This is not your typical blog post title that’s for sure…The other day whilst driving to a client meeting to discuss a new project I had the realisation that as a decorator I get to know my clients on a much deeper level than most trades or service providers would. It’s a funny thing being that involved in a strangers lives and seeing inside their most personal and sacred spaces. It’s not something I take lightly and am always careful to respect their space and their items when discussing existing pieces they own or making any changes to the home. You can very easily offend someone by making a casual remark about an item in their home that may actually mean a lot to them.
I’ve worked with hundreds of clients over the years, some I never meet in person (as we work via my eDecorating service), others I see almost weekly to check in on progress. It’s not always the case that I get so involved in their lives but the bigger jobs or the more intense jobs on tight deadlines often mean we have to dig deep into what their homes really mean to them faster and what events are taking place in their lives that will impact the job.
When first meeting a new client we do a walk around their home and chat about the decorating project. Then once I get a feel for the space we sit down and have a good chat about their current living arrangements, what needs changing, what bothers them about the space and any planned changes. I’ve often sat down with clients for this section of the consult and been told they are expecting a baby but not yet announced it to family and friends or shared that their child has a disability and therefore the home needs to work in a way that supports their child’s needs. Other times they’ll tell me that they have a sick parent who will be coming to live with them in their dying days and a special space needs to be designed for them.
I’ll never forget the family I had been working with for nearly a year. They emailed me excitedly one day to ask me to start work on a nursery as they’d just found out they were expecting. I made a start on the nursery design, excited for them at the prospect of a new family member only to be contacted a week or so later to say they had unfortunately lost the baby. I was absolutely devastated for them and was even sadder knowing they hadn’t had the chance to announce the pregnancy to friends and family and were suffering in silence yet still had to remember to email me and tell me to stop working on the nursery. Happily, they have gone on to have a healthy baby who has a beautiful nursery of his own.
There are other stories like the couple who had been trying for years to fall pregnant so the spare room was ignored during the decorating process in the hopes that one day soon I’ll be back to plan the nursery but they didn’t want to get their hopes up in the mean time. Or the husband who’s wife had just moved into higher care because living at home with her illness was no longer an option but he needed to make some changes to the house to make her visits home a little easier.
Sometimes I get really overwhelmed at the stories my clients share with me. Often it’s the first time we’ve met but they’re important details that help me craft and create a beautiful space for them. It amazes me that they are so trusting in telling a virtual stranger who’s just stepped into their home all of these personal details but ultimately their honesty and bravery in telling me the first time we meet their stories helps me make their homes that much better for them. And maybe I even contribute to them feeling a little bit happier or cosier in their newly decorated space.