Saturday, October 24, 2015

Design Misadventures

It began with my husband's request for bar stools in the man cave. I found a similar style online, but I was reluctant to match a virtual fabric swatch to the draperies. No, I needed to see these elements together--and in the man cave. The room promised to be difficult, especially since it was shaped like a bowling alley, and natural light was varied in each space--dark in the TV area and bright by the bar.
The previous owner's designer had divided the room into activity zones: bar; billiards, TV area, game table, and fireplace. Except for the bar, area rugs defined the boundary of each space. I read about arrangement ideas in long, rectangular, open spaces, and zones seemed logical, just as long as I didn't stuff them with clutter, which I dearly love.





Until I figure out what to do with this unusual space, I planned to use my old, pale blue sofa and chairs in the TV area. For now, I wanted to focus on the bar stools. 
A large chain store offered a free in-house design consultation. A designer had back-to-back appointments in my area, but she could meet with me on such-and-such day. I was so relieved! I could put all of my cares away: a pro would help me match beige fabrics. Whew!
But when the designer showed up, my plan unraveled.  
"You need four, maybe five, leather stools," she said. "Yes, you've got room for five."
I wondered if leather would fade into the bar. Also, one time I slid off a leather stool and fell on my butt. It was horrible. I could totally see that happening again.
A flicker of impatience crossed her face. "No, no," she said. "Leather will add texture."
I love leather, but the cost was pretty steep. I still wasn't sure it was right for the bar.
But maybe I just needed time to adjust?

The woman's gaze swept around the empty room, her expression inscrutable. 


"You need to arrange furniture on diagonal," she said.
Why? Did it have something to do with a design law--that diagonal arrangements would somehow make the room seem less rectangular and cavernous? If so, which furniture did she mean?

Without explanation, furniture books and fabric swatches were whipped out. The designer smiled and pointed to a white, durable fabric, then she showed me a style--"You need this, the 'grand' sofa, maybe two -- and leather chairs. If you don't like it, no problem. You can return it."
You can't beat that, right?
An iPad came out. In seconds, she'd chosen a style and color. "Ready to order?" she asked, glancing at her watch. 
Urm, well, no, I'm slow as molasses on an icy day. Besides, I liked the darker fabric and the smaller sofas. I was worried about scale. But I just said that I wasn't quite ready to buy a sofa, that I was using my old stuff. It's the truth. I want to move slowly. I just need bar stools.
Her smile tightened. 
I felt like a bad customer. Someone who'd taken up time and didn't buy a damn thing. Someone who had asked too many questions, raised too many concerns. Maybe I should have kept my big mouth shut. When had I gotten so opinionated? So set in my ways? If I were more easygoing, I'd have bar stools by Christmas.
She waved at the walls. "Are you going to paint? What about dark brown? For when you buy the neutral sofas, I mean. You'll need something dark and dramatic on those walls."
I prolly do. In fact, I just got rid of dark green walls. I'll add color with art and accessories. I'm not repainting in my lifetime. 
 The problem wasn't the designer, of course: it was me. I'd been thinking about this room for over a year, and I still didn't have a plan. I'm no closer to finding bar stools or a workable furniture arrangement, but I'll probably try everything--in real life and in my mind's eye. Good ideas, bad ideas, and so-so ideas. If you don't try, you'll never know.
I thanked her for her time. And she hurried to her next appointment.







23 comments:

  1. Ah, well dang.....but seriously no matter what: high pressured rushed sales is career suicide in my humble opinion.
    This just wasn't the right designer is all. Hang in there. You will get this and you will be so happy when you do.

    Don't worry, it will happen. Hugs.

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  2. Oh my, I've been there. It seems to go better when we have no idea of our style and no vision. I always thought a designer would help give clearer vision and help reign in my ideas to a decision; it was her way or the highway, so off she went. Surely they aren't all like that but I've not given it another try.
    You have great style, can't wait to see more.
    Blessings,
    Cindy

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    1. I won't be trying that again, either. I have trouble picking something from the Ruby Tuesday's menu, so you know I'm gonna take a minute or two for barstools. :-0

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  3. Well. It sounds like you needed a different designer. Not everyone is going to leap on her advice, and buy, buy, buy quick, quick, quick. I would have wanted someone who was more willing to take their time too. And by the way, that's a cool room, really unique.

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  4. Wow - she must have been pretty close to a sales goal! I like the room so much better the way it is, then with her suggestions. My daughter was getting backed into a similar situation when she was on bedrest with her twins. She called her decorator for advice on drapes for ONE window and between special circus effect and one of the world's most expensive fabric choices (which would mean repainting the just painted room), she was ready to blow their college education. Luckily she took a few days to think it over.

    She had worked with the designer a year early when the purchased the house and she gave wonderful advice on paint colors and some design features. Sometimes you just need to go with your own instinct. And sometimes you just need to take your time and live in the house a little while to feel what you really want and what would work. Your instincts are amazing.

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  5. Your sense of style is so good, trust yourself. I agree, not the right designer for you. Someone that tries to just push a single idea off on you to get you to buy things you haven't yet considered isn't a true designer - just a salesperson. You know the difference. Spectacular room, you'll do what makes you comfortable and happy, and it doesn't matter how long it takes. Looking forward to seeing it evolve into your vision.

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  6. You will get this in no time. Can't wait to see what you do.

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  7. I don't really like designers. They spend your money on things they don't have to live with. Take your time and you will figure out what works and what doesn't.

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  8. Sounds like a pushy woman to me....I think you handled it very lady like, much better than I probably would have! You have great taste and I'm sure whatever you decide, will be perfect.

    I take my time too....sometimes too much time (!) but then I'm happy with my choices.

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  9. Artistic folks need time to mull over design decisions...in my humble opinion. I know from good and bad experiences. Ha! You have great style, and like me, this is not your first house adventure. Also at my age/experience I have learned that when in doubt...DON'T. Whether it is a dress or something for the house. IF It is under $20.00 yeah sure...an impulse purchase is fine. Your consultant seemed pushy...and that is a red flag of course. You will eventually find just what you want. And yes...leather is slippery. As a short person I know this too well. Ha! Make a pile of your colors, textures, rugs, fabrics on the floor. Go with what makes you happy. Sheila

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    1. Wise words, Sheila. Dr. Spock (remember him? The pediatrician not the character on Star Trek) always told new moms: "You know more than you think you know."

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  10. It's your house and it should reflect what you like, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Everything you do is beautiful, so I am sure you will figure it out, even if it ends up taking a tweak here or there.

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  11. She appears rather pushy to me...but then I'm really slow and laid-back myself....and do not like to be rushed! I think you'll do great...going at your own pace! You have an idea in your head...your home is going to be gorgeous! ;)

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  12. Well, as they say here in Texas: " This isn't your first rodeo!" I think you'll figure it out just fine. No one likes or needs to be rushed in these decisions. I still wish I had made different decisions on some things when we remodeled this home in 1995. I've learned a lot since then. ;-)
    You have exquisite style and a great eye for detail. I have no doubts that you will have this space looking fabulous. Slow and easy wins the race.

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  13. You have great style and have made great decision on what you like in your home. I would say that the sales person was very rude and no sense of design. You need to get to know your customer and get the feel of what they like and want. I would be sliding off of the leather bar stools also, if I could even get up there LOL.
    Mary

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  14. You are so great at decorating! You don't need her. :)

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  15. She doesn't sound like a real decorator to me - more like a glorified salesperson with a decorator title that knew what she had in stock and tried to sell the idea to you. Also she was in a hurry and very pushy, which is a major turn-off for me. Forget her. You'll figure out what is right and be so much happier in the long run.
    Sam
    PS - Once I had a store decorator tell me to arrange my furniture on a diagonal. Maybe because we had just returned to the States from living out of the country for 10 years (read - completely out of touch with new decorating ideas), but I just couldn't wrap my head around the concept. Finally in exasperation I asked her to show me and as it turns out, for that room, that it really did look great.

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    1. I love design stories, and that one is great!

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  16. Wow, I would not like that designer at all. She sounded very pushy and didn't seem to take into account your ideas at all!

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  17. i would wave her off as a designer. While I appreciate a person bring able to make quick decisions I think she was limited in her vision and way too pushy. I do like how the previous owner had designed the room. She had it figured out nicely. There was a nice amount of masculinity in it but not in your face. I remember some rule of thumb about having a statement piece and designing around it. I guess you have to decide if a light blue sofa is what you want for the man cave? Sheila said everything else I would've!

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    1. I'd forgotten about a statement piece. The big, English bar seems like one. I always envisioned two off-white sofas in that room, and maybe two chairs with ottomans. I thought the old blue pieces would give me time to figure out scale and function. It will be interesting to see how they look in that room. Slipcovers are another option.

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  18. Sounds like she was more interested in making a commission on what she sells. Never had an interior deco. and chances are never will, but she does not sound like someone I would want to hire.
    Get moved in, live with the blue for a while, and more than likely one morning while sipping your coffee,or a glass of wine in the evening, the light will come on and you will know what you want.
    Hope you are feeling better.

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  19. IMHO, don't give up quite yet on the two sofas you would like to use as like you say they can always be slip covered and the beauty of doing so is, you can change them out on a whim. As for introducing texture into the room there are plenty of fabrics other than leather for upholstery, however I do feel that your window coverings will end up dictating what you choose due to their colour, fabric and styling. That said; I personally would love to see a navy blue introduced into the scheme of things to tie in that beautiful pool table and add some coziness. All in all Michael Lee, I am sure whatever you decide upon will be perrrrr-ect! -Brenda-

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