Found your web page and blog today.
I’m intrigued at the effort you place with all of your fabulous detailed advice, especially where to purchase items.
Would you consider doing a post specific to hiring an Interior Decorator, navigating communication and how the designer can help you find your style, not theirs.
Possibly how to compromise when expectations are not met and what those negotiations may reasonably look like without terminating the positive relationship.
Thank you. I will continue to enjoy your site.
And then I got this letter about a designer with an interior design client who’s making her mighty uncomfortable, not to mention is abusive.
I’ve been reading your blog for at least three years. About 25 years ago, I took some design courses and then worked in a furniture store for a couple of years. But after we had not one, but two sets of twins– 18 months apart (!), it was too much and I stayed home to take care of the kids. In fact, I ran a little daycare with the help of my sister. Fast forward, the kids are all doing great and are in college.
About 18 months ago, inspired by everything you’ve taught us, I decided to open up my decorating business. As I had been active in our school’s PTA and then school board, I was quite well-known in the community and I got some very nice jobs and did a local showhouse which brought in some other jobs.
One job, is just finishing up and the client is a dream. She loves everything I present her and is very appreciative of the help.
So, about six weeks ago, I was very excited when her cousin called me for some design help.
They had just renovated an apartment in Manhattan and were in the process of purchasing a converted barn near me in Northern Westchester County.
So, I met them at their N.Y. apartment. And is surprising at how different the cousin is from my favorite interior design client. While the client is warm and vibrant, the cousin, who’s quite a bit younger, is anything but.
But, there’s more, Laurel. Her husband, while excruciatingly handsome, is also a rude, condescending, mocking asshole. Sorry, I don’t know any other way to put it.
I’ve already done about 25 hours of work for them and my design fee of $1,500.00 was used up a long time ago. However, despite a careful interview, they are vague about my selections and keep wanting to see more…
I’ve seen them four times now and every time I see them, I have a knot in my stomach.
I suppose I should just stick it out, right? After-all, how bad can it be? Any advice on how to deal with them?
Dr. Laurel is in the office today, to share much about how this interior business works from a designer’s viewpoint.
And, for you, if you’re going to be an interior design client, information about what to expect, protocol, how designers charge. Plus, stuff that irks the hell out of us. And sometimes if it’s bad enough what makes us run for the hills!
However, here’s the deal. I have already written about these interrelated, topics, but from different angles. Three times. So, here’s what I’ve done. I’ve revised the other three blog posts and JUST republished them, so that they are all together. A few of you who subscribe either on wordpress or bloglovin’, or see the posts announced on Facebook, might be wondering what’s going on because those get published automatically.
It’s just something I’m experimenting with.
Most of these questions and much more are answered in the other three posts.
The posts are:
However, I have some things to say about both of these notes.
In the first one, if the client and designer are to have a good working relationship, there should not be ANY significant arguing at all. If you find that it’s a constant tug of war, then this is not going to have a happy ending.
And just because you don’t see eye-to-eye doesn’t mean that the other person is a loser. It’s just not a good fit as we say.
Even if you’re already pretty far in, it is better to break things off amicably than continue on.
As for helping you find your own style, I believe that is largely up to you. It’s a little like exercising. Nobody else can do that for you. So, get on Pinterest and start collecting beautiful interiors that you love.
Regarding letter number two with the interior design client that is giving the decorator sleepless nights.
I feel for you; I’ve been there and I’ve been in situations where I too have shown up with a knot in my stomach going to see my interior design client. That pain is there for a reason. It is there trying to warn you that all is not right with your world, but you are refusing to listen.
Maybe you really need the money. Oh, I’ve been there too.
Or, maybe you think it’s all you; they’re not really that bad.
Believe me when I say: It’s not all you and yes, they really are that bad. In fact, they are probably far worse than you realize.
But, in reality, none of that matters. What matters is how you feel.
And, if you’re feeling this badly, you need to get in, get on and GET OUT!
Sure, I pepper it with the usual glib-humor, but I am dead-serious here.
I don’t believe that I’ve talked in-depth about the ONE client from hell that I had; a bona fide sociopath. Yes, indeed; a beautiful soul-sucking SNAKE. I’ve skirted around it. She’s the one where I tried to fire myself, but should’ve tried HARDER.
I LOST a good $15,000.00. She was threatening to sue me and so I caved. And I lost that money when my husband was out of work and yes, we desperately needed it. I too, thought, “oh, it won’t be that bad. I can handle her.”
Well, that was utter foolishness on my part; I couldn’t handle her. She’s a freaking professional LITIGATOR IN NEW YORK CITY. She had my head in a vice and she squeezed it with all of her might.
Therefore, if I can save one person, the hell I went through, it will be worth it.
If you even THINK an interior design client might be a problem, DO NOT TAKE THE JOB. If they become abusive, obnoxious, pull sneaky tricks, undermine your integrity. Do not give it a second thought. Forget the money. These types will bleed you dry. I learned the hard way.
PS: I really don’t like to end on such a negative note. Over the 20 years of running my interior design business, I had the privilege of working with dozens of the THE most wonderful, delightful interior design clients, one could ever hope to have. They enriched my life immensely and invited me back again and again to help them with their homes.
PPS: Please check out the hot sales! Once you’ve finished the three hours of reading I’ve assigned you. haha. But, it’s a holiday weekend and crappy weather, so stay warm and safe. I hear that it’s going to be bitttttttter cold on Monday.
Here are the other posts again: