15 Hideous Decorating Mistakes With Fabric

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Although, I no longer take interior design clients, I did for 24 years, counting the years working for others. And oh man. The decorating mistakes!

No wait. Mistakes doesn’t quite cover it.

 

DECORATING NIGHTMARES!

 

It all begins quite innocently; like this:

One day, while sitting at the hair salon getting your roots taken care of, nonchalantly flipping through decorating magazines the attendant comes to clean up the floor by your chair.

But, instead of sweeping up hair, she’s actually cleaning up the puddle made from your drool as you swoon over one beautiful room after another.

And because you are high on hair color fumes, you start fantasizing about what it would be like to create beautiful rooms like this— for a living.

 

Fast forward a little. After reading a self-help book, you learn that if you can dream it, you can do it.

 

You fall for it.

Subsequently, tens of thousands of dollars go towards an interior design education. Upon graduating, you have a portfolio of beautiful projects. Now, it’s time to get a resale certificate, become a sub chapter S corporation and open up for business.

 

WAIT!!!

 

There’s something I need to say before you jump out of plane without a parachute. I really hope this doesn’t sound condescending.

 

Oh whatever. I NEED to be condescending.

 

Do you have any idea the deep doo-doo you’re about to step in?

 

Yes, you.

 

Look at me when I’m talking to you!

 

Thank you.

Now that I have your undivided attention, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. (which some of you already know)

 

Interior design schools do not prepare their students for real-life interior design.

 

It’s all pretend and they gloss over what can go wrong; or omit it entirely.

Why?

I guess they don’t want everyone dropping out. haha.

So, now what?

 

Work for someone else. please. For as long as you can, but a minimum of two years.

 

Here’s why.

There is just too much that can go wrong; this business is fraught with more landmines than exist in the entire world!

Think I’m exaggerating, for dramatic effect?

I only wish.

Fortunately, not all of these things happened to me; just the ones with an. *

Those with *** took me years to recover from.

 

Please learn from these decorating mistakes – Not just boo boos, but depressingly frightening nightmares. Like I always say. “I’ve made plenty of mistakes; I just try not to make the same one twice!”

 

And these are only the fabric mistakes. Therefore, please listen up. Designer fabric is expensive and if you must have something remade– ouch!

For some of my favorite designer fabrics, click here.

 

 

Knit backed fabric 15 hideous interior decorating mistakes

15 Decorating Mistakes That Can Occur With Fabric

 

Fabric. You need X amount. You order it.

 

What’s so difficult about that, Laurel?

 

  • Nothing, unless the fabric has been discontinued.
  • Or it’s on back order for six months and the entire room revolves around it. And there’s only one fabric in the entire universe that’s like that one.

 

But folks, that’s just the tip of the needle and thread.

 

  • Let’s say that you order one chair and then the client decides to get another identical chair–six months later, only the dye-lots don’t match.

 

Oops hope you got a CFA (Cutting For Approval) of the current dye-lot, assuming that there’s no stock left of the dye-lot you used previously– BEFORE you sent it out for the new chair.

 

interior decorating mistakes-dyelots don

 

Here’s a good example. A job we did a few years ago had these two fabrics in one room.

 

You can see the Roman Shade from the bottom sample here.

The large pieces are the original samples. The CFAs on the left, as you can see, are different from their original sample; especially, the one on the bottom. In our case, it turned out to be a good thing.

However, imagine that fabric on the two different dye-lots on identical chairs, right next to each other.

You get a panicked email from your client that the chairs don’t match. After assuring her that you’re on the task to correct this, you go and pour yourself a glass of wine.

 

Then, a call is made to the fabric vendor. Unfortunately, there’s no more stock left of the second fabric. And, there’s a back-order of the new stock.

 

Sucks, doesn’t it?

 

Now, your poor client will have to live with mismatched chairs for at least 4 months.

 

And, YOU will have to pay for the 16 yards of fabric and the cost to have BOTH chairs, picked up reupholstered and re-delivered.

There goes the ski vacation.

This is why if you are doing multiples of anything, it is safest to order them all at the same time. And if dye lots/color matching matters, you must get the CFA!

 

  • the draperies made of a $180 English hand-screened print for six windows (72 yards) were the right pattern. Wrong colorway.

 

Oh man, this did not happen to me but it’s a true story. THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLAR MISTAKE!!!

 

Not only did they not get a CFA, they did not put a sample and a clear description on their work order.

 

Unless you can afford to eat a mistake or live with it, please get the cutting for approval and make sure that your workroom knows what the fabric is supposed to look like!

 

 

reversible-jacquard-weave-fabric

Yes, this happened to me 12 years ago in a similar fabric. The fabric was sent to be knit-backed and the fabricators put the backing on the wrong side! Fortunately, it still looked just as nice. In fact, I liked it better and the client didn’t notice. Phew! Lesson learned! It could’ve been a disaster!

 

  • the fabric on the custom club chairs started unraveling only days after you received it*

 

interior design mistakes

That one was a real eye-opener. The fabric was a heavy-duty tapestry.

Yes, but it was also a REP WEAVE. The fabric above shows what a rep weave looks like. You see it a lot in placemats, but ours was finer. Here’s the deal. When it is cut on the diagonal for the bias welt, it starts unraveling like mad. Who knew?

I contacted Kravet and asked them why there wasn’t some information warning that this fabric required a backing for upholstery. Here’s what they said.

 

“Well, Ma’am we don’t know what you’re using the fabric for.”

 

Seriously? Like I was using it to make two dog beds or something?

I said. “I used it for upholstery for two club chairs; is there a problem with that?”

 

After some cajoling, I got them to cover the cost of the 16 yards of fabric I needed to reorder.

 

The cost of the reupholstery was mine. (Yes, the upholsterer lost his gig with me.) There are remedies he could’ve taken to see that the welting didn’t unravel, but at the time I didn’t know that either. And, he should’ve accepted the blame as I was not there to see what was going on. He knew.

He could’ve put a fabric glue on the edges of the seams and that would’ve stopped the unraveling.

The other solution to prevent unraveling that I highly recommend is to send the fabric out to a place that does knit-backing. My favorite is Schneider-Banks (SBI) in Texas. I also use knit-backing for when I want to upholster with fabrics that are less stable and/or fragile, like linens and silks.

 

Knit-backed-fabric-2

Here’s what the knit-backing looks like. It gets heat applied to the back of the fabric. All linens, chenilles and silks that are being used for upholstery, must have a backing like this or something similar on them. Sometimes the fabric already comes with a backing, but if not, please remember to send it out!

 

  • you forgot to check the pattern repeat and didn’t send enough fabric to the manufacturer. When you went to order more, it was on back-order for 5 months.

 

 

My old boss used to say all the time. “This business isn’t for the faint of heart.”

 

What’s the solution? Well, if it’s a chair or sofa, sometimes they are including the arm covers and/or matching throw pillows. I never do the matching pillows, so, between the two pillows and arm covers, that is a couple of yards.

 

  • your workroom called you up because the French toile is only 36″ wide and you need to order another 8 yards of fabric that your client wasn’t expecting to have to pay for.*

98% of the time, designer fabrics are 54″ wide, or there about. I had never heard of 36″ wide fabric. But this was a Pierre Frey fabric, imported from France. Alas, I had to get another seven yards of fabric. Of course, I could not charge my clients for the additional yardage because they weren’t expecting it. It is my responsibility to know what I’m ordering. I just forgot to double-check that one. It had never come up before.

 

  • the silk on the living room chaise split open in only a few months

please see about knit-backing above. Knit-backing a fragile fabric makes it far more durable. I’ve done this many times with great success!

sun-rot-furniture

  • and it went from a rich indigo to some sort of weird wimpy lilac color

Blue is often a color that we call “fugitive.” That means when exposed to the sun, it fades and then transforms into some weird color and not evenly either!

  • the silk drapes started rotting away

silkrot-interior-design-mistakes

Silk is a very beautiful fabric. For drapes it must always be lined and INTERLINED. No exceptions! However, if you have a strongly lit south-facing room, I would avoid silk altogether. As for the upholstery application. See above.

In addition, please see to it that your windows are UV protected. There is also a film that you can have professionally applied. I’ve had clients who’ve had this done with terrific results. The sun can wreak havoc with all fabrics, leather and wood too!

  • the Roman shades made of expensive semi-sheer wool, shrunk within days after installation!***

interior-design-mistakes-fugly-roman-shades

I’m not going to say too much about this one because the entire job was well, one of the most soul-sucking experiences of my life! And I do not say that lightly. In fact, I very much wanted to quit the business after she had worked her unique brand of crazy on me.

That’s how bad it was.

She was nice enough– in the beginning. But, after a few weeks, the client began to show her true colors. I went Whoa! and realized that I better get out before she got really nutso on me.

 

Therefore, I did my level best to get her to fire me.

 

I should’ve tried harder.

I think that she sprayed water on the Roman Shades. Or the cleaning lady did. They were perfect when we hung them two weeks earlier. Absolutely perfect. Well, as perfect as could be on those hideous windows. I really wanted to do drapes, but one window butted up against the kitchen door and it would’ve been very dangerous to do drapes.

However, they ARE wool. Buyer beware!

 

Wool is a stunning fabric that drapes like Marilyn Monroe cooing happy birthday all over her microphone.

 

Just yummy. but again–I advise against wool; possible shrinkage and moths too. Oh, and wool can also rot in south-facing windows. I used the same fabric for my bedroom and after a few years, that’s what happened.

 

 

measuring-window-interior-design-mistakes

Forgive the blurry photo. It’s a selfie and I had all I could do to hold the tape measure level and get a straight shot!

 

Okay, we have ALL made this mistake and when we do, it’s especially embarrassing.

 

The proper way to measure for an inside mount shade is to take the tape measure from one side of the window and include the entire tape measure casing. Most tapes either come in 3″ or 2″ widths. Please avoid the weird one that’s 2-7/8th or whatever. The issue of course, is to remember to add in the 2″ or 3″ to the width shown on the yellow tape.

 

Can I tell you the number of times I went BACK to measure a clients windows, just to make sure.

 

Also, if you’re a designer and you’re measuring, take notes, eg: it’s an inside mount but the clearance is shallow so the board will need to go in the other direction.

Sometimes, several weeks went by between measuring and ordering the window treatments. Believe me, if you don’t write it down, you’ll forget.

 

  • the very expensive fabric on the very expensive Donghia chair looked like a Chia Pet only weeks after being delivered*

 

epingle

 

Oh man… This happened 22 years ago to one of my nicest clients. I’ve helped her with two gorgeous homes. What happened? The fabric is called an EPINGLE. Pronounced, EP IN GLAY if you don’t already know that. It looks something like the rep weave except what it actually is, is tiny loops.

 

It’s the crack cocaine of fabrics for a cat.

 

Sure, go ahead and laugh.

You’ll stop laughing when you get the bill for $2,000.00 bill to reupholster the chair with the $160.00/yd fabric (net price)

 

But, this is how nice this client is.

 

She lived with her fuzzy chair until she moved homes 9 years later and we reupholstered it in something far more pet-proof. Believe me when I tell you that she could’ve had a 100 of these chairs reupholstered and it wouldn’t have made even a small dent in their bank account. However, it just wasn’t that important to her.

 

This next one, however, I wasn’t so lucky. Although, also a very nice client!

 

  • the brand-new custom leather loveseats arrived. Client loves them. Just one problem. The children are playing tic tac toe in the leather— with their fingernails!*

 

scratches-leather

 

Yes, yes– freaking hilarious! :/ I had ordered this leather before and while a bit “distressed”, this batch was really bad. What’s really horrible is that the upholsterer did call me up to warn me.

This time, it was me who was the idiot as I didn’t believe him.

I called an expert for advice. He was sympathetic but said that there’s no permanent solution. Yes, rubbing with your finger helps and a hair dryer works even better believe it or not. But is the client supposed to blow dry her sofas every day?

This is a great site (Roden Leather) which explains all about the different types of leather. Not all leather is durable. In fact, most are no more durable than a fine silk.

 

The solution was to make these great slip covers out of Donghia Sunbrella.

 

This cost me a pretty penny but they looked wonderful. I added a short skirt. Wish I had a photo! They were very small loveseats for a tiny, tiny side room common in Westchester County that folks use as a family room.

An entire family of 5 or 6 spends most of their time in a room that’s 90 sq. feet. This is because the old homes which prevail in southern Westchester county do not have family rooms.

striped-chair

The fabric looked something like this only more honey color than green. (please forgive the bad upholstery job.)

 

Well, those are the main decorating mistakes with fabric that I’ve made or heard of.

 

Of course, there have been lots of other things that were caught like flaws in the fabric. Once or twice the fabric arrived dirty. And yes, TWO TIMES, the WRONG fabric was sent, but it was caught before it was cut into.

Stuff happens.

We’re human; we make mistakes. We suffer the consequences. I just don’t want you to suffer too much if you’re just starting out as a designer. OR, if you’re doing everything yourself.

 

Have you had any whopping interior decorating mistakes? Please share if you feel like it.

 

And, I hope this gave you some good info so that you won’t have any nasty surprises; at least not with your fabrics!

But, if you want to hear the worst thing that ever happened in my business, click here to read how I lost $30,000.00 the first year I was in business.

xo,

 

  • Lyrica Tyree - July 12, 2018 - 12:03 PM

    Great post. I meditate on worst case scenarios before I order anything at all ever. I also had an issue with China Seas/Quadrille fabric cfa not matching the beautiful color of the original sample. We gave up on that fabric because they were unable to get the color of the original. I don’t understand why they can’t mix the same or at least similar color from lot to lot, these are hand block printed I think…ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - July 12, 2018 - 4:03 PM

      Hi Lyrica,

      Sometimes it’s the cloth itself that is a little off-color. Not sure why that happens either.ReplyCancel

  • Rajkumar - July 4, 2018 - 5:18 AM

    I don’t have enough ideas about the fabrics but after reading your article, I know pretty much about designs and decorations about fabrics. Now onwards, whenever I will go to buy any fabric I will remember all these points you mentioned. Now no one can fool me. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Frances - June 26, 2018 - 10:33 PM

    I own a workroom and have had a number of fabric mishaps, but my “favorite” is the time I received fabric for some cushions that had a whale print. The fabric happened to be on my table when my assistant’s 8-year-old son stopped by. He looked at the fabric, still on the roll, and said the whale was upside down. So I looked again closely and wondered if he might be right. Since I had not received a swatch on the work order from the designer, I googled humpback whales (it was that variety) and sure enough the whale was upside down. So we flipped it when we made the cushion– anatomically correct. I included a printout of the whale picture with the cushion, to explain the position, upon delivery to the designer. When the client received the cushion she was disappointed that the whales on her cushion weren’t smiling (like they looked like they were when upside down but not right side up)… Luckily she didn’t have us remake it.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 27, 2018 - 12:00 AM

      well, now, I’ve heard everything! But, I once had a workroom who put the laminate side of the fabric for chair pads inside, not outside. uhhhhh… Fortunately, the client, who had gone to a rip-off store had bought double the amount of fabric needed, so the workroom was able to remake the pads.ReplyCancel

  • Monica - June 25, 2018 - 1:37 AM

    I love these posts documenting mistakes of interior design! They remind me of my early graphic design days sometimes. The very first job I worked on after graduating college was for a company that wanted 2 large multi-page brochures. I was assigned a boring 2-color one, and a more experienced designer got to design a really high-end, fancy one that was really expensive to print. Her brochure (1000’s & 1000’s of them) were printed with the company name spelled incorrectly–Dimwiddie instead of Dinwiddie! What a name, huh? The client didn’t notice this fact on the proof, but saw it immediately on the finished product (of course). I was SO relieved it wasn’t mine, as I hadn’t paid particular attention to their name, so honestly it could have been. I learned such a valuable lesson from that experience–even small mistakes can be so expensive!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - June 24, 2018 - 3:22 PM

    Thanks for the funny/sad article! I wish I had hired an interior designer for almost every room I have decorated. I haven’t redecorated in a while, but believe me I will be hiring a decorator when I start that project. My daughter keeps bugging me to redo my 80’s livingroom!🙃ReplyCancel

  • Fenella - June 23, 2018 - 9:31 PM

    Wow – lots of real designers here – I had no idea, Laurel!

    I’m toying with the idea of going to design school, but (a) I’ve no idea where to start looking, and (b) I don’t believe I could deal with all the dramas you’re all describing: my life is quite dramatic enough without dealing with other drama llamas, lol.

    I think I’ll stick to reading your blogs; I am learning SO much, and I don’t even need to deal with other people’s cats.

    Talking of which, I’m pretty sure the commercial version of that (hideous, to me) epingle is what they used on bus seats in the UK. It’s very scratchy, if probably bomb/child proof.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 24, 2018 - 12:41 AM

      Hi Fenella,

      Well, at least 8,000 people have read this post, already. Most don’t comment. Can you imagine? But, it appealed to more designers than usual which is why so many commented. I would estimate that only 10% of the readers are in the trade.ReplyCancel

  • Trisha - June 23, 2018 - 12:57 PM

    Hey Laurel! I agree with you 100% that interior design schools do not prepare students for real-life interior design. Shortly after graduating, I worked for a designer in Mobile, AL, on a small funeral home renovation project. The entire back wall of the parlor had a fabric covered cornice board and draperies. I don’t remember what the fabric was that she’d specified, but I do remember vividly that it had been raining the night before and all morning on the day of the drapery installation, so the humidity was extremely high at the time when the workroom was delivering the draperies (note to self forever after: always check the weather forecast for installation days). The painters were doing minor touch-ups and chocked the entrance doors open, so it was really humid indoors, too (long ago days before low-VOC, no-odor paint). Never in my life had I witnessed fabric wilt and sag off of a cornice board until then! It looked like the fabric was hanging on for dear life by its finger-nail-heads while the drapery installer was having heart palpitations! What a dreadful sight that was in a funeral parlor! Believe me when I say, Mother Nature rules!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 24, 2018 - 12:39 AM

      Oh my, what a story Trisha,

      Fabric hanging on for dear life in a funeral home is definitely not a good thing! (sorry, couldn’t resist)ReplyCancel

  • Robert - June 23, 2018 - 12:49 PM

    Wow, you went into amazing detail in this post Laurel. Great read for someone who is new to working with fabric. I hope it will help me avoid making these mistakes in the future! 😉ReplyCancel

  • Shelby - June 22, 2018 - 2:10 PM

    Oh my word, yes! The stories we could tell to everyone who thinks designers have a “fun job.”

    I made the stupid wallpaper quantity/pricing mistake *once*. (Phillip Jeffries is priced per yard, not per roll, if that helps anyone ;))

    And installs are always a little anxiety-inducing, no matter how many times I’ve checked and double-checked.

    But anyway, thanks for sharing your mistakes! Mistakes will happen, but you’re so right that designers should not start working for themselves right out of school. I sometimes wish I could teach a course on this more practical stuff instead of dealing with it every day instead.

    Thanks again for the all-too-relatable, very helpful read!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 22, 2018 - 11:43 PM

      Hi Shelby,

      Yes, I’ve heard stories about folks (not in the trade) who would order high-end wallpaper in the back of magazines not realizing that a Euro-roll is nearly double an American roll and thus ordering double what they needed and they never take unused rolls back.

      And $85 dollars a yard sounds so much better than $510/roll. Or whatever it would be if it was a full roll of wallpaper.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - June 22, 2018 - 10:42 AM

    You are so right concerning fabric mistakes. The Roden website is so informative, re: leathers, but having previously spent many many thousands on a custom leather sofa, years ago, I’ve since wondered about my logic in selecting a better Analine (sp?)leather. Visitors with rings and buckles on their clothing have to be “monitored”, to avoid damage, as do those who think nothing of putting their sweaty body against the leather. Serving drinks or food there is out of the question, given that so many people have no comprehension of the cost, or potential for damage.
    Did I mention sun damage?
    Although I loved the look and color of my sofa, I’m thinking I should consider industrial grade fabric, for the next one…
    I suppose it’s like white rugs and furniture…fine if you live alone, and never have visitors, but otherwise, not so practical.
    SandraReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 22, 2018 - 11:27 AM

      Thank you Sandra. Unfortunately for me, even living alone is of little help. lolReplyCancel

  • n - June 20, 2018 - 7:46 PM

    Oh this is the best posting, for it’s brutal transparency and oh shit moments that we all have faced all the while trying to remain….so professional. I will save this, I will remind myself often to re-visit it and I will consider it a mandatory read when I will hire/ train anyone who comes to work with me. One solution here whenever possible, try to have templates and a double check process in place, it’s so good to have second pair of eyes on custom work orders. And always keep a hard copy of your PO with a fabric cutting attached that is exactly like that which the workroom received. No one wants to see another fail, but the liability is real, folks and we have to protect our profits with good documentation! This might be content for a different post but the cutting for approval and inspection process is no less important for wallpapers, especially grasscloths and hand painted materials. For initial installation, a CFA / dye lot must be checked meticulously against delivered material / rolls for a match and then, each roll needs to be inspected for consistency of quality prior to installation, as poor quality can compromise the overall square footage per roll required to have a successful install.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 9:58 PM

      Yes, that CFA (cutting for approval) is mandatory, unless a slight variation does not matter and/or the fabric is coming to us first. But it’s tempting to skip it, because it can add a week or two to the lead-time.

      Thanks for your advice too!ReplyCancel

  • Lorri - June 20, 2018 - 6:15 PM

    Laurel, I appreciate how much work you put into this blog and this post is no exception.

    I worked at a furniture store a couple of years ago. As a newbie, the owners were surprised by how well I did. But it nearly killed me.

    There are a million and one ways to make a mistake when ordering furniture, and the store I worked at didn’t have every item on the floor and all it’s pieces in the computer ordering system. Most stores in this day and age DO.

    And we aren’t even talking about all the items you could special order from the catalogs that you had to figure out.

    You could do an order that was long and detailed, get every single item correct except one, and then the General Manager would have to spend ages trying to figure out where the order went wrong. The pricing was a nightmare. You had to figure it out yourself, because so much wasn’t in the computer. Easy to make the one mistake again that would throw everything off.

    They had pricing tiers, depending on how much the customer bought. One time, I had a couple looking at bedroom furniture, and I had to figure out the price FOUR different times from scratch because they kept considering different options that put them in totally different pricing tiers.

    I don’t know of any store in this century that is run this way. I came in one day and wrote up a $10,000 sale, and it had one mistake. After the grief I got, I stood up and quit. The GM came running after me wanting to know why. They didn’t want me to leave because I was doing so well.

    The stress wasn’t worth it.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 9:53 PM

      Hi Lorri,

      Oh my; I’m so sorry! But, good for you for taking care of yourself.ReplyCancel

      • Lorri - June 20, 2018 - 10:28 PM

        Laurel, you have done me such a favor today with this post. I’ve been second-guessing myself.

        Many years ago, I worked in a design studio connected with a huge high-end furniture store. No, I wasn’t a designer. I was considering going to school for design, and this was a chance to see what it was like up close.

        For the longest time, I felt such uncertainty because design is super interesting to me, but but but . . . I could see how the customers stressed out the designers fairly often.

        I didn’t witness any costly mistakes, but the customer interaction could make or break your day. I decided not to pursue design, even though I loved the subject matter.

        Then I worked in furniture sales myself and discovered the world of mistakes that were possible. I hated it. HATED! Furniture sales is like doing the worst part of interior design and nothing else. Some sales people especially dreaded selling custom upholstery because of what it entails.

        I’m working in a type of medical sales now that should set me up well. When that happens, I plan to buy vacation houses and decorate the hell out of them. I decided that will be my creative outlet and it will be a steady income. I live in a hot vacation area.

        I’m so glad you got out, Laurel. But your experience has led you to this blog and educating people who love design and want to do it right. Actually all your pain has resulted in gain for you and everyone who reads here and orders your products. Bravo to you!ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 11:40 PM

          I’m very glad that this has been helpful for you Lorri. Actually, for me, it was window treatments that I found the most tediously difficult.

          Very cool about the vacation homes. That’s a terrific plan!ReplyCancel

          • Lorri - June 21, 2018 - 1:48 AM

            As interested as I’ve always been about design, I don’t know anything about window treatments. I mean, I know what I like, but if I had to measure a window, it would be a disaster.

            At least I have no pretensions about my ability there!

            Math and I are not friends!

  • Carmen - June 20, 2018 - 4:01 PM

    Oh my… after reading your blog and most of the comments, I have to say that, as much as I have always hated it, I am glad I grew up with a Fashion Designer as a mother.
    Girl, you don’t know the amount of information and advice I can apply now to my small business.
    Fabrics are bitches, yes they are. You can never be too careful when it is about measuring and ordering.
    I enjoy reading everything you write, but this one gave me a weird, uncomfortable feeling in my stomach.
    Learning the hard way is cool when someone deserves it for being a not nice person, but this… OMG thank you for sharing your experiences with us.
    Some people say we humans are so stubborn we never learn from other’s mistakes. I think there are exceptions, there is still hope for the human race.
    And for interior designers.
    By the way, I have always hated all things fabric related because my mother tried to push her desire of turning me into a Fashion Designer too much.
    Still, most of the things she taught are being useful now a days.

    On a quick note, that thing about working for others for at least 2 years… I agree, but when you start looking for a job as an interior designer, you find out all companies ask you to be an experienced one.
    What!
    I had no luck with that. So I started by my own, little by little.
    Taking my good friend Steve’s advice (he owns a retail consulting company) “Never sell yourself cheap.”ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 9:12 PM

      It’s true Carmen. Oftentimes, we have to make our own mistakes in order to truly learn.

      And I got my job back in ’92. It wasn’t easy then either, but maybe easier. The woman I worked for made a TON of mistakes. I felt quite prepared four years later. ReplyCancel

  • anne davis - June 20, 2018 - 1:36 PM

    You’re so right when you say design school is not reality. You and I went to the same school at the same time. And I felt totally unprepared to take on the field when I got out. I learned EVERYTHING while working for design firms. But hey, the diploma looks good on the wall.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 9:07 PM

      Hi Anne,
      Did we have any classes together? I think that you may have mentioned this before.

      Sadly, it appears that nothing has changed. A friend of mine near me, just got a certificate, I believe and she said it’s largely BS.ReplyCancel

  • Patti - June 20, 2018 - 1:14 PM

    Hi Laurel – Thanks again for a great article. I ALWAYS, learn and enjoy your blog. And yes, we have all made some horrific mistakes. And some of which were no fault of our own. But the responsible person failed to take responsibility. I am currently involved in a bobo, but not really anyone’s mistake. I ordered 2 Captain’s chairs for my dining room. They are very cool, a tan window pane plaid on the front and a cream textured fabric on the back. Special order and according to the salesperson, I got the last of the plaid fabric. YAHOO, lucky me…..OR NOT! The chairs arrived 3 months later and one chair was broken in 2 places……one front leg, and the back spine. So, company asked me to take pictures and send them in. Hmmm….isn’t that their job? Then they sent an expert furniture repair man (who also makes custom furniture) out to assess the damage. He said it could be repaired, but it would not last as long as its twin. Well, heck, why bother. Which is exactly what he thought. So, they made another chair…yes, they found more fabric, hidden in a closet, and TaTah, new chair is delivered, 3 months later. The stain on the wood is different. Holy Moly, really? So, that is where I am right now. They don’t know how to match the stains, nor do they want to. “You could do it yourself.” Really, for an $2000 chair. NOPE, says my Hubby. Oh, and they said they repaired the broken one, if I still want that one. Really, for $2000. NOPE. So, now they are saying I can remake both chairs with a COM. And…I think they want ME to pay for the COM, fabric and uncharge. So, here I sit, broken hearted……you know the rest. But, I have made plenty of mistakes on my own, paint, fabric, hardware, cabinetry, roofing material, custom front door (YIKES), hardwood flooring, lighting, but have always managed, with the help of my creative subs, to find a good solution. Until now. We shall see.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 1:21 PM

      Hi Patti,

      How horrible. And yes, they always put the burden of proof on you that you have to present them with photos and what-not. But, it is inexcusable for the finishes to not at least be super close to each other.

      As for the damage, in the first place. I don’t know what to say. It seemed in the last few years of my taking clients that every shipment had at least one piece that was damaged. If they didn’t throw the pieces around, secured them in the truck and took appropriate care when packaging, it would be a rare occurrence. ReplyCancel

  • Donna B Oliphint - June 20, 2018 - 11:36 AM

    I didn’t have the money to cover mistakes, so I was always REALLY careful. Although the dreaded backorder did happen a couple of times when I forgot to order a fabric but told my client I had. (That taught me to stop lying!) I did order a wood armchair from a source that was significantly less expensive than the one I had picked out for a client only to have it arrive looking very crudely made vs. the elegant chair I had expected. I still have that chair 25 years later.
    A friend of mine “became” a decorator and often got stuck with problems because she had custom furniture built. And I was always having to explain to her that her cornice designs couldn’t be engineered for certain windows. She worked with lawyers, too, which was a big NoNo for me. (They always seemed to find a problem with her designs and wouldn’t pay.)
    Basically, I was blessed, but I do have nightmares about some of the designs I sold in the 80’s–LOTS of florals with coordinating miniprints, plaids and stripes!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 12:12 PM

      Thanks for your stories Donna. Yes, I had that problem too. But just with one company. They used to be all over the internet, but not anymore. They were bought out after I had been working with them for 9 years. And they started making everything out of MDF instead of real wood and it all came in damaged. Nightmare doesn’t begin to cover it. ReplyCancel

  • Marianne - June 20, 2018 - 10:31 AM

    I didn’t see the dreaded railroaded stripe mistake! Your fabric sample has a vertical stripe. You miss the small print that says it’s railroaded. Your fabric arrives and you have horizontal stripes. Ouch!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 11:59 AM

      Oh yes, that’s a good one Marianne.

      And what happens is that they send you a small sample and some idiot puts the label on in the wrong direction. But, actually, I love horizontal stripes. Hope that you were able to “make it work.”ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - June 20, 2018 - 10:29 AM

    This nightmare design mistake is not about fabric, but it’s a goodie: Before opening my own firm, I worked for the top design company in a Mid-Atlantic state. The owner had clients all over the world and for a term, was the National President of the American Society of Interior Designers. So this was someone who knew what they were doing, and was not in the habit of making mistakes.

    In the mid 1970’s, this owner and I worked together on a penthouse condominium project for an international VP of a well known company. My boss trusted me to handle most of this job on my own, but still decided to personally measure the freight elevator at the condo to be sure it would fit the $10,000.00 button tufted Chesterfield style leather sofa that had been ordered from England. It fit. What both of us failed to think about, was the location of the entry door into the apartment as it related to the 6′ wide hallway and whether the sofa could make that turn. So, when move-in day arrived, the sofa came up the elevator and made it into the hallway, but could not make the turn into the apartment no matter how the movers twisted and turned it. Fortunately, none of the executives from the client’s company were at the job site when this happened, because we were not looking real competent at that point. What to do?? We thought about going downstairs to the bar and having a lot of wine, but we needed a better idea.

    My boss called a local company with a crane, and without telling the building staff what we were up to, the crane arrived, the guys removed the large picture window at the living room of this 10th floor penthouse, and sent the $10,000.00 sofa up on the crane, through the window opening. They re-installed the window and the crane was out of there in about an hour, with no damage to the sofa. We never told the client. (I would love to know how that sofa was ever removed from that condo!)

    As a young designer, this episode taught me that even the very best designers with years of experience can miss important and sometimes costly details. And you just can’t think of everything, every time.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 11:57 AM

      Hi Lynn,

      Oh yes, I’ve made that mistake too. At least twice! And a few very close calls. The first time was very early on. An armoire but Baker took it back.

      the second time was a sleep sofa for a basement. I think I’ve written about this somewhere and don’t ask me how I found out about this. It was at least 12 years ago. And it’s a brilliant idea. But there are companies that can take the sofa apart, enough to get it where it needs to go and then they put it back together again.

      Thank God your client wasn’t home. Oh, how many times have I said that!ReplyCancel

  • Eleanor - June 20, 2018 - 10:07 AM

    We all make mistakes in life and on the job–but for most of us, it doesn’t cost us money. It’s too bad thats just how it goes in interior design. It doesn’t seem fair for the designer though, in a lot of these cases. You can’t predict or control some of these mistakes. I honestly think mistakes in home design/decorating are part of the learning process, whether you are a professional or like me, trying to work on your own home. Thankfully, your blog saves all of us a ton of money and mistakes by helping us make better purchases or finding ways to work with what we already have.. In the past, I have painted the wrong colors, bought wrong window treatments, purchased wrong size furniture for my space, and bought fabric on a whim without a plan. I’m sure I will always make mistakes or change my mind when it comes to my house, but I do it a lot less now several years into reading your blog and using your color and palette products. I have learned so much about timeless design and decorating from your blog, Laurel. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 10:59 AM

      Hi Eleanor,

      What a glowing testimonial! Thank you so much; I very much appreciate your kind words!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - June 20, 2018 - 9:46 AM

    Hi Laurel – I’m not a designer but I think you know that ;). I bought some pillow covers on etsy and I loved the fabric so much I decided to have curtains made. I found the fabric online but didn’t get a sample. I just gave the link to a girl on etsy and she made the curtains. When I received the curtains the fabric was much more yellow than the pillows. Arghhh!!! It wasn’t as pretty to me. Oh well. Lesson learned. Time lessons the anguish. hahaReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 10:56 AM

      Hi Amy,

      I’m wondering if it’s just the fabric or the light coming THROUGH the fabric? That’s another issue if doing a cream-colored drape. It’s getting that shade that’s not bright white, but doesn’t turn yellow when the light is shining through the fabric.

      Even with lining, unless black-out lining, the light will come through.

      Once, a workroom used a cream colored lining without asking if that’s what I wanted. ugh.ReplyCancel

  • Sherry Coker - June 20, 2018 - 9:42 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    I love, love, love your blog and look forward to Wednesdays and Sundays for new posts! I just discovered you several months ago and have spent hours on back posts. I’m redecorating my living and dining rooms and have learned so much from you about how to buy a sofa, colors, paint, etc. all while while laughing at your great sense of humor.

    Anyone who works with the public can certainly relate to today’s post. I am a dentist (talk about stress!) who has been blessed with mostly great patients over the years. But there are always the few who when you see their name on the day’s schedule make you want to go back home and get back under the covers. I too have been “fired” by a few clients and my only thought when I hear those words: “I won’t be back–send my records to Dr. So-and-So” are “Thanks be to God!”

    Thanks again for the valuable information and your sense of fun.

    SherryReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 10:53 AM

      Thanks so much Sherry! BTW, I have a great dentist! A client of mine recommended him about 17 years ago!ReplyCancel

  • Barbara - June 20, 2018 - 7:36 AM

    HI Laurel,
    I have made all those mistakes and more in my 27+ years in business (21 on my own). You gave excellent advice to novices to start with a firm before heading out into the Wild West that is the Interior Design Industry. Even after all this time, I still (am forced) to learn something new every single day on the job. I guess it keeps it interesting….ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 10:15 AM

      Hi Barbara,

      You’re probably like me. I was always trying new things. And, since I had never done them before, there was always an element of the unknown. And by new, I meant something custom, not necessarily anything weird. These days, everything is on the internet, so if there’s a question, it’s out there. Plus as Amy pointed out, all of the great facebook groups that are private for designers. I’m sure that all service businesses have them.

      I do have a friend that I went to design school with and we were each other’s “support group.” And my wasband, was always very helpful and supportive.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - June 20, 2018 - 6:40 AM

    Wonderful post, Laurel! I’ve been in business for 2 years, and joining a couple of closed Facebook groups has helped me realize the enormous number of these kind of cluster-f***s that happen to designers every day. 95% of them, not their fault, but their responsibility to cover and make right! The groups are definitely a support and a lifeline for troubleshooting and commiserating — and to help you know that you aren’t alone and going insane!ReplyCancel

  • Linda Blakely - June 20, 2018 - 1:47 AM

    Laurel, I did some major work in my apartment and decided to finally get the Stark carpeting of my dreams for the MBR. Worked with a lovely woman at the Stark showroom and during our conversation talked about my cat and how anything I get always has to be cat proof. Note* She was very enthusiastic about the particular carpet that I purchased. I selected a lovely border and on the day of installation two guys were there ALL DAY LONG, installing the carpet and hand-sewing the border on. It was perfect! The next morning I got up to find that my cat had scratched the carpet all around the base of the bed. Stark was wonderful and sent someone to try and fix it. He told me they’ve had terrible cat damage on this carpet before – the last one was up a curving stairway! Crack cocaine? You got that right! My cleaning lady has never been allowed in there with a vacuum – Only I know where all the bad spots are. I’ve spent HOURS trying to re-weave the pulls in that damned carpet over the years…ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 10:04 AM

      Hi Linda,

      Oh my. You must’ve been so upset. I trust that kitty was banned from the bedroom? But, good for Stark sending someone to fix it!ReplyCancel

  • Ellen - June 20, 2018 - 1:12 AM

    This is so timely for me Laurel! I am just working with a client doing reupholstery for five living room pieces, eight dining chairs and drapes for two rooms – no stress!! I have workroom work order sheets for each piece and am heeding all your advice. Showing up in person to order all fabric and to each workroom. Luckily I have a very laid back client who is not in a rush! Love love love your blog!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 9:58 AM

      Hi Ellen,

      Those are good clients to have. The worst is a tight deadline and I vowed after the first tight one, never to do that again. So, I was strict to say, if you don’t have your order in by labor day, fuhget about having any possibility of having your room complete for the holidays. Oh, and I never did the “big reveal.” Generally, I timed it so the window treatments went in last or sometimes most of the room did happen in one day, but I think I can count on one hand, the number of times that happened.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen - June 20, 2018 - 12:05 AM

    Laurel, with over 30 years in the design business, I relate to all you shared. People think it’s such a glamorous job, but you work your butt off and chew your nails from the stresses you mentioned. But, it’s in my blood, my passion, so you love it anyway. Yes, plenty of mistakes (mostly when too tired!). I got experience working under a good designer, then have been on my own (now retired mostly from accepting new clients—but not design). One time, I personally picked up/delivered 25 yds./bolt expensive fabric to my workroom. It disappeared and no one at the workroom acknowledged receiving it (I had other projects/fabrics being made up in the workroom). This was one time I didn’t have the signed work order and I had to reorder and eat over $1,000. I was going to come back, you see, and discuss the order with the fabricator/shop owner because he was out of the workroom when I came. I had no real backup capital, so it seriously ate into my profit (which, thankfully, was a large project). When you don’t have backup, working capital, your mistakes can be devastating! Mostly, I have had great clients, but there are always memories of the horrible ones that made you want to quit and can even cause PTSD when you think about them!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 2:22 AM

      Oh Gawd… How awful! Obviously, somebody stole it! Very upsetting and yes, we had no backup capital either.

      The sociopath almost bankrupted us. Ah… better not to look back. Sure, a quick glance and then bury it again!ReplyCancel

  • Deb - June 19, 2018 - 11:56 PM

    Laurel
    I now am retired from having my own interior design studio after 42 years in the business….and yes it is a love hate relationship! Just when I think I miss it I just read your blog and remember the reality of what all designers go through and its a different insanity on every project. Definitely not for the faint of heart! Love love love your blog laugh till my side’s ache…completely relate!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 2:20 AM

      Hi Deb,

      Thanks so much1

      In a lot of ways, I think those with bigger firms do better because someone else can deal with the headaches, even though the financial loss is still present.

      ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - June 19, 2018 - 11:44 PM

    Thank you. What a great post, Laurel! I have a cat whom I dearly love. I’m sure you understand having had your beloved Peaches. Having to consider her in my choices for my furnishings has caused me to forego cork floors for my kitchen and Persian carpets for my formal rooms. She loves to jump up on the back of wing chairs with those camel banks to claw the daylights out of them. What fabrics are better able to survive such kitties? And what do you thing of Crypton for withstanding those hairballs?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 2:17 AM

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Velvet. Velvet is the best fabric. But not chenille. Nooooooo chenille. Linen velvet is good too. I had a linen velvet sofa and it was fine. The cotton duck did okay too, but it has to be a tight, smooth weave.

      Crypton, I don’t know. I asked them at the market and they didn’t know either. ReplyCancel

      • Lorri - June 20, 2018 - 6:04 PM

        I was going to say “velvet” too! All my next upholstery will be velvet, and thank goodness I love it.

        What about corduroy? Kinda similar to velvet isn’t it?ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 9:14 PM

          Hi Lorri,

          Corduroy is probably fine. My settee came with a corduroy of sorts. It is actually a very expensive Clarence House Fabric. Peaches never touched it. It’s also a very thick, tight weave.ReplyCancel

  • Laura P Bruchmiller - June 19, 2018 - 11:37 PM

    I’m a designer & I used to get the same knot in my stomach on drapery installs. I now use a workroom that comes out & meets me on the job site to measure. It’s a little more expensive, but SO worth it b/c if there is a mistake or an issue it’s on them & not me! I have had my share of paying for expensive fabric b/c it was my mistake one too many times! I have been in business for only 6 years & the backorders, delays, discontinued fabrics seem to be a lot more common with each coming year. In 2018, I have had a rash of fabrics that were damaged, which were not discovered until the upholster laid out to cut weeks after he received it. Thanks for sharing your war stories! Love you blog!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 2:14 AM

      Sorry for all of the difficulties, Laura, but yeah… stuff happens!ReplyCancel

  • alison alison - June 19, 2018 - 11:24 PM

    now imagine similar scenarios, except with a living product: fresh flowers!
    this agony and stress is why i’m no longer in the floral business, and no, big brother, i will not explore the home decorating business! i will keep my library job, thank you very much!
    so many folks try to shirk or shift responsibility; kudos to you, laurel, for your tact and honesty with your clients.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 20, 2018 - 2:12 AM

      Oh my, I never thought about flowers like that, but yes, I can only imagine!ReplyCancel

  • SS - June 19, 2018 - 10:58 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    I’m the gal who keeps emailing you with crazy questions about Belgium sources for lamps that I love…..anyway, I am also the one from Carmel CA who is also a Realtor here with listings that I want to ……have you come here and STAGE for me so I can sell them at ridiculous CA prices….you think I am kidding but…..I mean it!
    Anyway, sometimes I get engaged as the stager just because it is easier than hiring someone else (who definitely knows more than I do). And it always entails fabric. I could go on and on about the gorgeous selections available. I could order but I always refuse as there are just too many mistakes I could make and then I would surely lose my client for the sale of the home which is my main biz. I love design and in a different life I would have liked to work with you! Thank you, thank you for your blog that is so entertaining and real (you could be a stand up comedian in your next life). Best,SSReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2018 - 11:11 PM

      Hi SS,

      Yes, I remember those cool lamps. And you live in Carmel? I have a very soft spot for that place. My brother lived there for several years and we used to visit before that. Too bad we couldn’t have hung onto his house. I’m sure that it’s worth ten times what we sold it for in 1987. (he died that year, unexpectedly from a heart problem.)ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - June 19, 2018 - 10:52 PM

    And I thought I was the only one! Your stories are hilarious! I once had fabric shipped directly from the manufacturer to my workroom for drapery fabrication for a client. Before I could even blink, my workroom sewed the curtains and called to tell me they were ready. When I went to pick up the curtains, I realized that they were the wrong fabric (correct pattern, wrong color way!) I completely freaked out! It was the manufacturers mistake but since they had already been sewn, there was no way to return! I ended up eating the cost of all that fabric! My workroom felt so bad for me that they didn’t charge me for the labor. Now I have all fabrics mailed directly to me so I can open and inspect first! You live and you learn in this business!
    LaurenReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2018 - 11:02 PM

      Oh Lauren. I know that feeling. It’s horrible. Still, I think that the manufacturer should accept some responsibility. It wouldn’t have happened if they had shipped the correct fabric. But, yes, twice in 20 years, the wrong fabric was shipped, but caught before anything was done and one time, they sent the wrong CFA!

      And then there are the dye-lot issues. OY!

      Oh, wait. One of my favorites. The fabric that’s on back order FOREVER, and then 4+ months into waiting-waiting-waiting, you get an email that it’s been discontinued!ReplyCancel

  • Shelly - June 19, 2018 - 10:07 PM

    Great information! I’m sorry I laughed at the cat fabric but that was hilarious. I dabble with doing upholstery for myself and these tips are so helpful! Things to watch out for when shopping for fabric, I love reading your blog and learn a lot! Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2018 - 10:46 PM

      Hi Shelly,

      I’m glad that you’re laughing! At the time, I didn’t have a cat, so I had no idea. But, my client really didn’t care; we joked about it all the time and when she moved, nine years later, we did reupholster the chair. But, if I told you how expensive this chair was, you’d faint! ReplyCancel

      • Andrea - June 22, 2018 - 10:49 PM

        There is a great product for cats that are furniture scratchers. It is called Soft Paws or Soft Claws. They are blunt, somewhat soft vinyl claw caps that get glued to your cat’s claws. They will come off eventually, so you need to be diligent about replacing them as necessary. I used them for my cat with an unknown allergy who had been scratching herself raw. She definitely protested the first application, but this got easier with time. They are inexpensive and come in many colors. They are a humane alternative to declawing.

        * I’m not a sales rep, etc. for this company but think it is a useful, good product. ReplyCancel

        • Laurel Bern - June 22, 2018 - 11:53 PM

          Hi Andrea,

          Oh, I know that you’re not a sale’s rep. They wrote one or two meaningless sentences with a link-back to their place of business. And then, I go in and delete their link because I’m not here to advertise their business. This is entirely different than bloggers, designers, and website owners who write meaningful comments, who I welcome to put in a link back to your website in the box where it asks for your URL.

          A friend of mine did that to her kitty when it was still very young. It was very funny. She’s a dancer like me (well, not like me, better than me!) :] and her cat is black so she named her Odile. Any balletomanes out there will get a bang out of that. Then, her little claw covers were bright pink. so cute!

          Thanks for mentioning that!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - June 19, 2018 - 9:25 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    When I read stories like this it makes me realize I could never take the stress that designers have to deal with. I’ll stick to just helping family & friends.
    I’d love to hear your stories about the difficult clients.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2018 - 9:34 PM

      Seriously, Mary, it was one of the primary reasons that I wanted out, but couldn’t see a way out because it was all I knew how to do to earn a living.

      Until, I discovered blogging and realized that I can do this too and while not easy, in a different way, it has 1/4 the amount of stress.

      You know… I didn’t have a lot of difficult clients and that is because if there was any hint that they were going to freak out and start screaming in my ear, at the tiniest imperfection, I would not take the job.

      Sure, in 20 years, I had to let a few go, after we had gotten going, but very early on; it just wasn’t working out. And a couple, blessedly fired me. Believe me. I very much wanted them to.

      But gosh. Most of my clients were incredibly fun to work with. My biggest problems arose from stuff coming in damaged or not being created according to spec.

      And delays. Up to a year– a few times. That’s why it’s vital that one works with sane, reasonable people! I can’t stress that enough. The whiny entitled types will make life a bloody misery!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle Oke - June 19, 2018 - 9:17 PM

    Holy heck Laurel, those stories freak me RIGHT OUT! I mis-measured a drapery panel width once and had the nail biter experience of the DYE LOT MATCH UP! Fortunately it was ok. Taught me to MEASURE and REMEASURE UNTIL YOU LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT, draw everything on graph paper and consult the fabric technician or whoever is doing the sewing.There are simply too many things that can go wrong with fabric, ya know?

    One more thing–I can’t get over how many unlined draperies I see in magazine shoots, particularly ones done by high end designers/decorators. You can see the glow through the fabric! Thanks for reminding everyone that that is a serious design failure!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2018 - 9:24 PM

      Hi Danielle,

      I’m sure that I could’ve kept going because I’ve had 100s of things go wrong with orders for clients.

      Window treatments ALWAYS gave me a knot in my stomach on the day of installation. The bigger the job, the bigger the knot. And yes, I always showed up in person to discuss with my workroom, exactly what I wanted. ReplyCancel

  • Susan - June 19, 2018 - 9:17 PM

    I’m not in the design business, but I did just recently move into our new construction home and am currently up to my eyeballs in fabric samples. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you for all of the great info! You’re a star.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - June 19, 2018 - 9:19 PM

      That’s so sweet Susan and appreciated! Good luck with your decorating!ReplyCancel

  • Patti - June 19, 2018 - 9:14 PM

    Thank you so much for this very valuable post. I am building a home and doing all the design work myself, and all these tips are very helpful. Always appreciate all the time and energy you put into your posts. THANK YOU!ReplyCancel

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