Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Unfinished Interior Design Woes

At my husband's work's annual anniversary dinner, a large auction is held for a variety of items and services that have been donated by the other employees. Whether it is a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant or a hand-blown vase, just seeing the talent and generosity is a lot of fun.

The first purchase that we made was years and years ago; a gift certificate for dog training. Unusual? Yes. Extremely needed for us and our crazy dog? Absolutely. Asked to not return after the second lesson because said dog was somehow not right for the class? That's an entirely separate story...

(Except, really? It's dog training. Of course he's a little wild and un-socialized. That's why we're in dog training to begin with! Phooey.)

In the past few years I haven't gone with my husband to the dinner - partially because aside from the auction I find the evening extremely boring and partially because I stay home with the kids.

But when my husband called me a few years ago while he was there and asked if he should bid on a package wherein one of his colleagues (who dabbles in interior design) would come over, help design a room and even provide sewing for things like curtains or pillows, I told him not to come home without that prize.

Case in point: the master bedroom.

We have a large bedroom, which is wonderful, but the blah color on the walls, the bed frame from ancient times, the kids' toys in various piles, and the lack of actual decor are all things that I'm obviously not a fan of. I've long seen images like this in magazines or online...

... and wondered if main beautiful pieces like this sonax platform bed with storage drawers with the addition of an accent color would liven things up.

Thankfully, my husband won the auction and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to have someone who knows a thing or two about paint and fabrics and design come take a look at our room.

Fast-forward years later and yes, she came. We sat, we talked, we looked at photos, we sketched, and we planned. We even got started on the process, painting the walls a creamy cappuccino color, buying a huge roll of gorgeous chocolate brown fabric for curtains and pillows, and getting rid of the old bed and replacing it with a contemporary platform bed. This one:

So, okay.

The walls are painted, the bed is in place along with some storage drawers we bought to go along the end... but where are my curtains? The designer was originally planning her wedding and we had no problem waiting until she had more free time to make us curtains. Really, this was more of her hobby than anything else.

The wedding came and went, as well as the honeymoon.

Again, that was years ago.

Every time I bring it up my husband tries to change the subject and all I can get out of him is that he feels awkward sending her an email now after it has been so long. I see his point, but... I need curtains.

The room has one large bank of five windows on one side and sliding doors out to a deck on the other and right now they're covered with hideous vertical blinds that were attractive when? Never?

I've pleaded and I've threatened and I've told him to blame it all on me and send her an email saying that I won't stop harassing him (which wouldn't be a lie) to see about the curtains and he keeps placating me by saying he'll do it and then he never does.

I'm not out of line, right? Should I cut my losses or keep telling him that it's not too late to finish the job?


Mimi to Tee and Bee said...

It may be her hobby, but you still paid for the service, right? At least that's what I'm understanding.

If you paid for it, then I would want a follow up at least once. Did you also pay for the curtain fabric? Again that's what I'm understanding. That would make me want the follow-up even more.

Let us know how this turns out...I'm curious. The room design sounds beautiful.

Susan Fobes said...

The awkward thing is it's a work colleague, and I can see my husband doing the same as yours. I also think the woman is using this awkwardness to her advantage, and why not? She got the money and didn't have to finish the job. Since your husband feels weird about it and your willing to take the blame anyway, maybe you should contact her? I would say something about the fact that there must have been a misundrstanding (do you have anything in wrting about the agreement?), and that you have been waiting for her to finish the curtains and pillows. If time has been an issue for her, maybe suggest she reimburs you for the cost of the materials so that you can hire someone else to finish the job.
And all of this should be done as sweetly as possible so as not to make things more difficult for your husband-maybe easier said than done, but you need to do something. Good luck!

dannyscotland said...

I think that you are completely entitled to inquire about the rest of your room being finished. She clearly stated that there would be X number of things done, and wedding or not, she needs to stand by her promise. You did indeed pay for it, and while she may not have personally pocketed the money is beside the point. I think you should absolutely send her an email. Start off with a compliment. Say something like, We've really been enjoying the room and the changes you made/helped us make. We realize you were planning your wedding/honeymoon, but now we were hoping you would meet with us to complete the room. Please let us know a time that you would be available.

I think that starting off nicely will make it easier for her to handle, but then you clearly state your expectations, too. That way she can't say you weren't clear in what you wanted.

If she fails to follow through, I would write her off. She is clearly not professional enough to honor her end of the deal. Curtains are actually pretty easy to make, if you choose a simple design. If you or someone you know can sew, you could probably whip some simple curtains up in a few hours. They might not be quite designer curtains, but at least they wouldn't be blinds!

Jenny said...

Oh wow, I can't believe she didn't contact you to finish the project! I can understand why your husband doesn't want to deal with it, since it's one of his work people.

Anyway, I have to say I LOL about the dog training! What was that about?

Anonymous said...

At first I thought you should contact her, and be cheerful, maybe make a few little jokes about it, but ask to have the job finished. You could pretend to take the blame for not getting back to her sooner to start the ball rolling again. Gosh, where does the time go???? Being a mother really keeps you busy, blah, blah, blah...
Then I thought maybe, if it makes your husband really uncomfortable, let it go. Get someone else to make the curtains for you. Let DH pay for that. That's why he has a job - to make money, to pay for what's needed. Chalk it up as a loss, but maybe not a big enough loss to fret over. Put it behind you.
Two options. Maybe let your husband decide, does he want you to contact the woman and cheerfully ask her to finish the job (can the woman really say no???) Or pay for someone else to do it, and not go to the auction any more. You don't know - the woman might be feeling really guilty for not finishing the job, and is too embarrassed to bring up the subject herself. Just don't let on there are any hard feelings over the delay.