Colonel Mustard with the Drapery Cord in the Living Room!

Funny Design Tips - Hilarious Encounter between the Interior Deisgner & My Husband #funny #interiordesign #decorate #humor #designer

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

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6 replies on “Colonel Mustard with the Drapery Cord in the Living Room!

  1. Judy said:

    That’s an insane amount of money to redo a room that doesn’t involve plumbing. Over the past 20 years of marriage we’ve made a slow and steady march towards making it look like adults live there. Our posters are in frames now and all metal shelving units have been moved to inside closets. That’s about as classy as I can muster.

  2. Caitlin said:

    $40,000? You can by a hovel for that in mid-Missouri! We’re working on replacing the flooring room by room, and that seems exorbitant, but it’s nothing like what that lady quoted you.

  3. Steve J said:

    We were having trouble with our furnace/air conditioner in that it was always on instead of doing it’s thing and then turning off. The guy came over and spent two hours looking around and making notes. I asked what he was doing and he said he was preparing a quote for solar panel heating, but that he had to go back to the office to firm up the estimate. I asked him to give me a rough estimate and he said it would be about $25,000. I told him not to bother “firming up the estimate” as I had no intention on spending that amount on a system that only supposedly reduced the cost of the system without improving its efficiency.

  4. I say you watch a bunch of those design and decorating shows on HGTV and you can remodel anything in a heart beat. :-)

  5. So then…I kicked the reno guy out my house…or maybe I should start earlier?

    Why do reno guys feel that I have any knowledge about what a new bathroom would cost?

    Me – Can you come and give me a quote on how much a new bathroom would cost? Full gut-job.

    Random Bathroom “Expert” (RBE) – I can’t possibly tell you how much it will cost until the job is started.

    Me – I realize you may not know the full cost, but can you give me a neighbourhood? I’ve never done a bathroom before.

    RBE – No.

    Me – What?

    RBE – Do you want me to start next week?

    Cut to me staring dumbly at the RBE. And believe me, it takes a lot to stop me talking.

    Me – I’ll get back to you. (In my head this sounded like “Get the hell out of my house!”)

    I thought, “well that’s got to be scam”. After all, who in their right mind would start a reno project without a budget…or even a guess at a budget?

    I continued thinking that right up until I had the exact same conversation with two other bathroom reno guys.

    I finally used my phone-a-friend to find someone who would even give me a rough idea of what a bathroom would cost. (FYI, if you get a handyman to do it, it can be done for $5-8K; if you get a bathroom guy, you’re looking at $15-25, just to save you the research, and the pulling out of hair, and the need for bail when you lose it and assault the third reno guy with a blue porcelain angel fish.)

  6. We did have a fellow come out to give us an estimate on redoing our bathroom. We have a cast iron tub, and wanted to install a walk-in shower with a seat. (We’re not getting any younger, y’know.) We knew the tub would need to be sledge-hammered into submission, but when he started talking about – God help us all – building code and all that jazz, he figured it would set us back close to $20,000, which is only $10,000 less than we paid for the entire HOUSE. After he and the Squire picked me up off the floor, he very kindly closed his notebook, shook hands all around, and rode off into the sunset.
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