Designer of the Year Competition Judges

Judging Panel for 2015 Designer of the Year Awards
For design projects completed between October 1, 2014 - December 31, 2015

The Designer of the Year Awards recognize outstanding achievement in residential interior design among Interior Design Society members. There are 19 different categories under the classifications of Window Treatments, Kitchens, Baths, Bedrooms, Living Spaces, Singular Areas, Universal Design, Sustainable Design, and Sponsor Award. All members of IDS are eligible to enter. The 2015 Designer of the Year Award winners will be announced at the awards dinner at IDS National Conference on April 1.

Deb Barrett
Barrett, window fashion visionary, creative catalyst and design confidante, has been actively working in the design and window coverings industry since 1975. She has a varied background and experience that is a rare mix in the industry. As a nationally known award winning designer, she has built a reputation for cutting edge couture treatments whose specialty is finding creative solutions to challenging design problems. Her design career has taken many paths, but her fascination with what’s around the corner has led her to her current roles as a much sought- after speaker, consultant and design blogger.

Author, speaker, professional interior designer with a master’s degree in interior design. Mitzi is one of America’s top experts on BoomerSmarts® interior design and chic products for the changing landscape of America’s homes today. She has approved professional CEU courses speaking nationally on topics such as “Homes of the future” and “Smart selling and designing to millennials through boomers.” In 2015, Mitzi served as a Style Spotter and one of 10 designers for the Design Bloggers Tour for High Point Market Authority and was also part of the Las Vegas Modenus Blog Tour 2015. Author of “Boomer Smarts, Boomer Power,” speaking and writing on aging gracefully in America is her passion. 

Leslie Carothers*
Leslie Carothers is the founder and CEO of The Kaleidoscope Partnership, our country’s first social media agency dedicated solely to providing these services to the interior design and furniture industry.

Ms. Carothers has been involved with all sectors of the industry for the past 34 years, the first 20 as a luxury interior designer herself, and has successfully designed and executed on multiple social media marketing, web communications and content marketing initiatives for her clients over the past 14 years.

She is also a well regarded speaker and writer. She keynoted both High Point University’s first social media symposium and the Interior Design Society’s 2014 national conference. Her microblog, http:/, followed by 34,000 people, was named as one of Decorex's Top 100 interior design blogs in the world. In her spare time, Leslie volunteers on the board of the Bienenstock Furniture Library.

Kelli Ellis*
Ellis is an award-winning, International Celebrity Interior Designer, Design Psychology Expert, co-Creator of Design Campus, and Author of the best-selling book Do I Look Skinny in this House?
In addition to the Interior Design Institute in California, she also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Marketing, a Law school education from Western State University, and a liberal arts education from The University of London. Kelli has been published in numerous national publications including Traditional Home, Riviera Modern Luxury, LUXE Magazine, CA Home and Lifestyle, Domino, and Hearst publications nationwide. New rug, tile and art glass lines are her latest creative outlets.
Kelli began a TV career on TLC'S Clean Sweep to starring in HGTV's Takeover My Makeover, Move to Improve, Celebrity Holiday Homes, Bravo's Real Housewives of Orange County and Hulu’s, Las Vegas Home Makeover. Kelli has joined the cast of HGTV's hit House Hunters Renovation, airing in 2016.

Justin Shaulis
Shaulis is an Interior Designer with an architecture background based in New York City. He has worked with Shigeru Ban, architect, and Jennifer Post, interior designer.
Balancing the classic and the modern, he approaches each project collaboratively with the client and as such the aesthetic varies given the influence and context. What remains consistent is the devotion to exploring Lifestyle.
Justin draws from his diverse background including a rural Pennsylvanian upbringing, a Big 10 Architecture Degree and traveling usually centered around antiquing. Justin was the Design Host for the 2010 HGTV series "Home Rules."

Erinn Valencich
Valencich is a multi-talented entrepreneur and personality.  The founder of Erinn V. Design Group, she has designed homes from New York to Los Angeles for celebrities, executives, and politicians. Her furniture line, Erinn V., is available at fine to-the-trade showrooms.  Her work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor and Town & Country. 

Barbara Viteri
Viteri has helped propel interior design professionals throughout the nation to the forefront of their industry for more than 20 years. She has worked with both large firms and sole proprietors to develop new or streamline existing business systems to enable designers to focus on what they do best; design. In addition to her roles as President and Creative Director of VSM, Viteri partnered with The Design Network as the creator, executive producer and host of “Designerlebrity™ Talk with Barbara Viteri”, a cutting edge talk show introducing celebrity interior designers on both online media and syndicated television platforms.

Jackie Von Tobel
Von Tobel is an award-winning interior designer, product designer, artist, author, and a leading expert in the field of soft furnishings design and construction. Her books, The Design Directory of Window Treatments, The Design Directory of Bedding and the Slipcovers Home Idea Source Book are the “go-to” references for the interior design industry for soft furnishing design inspiration. She has a true passion for fabric and the products that are made with it and she teaches a variety of accredited courses on the subject. She has been leading the trends in soft furnishings design for years through her books, seminars, and her related products. 

Michele Williams
Michele Williams is fiercely committed to guiding creative business owners in the understanding of complex business concepts and processes in a simplified way and helping them to be profitable at the same time. Gaining and implementing this knowledge allows for a healthier work-life balance.

Michele is the owner of The Scarlet Thread, LLC. She owns a drapery workroom as well as a strategic coaching business. With a degree from the University of South Carolina in Management Information Systems and Administrative Management, Michele has combined her love of creativity and textiles with the nitty gritty of business management to help other creatives learn the technical and financial sides of business. Michele is a Profit First Certified Coach, and she is the president of the National WCAA and a member of the Atlanta and Virtual chapters of WCAA. Michele is also a member of WFCP, Design Collective, NAPW, and Designers’ Workroom Council.

Michelle Workman
As one of the nation's most sought-after interior designers, Michelle Workman has designed high-end residential and commercial spaces from West Coast to East Coast, to most recently in the South. Michelle possesses an esteemed and influential client roster, from the Hollywood elite such as Jennifer Lopez, John Travolta & Kelly Preston and Kirstie Alley, to Silicon Valley executives and entrepreneurs, to individual homeowners who desire elegantly glamorous trend-setting design.

Described by those who know her as an "easygoing perfectionist," Michelle's philosophy is that interior design should embody the spirit and architectural style of the individual whose home is being transformed - literally, a physical manifestation of the client's most inherent attributes. It's Michelle's intention that the outcome of her efforts say of her client, loudly and very clearly, "This is who I am!" - be it gleefully glamorous, classically conservative, or chic chinoiserie.

*indicates that this person will also judge the #idsIMPACT Awards