Death by H……..

I don’t have a verb suitable for the description of being undone by the intervention of an Interior Decorator but the above will have to suffice. Last month I was all excited about a project that involved a large ancient house near Oxford, two lovely clients that I had met many years ago and their requirement for a Wizzo modern bed as a centre piece for the master bedroom. They had consulted a decorator and did not like what she proposed which was a four poster bed that reminded me of a galleon in full sail. I worked myself to a frazzle right up to Christmas to get them drawings “ Do not send me full presentation drawings” said Meena “send me sketches and we can develop it together”. That should have warned me, but O K I can do this and I got a bundle of e-mailed drawings to them in New York over Christmas and I sent the actual drawings to their home with timber samples for when they got back. This all brought a very positive response, “We love it”

Enter the New Year I was all set to make maquettes and do designs for other pieces in the room, however the sense in the air is all rather different, “

We have just had a visit from H………., about the bedroom, can you just hold on with other drawings for a while……..

Now I know whats comming next. Hen will be wanting to put her designer in place and probably, possibly, collect a commission from the maker. I feel cross and express my feelings on the forum that we furniture designer makers use to keep in touch [and find out where to buy No3 brass screws) I get an e-mail from an old pal that says “do you mean Henrietta So-and So? If so, I worked with her a few years ago and would rather sh-g Gordon Brown than work with that woman again”

. Now that image rather put me off my lunch. A few days later I get a call from a friendly furniture maker that confirmed my suspicions about other workshops being brought in, also ignorant of my previous work.

Now I happily tender for work but in that case I charge £475 per day of studio time whether I get the job or not. Doing a good set of drawings usually takes me about three days. However if the client has done their homework and selected me to do a job I will not charge a penny, I will do drawing after drawing to get it right for them. If I fail no fee.

So what do i do if I get caught with this situation. A situation that my mate who runs the other workshop is also caught in for he was not told that other designers had submitted drawings. Well I could have withdrawn in a huff, told the client what I thought of their duplicitious decorator or just gone off in a sulk. Well what I have done is remember that I am still in with a shout and its a big house. What I have done is send the client an expensive book called “Bespoke. A referance source book of furniture designer makers”

by Betty Norbury. It features my work inside and on the cover of the book. It also shows my mates work and most other top makers in Britain. I just sent it with my compliments to hit their doorstep before their meeting with H…. and the competitors sketches. We shall see, if P… and M… can get the hang of commissioning modern work, this could be one one will run and run. We could in twenty years be looking at one of the finest collections of 21st centuary furniture in the world. Or we could be looking at another decorated up market country house that looks just like a good hotel.

As one door shuts…… Hi David, Can you come up and have a look at our new dining room we want a couple of tables to go with that lovely dining table and chairs you made for us two years ago…. Penny

PS Colin is building a new house for us .

Some new house. I met at the site office and asked the site manager “how many units you got on this site it looks like ten or twelve” “just one” he said” its for Colin and Penny. As we wander about the site with Pennies decorator and the joinery contractor (this is how to do it ) two special tables turn into six and “Oh” said Colin “I really want a desk for my new study something special, a few curves nice and tasty”


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