Designer of the Year Competition Judges

Judging Panel for 2016 Designer of the Year Awards
For design projects completed between December 2, 2015 - December 31, 2016

The Designer of the Year Awards recognize outstanding achievement in residential interior design among Interior Design Society members. There are over 20 different categories under the classifications of Window Treatments, Kitchens, Baths, Bedrooms, Living Spaces, Singular Areas, Universal Design, Sustainable Design and more. All members of IDS are eligible to enter. The 2016 Designer of the Year Award winners will be announced at the awards dinner during the ART + IDS National Conference on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Mark Brunetz 
One of today’s most dynamic celebrity designers, Mark Brunetz’s influence within the design industry is far-reaching with his work in makeover television seen in more than 30 countries. Featured on H.G.T.V., TLC, E! Entertainment and MTV, Mark is best known as the Emmy® Award winning co-host of Style Network’s top-rated shows Clean House, The Messiest Home in the Country and Clean House Comes Clean.
At the creative helm of his Los Angeles based design firm Mark Brunetz Designs, Mark specializes in high-end design for Hollywood’s elite while launching a line of home furnishings on the Home Shopping Network and penning his first book Take the U Out of Clutter for mass market. As a sought-after media personality, Mark’s practical yet über-stylish designs have been featured in over 200 outlets from The New York Times to Elle Decor to Good Morning America to name a few.
Mark also serves as the Spokesperson for the International Design Guild’s Designer Program and is the co-founder of Design For A Difference which partners socially conscious businesses with interior designers to transform much-needed spaces at charities throughout the U.S. and Canada. Since 2013, the campaign has engaged over 340 designers, transformed over 75 spaces and contributed over $2M in products and services for social good.

Patti Carpenter 
Patti Carpenter, principal of carpenter + company, is an award winning Creative Director in globally sourced home accents, personal accessories and gifts with extensive experience in product design and development, merchandising, and color + trend forecasting. As a Micro-Enterprise specialist with U.S. presidential recognition for domestic and international expertise in artisan development, small producer and entrepreneur training, and economic development, she has been successful in international sourcing and creating innovative products for her eponymous home textiles brand, carpenter + company, sold internationally. Additionally, Carpenter has designed, sourced and created strong private label collections that add revenue and enhance the image of brands including Bloomingdales, Sferra, Neiman Marcus, Crate & Barrel, The Phillips Collection, ABC Carpet and Home, Donna Karan Urban Zen and Ralph Lauren. She has traveled and worked in fifty-four countries and has spoken and written on Color + Trend and Design around the globe. As an international expert in Color + Trend forecasting, Patti is now The Global Design Trend Specialist for the AmericasMart in Atlanta and The Global Trend Ambassador for Maison & Objet in America and Paris.

Susan Dickenson 
Susan Dickenson is the editor in chief of Home Accents Today, where she has spent the past decade covering trending topics, best practices and news items pertaining to the retail and interior design side of the home furnishings industry. Her monthly columns and in-depth reporting for HAT’s national print issues, market dailies and website explore everything from emerging technologies and design trends to marketing, merchandising and consumer behavior.Home Accents Today, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, is owned by Progressive Business Media. Based in Greensboro, N.C., the company’s industry titles include Furniture Today, Kids Today, Casual Living, Home Textiles Today, Gifts & Decorative Accessories and Home Furnishings News. In her spare time, Susan enjoys flyfishing, quilting, and spending time with her family.

Dann Foley 
Dann Inc. has been designing residences and commercial projects for more than 25 years. Dann’s work has been seen across the U.S., Canada and parts of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. What started as an extra credit project in his senior year of design school has turned into a Lifestyle Design Firm with a global reach.
His namesake brand, Dann Foley Lifestyle was the largest product launch for an interior designer brand ever and coincided with the premier of the NBC primetime show, American Dream Builders with Nate Berkus. Also featured on Showtime’s The Real L Word, Dann has proven his ability to excite clients and viewers on a huge scale.
Experience, global travel, public speaking, writing and design have made Dann into a “Living Well” expert and sought after host and emcee within our industry, as well as television. Dann says, “I teach people to live better lives, every day.”

Susan Inglis

Susan Inglis is Executive Director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, and resident expert with the organization she helped found in 2006. She has led SFC to work with industry leaders to establish criteria to gauge the sustainability of furniture products and practices; develop programs for educating all sectors of the industry; and attract hundreds of companies to membership. Inglis is also founder and owner of From The Mountain, a company that imports hand spun cashmere yarn from Afghanistan, providing safe income for over 100 women there. Inglis is an active member of WithIt, which awarded her the 2009 WOW Educator Award. She lives in North Carolina.

Grace McNamara

Nick May 
Nick May is the host of the widely acclaimed interior design podcast called The Chaise Lounge, a podcast dedicated to the business of interior design. Each week he interviews incredibly successful designers from across the country to find out HOW they got into interior design, WHY they started their own firm, and WHAT has made them SO successful. Before launching The Chaise Lounge, Nick started Walls by design in Denver, CO. Through clever marketing and building a team, Nick has grown his painting business to be one of the largest residential painting businesses in Denver. Nick believes in systems, team building, and marketing…not necessarily in that order…and is passionate about helping others grow their businesses by sharing his successes and failures in the often misunderstood dark art of marketing and social media.

Jaye Anna Mize 
Jaye Anna Mize is the Home Interiors Director for the trend-forecasting agency, Fashion Snoops.  With a passion for trend psychology, technology and design, Jaye has a branched across fashion into home interiors through her development in trend forecasting over the past 12 years. Working with major brands world wide, Jaye spends her time covering international events and analyzing key cultural influencers within the home & interior markets to produce macro and micro projections. 

Farah Merhi 
Farah Merhi is a design expert, designer, wife, mother of three, and a leading social media influencer in the home decor space. In 2012, Farah began Inspire Me! Home Decor’s Instagram page as a creative outlet to catalogue inspiration and connect with others who share her passion for design. With Farah’s success on Instagram, she built Inspire Me! into a lifestyle brand, offering advice, inspiration, and Inspire Me! products to her audience. From day one, Farah established a personal and honest connection with Inspire Me! fans, a connection she continues to foster through expanding the platform as well as continuing to host a one-on-one dialogue with her audience.
Inspire Me! Home Decor is a home decor lifestyle brand which brings classic, elegant, and glamorous design into homes around the world. Founded in 2012 by Farah Merhi, Inspire Me! began as an Instagram page and has since become the most followed home decor page on the platform with over 3.7M followers. Inspire Me! follows the curation and vision of its founder, embodying Farah’s distinct style, passion for design, and connection to her audience. Inspire Me!’s digital platform is a go-to source for decor expertise for design enthusiasts ranging from housewives and self-proclaimed DIYers to designers and young professionals.

Jennifer Wagner Schmidt 

Jennifer Wagner Schmidt of residential interior design firm, JWS Interiors, is based in the metro Washington, DC area and serves clients in both the DC metro area as well as New York City.

Her design work has been featured in top tier media  including,  Home & DesignGoodHousekeeping , Family CircleThe Washington Post, Modern Luxuryas well as popular blogs Domino, TheEverygirl, The Glitter Guide, Rue Magazine, Apartment Therapy, Design*Sponge, CocoCozy, Refinery29, DC by Design, and more

In addition, in 2015Harper'sBazaar selected her as an inspiring woman for its "Fabulous At Every Age" contest/magazine feature (August 2015 print edition). Jennifer has generated a large social media following with 87,000 Instagram followers which is growing daily. This has led to her work as a brand ambassador with companies such as Z Gallerie and Stainmaster (TM).