Wednesday, 25 March 2009

My Decorating Life




You know what? I need to be really honest with you all. I would imagine that you would think my job is so glamorous and amazing. Am I right?

Well, I have to tell you that it is the most amazing job and I absolutely ADORE what I do but I also have to tell you that it is one of the hardest jobs in the whole wide world.

On a daily basis I attempt to please every single one of my clients. On a daily basis I am disappointed by goods not arriving on time, manufacturers and suppliers breaking their promises and goods being delivered faulty or completely and utterly wrong and not how we ordered them.

I just need to make it clear that even though this job is my lifelong passion I just wish that I could do it better and no matter how hard I try sometimes it's just not good enough.

I'm sure this is the same in every profession but relying on others in this profession is so disappointing and so embarrassing at times and no matter what you do, sometimes it all just ends up wrong!

I don't want your sympathy. That's not what this post is about. I just thought I'd tell you that it really isn't as glamorous as it sounds.

Tomorrow will be better. I know it will be.

Images via Vi.sualize.us

80 comments:

hello gorgeous said...

That made me so sad to see that photo. I'm so happy it's only a late sofa or the wrong fabric. Those things can be changed, can't they?

Washington Cube said...

War, war, war. Yes it will get better, Scarlett.

I'm not being flippant. I was lying in bed this morning staring out the window thinking how tired I was and in how much pain, because yesterday blew me sky high, then I had to work through knot upon knot upon knot to make it right, only to start my evening to the same, and and trying to restore an estate house at night and forcing myself over there to tape baseboard at 9 p.m. then come home and face 3 Amazon businesses that I run and all "that,": answering questions, packing for shipping, letters to buyers to tell them their stuff is on the way (at midnight,) and trying to write at 2 a.m. and here I am at 7:30 a.m. to get more Amazon stuff done before my day starts again. So I hear you.

You want to be giving your very best creatively and in every sense and some days, things get so fouled you hit many, many walls. Now. Back to work. For both of us.

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

Amen sister!!! I am so glad you did this post! I have said a million times if I could do everything myself my job would be perfect...I am the only one it seems that will do what I say. I remember one time when a iron worker I hired to make 4 drapery rods only made three...he did not have enough stuff to make 4! So it was just my bad luck and he wanted paid for the 3...I could go on and on and on

Lorena said...

Hello, Anna! Sure some days are harder than others, but if it's of any help, just breathe deeply and let me tell you something: you create beauty! you inspire a lot of people everyday!
Both your work and your blog are amazing, and your customers should feel very lucky, no matter how many times the supplies come in wrong.
And of course tomorrow will be better :)
With love from Uruguay,
Lorena

Kristin said...

I am a web designer and so get this! Hoping for you a better week and that you will just dust off, be gentle with yourself and smile in your own company.

Thank you for being real! That in itself is awesome!

erika said...

amen! i know EXACTLY how you feel!

Pieter said...

I now how you feel (I'm a designer too), especially when suppliers don't put in as much effort as you do to get things perfect! But there are moments of beauty (you'll have one very soon, judging by your work) that'll make everything worth it! Tomorrow will be better!

gretchen said...

oh anna, you do seem quite glamorous and really super extraordinarily talented. i am not a designer but every single time i order upholstered furniture, it arrives wrong. chairs with giant rips in the back (18 inches long!) sofas that are upholstered not slipcovered as ordered, upholstered beds that are damaged. my husband calls me "the refusnik" because i always have to send it away to have it re-done correctly. i can't even imagine what it would be like to order things for clients. good luck with everything. i'm sure tomorrow will be brighter.

mary said...

Oh, Anna, it is a very,very stressful job and there is little you can do to change the beast. I have been doing this for over 30 years and it's amazing I'm not in a straight jacket. The best advice I can give you is to reduce the expectations of your clients...I read a story once where a young designer had counted the steps in having a custom sofa built - there were 90 steps. That's 90 opportunities for someone or something out of your control to ruin it. Now multiply that by a whole house......I tell my clients this all the time. When they understand that you can do your job 100% correctly - but things will still go wrong - it takes away some of the stress. Once I told a client that world peace did not depend on whether or not the bed was delivered before her Christmas party; she was not amused. HA

Keep it all in perspective, keep a sense of humor, keep quiet time for yourself - you'll be fine.

Sarah said...

Tomorrow will be better. It usually is! :)

cedwards55 said...

You are absolutely right. Most days I'm slogging through the granite yard, construction sights and gently trying to persuade contractors to LISTEN TO ME!!!! But, when a project comes together and a client is happy, isn't it just the best? Be of good cheer Anna! Tomorrow is another day!

Leigh Anne said...

I'm right there with you! As a decorator I meet people daily who tell me how much fun my job must be and how they would love to just decorate all day HA!! While my job is fun and I love it, there is so much more that goes into it than just picking pretty colors and fabrics.

karina Manghi said...

Anyway I admire your passion!!!
These days are not just in jobs but they are part of life.
A hug from Argentina

The Little Big House said...

I think what Interior designers do is AMAZING - you have the gift of turning everyday space and objects into art. It must take such vision and patience to deal with the all the specifics that need to be tackled to make your vision reality.

Anyways this isn't sympathy - I just get it - as designers we want to please and to be able to get the job done well- and the fires we put out to get there can sometimes be overwhelming.

hope tomorrow is better!

Linda Merrill said...

Oh - I feel your pain! It's so terrible to do everything right, then have to explain to a client why the end result wasn't what was expected! Being the middle-(wo)man isn't always fun, no question. But, just remember, for each problem issue, you probably have ten successes!

rustic rooster interiors said...

I AGREE 100% percent with you . . . Depending on vendors is the hardest thing in this profession. This business really isn't that glamorous . . . so so true! Love your blog. Thanks for sharing and being honest!!!

Sarthak said...

I too go through a same series of emotions associated with my profession, where fabric gets delayed, the surface ornamentation is'nt done in the way i had done the design, it was just today that i recieved some 250 metres of a completely wrong color chart ! but perhaps our cycle of performing goes on with all these hiderances.

ulrika said...

You Know Anna,
I once fell in love with a line in a movie called Shadowlands with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. The scene is extremly sad, Debra has cancer and is going to die, but at this moment Anthony shows her the most beautiful spot of nature and he starts to cry.
Debra say's; "You know, the pain then, is part of the happiness now".
I think it's it's a very big sentence.

Magic Brush said...

I relate. As a faux finisher... I have girls not show up, we run out of product, I forget to take good notes in class, the builder needs touch ups, I had to load scaffolding by myself this morning and take 2 of my kids to a construction site. I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND!!!!!!

Sonya said...

I am not giving sympathy, but am sending you a nice hug.
Sonya

chelsea said...

You must be having the same kind of week I am :)

Emily said...

What makes it worse is that as the face your clients see every day, you're the one who takes the brunt of their frustration.

You do beautiful work. Tomorrow will be better. :-)

Pink Wallpaper said...

i totally understand! when i first started my company, i had a notebook where i wrote all of my mistakes down so i would remember them the next time around. there is always going to be something that is out of our control...but those things make us stronger and a better business women by surviving them :) keep your head up- you do a great job!

Ashley Rose said...

While I am not in interior design, i just wanted to say i completely relate to you =( so sorry to hear your day is less then perfect today! When everything seems to go wrong, know that you are inspiring tons of people (such as myself) with your work/blog =) it has become one of my favorites! I am feeling the same way as you as far as adoring what i do, just some days are tough =) try not to let it get to you, but in the end your human so just dont beat yourself up about it=) sorry for the novel! xoxo.

Lizzytish said...

Wow, Anna, that's exactly why I stopped decorating. I am self-taught and had my own home-based business for a few years, but I couldn't deal with being the middle man! I can control the quality of my work but not so much with other contractors. It's good, in a weird way, to know someone as successful as you has the same problems. Hang in there, you're brilliant!

Abbie said...

While I think I would love to take on my passions, sometimes I have to remind myself that the "grass isn't greener". It's nice to hear a little honesty!

Cheryl said...

You are right. Tomorrow will be better :)

Nathan and Nicole said...

The picture on this post is beautiful! A good cry is beautiful too. If it weren't for hardships, we would be perpetually shallow people. Suffering brings depth, even though we might not like the process. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. I'm sorry you're having a frustrating day, but... chin up Love! I enjoy your imperfect work. Be encouraged!

J ..de Santa Fe said...

OK .. . no sympathy.
But:
I've done this job for over 30 years and I'm here to say --- the reality of being a professional designer is NOT all glam. In fact, very little about it has any glam.

It's all you noted and mostly you're put in that horrid place of wanting to keep people happy when it's just about impossible.

I do hope that tomorrow will be better. (but, I also know that depends on others showing up on time - doing the work as specified - and making deliveries as promised!)

Hugs,
From a Much Older & Just A Tiny Bit
Wiser Designer
JJJjjj

Charlee said...

You are a rockstar for being so honest, yet passionate about your career. I happen to hit one of those days today - it happens to all of us. "Nothing lasts forever" by Grandmother used to say, "The good and the bad"!

Anita said...

Do not sweat the small stuff (it is all small stuff). Keep moving on !

María said...

Ánimo! la primavera nos tiene un poco revueltas a todas!

The Sale Rack said...

i work in politics and that is how i felt yesterday. i literally cried after work!

Abby said...

Oh, Anna. We feel for you. Hang in there. While working in a job or profession that is so entwined with your personal passion can be fulfilling, it can also be gut wretchingly hard. Sometimes I am secretly a little jealous of those people who just have a "job" and then walk out the door and go back to their real life. When we put so much of ourselves and our souls into what we do, every hiccup hurts that much more. We believe in you!

Jennifer said...

tomorrow IS a new day. a chance to start fresh. hope tomorrow is better for you!

WELCOME TO MY WORLD said...

I so know what you mean. My job isn't as glamorous as your but all in all I love my job and the people I work with. There are some days when I have to say to myself, "I love my job, I love my job," just to get through the day and remind myself that I don't want to quit. I've come close sometimes feeling like I just want to give up.

kate said...

of course tomorrow WILL be a better day!!! We used to always say that about interior design , how glamous it was, while we were climbing a ladder, balancing, in
96 degreee weather, while a client is complaining!!! Best to you
kate

Lady Bug said...

Anna,

I completely sympathize with you! When I was in college, the first thing the Head of the Interior Design Department said to our class is "All of you who think this is a glamour job had better get out now!" Of course, nobody believed her - but, of course, she was right!

I love your blog! Hang in there!

Mrs Potter said...

*Nods head*
MrsP
xx

Jade Creative said...

I understand very well. I work along side interior decorators. On occasion, when asked, I will help a client along with her decorating decisions. I'm glad to do what I do best though, and that is soft furnishings and window treatments.
Yes, tomorrow will be better.
later...
Darlene

Anna Spiro said...

Thank you all so much for your very kind and encouraging comments. As I said, this post wasn't aimed to get your sympathy and I don't like to sound like a whinger but I just want to make this place here real. I want people to know that it isn't all glamourous and great. It's a really hard job just like many other jobs out there. I do get so much pleasure from my career and you all know how passionate about it I am but I just don't want to glaze over the facts....it is very stressful. I know today is going to be fantastic!
xx
Anna

Jenny Gifford said...

Oh Anna I felt just like that last week, I really love my job too and I cant imagine doing anything else but it gets a bit much sometimes and we all just need to remember to take time out. I call my mum because she's so unconditional with her love and support.And she'll bring me back to reality and remind me how far I've come.
The next Day I got the biggest compliment from my boss and all was good in the world. Jenny G

Serialstyler said...

Hey Anna, I know how you feel. I work in a retailer where we decorate the bedrooms & we order things, get so excited about them coming, but the majority comes faulty. It is so frustrating & I don't think they EVER think about how much paperwork they have just caused you to have to do. GRRR. On the flip side, sometimes you have to take things with a grain of salt.

Donna said...

Here's to a better day, week, month! I think I know where you're coming from!! Hugs.

Michaele said...

...and sometimes it's helpful to just let it all out.

Biiiiig exhale.

(This is where *I* usually INHALE a few peanut m-n-m's, a few. They're therapeutic I tell you.)

:)

M.

E. Floyd said...

Hi Anna, I am glad you shared with us, your audience, and I know things will turn out well. They always do.

VictoriaArt said...

Dear Anna, it must be comforting for you to see all that mail coming, so many people feeling what you are feeling! You are certainly not alone, if that helps....I know from my own decorating expirience, if you are good, the result can be glamorous, but the process is hard work, lots of psychology and patience!
Keep your humor and face the next lovely flower, your child or have a cup of tea....it usually helps!
Big hug!
Victoria from Westchester,NY

Shannon Fricke said...

It's hard to make everybody happy - in fact, I think it might be next to impossible. I re-learn this lesson every single day!
Sx

Lisa said...

Just a short note to say thank you, I appreciate your honesty more than you could know. It’s so refreshing when someone has the courage to reveal the truth of how they really feel on their good days as well as their more challenging days.

Mrs Potter said...

I love that you keep it real Anna.
MrsP
xx

Christine said...

I believe the point here is not that you could do your job better - because you do it magnificently rather your suppliers need to pay more attention.
Are the certain suppliers that consistently get it right or wrong? Try to use those that get you.
good luck
Christine

{this is glamorous} said...

So sorry to hear about your day, Anna -- hope today is better, and that you have a relaxing weekend away from the stresses of your week -- we're thinking of you!

xo

Habitually Chic said...

I always had the impression that everything went perfectly for you so now I don't know if I feel better or worse than you have to deal with the same things that I do in NYC. I always joke about it not being so glamorous but keep your chin up! It usually gets better!

christa Baca said...

As a graphic designer, I can completely relate. A book that really changed my life is e-myth. You should give it a read. It will kick your butt at first- but it will really change your life.

Haven and Home said...

As a decorator I know exactly what you mean! It sounds like such a relaxed job but it is so stressful. To be the middle person between suppliers and clients is such a hard postition. When things go wrong it always comes back to you even though so much of the time it is not your fault. Not to mention working with people's homes is so personal that it is very stressful.

Okay well this was supposed to be positive and somehow I ended up venting. My point is that I am just now learning the balance and I appreciate your honesty. Reading your blog makes me realize that I am not the only one who feels this way sometimes. Thanks for all the wonderful posts, keep up the good work!

. said...

Dear Anna,
I know how you feel... I have a super glam job I adore ( I am a model in NYC ) and sometimes things can be soooo frustrating... but at least we have the luxury to follow our dream and do what we love.
Feel better and your honesty is awesome.
xx

Diana Strinati Baur said...

I hear you. I worked in hospitality design for years and while it was tough as hell, I honestly think that non-commercial interior design is one of the very toughest jobs out there . So many variables -- couples not agreeing with each other, not agreeing on a budget, requesting things to be done again, again,and then again, the lack of respect for time (usually from not understanding what the process is or how much work or time it takes), and of course then there are the supplier issues, things not coming out right, wrong colorway, wrong wood finish, missed deadlines, etc etc. I hear you. I am working with an architect right now and I am so trying to have my own ideas nailed tight before giving them to her because I know what her job takes.

Don't be so hard on yourself, you clearly do fab work and are doing the best you can do!! :)

Judgement Daily said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for making me feel less alone! I assist a designer—basically doing all the awful vendor-wrangling gruntwork! And I've wondered daily, "Where am I going wrong? Is it just me? Does everyone else actually receive what they order?" And of course, the answer is no. So thank you for the reminder!

Talking with Tami said...

I totally understand ppl see my pics and think that what I do is fun too. Its alot of standing around,rude or arrogant celebs,its sometimes not fun!

Camilla @ Designalogue Blog said...

Oh Cheers to that!
I am having my run of faulty and just NQR's at the moment - ARgh! the most emotionally exhausting part of the job is managing expectations - the clients AND mine!
Chin up! Its all worth it!

Tamara said...

You've said it all. Deisgning is the most wonderful job in the world because it is all about heart and soul. But it does get exhausting putting your heart and soul into your job. And when you are telling people how to spend their money (which is really what you are doing) you want their spend to be perfect. They live in these houses everyday. I always feel the pressure to get it perfect. We understand, but you do such a great job at it. Keep up the gorgeous work

Laura said...

Anna, You do such a wonderful job and this business is tough. I hope you are feeling better after a few days. Go treat yourself to some beautiful flowers and enjoy the weekend. Love your blog!

Denise Fasanello said...

ahhhh! I so know what you mean. Thanks for keeping it honest

Barb Fisher said...

I can relate completely. Until I had my daughter 2 years ago, I was working for a high end designer furniture showroom. As a sales consultant, I worked closley with architects and designers to help achieve their vision. The most frustrating thing is being let down by your own suppliers and manufacturers and then in turn having to explain to your designers why their target (and yours!) is not being met. It's completely out of your hands and you are working hard to keep everyone happy, but that never sounds like anything but an excuse when you try and explain it. Sigh. Life is difficult sometimes.

Velvet and Linen said...

Thank you for doing this post.
I struggle with these feelings all of the time.
It is so nice that someone who is so incredibly talented works through these emotions as well!
Your honesty is greatly appreciated.


xo
Brooke

Jojo said...

I loved reading your post. It seems more and more we are all under greater pressure to do more, please all and whatever we do, make it faster. No matter how passionate we are about our work so many things are out of our control and we all want to keep the customer happy. My son just got a job (thankfully) after 6 months of being unemployed and he called me after one of his qualifying tests to say that the rules have changed. Of course I was confused at his remark but he went on to ask me if I remembered teaching him the golden rule. I told him of course and he replied "that isn't the rule anymore. It's now the platinum rule." The rules are changing to so much as we all go about the work in which we are most passionate. You will adapt and success because of your passion.

Tobi Fairley said...

When I just read this post, I felt like I was reading my own mind!! I have said those same words so many times! The only thing that can make you feel better is knowing that all of we other designers in the world are living the exactly same reality! I hope you are feeling better now!!! Hang in there. And remember that awesome feeling you have when you do a huge installation! It makes us remember why we all continue to put ourselves through this stress. The cost is great but the reward is greater!!!

Lisa Falzon said...

Haha!
I'm an illustrator... and I know EXACTLY what you mean dear..

:) It comes with the job.. I tell myself if it were easy, then everybody would be doing it ;)

Daryl Wark said...

Hi Anna,
thank you for being so honest about your bad day, even now when you may feel you are being watched by the world you can still have the honesty to tell it like it is.
I too am a decorator / designer and some days I just want to walk away and move to another world. But what we have we need to share with others as it really does makes peoples lives more enjoyable. Dont give up you were meant to do this and people do need to realise that 95% result of a 110% effort is enough most of the time and a late sofa or wrong tile is really not the end of the world.
Decorating /interior design is not easy. I too like you am passionate about design I live and breath it 24 /7 and I dont think it will ever stop. But some times people think you just turn on a tap at will and it all flows out at a moments notice. It happens when it happens and when it does it is amazing it is like you are in a stream being one with the water. I under stand your pain, designers can some times be called naurotic perfectionists. But if you dont check evey little "t" and dot every little 'i', one person in the many you juggle on a daily basis can spoil every thing you put in and the blame is dumped on you.
It is difficult to get the balance right and I still have not got the mix correct, if only we could work with more people who think the same way we would have fewer mistakes and better out comes.
Thank you for expressing how you fell as sometimes as a designer you feel over whelmed by what happens around you and feel you must be doing some thing wrong. My partner is a intensive care nurse and when we talk about his day every thing falls into perspective for me. Some times I wish my clients could hear his stories too.
Keep up the great work, do the best you can and enjoy family and friends because they are who really matter in life.
Congratulation.
regards,
Daryl Wark

4 chiacchiere tra amiche said...

Anna, you're a cut above! Never forget it. xxx Alessandra

Moskki said...

Just stopping ....to see your blog...
And then i read this....


Well...Just wanna leave you a Kiss..
from Portugal

Michele said...

Meanwhile, you'll always be better off than if you were sitting in a job you hated AND dealing with annoying nuances you could not control. Blah. You'll be ok - you always are! :)

Home Refiner said...

Dear Anna,

Thank you SO SO much for sharing this. I totally get you and am so happy you made me and many out here feel like we are not the only ones going through this.

I will think about this posting over and over again next time one of my rods is missing, one of the curtains is too short, the the lamp came is bronze instead of shiny chrome, the linens came with yellow dots instead of red ones...

Not only do I love your gorgeous blog; I love that you are so honest and open about this!

Thanks so much for sharing this!

Ingunn said...

Hello Anna,I think I understand how you feel. Best regards Ingunn from Norway

Design Cupcake said...

Thank you for your honesty Anna!
Los Angeles hears you sister!!
As with everything, we get to take the good with the bad, and keep trudging on.
I'm in if you are.
xx
ryann

Tracy Elaine said...

I worked for an interior design company for 7 months when I was just out of college. I totally understand how rough that business can be. It was the best of times and the worst of times. In the end, I barely survived it, so the fact that you've made it your career says so much about how strong you are as a person.

dizimisslizi said...

Anna ... I stumbled on your blog a few months back...and I loved it! I love looking at new ways for housebeautifying...design..creativity and all things beautiful. Although after recent travel, and connecting to your blog for the first time in a month or so...at first I was a bit jaded....oh what a frivolous world we lucky ones live in.....I must say though that I have noticed from your blogs once in awhile you admit that life is not as sweet as the pictures you post ( i love them all!!) I admire this and from the many many posts you have had from the most recent admission....it proves that it is very important amongst all the showcasing, that being able to share the same obstacles, doubts and trials to varying degrees...with others...and although we cannot compare situations..it is very important for re-affirmation and confidence-boosting and just general-get-on-with-it mode etc..etc...that you (we) are not alone.........

Emma @ White and Wander said...

I don't mean to throw a spanner in the works and I am certainly not trying to be mean, but I think things can always be worse and perspective is always a good leveller ... imagine if you had a job that if you did something slightly wrong ... someone could die?? Perhaps put some thought into the global issue of working in the health profession, dealing with massive stresses everyday, on top of unrealistic shifts and not great pay? Everyjob has its ups and downs, and days when you love or hate it and question why you would have ever chosen that career, and all you can do is just roll with the punches and look on the bright side xx

Petra :-) said...

I understand you so much, I do....the same things happened/happen to me actually always, because of my heavy travel schedule to morocco/middle east the people always think that I am on holiday...*arghh* and don´t want to understand that I am on work and sometimes try to rest for one day/evening or so...or drinking all day long fresh mint tea and cardamom coffee in my cozy studio and talking to friends...ahem...of course there are 10 people sitting in the basement and working for me...*rollingeye*....anyway I enjoy it very much to read your blog :-)

Mango Frooty said...

amongst all these inspirational pictures and evidence of sheer talent it is just amazing to read this post.... in fact, it's this post that inspires me more.

I hope your week got better Anna