That's my 6th grade picture. I'll give you a moment to catch your breath. So - important things to keep in mind: My parents clearly wanted a boy. And sort of had one for a while. I lived in Florida where the humidity and the temperature both hovered around 97 percent hence the wool argyle sweater. I no longer look like this but determined to do the right thing I showed Andy Blackford this photo the night he proposed; just in case he wanted to rethink his offer considering our potential offspring had a pretty good chance of looking like this one day. I remember standing on our front porch in seventh grade after I had the good fortune of visiting the orthodontist and still thinking I looked pretty darn good when my father strolled out and said: “Sweetie, you're going to be beautiful once you get those braces off and some contact lenses."
My mother was horrified and swooped in with a “She's pretty NOW.” But I wasn't. And everyone knew it. And now you know it too. I don't look like that now. I'm no supermodel but I'll take it.
The reason clients call me is because they feel sorry for me that I ever looked like that. Kidding. They call me because while they love their house and can see the potential and they know it's just not pretty. Yet. The best clients are the ones who bring me in show me their space tell me what they love and tell me what they hate and give me a budget and then let me go on my merry way. But that's not always how it goes now is it? (It isn’t.)
The thing about renovation and reinvention and working with a designer is to have faith that they know what they are doing and then let them do it.
When I had a terrible toothache I knew I wanted it to go away but I wasn't exactly sure how to make that happen. Ibuprofen and tequila weren't working. I mean, they were definitely helping but not working. So I went to the dentist and - voila - one root canal and thousands of dollars later I was smiling again. I send my children to school where professionals teach them how to do division because according to my son James the way I do it is from - and I quote – “way long ago in the olden days.”
A new client called me in to help reimagine the color of her first floor space. I suggested Pale Silver by Restoration Hardware. She balked. She then went out and found eight other colors and slapped them all over her walls. Then she lived with that for a few weeks. Then she painted the whole first floor Pale Silver. Then she told me it took her four months to really love it. Then she called me to help renovate four bathrooms, a mudroom and her master bedroom. When I suggested navy (!) for her master bath and a black and white scheme for her laundry room, she said (drum roll please) - Okay. Can you believe it? She said OKAY!
Why? Because I spend the better part of my life designing. And reading design magazines. And researching color and furniture and bedding and lighting. (And driving a bunch of children around and doing laundry and wiping down those hateful kitchen counters but that’s a whole other story.)
But designing? This is what I DO. Just like the dentist does root canals. The teachers do that new math. The pizza guy does deliveries. The baristas make coffee. Granted, some of us in this scenario didn’t have to pay for medical school or get a teaching degree but you get the point. The worst way to spend time and money with a designer is to pretend you want to make some big changes and then be too afraid to make any. To spend the bulk of your money on something insignificant like drawer pulls (sorry drawer pulls, you know I still love you) and then panic over the cost of a gorgeous leather chair where you will spend your days reading to your children and your nights drinking the aforementioned tequila is a waste.
It's like ordering the pizza and then not eating it. What's the point? Yes, you can say what you like and don't like -hating purple walls and insisting on barstools with backs is sort of like loving a thin crust and despising mushrooms - but then you have to just give in and take a bite. Because whether it's your master bathroom or your Friday night pizza you have to believe it is going to be FANTASTIC. So pop some ibuprofen, pour some tequila and whisper these words to your internal 6th grader and your outdated home: You are going to be so pretty.