is not a new phenomenon.

The more I learn, the more apt I am to respect the professions. For the first time ever I hired an interior designer to help me make selections to better sell my current home. In the past I have done all that myself by trial and error. Now I have a whole list of projects to complete before spring. I could have eventually come up with some of this myself through scouring the internet or posting questions on Houzz forums. But I got a whole plan laid out for me for a very reasonable cost. When I sold my starter home it didn't matter. I am not selling my starter home this time. I need to make top dollar on the sale and I am willing to pay to get it.

That is not to say someone can't get help with their countertops from friendly amateurs on the internet. Why not? I search through the photos for design ideas. I pore over hundreds of pictures to find pendant lights for over the kitchen island, etc. Then I go out and spend money. That's the whole idea.

Someone said the internet changes everything. Well, welcome to 1995! Doctors aren't out of business because you can look up symptoms on WebMD. Lawyers aren't out of business because clients can access generic limited POA forms on LegalZoom. My thought is this particular platform is helping a lot of professionals and businesses get their businesses out there. I know it is one of the top places where I am getting my ideas from. But I am still paying. Hopefully I am a more informed consumer.

Regards.
20 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 4:51AM
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rredpenn
I think the benefit of having many sets of eyes on a project is a wonderful thing. That some of the eyes are professional while others are just interested makes the commentary all the more valuable, energetic and entertaining. To moderate it would be a mistake...it is the diversity in this particular community that keeps the discussions "real" as opposed to "produced" (ie Better Homes and Gardens articles).

The trade-off with online discussion is to tolerate some amount of trolling and rudeness. Some people just get weird behind a keyboard, and don't always think of the consequences before they hit submit. Online personas who are trolling generally get revealed as such and can be ignored. The same is true of the advertising bots who post "solutions" to dilemmas based on keywords. We know who they are and what they're doing. Sometimes they're even laughable! It's obvious who the genuinely honest personalities are, and it's clear that their motivation to participate in the discussions is not for professional promotion or monetary compensation.

I appreciate the Houzz discussions for what they are, and it'd be a shame to change it in any way to accommodate the disgruntled few who feel they are being used without compensation. That's not what this forum is about.
17 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 6:01AM
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Victoria
Well said rredpenn :)
5 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 6:04AM
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mefor
Lets not forget that the disgruntled only came on here to cause trouble. It's not as if the regular pros on here are complaining about not being compensated for their advice. You don't come onto a forum like this and expect to be paid for the advice you're giving. You hope that you'll get business down the line and that someone reading the discussion will remember you and perhaps hire you if they're looking for a pro. But answering a posters discussion isn't something you do for money. We have to remember where the complaining came from, a troublemaker looking to stir us all up.
12 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 6:22AM
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mommydecor
Houzz is an excellent resource, but it should not take the place of professional input. I love Houzz, the ideas and exchange of information is second to none. I'm building my house and designers always say, "make an idea book". With Houzz I make electronic idea books that I carry to appointments (saves paper and my shoulders).

I also use Houzz to gain information that I can do further research on. A wise homeowner looks at all the information Houzz and its agents have to offer and picks those that best suit their real life circumstances, all while working with their chosen professional. It's easy to blame an internet sight when something goes wrong, but there is no replacement for common sense. The bucks you 're spending on a project are yours alone, the buck stops with you, so make sound decisions YOU can live with. Hire a professional, use Houzz (and other home resources) as fun and interesting research.
8 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 6:22AM
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smartin1
I love Houzz, both for the beautiful photos of professionally decorated homes and for the Discussion. The things I do are normally small, since on a tight budget. Before Houzz, I never would have hired a professional, thinking I couldn't afford it. Now, I realize that they will take on smaller jobs, like color consultation, which is what I need. So....guess where I went to start looking for a pro in my area. Houzz!
14 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 6:28AM
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chookchook2
We need some professionals, and others, over here:-
http://www.houzz.com/discussions/768219
2 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 6:29AM
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rredpenn
When our newspaper went from moderated, yet free, discussion to "facebook only" discussion (in the interest of civil conversation), it just killed meaningful conversation completely. At least with the "free" discussion format, there were a much wider variety of postings. The newspaper's comments currently are from a dozen or so very vocal rabblerousers whose online personas are very predictable and frankly not worth reading.

I'd hate to see that happen here. I'd rather tolerate some bad/rude/dumb postings with the majority of good ones in order for conversation/discussion to take place. Otherwise, it's just going to morph into one or two persons' personal blogspace-- too one-sided to count as a conversation by definition.
8 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 6:38AM
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armygirl1987
Well said all, well said. Business is good.
2 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 6:42AM
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Margo
Yes, business is good, since I started commenting on Houzz, the phone is ringing off the wall....the moose industry has dubbed me *Human of the Year*...Leg lamp stock has risen to an all time high. Now, I hear my name thown around for Houzz TV lol . oh yes, they like me!!! I can now see why the PRO's may be in fear ;))))))
20 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 7:01AM
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cmarquardt1
I personally think that Houzz provides an awesome platform for designers and contractors to showcase their work. As a homeowner, I enjoy seeing beautifully designed homes and trends. It helps me to identify upcoming projects and will give my future designer and contractors a visual background for what I want to achieve. Also, what is the harm in helping someone select a paint color of give them other ideas for a project. People that whine about Houzz destroying their profession are probably not going to make it anyhow. If you are good at what you do and people like you, you will be successful.
6 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 7:14AM
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PRO
OnePlan
Nicely put ! And Margo, don't set your moose on me please !!!! :-)
5 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 7:23AM
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chookchook2
Yes, ban humour.
2 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 7:50AM
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Cathy DiVello
The value of sites like houzz cannot be underestimated for those of us living in VERY small towns in remote areas with little to no access to interior designers and architects, etc. Just helping me think outside the box is enlightening. And our talented professionals, along with passionate hobbyists can easily see solutions to problems that the less talented among us (myself included) would be beating our heads against the wall about. This site is a resource that can be used independently from, or in conjunction with paid professionals.
12 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 7:53AM
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chookchook2
A professional would have stopped painting the door when this man opened it.
http://thehande.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/facepaint.png
6 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 7:54AM
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jen046
That's my buddy Mel! I would have stopped everything I was doing if he came to my door!
3 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 8:18AM
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mefor
Back in the day, not so much now :)
5 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 8:20AM
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mefor
Yikes!!
4 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 8:22AM
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PRO
John James O'Brien - Design for Inspired Living
Cathy DiVello and, I think, a couple of others note that Houzz offers a great resource for those living in more remote communities. That's great! Ideabooks alone would be a tremendous benefit.

Some of us do provide remote services, so there's no need to feel isolated and abandoned by pros. Whether you're in an urban centrer or remote, you can still access services, and still need to find the one(s) that you are comfortable working with. Good luck on you projects!
5 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 8:31AM
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chookchook2
We named a city in Australia after him, Melbourne.
2 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 8:35AM
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syncope
What is interesting to me in this interchange is that participating on Houzz is strictly voluntary, at least as far as I know it is. Pros participate in hopes of getting new clients or because they genuinely want to help elevate design concepts or just because it's fun. Houzzers participate because it's a great inspirational source, has a world reach and offers a huge array of opinions that, while sometimes overwhelming and even contradictory, helps us to consider options and situations we might never have before. Many Houzzers who regularly comment on dilemmas are retired (or so it appears to me) and are able to spend a lot of time doing leg work for others by surfing the internet and narrowing down choices thus saving OPs a lot of time they may not otherwise have.

I enjoy Houzz because of the forums and the discussions. There are many sites that offer inspiration (e.g. Pinterest) but there's not a great way to obtain feedback. Houzz offers that. Having been a floral designer and home decorator myself, I believe it is a great resource for both Pros and non-pros. Pros can hone their "listening" skills if they choose. If they read the posts carefully, they can see how confusing the design "language" can sometimes be which can help them in communicating with their local clients. Non-pros benefit from learning more about the design world and, if they do hire someone to help them, they can speak the language more effectively. Pros can also gain insight into the needs and desires of a much larger pool of the general public and, again, if they choose, they can participate in those discussions.

Advice on here is free; and, free to be taken or ignored. My only suggestion to the Houzz developers would be to give us a way to comment on the slideshow pictures that are at the title screen. I wanted to compliment one that I found extraordinary this morning by Willey Designs but the only way I could was to ask a question. We need a way to thank the Pros for their inspiration not just make them feel we are begging for free advice.

Thank you Pros and thank you fellow Houzzers for all the inspiration, great design and wonderful fun. Have a wonderful Holiday!
12 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 9:03AM
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mefor
Fantastic Jeanne, glad you've enjoyed the site for the few minutes you've been here. :)
3 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 9:13AM
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PRO
Al Fortunato Furnituremaker
Very interesting thread. I am a professional and participate on Houzz when I think there is something I can help with. I don't always agree with some of the other suggestions given, but it's not for me to decide what to do. The original poster is the one that must make the decision based on the inputs she/he gets. After all, it's their project. I have turned down potential jobs that have come into my shop because I didn't like what the client wanted, and if I'm not interested in something, I don't do my best, no matter what the cost (i.e. painting vintage or antique furniture), therefore I don't comment on things I'm not interested or knowledgeable in.

I have met some homeowners that have done a beautiful job decorating their house on their own, and seen some pictures on Houzz of the same. But..... I do think that sites like this, and the DIY TV shows and magazines, have done those that are not "crafty" or capable, a disservice. They always make it look so easy and don't show all the problems they encountered along the way. Believe me there are always problems.

Knowledge is a wonderful thing, that's what separates the pros from amateurs. So....for those looking for advice. Take it all in and learn to separate the BS from the valid stuff. Good luck with your projects.
9 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 10:03AM
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PRO
Select Hardwood Floor Co.
I somewhat agree with Al Fortunato...
Sometimes the DIY shows (& websites) can have a negative result.
Sort of like learning JUST enough Karate to be dangerous to one's self.
8 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 11:24AM
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mystuff6838
I can see both sides of the argument, but as a "layperson" rather than a design professional, I must say that I've benefitted a lot from both the amateurs' and professionals' comments & discussions. In fact it was Houzz that LED me to HIRE a professional designer to help me make certain key decisions with which I was struggling. I've always thought of a designer as something only "rich" people hire, but he has been willing to work with me on a limited basis and I would wager that his advice has more than paid for itself by helping me find deals he knew about and helping me avoid costly mistakes.

There IS one thing I do wish Houzz would require everyone to disclose, though: in all discussions, I think it should indicate whether the person is an Professional Designer/Decorator/Architect/Builder/etc, or a Layperson (or "amateur" if you prefer).
6 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 11:34AM
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PRO
Al Fortunato Furnituremaker
@ mystuff6838 - There should be a Pro "badge" below the poster's avatar if they are or claim to be a professional. I'm sure some that have one aren't real professionals, but that's the nature of the internet. If they don't have one but are acting like one, .....well.
6 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 11:45AM
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Victoria
Al Fortunato, the pro badge only shows on the website, not on the app, maybe that should be in the next update.
6 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 12:17PM
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PRO
Al Fortunato Furnituremaker
Thanks. Didn't know that. I don't use the app.
3 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 12:22PM
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chookchook2
A word to the pros who are putting down the amateurs, either subtly or overtly. This is not fun. You might want the amateurs gone but since they are also the homeowners and renovators, if they leave Houzz because THIS IS NOT FUN then who will you sell to on Houzz? You are being manipulated by trolls. If Houzz is not fun, potential clients will leave in droves. LIGHTEN UP.
6 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 12:27PM
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chookchook2
HOUZZ, THIS IS NO LONGER FUN.
0 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Margo
mystuff6838- as you wish, I am of full transparency;))
6 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 1:26PM
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chookchook2
There is no Merry Christmas in this thread.
0 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 1:41PM
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Margo
Chook for president!!!!!!
2 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 1:43PM
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PRO
John James O'Brien - Design for Inspired Living
Well, I'll bite - Merry Christmas!
9 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:09PM
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studio10001
and Happy New Year!
7 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:13PM
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syncope
Peace on Earth and goodwill to all (Pros and non-pros alike)!
8 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:15PM
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mefor
Wonder why the man whose name was in Fahrenheit Studio's contact has removed his name?
4 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:16PM
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mefor
Could he be embarrassed for starting such a ruckus?
4 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:16PM
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mkmort
Any way to get the option on your delimma to ask a professional? Some people's delimmas do not get any advice and others get taken over. Seems there is not a happy medium. Or only one "professional" post and then nothing else. Some might even pay a nominal fee for professional advice. Like purchasing more lives for a game on FB. Or for $25 you can get a designer or two recommendations.
0 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:18PM
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mefor
Merry Christmas to all the Good People on houzz, and coal to all the mean troublemakers :)
7 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:18PM
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PRO
MS Colours Inc
Free advice is many times more opinion than advice.
2 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:37PM
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mickisue
There's a difference, though. Making mistakes in the color of your kitchen walls can be annoying, maybe time consuming. But the best gallon of paint available (that I know of, anyway) costs under $100, and annoyance and wasting time are not life threatening.

I worked as an RN for decades, and am now a wellness coach. I get paid by clients, but it's not just my clients with whom I share my knowledge. Just as so many of the professionals in this thread have said, in their own words, if you are passionate about something, you want the world to benefit from it.

I have been drop-jawed, in the months that I lurked here, at the amount of skill and knowledge that both professionals and amateurs have shared with people who have questions to ask.

The only "issue" that I have with any of the above is not the degradation of the profession, but the fact that so many posters seem terribly bossy in their comments, LOL.

Asking for opinions doesn't necessarily mean that one wants directions, rather, ideas about what directions might be fruitful, if that makes sense.

While I agree that the DIY shows make it look easy, the reality is that a lot of both the design and implementation of reno projects follow relatively easy to comprehend rules. If one is willing to learn and to follow those rules, it's very possible to complete a home project by oneself.

To use the comparison that was offered above: as noted, my background is in nursing. But at two points in my life, when I've had to go to court, I could not afford to hire an attorney to represent me, in order to collect the relatively small amount I was owed.

It took long hours, and a lot of research, but I was able to submit my own documents to the court, and both times, won my case. Do I recommend that to everyone? Nope. Would I give legal advice to anyone? Nope. I can direct them to where they can find the information, but if they are not willing or able to make use of it, for them, it's best to hire a pro.

The same goes for home renovation. And, the more complex the reno, the more likely that the homeowner will choose to hire a professional to do some, or all, of the work. I suspect that the more generous of the professionals here at Houzz benefit from that fact, and the complainers? well, they are instrumental in their own bad reputations, aren't they?
10 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:40PM
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mickisue
And dang. While I was creating this screed, you all went and got lighthearted on me.
8 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:41PM
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chookchook2
As for Margo, and Mforr and Karemore , Oneplan , Darzy, and so many generous others who freely spend so much of their time with dilemma posters, their professional caring behaviour on those serious threads could teach some so called Pros,( some of whom seem to have multiple assumed personas ), alot about professionalism. They don't make snappy remarks in truncated shorthand, they are thorough, patient and selfless. They are not flippant like me! They don't yell at the dilemma poster, as one Pro does regularly. , I have independently observed, that they take on mostly jobs that a Pro would find to be too small. They might be crazy off the serious threads, but it is to let off steam, because they are being constantly baited by one or two troll" Pros", who are giving the Pros a bad name.
I'm an Aussie, I tell it like it is, and I have nothing to gain from this. I'm very sad that most Pros have stayed away from the requiem thread of a very famous Australian Interior Designer, who pioneered many of the looks you all use now. Please visit the discussion
"Stuart Rattle Dies", and have a look at his work in the VogueLiving link. Thank you to those who have.
7 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:44PM
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mefor
Thanks Chook :)
4 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:49PM
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chookchook2
Ditto to your Dang, mickisue, but the hurtful comments are already out there for all to read, and we all know this thread will be added to constantly by people who don't read previous comments, thus perpetuating the hurt. The original poster needs to take it down.
3 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 2:51PM
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rouxb
But that is the nature of comment sections-people hide behind their anonymity. I hate negative comments and "advice" when people open themselves up by posting dilemmas, and it is a struggle for me to keep my mouth shut. It takes a thick skin sometimes to participate in on-line communities and I am learning to resist the urge to constantly take on rude posters and allow people to advocate on their own behalf. I think the original poster did a good job of standing up for herself.
7 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 3:06PM
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happyasaclam
No industry exists in stasis. An industry or individual professional who fails to embrace the changes brought on by advances in technology, consumer demand or governmental legislation will become irrelevant and/or extinct. Fighting progress is a waste of energy and resources. THAT was the economist/management/financier Pro advising Fahrenheit he better get his ass in gear, quit bitching and catch up with the rest of the world. The internet WAS NOT the beginning of non-professionals dispensing advice to other non-professionals. Who hasn't had a total stranger walk up to them and tell them what to take to get rid of their cold, how to discipline their child or how to make their car stop making that funny noise? If you are a doctor, a therapist or an auto mechanic, has television, magazines or the internet hurt your business? Who hasn't tried to save some money by DIYing it and ended up hiring a professional to do the job correctly, wasting time and money in the process? Houzz is fun! It will continue to be fun until the professionals, non-professionals and entertainment secors are segregated and prevented from interacting. Will Houzz WANT to change its current format? Since non-professionals make up the vast majority of users, and non-professionals seem to enjoy the current format, I doubt it. Houzz is a for-profit business! What mechant will purchase advertising space on a forum no one uses?
13 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 4:08PM
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unwantedadvice
Excellent point, happyasaclam!
4 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 4:51PM
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happyasaclam
Thank you, unwantedadvise :)
4 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 5:04PM
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PRO
ReSquare Architecture + Construction
One thing to keep in mind in comparing amateurs and professionals on this site is that by definition, the licensed professional is bound by certain laws to provide their services according to those laws where the amateur & "FauxPro" are not. Freely dishing out specific professional advice in regulated topics on a public forum with no contract or other agreement on the provision of those services is, by definition of most US laws, "unprofessional" and illegal on the part of a licensed professional where it is perversely not so for those unlicensed. Pros are constantly skirting that line here where the amateur is in no way so bound.

When it comes to colors, drapes, furniture selection or arrangement, the issue is essentially a moot one. When it comes to more complex issues this site's set up breaks down. Add to this that Houzz has made it quite clear they don't, and have no intention of vetting licensed status of "Pro"s here and you have a situation waiting for a problem.

Houzz could address this, but they clearly aren't interested given the number of times this comes up in the Pro-Pro section and the responses we've seen. Most Houzzers outside the Pro discussions aren't aware of the issue, and it seems Houzz likes it that way. Given that this site would not function without the photos Pros bring to the database, it is an odd position to take.

Its too bad. This site has many great qualities. It generates great interest. And serves a variety of productive uses. Addressing the issue of licensed professionalism on it would only add to it's appeal to all users.
5 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 5:25PM
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happyasaclam
Gotta be fair to the Pros - Interior Design is a regulated profession and Interior Designers are held to high standards under the law. Not adherIng to laws specific to Designers is most definitly a problem for them. And, as the terms Designer and Decorator are often used interchangeably it's easy to understand when Designers get their hackles up sometimes! So, when it come to designations, I respect the Pro badge. If someone makes their living as a Decorator, I'd like to see a Decorator's badge. But I do think FauxPro is a little harsh, ReSquare. The same goes with Landscape Designers. They deserve the Landscape Design Pro badge, whereas a someone who earns their living as a Landscaper would deserve a Landscaper badge. I don't see a place for griping and whining on Houzz. From Pros, non-pros or amateurs. It spoils the fun!
6 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 7:35PM
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Margo
2 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 7:39PM
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studio10001
It is, Resquare. At present, though,that line can be better held by practitioners than the site monitors - there are enough license holders here engaged in an 'earn while you learn' business model that vetting alone won't keep them from skirting professional standards. Mentioning what those standards are to the OPs does have an effect, though, and communicating them effectively helps the cream rise to the top. While the site may not have an interest, Houzzers do, and are known to both come to the aid of Pros in disputes of professional protocol, and to clear the field with a raise of their thumbs when excellent commentary surfaces. More are aware of the difficulties than you may give credit to, and advocate for those they trust. By fostering good relationships, each of us amplifies the power of our participation, and in doing so, we needn't wait for the site to take the lead in matters of professionalism.
8 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 7:47PM
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Margo
OK studio10001- can you translate that to layman (amateur) language;))
3 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 7:56PM
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chookchook2
No don't wait, do something, pros, report them to Houzz and professional bodies. Especially report safety concerns and weird insulting behaviour. A lovely girl, Ni was feeling disturbed by this thread today, mid dilemma. I have been made to cry by one bully Pro. Report the trolls also. Take a stand.
3 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 8:00PM
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chookchook2
Re square says Pros can't give free advice without contracts so that just leaves us Amateurs, and non Americans.
2 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 8:02PM
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chookchook2
I have a degree in my field, and 20 yrs experience. What is the minimum qualification for a Pro on Houzz to be licenced? Also what states are exempt?
2 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 8:10PM
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jen046
Studio, well said! I think Houzz is a self-policing community. Case in point: do we think we'll ever hear from Fahrenheit again?
3 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 8:13PM
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Margo
Maybe Jen, but under another profile??
5 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 8:21PM
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jen046
True colors always come out!
2 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 8:45PM
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PRO
OnePlan
So keep an eye out for 'Celsius' maybe ?! Teehee !
6 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 8:46PM
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unwantedadvice
ReSquare, while I understand your position with houzz, I also have to understand the actual houzz.com position. If they were to sanction your services as well as any other professional with a degree, certificate, or whatever, are they also not liable if something were to go wrong with a project resulting in let's say an injury or ceiling collapse? Are they not protecting themselves from a lawsuit because of something a pro did wrong?

Not to mention the fact that houzz.com would also have to know all rules and regulations from all over the world in order to represent you as a professional. Just a layperson's question.
3 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 8:58PM
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Nancy Walton
A little levity here:
16 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 9:09PM
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syncope
ReSquare raises a valid point and I think part of that point was that many non-pros haven't realized their constraints, legally speaking. One of my professional incarnations was as a paralegal. In the legal field, paralegals have only three constraints that prevent them from acting as an attorney: (1) they cannot set fees; (2) they cannot represent a client in court; (3) they cannot give legal advice. The third one is the trickiest because a paralegal can explain a legal situation but they cannot advise the client on what to do about it. Guess what the first question after the explanation always is. "So what should I do?" I couldn't tell them even when I knew that what I would say would be exactly what the attorney would say. I could relay a message from him but could not expound on it.

I think that's what ReSquare is conveying here. And Studio is absolutely correct. The pros have to police themselves since they are the ones that know an infraction when they see it. However, if the design field is anything like the legal one, those infractions will vary from state to state.

Studio is also correct in saying that Houzzers (as a whole) are a smart, considerate and understanding group of people and would respond appropriately if presented with such a dilemma for a designer.

I don't want to start another discussion entirely, but everyone is responsible for their own actions and should not really have to be policed by anyone on this or any other site. The community typically weeds them out or begins to recognize the errant voices and ignores them. Houzz is merely a means of communicating just as a telephone or email service is. To hold them responsible or ask them to take responsibility for someone's action on this site is pretty much asking them to do the impossible and would ultimately shut it down.

As in other parts of all our lives, we take the good and leave the bad behind. Hopefully, this site will be one of the good things we all can take with us for a very long time to come.
9 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 9:27PM
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chookchook2
No. Houzz should stop people having more than one username. There should also be minimum requirements for persons to call themselves Pro. There should be some qualification(s). I had a gutful of being patronised last night and today, so now I'm asking the hard questions. Other people are asking what pros earn per hour/job. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
2 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 9:48PM
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PRO
John James O'Brien - Design for Inspired Living
rngp nailed it (and Nancy's levity is MOST welcome ;-)

Full disclaimer here--I am not licensed and do not intend to pursue a certification after working in the field some 20+ years with projects in Thailand, Hong Kong, Cyprus and in Canada; a stint as acting Facilities Manager overseeing 500+ properties; project manager on renovations and build-to-suit projects; director of an agency with specialized repositories and exhibit halls in which my expertise on everything from the effect of humidity and lumen levels on artifacts drove projects. I design objects, furniture, creative solutions to design challenges (like a plexiglas display way that meets code requirements for spacing yet provides an open view to client artwork and similar items that contractors could not deliver. I shape my engagements to conform with jurisdictional requirements, and am sometimes brought in when some licensed pros are not meeting the needs of the project.

Reliance on a piece of paper that represents a minimum standard for certification is a fine starting point. But I hope and believe most pros on Houzz have more to offer than that. I am never comfortable when someone has to fall back to that.

I would be very surprised if studies and exams come even close to the experience I bring...but if that seems "faux" to anyone, then please steer clear. I have interesting work to do with people capable of selecting the best there is and am delighted to add value where I can. Guess I should find time to improve photos here.
13 Likes   December 16, 2013 at 11:30PM
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sunnie2day
My bottom line is that Houzz has exposed me to professionals I would otherwise never have known existed - and I'm married to a retired historic building conservation officer who through my membership in this community has also been introduced to professionals he had no idea were working scant miles from us (NE Scotland).

We're knee deep in plaster, sawdust, wallpaper, and bathroom taps here as we do a reno to meet a short term need that will also need to meet the re-sale need in the near future - without Houzz I wouldn't have a clue even though I've done so many renos I've lost count+we are enjoying a delayed wedding gift from an architect friend - the gift is thousands of GBPs worth of his work!

Yesterday my husband asked to research Houzz to see if I could find pictures to show one of our contractors because we were all sat around the kitchen table not communicating. Five minutes later we were all communicating and our architect was impressed with what I was able to find in a very short time without even logging in - he didn't know Houzz had such excellent resources, he knew of Houzz but had never had a gawp. He took down the URL to have a better look when he got home.

Further and finally, I've found all kinds of ways to spend my money through Houzz:) Some through Houzz professionals and some through the outstanding resources. There is absolutely no way the presence of Houzz is detrimental to professionals or the public.
9 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 1:10AM
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OnePlan
Hi Chook - I'm quite happy to let people know what I charge - between £225 and £675 per room - ie small bathroom to large kitchen with utility room or Master bedroom suite .
That's British pounds sterling. I don't use hourly rates, I do have a cap on time per project of up to 6 hours per room for modifications . After that it's an additional £35 per hour .
No, I don't know how that compares to others, Globaly, and yes I'd actually be interested to know. Maybe I'm underselling my nearly 30 years in the industry !?!

Do I design for free on Houzz? well I do the odd draft on cheap app software to give an idea to a houzzer , or I scribble on their drawings with suggestions. On two occasion I did a complete kitchen design on my proper software for free. The first time was because of the awkward room shape, and I thought it challenging ! ( the OP never came back to the thread or even thanked me !!) The second was for, again, an awkward room shape and was for a young couple who were ever so grateful, as hiring an independent designer wasn't available in their location .

Do I think people designing for free online devalues what I charge to? ... If someone has put an idea out there on the thread and have said something along the lines of " if you are interested in taking this further, call me on ..." And then someone else comes along and designs a top spec no holds barred everything given away for free, drawings etc , using the previous idea as a starting point, then I can see why that pervious person would be peeved - but when all is said and done, it's a big world out there and there's plenty of work to go around . The OP could still contact the other person if they wanted to . Competition is good and for the OP a wealth of info / suggestions can be great for them . On the app it's not so clear who's a pro and who's not - this needs to be addressed I feel, to give some insite as to who you are talking to on the threads . (Also can we see who 'liked' our comments too please )

There's one delightful and talented designer who, because she not a pro, despite doing fabulous drawings / solutions for people, can't Email her work to the Houzzer without a private email being made public on a thread, so I often let her houzzer email it to me and I forward it to her ...

You see , It's all about helping eachother and Houzz does that in abundance .

I used to office share with a person who thought I was crazy for helping out on Houzz - we don't share an office anymore, as she's stopped working for herself as she was getting no repeat business . I have an idea why, as I could hear how condescending she would be to people , clients and contractors alike ... She just wasn't a 'giving' sort of person ( still waiting for her share of the electric bill!!)

I wouldn't want to be like that! I'm happy to be part of the Houzz community, where giving is ok to do.

Just because you are a pro doesn't always mean you have the best ideas - yes it means you know your stuff , but there are some fab people on Houzz with wonderful and inspirational ideas to share ! I welcome that !! Way to go Houzz !!!

Sorry that turned into an epic post !!! :-)
26 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 1:33AM
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chookchook2
Thanks, Oneplan. Your approach is clear and refreshing.
7 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 2:27AM
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1 Like   December 17, 2013 at 3:08AM
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sunnie2day
Chook, nice finds and I'm surprised at the wide geographical variance.
3 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 3:11AM
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chookchook2
People were asking on the ideabook "8 things interior design professionals want you to know". Or some such title. The question was not answered.
2 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 3:16AM
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chookchook2
2 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 3:19AM
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happyasaclam
Contributing to Houzz by anyone in any way is voluntary. If you expect anything more than a platform for discussion, advice and, YES - humor, find another site, buy magazines, or talk to your mother. "That's all I have to say about that." Forrest Gump
13 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 6:38AM
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syncope
OnePlan, what you described that you do on Houzz would be considered "pro bono" work in the legal field. I think most pros realize that. I'm quite sure that Houzzers do. The few pros that don't are the ones that are feeling used and, in my way of thinking, if you don't like it, then don't do it.

GardenOaks, by all means, use Houzz as a free advertising space. Treat your pro page as a marketing tool and sell all that exciting experience on there. There are many times that I see "pro" under a name and, because of their responses (some good, some not so good) that I look at their pro page to see examples of their work. A picture IS better than a thousand words!
10 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 6:55AM
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syncope
chook...if you feel that someone is being patronizing because of their position as a "pro" but is still giving bad advice, by all means ask the "hard questions." To me the "hard questions" are asking them to explain why they are making the suggestion. Why did they choose this style over that? Why would this color be a better choice than another? Why would this piece balance the room in a better way? Those types of questions are only answered correctly by knowledgeable people and has the added benefit of educating the OP or shutting down the offending party (pro or not). If they devolve into a rant from that, they have then shown their true colors to everyone and the questioner has retained his/her dignity. Perhaps it's a little passive/aggressive but whatever works!

Just as in any purchase we make, knowledge is essential to make the correct choice. Sometimes "novice" houzzers need a little help from the veterans to pare down suggestions into palatable bites.

I have seen threads where "pros" were arrogant, demanding and downright rude to not only the OP but others offering suggestions, even when other pros were on the site. As I see it, there are two options in handling that type of behavior. Ignore it or back it down. The latter is rarely helpful to the OP and typically disintegrates into a free for all that may be as entertaining as a wrestling match but doesn't help the OP. My preference is to ignore them and realize that they are small, insecure little people who will have karma turn on them and bite them in the derriere.
11 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 7:13AM
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jen046
In my opinion, rngp has nailed it! Also, I very much like OnePlan's view. I applaud GardenOaks. When I saw his first post I nearly did a dance. It so clearly demonstrated what I talked about earlier...smart professionals in fields being changed by technology are adapting...making use of technology to promote their business. I don't mind reading a few "advertisements" on a post as long as they are suitable and helpful to the situation and not a thoughtless, random "junk post." For example, someone dropped a post into my kitchen dilemma trying to promote ornate mosaic tile when, had he read the post, he would know that with the style I was going for I would never in a million year consider using his product.

I am most definitely not in favor of Houzz vetting credentials or being the rudeness police. We all do a great job shaming the trolls, and they usually just go away. I'm in favor of giving the Houzzers some credit for being intelligent in their use of the advice. If someone is dumb enough to follow advice on a critical project and does not consider and check the source, then....well you all know what I'm saying.
14 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 7:33AM
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larkspurproject
Wow, this thread has been busy. I haven't read every single entry but have the general idea/vibe of the thread. I am a professional in the healthcare industry, not design. As others above have mentioned, this website is a friendly/lively distraction after a long day of serious events. I like to think that we are all trying to help others. Is it a paint choice? A dealer/mfr. of a slick faucet? or questioning the balance of an art display? Those who respond to the post and share ideas are trying to help. A few get bold, sure. I really don't have any idea who holds a degree in the design area and who is out here in Wally's World with me just offering an opinion or share a visual idea. A lot of the responses on Design Dilema are great and I marvel at the creativity. I have a great appreciation for creativity, but don't always posess it. Hence, the frequent Houzz visits.

I do think that every industry is experiencing a wide range of changes due to the internet and all that comes with it. Change isn't always easy, whether in our workplace or our personal life. Some industries and professionals are like chameleons. They adapt and change to survive. They thrive! Others are like the VHS tape.

Chook, I am very sorry that someone made you cry, that is unacceptable! Horrible.
It's very easy to bully and be mean when you can hide under anonymity. Cowards. And worse. You have posted some very sound and thought provoking posts. You have also posted some socially silly comments and I thank you! I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of Houzzers are here on this site for fun as much as the design ideas.

Again, as mentioned above nobody is being forced to visit this site. If you do not like it, leave it. If you choose to continue to participate, be nice. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Finally.....it's a very small world and Karma is real.

Thank you for listening/reading. Enjoy your day-
10 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 9:37AM
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studio10001
( not sure whether to be more amused or downtrodden that it took not one, but two legal experts to translate my English to English, but appreciate the linguistic support, as must Margo!) Happy Houzzing, all :)
4 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 10:34AM
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Margo
Studio10001- please be amused;))
7 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 1:08PM
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syncope
"Disclaimer: not a legal expert; merely a former paralegal." And wasn't trying to translate but was more just agreeing with you, Studio. You were absolutely right.
3 Likes   December 17, 2013 at 1:11PM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@unwantedadvice:
"Are they not protecting themselves from a lawsuit because of something a pro did wrong?"
They think they are, but by merely categorizing us as "Professionals" distinct from others, they have already exposed themselves by making that claim about us. Then by using the legal term "Architect" (among other similar legal terms in other groups) they imply some of the Professionals are Architects without actually confirming it. The attorneys I've spoken with tell me that in itself is already a significant legal exposure for Houzz. Turning it around, merely distinguishing licensed groups from non-licensed and adding a disclaimer that they are not vetted for license would protect Houzz but at least begin to address the Professional categorization flaws on the site.

"Not to mention the fact that houzz.com would also have to know all rules and regulations from all over the world in order to represent you as a professional."
Good question, and definitely Houzz's problem. They want professionals on the site, they want our work and photos, they want to tout us as professionals, distinct from non-professionals, but can't (or can't be bothered to) do the work it takes to have us here with some semblance of legal rigor. They created this site, it is their responsibility to set it up in a legally defensible way. As it is now, from what the attorneys I have consulted have told me, it's only a matter of time before there's some sort of legal action as a result of all the legal sloppiness.
1 Like   December 18, 2013 at 6:55PM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@happyasaclam & @Garden Oaks Fine Accommodation:
"I do think FauxPro is a little harsh"
To be clear by "FauxPro" I don't mean the unlicensed. I refer to those who are simply NOT professional, but assume the label because, simply put, no-one is stopping them. Browse the Pro section; it's incredible what passes for a "Professional" on Houzz.
5 Likes   December 18, 2013 at 6:55PM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@rngp:
Thank you for understanding, few do. :-)
2 Likes   December 18, 2013 at 6:56PM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@studio10001
"Mentioning what those standards are to the OPs does have an effect, though, and communicating them effectively helps the cream rise to the top."
I like to think that, and like to think your analysis of how that plays out is how it would in fact do so. I have, in that light generally limited my discussion participation to those threads where I feel a licensed professional is the OP's best option. They are few and far between, but they are out there. I get the sense OPs appreciate this. But in return I also get the distinct message there are unlicensed practitioners out there who take great personal umbrage at this personally calling me and my character in general out in the discussions. Highly unprofessional, but they seem to think defending their lack of license with personal attacks on those who have them is the best way to advertise their professional status. Houzz has set up that conflict by failing to make the distinction in their categorization, by suggesting there is no difference between a licensed and non-licensed practioner. It's not good for the community, and it's so easily resolved.

To wit:

@rngp:
"if you feel that someone is being patronizing because of their position as a "pro" but is still giving bad advice, by all means ask the "hard questions."
This approach sounds reasonable, but really just invites conflict. "Feel", "patronize", "bad" and "hard" are all so completely subjective as to allow justification of any behavior toward a Pro for any reason built on any sort of insecurity on the part of a non-Pro. Self policing on non- or poorly- moderated forums generally just turns into the most aggressive, loud and active users acting as self appointed judges, jury and executioners of the forum. It turns a forum into a cabal controlled by a group of posters who then control who gets to play and who doesn't. Been there, done that, and if Houzz stays on the moderating sidelines, that's where this will lead and with it will go the Pros and the site's appeal.
0 Likes   December 18, 2013 at 6:56PM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
Houzz has an opportunity to make this site far more robust by upping the game on the Pro side. There are a few simple things that can be done to make this site more professional in that regard. Houzz may not want it that way, but must realize that it will negatively affect pro participation as well as interest in the site, and with it the appeal it has to others that drive the ad sales.
2 Likes   December 18, 2013 at 6:57PM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@ chookchook2
"Los Angeles fees http://www.loridennis.com/greenblog/2012/01/how-much-do-interior-designers-cost/"

"Rates can run from $50 per hour for a student to $1,500 per hour. I like to use this structure when my clients only need a little bit of my time. I charge $500 per hour."

HOLY CR@P. I am in the wrong profession or don't charge nearly enough for what I do.
5 Likes   December 18, 2013 at 7:08PM
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mefor
Many words you speak
1 Like   December 18, 2013 at 7:08PM
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John Hodsdon
I would not be surprised if there was a direct correlation between Houzz and these other self help forums and an increase in the total spending on design and construction services. I think these kind of sites open people to possibilities they may not have considered.
5 Likes   December 18, 2013 at 9:16PM
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catieb
Okay....read through all the comments and even understood most of them (good job Studio!)

As to the original incident that gave birth to this thread - I have to say that if giving advice on this site to a few people with a dilemma is ruining the value proposition of one's business, then they should not be in business. And if I had a dollar for every time in my life that I gave/give free advice to friends, family and even clients (above what has been contracted) then I'd be a much wealthier gal. The internet is no different than any other new media that came along and changed the face of an industry.

Some days I read posts just because I know that the group of champion responders will bring a smile to my face.

I've also noticed over the time that I've participated on Houzz, that I've begun to better appreciate my own professional services. It took years for me to figure out that the things I do as naturally as I breathe have a value. That not everyone can do what I do. And that I can charge for those services. Sharing a few ideas on Houzz seems to have balanced the reality of needing to charge money so I can make a living with being able to give freely a solution that flows out of my pen or head...the ultimate design opportunity.

I've also learned that I ask a danged lot of questions! I am constantly amazed at the responders who can give a list of actions for the OP, when I still feel the need to ask a dozen more questions. This too has helped me focus my business goals as to the type of jobs & clients to pursue.

Having clients create Ideabooks on Houzz has been invaluable.

I've always had a technical streak. Houzz has exposed me to new products and materials that I've studied further. But this technical side of me also results in there being dilemmas where I could never respond with the level of detail that would be comfortable for me. In short, if my responses on Houzz reflect me, and I feel I can't do that justice in a situation, then I move on.

It does take great fortitude to suffer the slings and arrows (whether directed at me or others) of the cowards and bullies who hide behind a computer to bolster their own egos. I've encountered these people in my volunteer activities as well; sadly they are everywhere. And while some days I'd like nothing better than to give them a good, swift kick in the pants, I know the smarter, not easier, answer is to walk away. When I'm going full throttle with ideas, it is diffcult for me to get them all down, so I resort to short bursts, which I can see some find negative/too terse so I'm trying to temper those.

Whew! Aren't you glad you asked Jen??

I leave with this one final thought: Chook, being half Aussie you'd think I'd get everything you say, but I'm still at a loss about "Stuart Rattles Dies".
9 Likes   December 18, 2013 at 9:25PM
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rouxb
@John Hodsdon It certainly did for me. Before Houzz there is little chance I would have sought the help of a Designer. Now, I more than likely would do so.
3 Likes   December 18, 2013 at 9:26PM
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syncope
@ReSquare... I understand how subjective those words are but not sure there is really an objective way to deal with people. We are all subjective creatures. The premise we started with was that the "pro" was being unprofessional. I'm not saying that, when that happens, all bets are off and non-pros are free to go for the jugular but I do think asking for explanations on how they arrived at such a decision is valid. The pros I've encountered that I would ask those questions have come into a discussion and not asked a single question of the OP, have read the initial post and have ignored the 100s of other comments in which much of the "dilemma" has been solved - much like a diva in a movie coming into a room demanding attention and barking out commands about how things should be done. I have never seen a true pro attacked by a Houzzer. The pros that Houzzer non-pros are concerned about are the ones that the real professionals wish would crawl back into their caves.
6 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 7:18AM
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mommydecor
@Catieb...I enjoyed your post in my discussion. My designers also like the ease and convenience of my idea books on Houzz. Seeing a picture is much better than a description that leaves designers scratching their head.
7 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 8:45AM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@ mforr
"Many words you speak"
Many thoughts I have. ;-)
1 Like   December 19, 2013 at 8:59AM
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mefor
Many thoughts have others too :)
2 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 9:05AM
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printesa
I knew LA and NYC are expensive, but $1500 per hour? wow, that is insane to say the least..even $500 is a lot. A doctor or professor doesn't get close to that. I guess that is another reason as to why most people don't use a designer...cost. We appreciate all the help we can get here and the pro's photos that we can use as inspiration. Most of the photos here are from projects that almost none of us would be able to afford, so the final project will not be close to what is there, but it does help to see a general idea.
5 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 9:19AM
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PRO
Futuro Futuro Kitchen Range Hoods
There's a well-known adage about "buggy whip manufacturers"... but there's another side to that coin.

When the era of horse-drawn carriages came to an end, replaced by the automobile, there were just as many complaints and fear that "this new technology will ruin our business", from the whip-makers, stable owners, and carriage builders.

However, those that learned to embrace the new technology, not only survived, but thrived.

Vanden Plas stopped making carriages and started making car bodies for the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Brewster & Co went from carriage bodies to auto production as well. And so on, and so on... Meanwhile, in the computer industry, IBM went from making clocks to calculators to computers. TV manufacturer Sharp started out as the Sharp Pencil Company. Videogame maker Nintendo used to make playing cards.

New technology (Houzz in particular and social media in general) doesn't mean "the death of an industry". It only means that those who can embrace the new technology and its opportunities, will thrive.

Yes, homeowners can get answers to specific questions on this forum - but that doesn't mean that architects, designers, and planners are extinct. Rather, it divides the available pool of professionals into those who *can* and *do* take advantage of the new opportunities - participating in discussions, answering questions, posting completed projects, following other pros and building micro-networks - and those who *can't* - or *won't*.

Not only can a discussion forum never replace the advice of a professional - but, it's those professionals who *create* the valuable content on the forum.

Houzz isn't a replacement for designers/architects/other pros, it's an extension of their ability to communicate with clients.
9 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 9:34AM
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John James O'Brien - Design for Inspired Living
Oh, I miss my VDP (VandenPals) X12 ... FFKRH - great post. And rngp said, "the pros that Houzzer non-pros are concerned about are the ones that the real professionals wish would crawl back into their caves." This is so true. "Pro=vendor" is not pro=clients' partner in achieving outcomes.
3 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 10:38AM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@ mforr
"Many thoughts have others too :)"
And may they feel free to post as many as they like without fear of being reprimanded for doing so.
2 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 1:30PM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@rngp:
"I have never seen a true pro attacked by a Houzzer."
Well, then either I'm not a "true pro" or we have different definitions of "attack".
1 Like   December 19, 2013 at 1:34PM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@Futuro Futuro Kitchen Range Hoods
"Houzz isn't a replacement for designers/architects/other pros, it's an extension of their ability to communicate with clients."
A hopeful sentiment, but those of us who are professionally licensed are bound by law to limit how much we communicate with those on this forum who ask for help who are, by law and contract, *not* our clients in ways that the unlicensed are not so encumbered. I'm all for shifting with the new paradigm of design by internet, but not at our legal expense.
2 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 1:38PM
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mefor
Ah, don't feel singled out by Fred, he doesn't discriminate, he speaks like that to everyone :)
3 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 1:40PM
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printesa
I think one of the problems that we have is this fear of the legal part...too many people sue whenever they get the chance so we've become afraid to some extent...
1 Like   December 19, 2013 at 1:57PM
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Futuro Futuro Kitchen Range Hoods
@ReSquare: as far as the "attack" thing goes - the Internet is not a "series of tubes"... it's an infinity of bridges... with a troll under every one of them... ;)

On a more serious note - yes, of course, there are legal limits (as well as common sense limits) on the information that's communicated... but wouldn't you agree that overall, social media in general and Houzz in particular, have been a benefit to the "design community" - at least to those who take this new opportunity and use it to their advantage?
1 Like   December 19, 2013 at 2:09PM
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Futuro Futuro Kitchen Range Hoods
@mforr: yeah, we noticed...
1 Like   December 19, 2013 at 2:09PM
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Futuro Futuro Kitchen Range Hoods
@printesa: 110%. It's a sad state of affairs when you can't publish a simple 1-page instruction on how to cut down a chimney on a range hood (if you have a low ceiling), without having to add at the end - "Disclaimer: the above instructions are intended as a supplementary/advisory material. No guarantee of suitability to any particular installation requirements is expressed or implied"... because some people can't follow the concept of "measure first, THEN cut"...

But... short of top-to-bottom tort reform (*cue laugh track*), people have, are, and will continue suing "anyone and everyone, for any reason or no reason whatsoever".
1 Like   December 19, 2013 at 2:14PM
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mefor
Ignoring the way he speaks to you, have you felt that he is wrong in his recommendations or information? Honestly, not because of any bias you may, however understandably, have against him. :)
1 Like   December 19, 2013 at 2:18PM
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chookchook2
Perhaps Houzz could add a general disclaimer under the word "pro" for every post. Catieb, click on the link if confused about Stuart Rattle. He was a superb designer and I posted many links about his work on the requiem page. The best to click on if you have limited time, is the VogueLiving link. Mr Rattle was top level in Australia. His work was a great influence on me, and featured on many magazine covers.
2 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Futuro Futuro Kitchen Range Hoods
@mforr: it's not the information, it's the appropriateness / scope to the discussion, as well as his presentation method. Yes, there are certain code requirements, as well as things based on common sense and laws of physics. But, taking a thread that asks a casual, general question, that can be answered in a few sentences of human language, and turning it into a mass-drop of code citations - without any explanation or summary - is not exactly the best way to convey one's message.

Yes, air that's removed from a habitable space should be replaced. But that doesn't mean breaking out the torches & pitchforks and categorically condemning an entire category of appliances. We're saying (and most of the world seems to agree), "yes, a range hood is a good thing"... but instead of *complementing* the discussion with "as long as it's properly installed & appropriate for the airflow of the habitat, i.e. consider the entire system and the code requirements", this guy takes up arms against the entire idea.

And then the hostility enters the equation... even when we make a point of *agreeing* with the guy (in some past threads, not this one), he still manages to shift the scope and find something else to nit-pick on. It defies explanation.

The only "bias" we have is against the idea that people should cook in smelly, overheated, overly humid kitchens, and suffer the long-term effects of exposure to oxocarbons, aerosolized grease, and other contaminants.
2 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 2:35PM
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printesa
@Futuro Futuro Kitchen Range Hoods, unfortunately, common sense seems to become one of those rare species that in time, if not protected, will be extinct. I'm not surprised that everything has a disclaimer (e.g., this coffee is hot so be careful, etc etc). I laugh at some of the signs I see, but it's sad that we've come this far. Actually, USA has this reputation as being the country where everyone can sue anyone (I was told many times whenever I traveled overseas). So many regulation can easily kill any enthusiasm for opening a business or even helping. I hope we can get back to basics and be more human and understanding and kind.
4 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 2:37PM
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chookchook2
Builders and Architects not always seeing eye to eye is part of the natural order of things, like surgeons and physicians, and does not make Fred a troll.
3 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 2:38PM
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chookchook2
The funniest disclaimer I have seen ,on a packet of cashew nuts, said " this sachet may contain nuts".
2 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 2:41PM
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PirateFoxy
Regarding lawsuits, keep in mind that it's not even individuals you really need to worry about - usually there's something in things like insurance policies that state that the company can file suit on your behalf to attempt to recover their costs. So if you're injured in an incident because of a faulty repair to your plumbing, then your health insurance company may well promptly go and sue the plumber that you had do the work. Or sue your home insurance who would then sue the plumber, that sort of thing.

That's really the big risk, because as an individual you have no control over that. You can have a friend do the work and tell them that you understand they might not get it right and promise not to sue, but that means squat to the insurance companies. (This comes up with people who own horses and want to let friends/family ride - even if your friends or family are not the type to sue at all, the wise person gets additional insurance for protection, because should there be an accident that the other person's insurance can blame on you? You're gonna need it.)
3 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 2:49PM
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Futuro Futuro Kitchen Range Hoods
@chookchook2: LOL, so true. If we had a nickel for every time we got CC'd on an E-mail argument between a designer and an architect, or between an architect and a builder...

But in Fred's case, what makes him a troll is not the disagreement per se, it's the near-useless manner in which he presents the information, and the lack of respect.

Re nuts disclaimer - gotta love the uncertainty! "Heisenberg Brand Cashews - they *may* exist!"
1 Like   December 19, 2013 at 2:51PM
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mefor
I only ask, because, though he might be rough on you, he seems to be quite kind to some of the posters who have asked him questions. I've seen him on a number of discussions, generally where no pro had come on to "sell an idea" or even to just offer advice. In these conversations he's been quite civil, helpful and even slightly compassionate. (Please lets not let this get back to him) Perhaps, he genuinely does have a gripe against certain pros, but I don't think his opinions should be shoved aside just because they're wrapped in a mess of sarcasm. If his reasonings are correct and the codes, which might be numerous, are in fact the right codes for the situation presented, he has as much right to pontificate as any pro. I believe that he is in fact holding several licenses, and just doesn't list himself as a pro.
I'm not picking on either of you, I've seen Fred in action with lots of pros and some of them have been pretty rude to him too. Or perhaps arrogant is the term, so I guess he pays it back. In spades. Viva la difference :)
You can't say that your conversations with him have been boring. Just...headache inducing?
3 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 2:59PM
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chookchook2
I have read alot of the technical threads and I don't see a lack of respect or trolling by Fred, he just has a different opinion. Enjoy the cut and thrust, and have a Happy Holiday.
5 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 3:00PM
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chookchook2
Hey Mforr our posts crossed. Yr needed on Houzz TV.
0 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 3:03PM
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mefor
Christmas concert this evening, thank you chookx2 :)
1 Like   December 19, 2013 at 3:06PM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@Futuro Futuro Kitchen Range Hoods
"... wouldn't you agree that overall, social media in general and Houzz in particular, have been a benefit to the "design community" - at least to those who take this new opportunity and use it to their advantage?"
I'm still on the fence about that. I see significant gains and losses and balancing them out for an "overall" assessment is difficult for me.

The individual empowerment aspect is without question a powerful new tool. We have professionals helping people in so many more ways than possible before. We have well trained but not necessarily licensed professionals able to offer services in ways the "normal" system doesn't accommodate. We have a database of work by thousands of professionals cross-referenced and easily accessible for greater learning and inspiration. We use the image search feature all the time for ideas.

But any powerful tool can be both constructive AND destructive, and we see that right here on Houzz as well. The same benefit of easily accessed free information and even services serves to erode the same public's appreciation of and understanding that professional services have significant monetary value, and go well beyond picking colors, materials or even design layouts. Explaining why an Architect charges what they do was hard enough before, but when the public's understanding of the profession starts out limited, and then they see so much of what they believe to be an Architect's services being given away freely by non-licensed professionals, you can appreciate how that can be detrimental to the profession at large.

So, yeah. Still on the fence.
4 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 3:32PM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@mforr
"Ignoring the way he speaks to you, have you felt that he is wrong in his recommendations or information? "
Yes. On occasion in fact but almost always "potentially wrong due to brazen lack of sufficient due diligence to make such a specific recommendation on a public forum."

mforr
"(Please lets not let this get back to him)"
Umm... this is posted in a public forum, you realize that, right?
3 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 3:36PM
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mefor
Perhaps I was being a bit tongue in cheek? :)
4 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 3:46PM
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Futuro Futuro Kitchen Range Hoods
@chookchook2: "have a Happy Holiday" - thanks, you too!
2 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 3:55PM
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Futuro Futuro Kitchen Range Hoods
@ReSquare: the most cogent & well-written argument for that side we've seen all day! +1 and followed.
0 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 3:56PM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@catieb:
"I've also learned that I ask a danged lot of questions! I am constantly amazed at the responders who can give a list of actions for the OP, when I still feel the need to ask a dozen more questions."
Just saw this. Asking a dozen more questions of an OP before "giving a list of actions" to me signifies a wise professional approach. I am regularly amazed at seeing answers to questions related to building science where the respondents don't even ask where the home is located, or what it's made of. As if a question regarding code, roofing, siding or insulation doesn't depend on structure, climate or location.
Keep asking the questions!
2 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 4:34PM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@ mforr
"Perhaps I was being a bit tongue in cheek? :)"
Just making sure! ;-)
3 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 4:36PM
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ReSquare Architecture + Construction
@Futuro Futuro Kitchen Range Hoods
"the most cogent & well-written argument for that side we've seen all day"
Thanks! I try.
1 Like   December 19, 2013 at 4:38PM
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syncope
@ReSquare... I think it's called "growing pains". Many industries (e.g., medical, legal, education)have been through it, since the internet started, and the creativity and ingenuity of those in that industry have determined their success. In my very humble opinion, Houzz, and sites like it, will help develop a more educated market for designers, architects, contractors and all the other professionals involved in the field. Most people that care about design know that tackling big projects are best handled by pros. Others who have tackled big projects on their own and failed find out the true worth of the professional.

Also, Houzz reaches a global customer base. It would surprise me to find that any one professional was losing fees purely because of a site such as this while tapping into that base could be a windfall for many pros.

I do agree that lawsuits are inevitable to some degree but, as a pro and actually as a non-pro, that's a chance we all take when giving advice to anyone, as was stated earlier.

In answering the original question of this forum, I can't see how Houzz itself is a detriment to either professionals or the public. The way we conduct ourselves on the site is the determining factor of what, if any, damage is done.
2 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 4:41PM
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mickisue
Re, what you say about Houzz can be true of any area in any forum. I use Instagram for my business, and, not only do I enjoy the opportunity to share my expertise, but also snippets of the plain old Micki behind the coach. A picture I posted of Christmas lights last Saturday got the largest number of likes for that day!

But. Instagram has been used for cyber-bullying by monstrous teens and pre-teens. Facebook has entirely too much information on its users, that it is apparently all too willing to share with the governments of the countries where its members live.

Houzz is but one more facet of the explosion of social media that we see and interact with, all over the world, every day. To expect that its management and tech people would be able to vet each person who comes into the forum for being, honestly, who they say they are, is utterly unrealistic.

People can use multiple personae, because every new email address = a new person. Men can claim to be women, women, men. The person who runs a large website and presents himself as an expert on disclosing fraud in all areas, is actually a non-licensed psychiatrist, who can no longer practice, because he was dumped by his malpractice company.

It's up to the users of any site, to a great extent, to police it, whether or not the site has a stated policy of censoring posts that don't meet the TOS. I was part of the management of a site for about 8 months, last year. MANY of the posts that were pulled, and posters who were banned, were brought to our attention by other posters who cared about the site and its continuation.

It's just the way it is. We can play by the new rules, or choose not to play. No one forces anyone to post on this site.
5 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 4:48PM
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mickisue
And happy holidays to all of you, even the trolls, wherever you may be.

In addition, for my beautiful new grandson, who is much, much too far away…Buon Natale!
6 Likes   December 19, 2013 at 4:49PM
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Marilyn Wilkie
Sorry, I'm easily confused I guess. This is where the link took me and I see nothing of which you are speaking. Did the comments get deleted?
MAIN COLORS for LIVING ROOM
Elisabete Moreira
on Sunday in Design Dilemma

By the way I think shelleyUK's comments are spot on.
3 Likes   December 21, 2013 at 5:56AM
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mefor
Yes, they were deleted. And yes, they were inflammatory :)
And yes again, Shelley is spot on :))))
3 Likes   December 21, 2013 at 7:58AM
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chookchook2
This whole thread is inflammatory and divisive.
2 Likes   December 21, 2013 at 9:21AM
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jen046
Really, Chook? I thought you we enjoying the discourse. Sorry it's not for you.
1 Like   December 21, 2013 at 10:26AM
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okdokegal
I have found the environment here to be great... the mix of 'those who do this for a living' (pros) and 'those who have great ideas' is wonderful.

I have been 'pro' but not in home improvement, since the age of 13; (My main source of income was from X, I ran a real business in that I had clients and produced product on schedule and on quote). What makes me a pro, and a pro at what, changes.

I do think, one login per entity; and. Advice given here (I did not see that thread before the posts were deleted) is usually very polite, upbeat and the people and environment is great; if I give advice/opinion/share; it can be taken as the reader wishes. I read others' contributions in the same light.

I find this place a great resource; if I could afford it I'd love to buy some of the goods shown, make rooms like pictured, and hire some of those that do make their living at this stuff...

I think Houzz is very positive.

And yes, social media that is 24/7/365 and can get to every corner of the planet, is still evolving.
4 Likes   December 21, 2013 at 11:48AM
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Mean Design
When I was in design school, after we would do our design work, we would present the work to our peers for a critique. The first time I went to school, critiques had potential to be brutally harsh, insulting, and negative. The second time I went to school, I found critique participants to be much more complimentary, appeasing, and "nice". While it hurts getting the "bad" critiques, in the end, they help you to think a different way, consider things you hadn't considered, approach design problems from a different point of view; they helped me grow, and become better. I disagree that houzz comments should be all pleasantries and niceties. Truth is valid, and sometimes truth is not polite.
2 Likes   December 25, 2013 at 9:09AM
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syncope
Truth may not be polite but it can be presented in a pleasant, polite and positive manner. Asking someone to consider another option is much more effective than telling them "that couch is horrific" or "what were you thinking". Rudeness is always hurtful and never effective.

When I was young, I loved being "brutally honest". I always told the "truth" so how could that be a bad thing. Well, it was. I finally realized that my "brutal honesty" was just plain brutal and I was getting perverse joy from it. Once I came to that realization, I made a concerted effort to frame the truth in a more acceptable fashion and, while my opinions didn't change, my presentation did and was much more effective in persuading others to be of like mind. The way one handles an "inconvenient truth" truly reflects their professionalism and their purpose.
2 Likes   December 25, 2013 at 9:22AM
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Nancy Walton
Negative doesn't have to be rude, though. In one of my graphic arts courses, there was a "woman" (girl, really), who never had a nice thing to say about my work, even though I got a 4.0. I think she was just jealous, as I was older and had already been working in the graphic arts field for fifteen years. So you have to look also at the context from which the rudeness and negative comments come from. I was also taught the "sandwich" method of critique, which is a positive comment, then the real comment, followed by another positive comment.
2 Likes   December 25, 2013 at 9:27AM
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Mean Design
I guess my point is, not to take things personally on here. One persons "straight forward", might be anothers "rude". I recommend trying to pull the good information from comments, instead of trying to analyze whether the commenter was intending to be rude, or intending to be hurtful to a someones feelings. I hope that the number of commenters on houzz who have truly hurtful intentions are a very small minority. I like to believe the majority of folk on here are intending to be helpful.
3 Likes   December 25, 2013 at 10:02AM
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syncope
I agree. Pulling the good information from the comments is absolutely the best way to approach any site of this type. Add to the mix that words on paper don't always convey the real nuances intended by the writer and things can get messy when not intended that way. I believe you're right about the majority as well.

Hope you and yours have a wonderful rest of the holidays!
3 Likes   December 25, 2013 at 10:13AM
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PirateFoxy
@Mean Design - in film school, the rule that seemed most useful when we were doing critiques was that you didn't have to be nice, but what you said had to be MEANINGFUL. (I.e. "God that was horrible" is not actually a useful comment because it's so general. "I don't like it because X, Y, Z" is okay because then the person knows to consider X, Y, and Z and those things can then be discussed.) Sometimes it was pretty difficult to come up with something meaningful to say, but it's good for both parties because it also challenges you to really think about what you're seeing and WHY you don't like something or think something isn't working.

(Personal attacks were also not allowed, which I think is appropriate here as well. It's just not professional to go around saying someone is stupid for liking a design style you think is awful, you know?)

If someone is trying to give helpful critique, I think it's also good to remember that some background on you, the commenter, can also be helpful in establishing the context of your comments. Like when I make comments about accessibility of designs, I try to mention where I'm coming from with it, because the concerns I see may not be relevant to the needs of the person who will be using the space.
4 Likes   December 26, 2013 at 11:30AM
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