Friday, December 5, 2014

One of the family...

I send out a lot of emails everyday. And everyday I think, "I wonder if the recipient of this email is going to click on my blog to see what other stuff I'm up to." Which is quickly followed by instant dread. "Uhm...when was the last time I updated my blog? Daaaaang, I hope they don't go to the blog and see I've been quiet for SEVEN months!"

I have a million reasons why I haven't been following up with this and I won't bore you with a single one. Why? Because who wants to read a bunch of excuses? And, I can't really think of any right now! (hehe!)

Christmas time is upon us and once again one of my clients asked me to decorate her home for the holiday season. This is the second year I've done this for her and I have to tell you, out of all the projects I design in a year, this is by far the most personal design I've done all year.

Not to take away from my kitchens and bathrooms (shout out to all those epic master baths!) but going through a families Christmas boxes that are stuffed with family photos and little "things" that accumulate throughout the years, makes me feel like part of their family and bonds me to them a little more.

Case in point, this client and I have been working together since 2011. I was eight months pregnant-out-to-here and they needed help decorating for a big birthday. She mentioned to me, "When we are ready, I want you to come back and design my new kitchen!" I said I'd love to (which I really meant) but in this business, everyone "needs you to come to their house" and everyone "needs help with a project" I hand over a business card and have learned that's pretty much where it ends.

Imagine my surprise when about a year later, my phone rings and that same client says, "I've hung on to your card all this time. We are ready to do our kitchen!" Saaaaaaay whaaaaaaaaaaaat?

They never call back. They loose my business card.

So I design her kitchen that summer. That Fall she calls again, "I'm going to leave all my Christmas decorations out in the family room and a key to our house on the porch. I want you to come in, go through everything, throw out what you don't like, and when I come home, I want it to be festive! Oh, and please make the mantel nice. It needs help." Tall order. That's when the bond really started. Seeing their kids photos with Santa and bonding with their dog over Milk Bones.

Over the year we did some more tweaking throughout their home and when it was time for her daughter to get married, guess who she called to plan/decorate the venue. That's right- THIS lady!

The beginning of this week I went back to her house and the same boxes from last year were laid out for me. Except this year, the house was much quieter. Their beloved dog had just passed away about a month ago, and the house was too quiet. (If you know anything about me, I'm a huge animal lover, specifically dogs- so when I was told the news of his passing, it made me sad.) As I pulled out the garland and photos of their Christmas' past, I came across photos of Santa with a puppy on his lap (and one of Santa with a full grown dog by his side). Instantly, tears pricked my eyes.

This is why I don't take my job lightly. I know some people think of designers as frilly, scarf-thrown-over-their-shoulder, drama queens (and I admit, at times I am SO that person, if only in my mind!) but the heart of what I do everyday is become part of your family. Creating spaces that you and your family will enjoy together.

So, after I stopped with the tears, I knew I had to put the Santa photos somewhere prominent.

After I laid out the garland on the mantel, I looked down at the hearth and saw a small box with the words Zeus on it, a photo of him, his collar hanging on the picture frame and knew I needed to add the Santa photos to his special spot in the house. I arranged them nicely around his box and collar, and added a vase of some "balls" (ornaments) for him to play with.

Opening your front door to a designer is a big decision. I'm here to tell ya though, when its me on the other side, get ready for another family member :)