What do I mean by smart decorating? My philosophy is that decorating doesn’t have to break the bank. Using your own possessions makes the difference between a livable area or just a picture perfect room. Recycling and re-purposing your own items, shopping yard sales, and finding the absolutely best deals on fabrics and furnishings and passing the savings on to my clients is how I get my thrills. It also helps to keep our earth a little more “green”.
For example, I was granted a project for a small city hall on a very tight budget. They stated that they only wanted to purchase used furniture, and they only had a small window of time to complete the project before a large conference they were going to host. I found a great used reception desk at a second hand office furniture warehouse, and a beautiful dining room set from someone that was moving that served well as conference table, chairs and the sideboard made for some great storage. We framed historical pictures of the town, added an area rug, window treatments and accessories. It was a very satisfying project for both of us. I have before and after pictures for you to see.
I’ve been told that my talent lies in color selection and fabrics, but my history as a project manager in the commercial construction industry has really paid off. Coordination and communication with all the different trades is essential. Taking a project from a mere idea to completion gives me a natural high.
The process of decorating entails quite a bit of coordination, more than some people know. I’ve had clients comment that they didn’t realize how much preparation was involved in a project. I love the decorating shows as much as anyone, but please don’t believe the $500.00 in one day hype. If you’ve ever wanted to just paint a room, you know about the time that takes. With a crew of 20 people and free labor, that can paint, sew, move or upholster furniture, you might be able to pull it off. That would be after you have purchased or made everything else. I’ve had clients who made a valiant effort but ended up needing help. They said “those decorating shows made it look so easy, but we just weren’t able to pull it off.”
Decorating begins with a simple consultation. I meet with a potential client, and walk through the area that they want help with. We discuss how they would like to use the area, their likes and dislikes. Then I take pictures and measurements and return with estimates and presentation boards (like these) that depict my vision for the area including paint color, window treatments, fabric selection, furniture, fixtures, and accessories.
Once we settle on the scope of the work to be done and a budget is established, the wheels really start rolling. I contact subcontractors and trades people such as the painter, upholsters, and seamstress to get a schedule established.