Friday, July 20, 2007

Lessons Learned...

I've been see-sawing on whether to post pics and comments of my recent project. As you're about to see, I decided... What the hell! Other people brag about their accomplishments on their blogs. If they can do it, so can I... But I can also add comments regarding all the stupid mistakes I made whilst engaged in said project.

When I was young (got our first apartment to be exact), I began to fancy myself an interior decorator... Then once we got our first house I KNEW, what with all that slate blue and dusty rose splendor, I was bound to make my mark in the interior design world. Two other homes and a slew of years later, I was asked to decorate my first public space. It was kind of happen-stance... You know somebody for about 8 months, their husband just happens to purchase a new office space and would like it to look appealing and next thing you know (I mean I know), I'm taking measurements, checking out catalogs, talking to dealers and doing my best to appear professional AND more importantly trying to appear I know EXACTLY what I'm doing.
So here's some before and after pics and some lessons that I learned along the way:

After: Another Before:

Another After:
And the LAST Before: (I promise!)
Final After Picture:

So here's what I learned:
At the point when I really got going on the project I was doing research online and I came across a quote that went something like this: "People think Interior Decorating is a lot like what they see on HGTV, it's all about playing with color and filling a room with pretty things. When in fact the job of an Interior Decorator is roughly 3% making a room look pretty and 97% managing all the problems that arise while doing so." Anyone out there considering becoming an Interior Decorator? Do me a favor, cut and paste the previous quote, print it out on paper, put it in your wallet, then take it out every day and read it back to yourself. If in six months time you decide you still want to be an Interior Decorator, Go for it!
Problems I encountered:
Measurements and Math - I really don't know where I went wrong on my room layout, I think it had to do with my conversions from graph paper to actual square footage... And that I SUCK at math!... But when the desk arrived it didn't fit in it the space I had planned for it, nor did the credenza. A real honest to God decorator would've been thrown out on her keester. However, since my client is a friend he merely stood there and laughed as I tried to stave off the nervous breakdown I felt coming on. Seriously, I tried to remain professional and we discussed alternative layouts. I ran home to get the 'Moving Men' (furniture disks that aid in sliding pieces around a room) and when I returned everything was placed where you see it now... And you know what? I like it SO much more than my original floor plan. However, I still feel like such a mook and I'm not sure where my math took the terrible turn it did.
My other MAJOR measurement mistake took place early on in the project when I ordered the conference table you see in the room. Lovely isn't it? When I saw it online at I just KNEW it would be perfect for the room. What I didn't know is the measurement I took with the tape measure as I stood next to and said, "Yeah, that's about right." Was not an ordinary table height. Why I didn't just turn to my right instead of my left with that damnedable tapemeasure is beyond me... Because I would've seen the measurement against my desk and realized that the Conference Table I was ordering was actually a pub height table. You know, for those taller bar-stool chairs? Definitly not Conference Table material. Of course I didn't realize this until it was assembled by the handyman at the office. Once again my "Client" laughed it off and gave me some time to figure it out. I am extremely fortunate to have a 'handy' husband who has entertained himself with woodworking as a hobby. Luckily the Mr. had the right tools to cut the legs down and re-drill the holes for the bolts. It was a painstaking task but I'm SO glad we were able to make the 'perfect' table work for the space. Since my husband is also 'crafty' he took the left-over table legs and made a kick-ass pen holder for my clients desk. I put his name plate on the front and on the back I made a plate that says "Shit Happens"... We gave it to him as a gift, which he got a huge kick out of and now proudly displays on his brand new desk.
Other things I learned - When the delivery guy says he can't deliver your 7 ft. 300 lb. fountain to the office on Main St. with his full size semi-truck... Don't try to strike a deal with him on a place to meet and transport it yourself... Just tell him, "It's late in the day, you shouldn't have any problems getting your rig and parking it on that narrow one-way street... People do it ALL the time!" After the second phone call, that's what I did and we got the fountain delivered without any problems. Best of all no tickets were issued.
Never use the cheap hardware they give you with curtain rods - Always have your own molly bolts and screws or else the rod is going to tear right out of the wall when you go to hang that curtain. It did, the holes were patched and now you can't tell there was ever a problem.
Size Matters - When you buy a big tree for an office space that just about reaches the ceiling once you put in a pot and on casters... Pray that it doesn't grow!... At least not very fast anyway.
Shopping 'til you Drop - Just because you have someone else's credit card number, the shopping gets to be a little tedious. You can't always find the perfect piece you had pictured in your mind. The one you thought you saw somewhere but now you can't find it anywhere you look... Maybe you just imagined that perfect piece and they never really made anything like it in the first place. Just make DO!
Troubleshooting & Delegating - When the handyman runs into you after having set up the $1250 waterfall and tells you that it's spraying water across the room, keep your head, grab your handy son and give him the problem to fix... You needn't have worried that he wouldn't come through with the solution.
Patience is a Virtue - Be prepared to wait 6 weeks for a desk to be delivered... And when it does arrive be very wary of the 2 guys sent to install it who barely speak english. They may very nearly tear your brand new desk and credenza apart trying to uncrate it and get it into the room.
What goes IN, MUST come OUT - When your client points out to you that he really likes the fact there's a grommet in his desk to run cords into, don't freak out when he also points out that there's absolutely no place in or around the desk to run said cords 'OUT' to the outlet. And when you call the guy who sold you the expensive desk and ask him WT? and he replies with, "I can send the installers back out to drill a hole (in the brand new desk?), but it'll cost you." Try your best to remain calm so you don't sound like a blathering idiot saying stuff like, "We just spent a great deal of money with you..." I don't recall much more than that as my head was ready to fly off of my neck and splatter against the wall on the far side of the room.
Remain Calm & Re-Evaluate - Once you have become sufficiently calm from said desk fiasco ie. size, installation, cord hole?... Allow your children to tell you how awesomely awesome you are for taking on this whole job. Call the company that makes the desk so they can tell you that all you need to do is raise the casters on the bottom for the cords to run out, rather than cutting into the desk. Allow your client to tell you he's happy with the results and not to sweat the small stuff... And stand back, take a moment to take a look at what you've created, think about what you've learned and realize how much you've grown from the whole experience... Then pat yourself on the back for a job... well, Done... And vow to NEVER take on a decorating project EVER again!

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Blogger Irene said...

Congratulations! You are evidently fabulous at what you do.

Isn't it great to earn a living out of something you love doing? ;p

2:24 AM, July 21, 2007  
Blogger Margee-Martha-Marsha Pick-One said...

Thanks so much Irene... Visited your new site for the photography business and am MAJORLY impressed... Excellent, very well done!

11:49 PM, July 24, 2007  
Anonymous Rose said...

You Rock! ( was that a river rock theme I noticed? )
I'm so jealous....

7:34 AM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger Margee-Martha-Marsha Pick-One said...

That's me Rose... Rockin' it in Elkton!

10:56 AM, August 20, 2007  

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