Interior Design vs Architecture future


 I am thinking about joining an interior design firm in LA which creates custom kitchens from scratch. Contemporary designs from Europe for high priced projects. I saw the work the firm does and I think it's a good learning experience about working with fixtures and interior rooms.


The problem is that they expect a commitment from any designer to stick around for a few years and be part of the team. They don't like retraining people constantly and they don't want people hopping around after 6 months to a year. It's nice to think they would want me on board for a while if they do hire me but all I would work on are kitchens day in day out in autocad for years to come.


I have no idea if this can work out. I don't mind staying with them for a year or two but after that I expect to leave. Kitchens aren't enough for an architecture graduate. The job market is tough right now and it was mentioned that some 40 applications were received for the position already. I don't know, would it make sense to say yes and commit to nothing else but kitchen design for a few years or keep trying to find a job designing buildings in the early years of the career? I don't know if future employers will be thrilled with 90% of my professional experience coming for kitchens, I don't want to be pigeonholed but I don't know how many opportunities there are for architecture either.

Aug 24, 12 8:05 pm

Take this job and if you find a better opportunity take it. It doesn't matter if they don't like training new people, if they need to fire people for financial reasons they will, and you should not be deterred to leave for another job for a better financial situation. A job is better than no job, and remember its proffessional and a bussiness, not a club.

Aug 24, 12 8:28 pm
won and done williams

Rand H., that is one the more immature posts I've seen on here in a while. If the firm has been candid with you that they are making a commitment to you by hiring you and expect a commitment from you in kind, you should have the professional respect for that firm to make a good faith commitment and not look for the next best offer. No, you are under no contractual obligation, but you have made an ethical commitment to that firm that you should make every effort to keep. 

All of that is a bit off topic, but given that you applied for the job, you must have some interest in the position. If it is just a paycheck to you, no, I would not take the job. I have a tough time understanding why people apply for positions they in fact are not interested in accepting, if hired.

Aug 24, 12 9:14 pm

Firms and businesses will not keep employees due to their ethics if they need to be let go. It isnt immature, every firm makes a "commitment" to you just like you make a commitment to them, right now there are many other applicants who can fill your shoes who are just as qualified as you. As long as you are working hard and provide notification that you are leaving then you are well within ethics. But saying don't leave if we hire you because we do not like having to train people holds no bearing to ethics, that's a business decision they make for financial and personal reasons. Self righteousness doesn't benefit anyone. 

Aug 24, 12 9:30 pm

It's true that firms will fire people when it's unavoidable despite their commitment, there's no other choice if money isn't coming in. I experience some similar things in the past but I never took it personally, probably what I would do in their position.

I can imagine myself designing kitchens for 2 years and really learning a lot in the mean time because everyone around me has had many years of experience but I feel like I will hit a ceiling and want to move on to the whole building or my training won't be put to good use. I eventually see myself working on large projects between many different professionals designing sustainable facilities.

The reason I am even considering this position is that someone mentioned a firm needed help and I ask about it. I called and they told me what they do and they were looking for a drafter/designer. I figured it was help for the principals and I wouldn't be deeply involved. however, when I interviewed with them they were straight-forward and told me that they were looking for someone to stay for at least a few years and that person would be increasingly involved in all of the projects. I was fine with everything else they were talking about but several years as a kitchen designer was not what I expected.

That being said I don't know what a guy with about a year of professional experience can get at this point which is nearly as good. Maybe 3 years in kitchen design then I'm saying goodbye. The only thing that bothers me is that I need a broader experience in the building design industry and I don't know if this will be a good start or will keep me constrained while I'm young. I don't know how a lot of guys start off but they always move on with skills they can build upon. I don't know if kitchen design, however sophisticated, can be leveraged to go to the next level of my career. Deep down I know it's not my future but I would make a commitment if they asked me to. That's the choice I'm struggling with, as if something better will come up but I can't accept that offer and I'll miss many opportunities.

Aug 24, 12 11:15 pm

Check how much IDP you can get from this, and if it's decent enough, stick with it for maybe 2 years. If you up and leave there is no telling whether your next employer will break their "commitment" with you. Plus, hopping around doesn't look too good on the resume.

This is actually a good opportunity. You may not be modeling facade systems but just think of it as designing small scale buildings. You will most likely be given responsibility over budgets, vendors, etc, a good thing.

Aug 24, 12 11:54 pm

I figure I could take the offer depending on what they are putting forth. If the conditions are good and I can stand to learn something and add value to their operations then a few years would be OK. I have to ask what their expectations are of me and how I can take my knowledge of kitchens and interiors to architecture.

I feel that my career will be on hold because this is a different position then what I am expecting but it could supplement my education well by becoming accustomed to dealing with clients and having a big role with every project.

I don't know how everybody feels about the job market right now but I can always volunteer for a while at a local firm or find part time jobs to keep me going until I gain the experience I need for an entry-level position in architecture. I don't know how people feel about that kind of strategy but the one resource I don't have much of right now is experience and the sooner I gain it the better, hopefully in a relevant position.

Still nagging is that feeling that a transition from architecture to interior design back to architecture won't be as straight-forward as I think and I will find myself at a disadvantage down the road.

Aug 27, 12 6:45 pm

I agree with most of what everyone is saying on this topic. Ethics is a big part of any professional relationship but Rand H. is correct when when he says that when an employer has to make decisions to release an employee to achieve the bottom line it is just fine. Nevertheless, I think an upfront discussion and/or employment agreement may work better. You have an education and skill level that probably surpasses their current staffing need, but, at the same time that is a great asset to them. If offered the position you should be mature and make it plain that you are willing to stay for a period of time (2-3 years) and are willing to to train your replacement in return for allowing you to gain much needed units toward completing the IDP. 

I my self did that on several occasions and it worked well to complete my IDP, but, now my resume is littered with a very spotty work history which is a red flag for employers. Its a thin line. won and done williams is on the right track with taking a position that is of both interest to your professional development and personal interest. 

Aug 30, 12 10:25 am

I suppose negotiating with them about the main points of my employment would be best. I realized that a lot of people would have done at least a few years of plain drafting work before being ready for any architecture firm. Even if my duties entailed cabinet detail drafting it's still something that would prepare me for the workflow of any office.

If this would be the same thing I would be doing at an arch firm then I wouldn't be missing much in the mean time, just have to explain my responsibilities and knowledge on the resume instead of the designs. 2-3 years would be OK and if that's fine with them why not?

I know that more than a few people started with basic drafting at wherever then moved on to a firm who thought a draftsman could learn something about buildings especially with the right diploma. I might have to worry about pay but like I said, more important is all the experience I can get so that pay won't be a problem a few years from now.

Just have to figure out how to make a kitchen look like an entire building to future employers. Maybe I'll make a very large kitchen. With a facade.

Aug 31, 12 3:48 pm
Alex Gunawan

I agree with Rand H.  take the job and start paying your bills. Keep on the lookout for new, more exciting jobs, jump ship when opportunity comes. 

Its not about loyalty / dedication, its about you. Every firm wants the staff to be loyal, but when things got tough, its always last in-first out in the firing range. No more loyalty after that, eh. Ask anyone who has been laid off by an arch-firm, they will support this statement. Ask this, do your bosses care that you live well, or do they just care about their project and deadline delivery?

If your company want to keep you, they will need to put some clause in your contract, so read it well. Breaching contract might involve a penalty sum. 

Sep 3, 12 12:41 pm

 Its not about loyalty / dedication, its about you. 

Personally, I want to be able to think of myself as loyal and dedicated.  If the firm proves itself to be a bad employer then bail, without guilt - but most of the people I have worked for have been pretty decent.  The ones who weren't, I figured out pretty quick.  If you leave a job after 3 weeks because the boss is an asshole, I don't think that there is an obligation to put that on your resume- but, as Al-Malik stated, a spotty work history is a red flag for employers.

Three years at a job isn't that long, it will go quickly unless the work really sucks- the job you describe sounds o.k.

Sep 3, 12 1:45 pm

Rand is right. What this firm is asking for is a one-sided commitment. They want you to commit to working for them for a few years minimum, but I don't see you listing a concomitant obligation on their part to keep you as an employee for that period of time. Maybe there are other perks that justify that time trade-off, but I don't see you listing those either. Being loyal and dedicated is good. Loyalty, however, has to be earned, and you should only ever dedicate yourself to things that make your life better.

Sep 4, 12 12:21 pm

you should only ever dedicate yourself to things that make your life better.

Are you kidding me?  Not that you need to devote yourself to designing kitchens, but I hope that you understand how horribly selfish/evil  what you wrote sounds.

Sep 4, 12 11:12 pm

No, Bob, I am not kidding you.

Sep 5, 12 12:07 pm

I suppose loyalty is something we all have to come to terms with on our own.


I was thinking about a few things I could ask them if they want to talk some more.


What would my work day be like? Is it a CAD monkey position?

Who would be my supervisor?

What kind of benefits can I expect?

How frequent will be my advancement depending on performance?

What will my responsibilities be?


Any other suggestions given what we have been taking about so far in this post?

Sep 11, 12 8:21 pm

@bob in the context of our field, I think that it is entirely moral to look out for your own self interest, since so many people do not and then get exploited. It's one thing to compromise your career for a noble goal that really involves serving someone else, like raising a child or building a school in the third world, and another thing entirely to balance your own career ambitions with those of someone whose main goal is to make money by designing fancy kitchens for rich people. In such a situation it makes sense to expect other benefits like a reasonable amount of flexibility.

May 1, 13 6:08 am

who care if they want you to stick around for a few years or long term.. Its a tough world out there.  Go work and quit when you find a better position elsewhere or feel you've had enough of it.

May 1, 13 7:49 am

Take the job, you don't have to really commit to any amount of time.  Should you be guilt-ed into staying if an outstanding position presented itself after being hired?  Would they agree not to fire you if you came on board, or would they can your butt the instant they seen fit?

If they want people that will stay, I hope they hire people t hat are truly interest in the position, and more importantly - after they are hired - treat them fairly; offer them a decent wage, treat them with professionalism and respect, don't abuse them with crazy work hours, etc.  Its my opinion that companies see high turn-over rates because the position is dead-end, and or they treat their employees like garbage.

May 4, 13 8:21 pm

Best Interior decorators is a  classifieds site .  This site is very helpful for new interior designers and students also and they can create their profile here . Best interior decorators get daily thousands of inquiries for interior decorators .

Jun 8, 13 7:26 am

The number of spammers on this thread should give you an idea about the difference between an Interior Design vs Architecture future.

Jun 8, 13 10:40 am

You need to learn how to not feel so guilty.  Take the job, work for a few months or years and say adios if you don't like it.  A year or two isn't too much of a time.  You'd have a far better understanding of detailing than most when you're done with that xD  I don't agree with those who say moving around too much doesn't look good on your resume as long as they're durations of three or so years. It shows you're adaptable and open to change, new things, techniques, people etc.

Jun 9, 13 7:07 pm

I am really wondering if there is a way to me to be an architect , I am a certified interior designed and NCIDQ certificate holder, I don't mind to study again but, Looking for the simplest and shortest way to do that ,Any one can help??

Aug 10, 13 3:44 pm

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