EDITOR”S NOTE: “Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break.” ” Jane Wells. Truer words were never said, especially in the business of design. Due to the vagaries of the industry ” many unbelievably ridiculous, most simply frustrating ” “give and take” is an absolute must, and that goes for all parties: client & designer, designer & contractor, contractor & client, designer & manufacturer, contractor & supplier, husband & wife, project manager & developer” well, you get the picture. Read on to see how Client Debra bravely (and safely) bends, preventing heartbreak and preserving her sanity.
The Remodel Diary of Debra Brennan Tagg” An End In Sight
Dear readers, it is over two months since I was in NYC, where I left off my remodeling tale. As you may recall, my contractor said we would be in the house a month after New York . Yet I am typing in an apartment”
The morning after we return from New York , I make the call that no one believed I would make: I call the MoMA. More to the point, Paul (the husband) and Rob (the designer) believe that the MoMA employee that answers the phone will think I”m a nutjob.
So I ask for the Print Gallery. “Hi. I have a weird question. Do you by chance know the name of the paint on the wall in the Tatyana Print Gallery”” Not even a second passes. “Yes, hold please.” Two minutes later I have the maker, name, and number of the paint chip of both the light and dark paints in the gallery. Of course, I call Paul and Rob with a triumphant “told you so”.
The next day I have the MoMA samples on the wall, and I LOVE them. Right” Or are they not quite right” They both fall in the realm of “steel blue” but are dramatically different colors. One is slightly purple in some light. The other would be called “cave” in a Crayola box. Rob and Paul agree, and we paint two more colors on the wall which we saw at a local design showroom. We like the colors so much that we even seriously consider keeping them all on the wall, circus tent-style.
But alas, one must make a decision. So we choose the pale blue for the living room and den, with the light MoMA shade featured in the dining room and behind the shelves in the den. The day that I come home from work and walk into my newly painted home, a small tear forms in the corner of my eye. It”s just what I wanted. I start to imagine the furniture, both old and new, as well as the drapes, the rugs, the art on the walls. And my patience clock starts ticking. I want to be back in my house.
During the painful paint process, we also wrestle with the furniture we loved in New York . The chairs were going to cost as much to ship as they would to buy, so our crafty designer did some research and discovered that we can have them shipped to a local store and avoid the charge all together. Yet another reason to use a designer.
We order fabric samples so Rob can “see” the couch we fell in love with. This ongoing attempt lasts three weeks with explanations that the factory has to send it and shipping takes a long time and” just get me some fabric. Rob finally receives two of the three samples ” and hates them. He gently describes one sample as “something that came out of the lint catcher in a dryer”. Due to a time crunch, we finally order the couch as we designed it in New York . Fingers are firmly crossed.
David (the contractor) keeps telling me we”re getting a lot closer to being done, but at this point I just don”t believe I will ever spend the night in my house again.
As I get more antsy, Paul gets more comfortable in the apartment. In fact, he tells me that he really likes the apartment. Everything he needs is within eight feet of everything else he needs. The computer, the TV, the refrigerator, the dog, and the bed are just a few steps apart. Just when I think I am married to a sophisticated attorney with excellent taste, I realize I”m married to Homer Simpson.
While I moan about moving back in, Rob tries to distract me with accessories. We choose the fabric for the living room drapes, which just happens to be the one that Rob showed us from the beginning and we had decided against. We debate the dining room drapes and finally decide on a silk dupioni, though the shade is yet to be determined.
Then we talk about the runner on the stairs. I mean, really, how hard can a runner be to pick” It”s just some carpet, so we ask Rob to pull samples. Twice. We don”t like any of them. From Oriental-style to geometric to no pattern at all, we don”t like them. I am also told that since the stairway is the first thing you see upon entering the house, it”s important to pick the perfect rug. These words are painful to an opinionated non-decision-maker like myself.
Paul and I go shopping with Rob and narrow down the showroom to five selections. I just decided yesterday that I don”t like any of them. The only piece of this process that has been more painful than the rug choice is the two hours I spent one Saturday afternoon picking the correct shade of off-white for my moulding.
However, the house really is starting to come together, piece by piece and room by room. I wasn”t quite happy with the floor color upstairs, so I requested a darker shade downstairs. The darker shade is exactly what I want, and it provides the stark contrast with the walls that I love.
The slight difference in shades between the downstairs and the stair treads makes the difference between the stairs and the handrail (yet another type of wood) look bizarre. Though I have never liked this look, we paint the handrail white to remove the wood-on-wood contrast. It amazes me that after all this time, money, and thought on how the house should look, it doesn”t look exactly how I want it to in my dream world.
But the good news is that the countdown of days until I sleep in my chemical-scented home is in the single digits. The best news is that I can tell that I will love it. I”m hoping it will be like what I hear about pregnancy: you forget how bad it is when it”s all over. Of course, we may need to remodel the apartment if Paul decides to stay there.