So then…she curls her lip almost imperceptibly as she examines the heavy brocade drapes on my living room windows. As she lifts the thick fabric, dust motes fly up into the sunshine streaming through the glass.
She casts a disdainful eye at the burgundy carpet and scribbles something in her notebook.
I’ve never interviewed an interior designer before – and I’m not entirely sure what I should be doing.
But I’m pretty sure I know what she should be doing – and that’s not acting all judgmental about the current state of affairs.
I want to shout, “Hey, I didn’t pick out those monstrous curtains – or that hideous carpet! The elderly couple who lived here before us left those in the house. Curl your lip at them!”
But I don’t say a word. To be fair, I have absolutely no sense of style or fashion. When I choose clothing or furnishing, I suppose the kindest description of my style would be: monochromatic.
So I asked this designer Brenda to come give a bid to redo the living room since we haven’t done anything with it since we bought this home in Tarzana two years ago.
As a young couple, we spend most of our time in the kitchen and adjoining TV room. This is the Fancy Living Room for receiving Fancy Guests. We don’t really have Fancy Guests — but maybe we would if we made this room look less like a mausoleum.
She walks to the middle of the living room, sizing up the couple pieces of random furniture. She arches an eyebrow and makes a note.
Just then, the door opens and my husband David walks in the house.
I call him in to join us. “Hey, honey, come over here. This is Brenda, an interior designer. She’s giving us a quote for redoing the living room.”
They say hello.
Brenda consults her notebook and says (in a tone of voice that indicates she’s doing us a favor), “Including furniture, window treatments, and carpet – I can do the whole room for $40,000.”
David looks at her a moment and says, “This is the second time I’ve been in this room since we moved in. That’s $20,000 per visit. Are you insane?”
And she was never seen again.
(I don’t mean she met with foul play. Although David was ready to string her up with the drapery cord. I just mean that her definition of a reasonable amount of money to spend on decorating did not coincide with ours, so we parted ways. When we sold that house, the next young couple inherited the burgundy carpet and brocade drapes. Good luck, dear residents, good luck.)
— Darcy Perdu
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(Any interior design stories? Or vendors who made you feel inadequate – or whose prices seemed outrageous? Any times your spouse interjected with a pithy remark? Share in the Comments section!)
Illustration for So Then Stories by Pedro Kerstitzsch