Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My first official install...

I did it.  I actually did it.

I think I mentioned that along with school and family, I do have a few clients.  I can’t really count my own home, or the few friends I have helped here or there with a few small items.  But I can now officially say its real.  My first actual client is a friend, who was willing to pay for my expertise and re-work her dining and living rooms a bit, and totally change up the media room.

With school and family, I am a bit hesitant to take on new clients, unless of course, I know them well.  And with Lisa W., I really do.   I get her, she gets me, and we can work together.  When she suggested we get this thing cranking before Memorial Day, I rose to the challenge.

Lisa loves maroon and beige.  We stuck with that in the living and dining rooms.  But for the media room, I decided to push her a little.  How do you feel about green?  (Absolutely not!)  How about a little orange?  “Orange”, she says, “hmmm…can we stick with maroon..or how about cranberry? “   Here were a few of the ground rules she set:
  1. Keep all the furniture
  2. Don't buy all this designer stuff.  IKEA and Pottery Barn are fine.
  3. Involve me, I want to pick out the items
  4. Get it done by Memorial Day
"Keep the couch and the coffee table...I'm ok getting rid to the rug on the wall, "she said, "and not to mention the dart board next to it."

"And keep this chair...but you can do whatever on the windows and walls...just nothing too crazy...."

"The TV stand stays..but a new tv is coming..."

At my initial meeting, I went through all the pricing and got an idea of what she needed.  I snapped a few pictures of her home and then took off.   We met several times after that.  One meeting at Starbucks I hauled out rolls of fabric and several pillows for her to look at - she laughed hysterically at the fact I would even do such a thing.   I completed a few items in the kitchen and living room and them we implemented the entire media room on the Friday before Memorial Day.

I had been a bit worried about the deadline because I had to purchase a chair, and most places can’t ship that fast.  But thanks to Z-gallerie being in the area, I managed to get it on one of their trucks for the next week and agreed to have my husband pick it up at the warehouse.  And speaking of my husband, he deserves a huge prize.  He agreed to be my implementer.  Hang drapery rods, install seat cushions, hang mirrors and art.  And even put together some West Elm bookshelves that were so complicated, it took him several hours….all while Lisa, I and my kiddos were enjoying a quick bite to eat.


I painted the back wall a darker brown than the corresponding walls...some punches of orange in the pillows and accessories livened it up...

The comfy chair, quick ship from Z-gallerie...and I love the fun pillow from Pier One...and yes, those are the challenging bookcases, but they look great once together.

Another view at night, showing the “ember” drapes from Pottery Barn.  “That name is much better than orange," Lisa told me, “that name I can swallow”.

It's always good to make the accessories personal to the client.  Lisa loves dogs and has one of her own who helped oversee the install, so I thought these bookends would fit perfectly (along with a few hardcovers from Half Price Books $1 aisle)

And, unfortunately this photos didn’t’ focus well on my iphone, but Lisa did bring a few accessories she wanted to work in, including the snow globe from Chicago.  Ha! I have to say, I love the moss balls with the orange candles.

All in all, I learned a ton - Lowe’s is open late, so it's easy to get those extra drapery rings.  And although bookshelves might look easy, they not always are.  Vendors are willing to work with you if you are nice and willing to pick things up on your own.  Yes you can design a room quickly and inexpensive, if you are willing to look (everything was from Horchow Finale, West Elm, Pottery Barn, Zgallerie, IKEA, Pier One or Lowe’s).  And clients are open to new things if you push them a little...but be sure to stick to nice sounding colors...which is exactly why paint companies spend so much time naming their paint swatches!  

The downside?  I do need a better camera to capture the before and after pictures…and would someone please help me get everything right in Quickbooks already?

So much to learn…but I’m having the time of my life.  Thanks Lisa!

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