This is a special episode because we’re sharing a live broadcast we did inside our Designer Meet-up Facebook group. We brought together 2 special guests to open up the discussion of what it really means to be a licensed Interior Designer.

About Maia

Maia’s formative years were spent in a home built by famed Canadian architect Ron Thom. Visits to properties in Toronto’s Forest Hill and Rosedale neighborhoods, and trips further afield to the Laurentians and Barbados cemented her appreciation for elegant architecture and beautifully executed spaces.

A graduate of McMasters multi-disciplinary Arts & Science program in Hamilton Ontario, Maia took a brief detour into law school on the west coast before finding her niche in design. She graduated with honors from Ryerson’s School of Interior Design and completed her BCIN, LEED AP, and NCIDQ designations before founding Black Sheep Interior Design in 2013.

With an approach that is as creative as it is rational, Maia’s design sense is fueled by sun-filled travels. Whether diving in the Caribbean, mini-breaking in Miami, or resting up in cottage country, she loves to soak up the materials and aesthetics of get-a-way destinations. She is also a dedicated volunteer and proudly combines her love of design and philanthropy.

Maia is a member of ARIDO and the IDC.

Maia is a returning guest – listen to her first episode 46: Budgeting, Pricing your Services & Attracting the Right Trades

About Sharon

Sharon has worked in the not-for-profit sector since 1997, starting in the financial sector with the Institute for Advanced Financial Education. In 2011, she transitioned to the design and construction sector in the role of Executive Director and Registrar with the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO).

Her professional experience includes the development and enforcement of qualification standards for professions, regulatory frameworks, and lobbying for public policy in support of safe interior environments in Ontario. 

Starting in 2014, Sharon led several projects intended to provide a more inclusive and fairer pathway to qualifying as an interior designer in Ontario through competencies-based frameworks. In 2020, ARIDO undertook a commitment to the advancement of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility within ARIDO as an organization, the profession, and the community.

Sharon is a Maltese-Canadian who is proud of both her Maltese and Canadian heritage and roots. Her favorite pastimes include photography and long walks with her dog, Toretto.

This is always a hot topic in our community, so we decided to have this conversation because we believe the more knowledge you have, the better you are at making decisions. 

In this episode, Maia Roffey, Sharon Portelli and I discuss what it means to be an interior designer, the circumstances when you can refer to yourself as an interior designer, and how you can start the process. Listen towards the end when I ask an uncomfortable question and share my less-than-positive experience with the local association. 

I truly hope that at the end of the episode, you’ll see that there isn’t simply one way of doing things, but having the knowledge is the best way to make the right decision for you.

You can connect with Maia at or on Instagram @blacksheepid

You can connect with Sharon at