From the August/September 2023 Issue  

Tools of the Trade

Writer Marirose Krall

Three designers discuss how ASID affiliation helps them serve you

The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is the nation’s premier interior design trade association. We spoke with three members of the New Jersey chapter for their thoughts on how the association offers maximum benefits to homeowners.

Marina V. Umali, ASID, CID, LEED and WELL AP | President-Elect of ASID NJ | Owner, Marina V Design Studio
Ridgewood, NJ | 347-674-9591| | Photo by Naki Studios

Marina V. Umali is an interior designer and Feng Shui practitioner. Photo on right by Wing Wong

Business Acumen
It’s hard to put in words just how much value an ASID designer can bring to a homeowner’s project. There are so many reasons to choose an ASID-affiliated designer. When a homeowner hires an ASID member they, of course, get a professional who’s educated in design, but they’re getting much more than design expertise. ASID designers are trained in a variety of fields in addition to design, and one of the most important areas of education is in how to run a business. The organization offers courses in various aspects of founding and growing a business. We, as a chapter, continually provide our members with learning opportunities on these topics throughout the year so their clients know the designer they hired has the acumen to run an efficient, successful business and can maximize their projects at the best cost. In addition, every member abides by a code of ethical conduct. With everything we do, it’s all about the protection of the homeowner.

Diane Durocher, ASID IIDA, CAPS CID | Owner, Diane Durocher Interiors Inc. | Ramsey, NJ | 201-825-3832 |

Diane Durocher’s interiors encompass a broad spectrum of design aesthetics. Photo on right by Peter Rymwid

A Wide Range of Knowledge
I feel that ASID membership separates us from the amateurs, though that’s not to say there aren’t other professional interior design organizations that require and promote education as well. A homeowner investing in their home design —  whether it is simply an update of a single space or a newly built home — can only benefit from having an ASID-affiliated designer as part of their team.

We answer to a higher standard in our industry. ASID designers are mandated to take a certain number of CEUs (continuing education credits) that pertain to the health, safety and welfare of the general public and, as such, they bring a wealth of knowledge to every project. We pride ourselves on staying up to date with not only the latest design trends but also the most sustainable and universal alternatives.

So homeowners can be confident knowing that their ASID-affiliated designer is knowledgeable about vital topics. In addition, clients can also be assured their designer has a network of experienced industry partners and colleagues with whom to consult. ASID has given me the tools to be a better designer, businessowner and leader. A homeowner can feel confident that, by engaging an ASID designer, they will be working with a highly knowledgeable professional.

Denise Jones, ASID, CID | J2 Design Studio | Bedminster, NJ | 908-621-0559 |

Denise Jones believes a collaborative experience is one of the most important parts of a design project. Photo on right by Rich Silivanch

A Holistic Vision
If a designer has the ASID appellation, homeowners know they are dealing with a highly qualified professional. Design is a diverse career path encompassing widely divergent disciplines. It can range from staging theatrical performances to observing a groundbreaking. Some designers concentrate on decorative features, others focus on the built environment. So it’s important to understand how to get the right expertise for specific needs.

The ASID certification denotes that a designer has been educated in code requirements and ADA compliance and has the ability to guide you or refer you to skilled tech, engineering and trade professionals. Our job is to help you navigate a project with the right professionals on your team. We’re aware there are things beyond the four walls that need to be considered. For instance, I refer to myself as a preconstruction planner. I’m the “air traffic controller” and a part of the process from the ground up. I walk alongside the “CEO” of the home and help them embark upon their project and ensure that it’s executed well.

ASID’s motto is “design impacts lives” — driving home the point that interior design is not just about aesthetics. It’s also about creating a well-thought-out environment that helps mental and physical well-being and promotes a fulfilling life.

For more information about the American Society of Interior Designers or to search for ASID designers, visit