Who’s Crazier: The Designer or the Client?
Ah, people. You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.
Running a luxury interior design company, while also enjoying friendships with other luxury designers across the country, I’ve got to tell you … I hear some great stories about loopy people – on both sides of the design aisle! Some are groan-worthy, some worthy of an eye roll, and some are actually funny.
No matter the story or the story teller, sometimes I just shake my head and think “Who’s crazier … the designer or the client?” You be the judge. Here are a few, regrettably true stories as told to me by designers and clients (and yes, one or two I experienced myself).
- The designer arrives for an in-home meeting. The client greets the designer with a tense look on her face while speaking in hushed tones, “Don’t talk to my husband today … don’t even LOOK at him. He’s in a mood.” The designer complies. As it turns out, the wife greets the designer like this on most occasions thereafter. (Check, please?)
- At the end of an in-home meeting, the client follows the designer to her car and says, “Listen, I’m getting that sofa no matter what. We are just not going to tell Harold about it … it’ll be our little secret.” (Hmm … keeping an 87” long, 200-pound sofa a secret … does this involve an IV drip of hallucinogens for Harold?)
- The client says to the designer, “We have small children, so we don’t want you to design with any corners on any furniture.” (So, this leaves what? Beanbag chairs?)
- The client’s husband tells the designer on the first visit, “You can do anything you want, I’m very easy. The only thing I ask is do not paint the walls aqua.” The designer shows many paint colors to the client. After three paint selection rounds, the wife ultimately picks out AQUA. (Check, please.)
- The designer arrives at the client’s home to install the new master bedroom furnishings for “the big reveal.” As the design team strips the client’s old bedding to install the lovely new bedding, the designer finds a pair of her client’s panties in the bed. Relieved there were no sex toys in the bed, the design team simply folds said panties and leaves them on the new dresser, saying not one word to the client. (Note to self: remember to strip my own bed before a design team comes to install my new bedding … ahem …)
- The client’s husband offers to help the designer, who is working alone, hang a very large heavy mirror. In fact, the mirror is so large that the husband actually works up a bit of a sweat. A few weeks later, the designer sends a $250 bill to the husband for mirror installation. (Hello, is this thing on??)
- The client has a budget of over $500,000. The designer designs and never once shows the client a line-item budget. Ever. The project, not surprisingly, lands well-above budget. (I’m giving dual-crazy citizenship on this one.)
- The client tells the designer in their first meeting that both she and her husband dislike wallpaper. The designer shows up at the next meeting with multiple wallpaper books. (Repeat: Hello, is this thing on??)
- A fresh-out-of-design-school designer, while standing with a new client couple in a large master bedroom suite, notes to herself that there is room for a few combinations of upholstered and wood pieces in addition to the usual bedroom furniture. To refine her design plan, the designer asks the client couple, “What type of activities do you like to support in this room?” Mr. Client responds in a complete deadpan: “We like to use this room to have a lot of sex.” (This designer gets a goofy award … which regrettably … I win. This one was me!)
- The client looks at the designer during a meeting and says “No, option X is beautiful but it’s too expensive.” In response, the designer WHINES. (Is medical pot appropriate in this situation? The diagnosis would be … whine-ectomy?)
The takeaway? People are wonderful! They are wonderful, love-able nuisances sometimes. The rest of the takeaway is that nobody’s perfect. Hire the right designer. If you’re a designer, be excellent (and there’s no whining in designing). If you’re a client, behave yourself and be the best client ever.