It’s been my great pleasure several times throughout my career to be unofficially designated “the family decorator”. It never began that way at the start of the project, it
just evolved. I love being included in family holidays and celebrations, proudly introduced as “Alice” when the guests usually say something like “Oh you’re Alice!”. My clients have invariably talked about me, but in this case talking “behind my back” must have been complimentary – and I assume if it wasn’t I wouldn’t be at their party.
With Deborah and Steve I was initially hired to work on several rooms with them when they had a very large house 10 years ago. I knew their 3 daughters as they grew up from teens to young women.
After several years the couple decided to downsize and buy a townhouse near where Steve worked. I initially was engaged to do all matters of consulting for the construction part of their new home. I tweaked the plans, and selected every sink, faucet, tile, marble, carpet, molding, countertop, placement of boxes for lights and floor outlets, designed all bathroom floors and walls, etc. When that phase of the project was complete we began the decorating part, with selecting all wallcoverings, area rugs, furniture, lights, window treatments, art, accessories, etc. All of this was chosen from floor plans since the house was under construction. Deborah wanted to have everything ready for delivery and installation just as soon has they had their CO.
At the same time as this was happening, one of my clients’ daughters was going to law school. I located an apt. for her in the Murray Hill section of NYC (I have a real estate license as well) and decorated it. When she changed the location of her school, we found another apt. and decorated that. Some of the items from her previous place fit, some went to storage, some had to be replaced.
Then her middle sister secured a rental apt. for herself near the school she taught in: I was asked to decorate that apt. for her.
In the interim her elder sister graduated law school, was hired by a law firm and needed an apt. closer by. Another location, another decorating job!
Ms. middle sister worked hard, saved money, was able to leave the rental and purchased a small condo for herself. We used all the furnishings from her rental apt. which we put downstairs of the new house, and bought new furnishings for the main floor.
Now the eldest sister —are you still with me????— and her husband bought a small house. Yup, I’m doing that one too.
And believe it or not, the lawyer just bought a studio apt. in Manhattan. We’ll need to take inventory of what we already have and use it, as much as will work.
Fortunately for us all we get along really well together, respect and admire one another, understand how to listen and communicate, and they swear I’m inside their heads to know just what to show them that they want.
I’m flattered and honored to have them put their faith in me all these years, and consider me their family friend who’s also their decorator. This is work at its best.