Normally, this is a place to come for design inspiration, beautiful room photos and home reveals of Before & Afters. Today I'm not talking about "the good" – but instead, "the bad and the ugly" behind the scenes realities of the interior design business two years after the pandemic which is still impacting the world.
This is not a session complaining about how tough things are, especially when we are very fortunate you, our clients, have invested in updating your homes. We appreciate your trust, and the opportunities to transform your homes which have become a bigger part of your family, work and leisure life.
I do however, want to talk about something we don't often share in the interior design world, which is ALL OF THE endless work, pivots, management, tracking, re-selection, comforting, investigation, documentation, communication, logistical work and finally...the partial reveals, because if we waited any longer for the big reveal – no one would be happy.
We have always worked to make the process pretty, effortless, simple and fun for our clients. And, we still do it all with a smile, a calming presence and authority. But, while you are patiently waiting for your furniture, contractors, and shipments – we are tightly managing every project detail to get it completed and installed as soon as possible and within our standard of excellence.
To illustrate what goes on behind the scenes, we made a list of...
30 THINGS WE HAVE DONE THIS YEAR TO KEEP PROJECTS ON TRACK:
1. Track the rattan bed which was in stock when it was ordered, but now the side slats are backordered waiting for the overseas shipment.
2. Convince the furniture manufacturer that the COM fabric is in fact at their facility and was signed for by "A. Smith" last Tuesday at 11:59 am. So, please pair it with the order and schedule it on your production timeline.
3. Pay the warehouse bill for the light fixtures that shipped immediately for the remodel that won't start for 4 months because we can't risk a stocking issue when needed.
4. Call to schedule the electrician to install after the countertops go in. Then, call again that the countertops didn't get installed on schedule.
5. Source new vendors for down feathers pillow inserts because Covid caused a feather shortage?
6. Contact the trucking company to find out why the sofa got from NC to Chicago, and is now sitting in a warehouse with no scheduled date to arrive in Minneapolis.
7. Reselect paint from a different vendor since there is a "pigment shortage" affecting some suppliers more than others.
8. Meet with the wallpaper installer who hung the wallpaper on the wrong wall, then order new wallpaper rolls, schedule the removal and re-installation. Reassure the client this will not affect the cost or the timeline.
9. Call 5 subcontractors because the plumbers were delayed, pushing back everyone's schedule.
10. Convince the furniture delivery company that they can not park on the driveway which was just poured and have to carry the items through the dirt while the landscapers are driving bobcats around them.
11. Reselect an upholstery fabric that continues to slide on the "out of stock list" for months because the performance fabric factories in Texas are still rebuilding from last year's storms – finally giving up on it.
12. Order appliances before a remodel or build has started and plans are finished.
13. Track production schedules with dozens of vendors on a weekly basis to ensure timelines are on track. Write weekly emails to all clients confirming the expected dates and reassuring them their project is on track from the dates we quoted prior to ordering.
14. Source trucking options, as the sole company driving from NC to the midwest closed down due to staffing shortages, fuel prices and warehouse capacity with only a 2-week notice.
15. Read weekly emails about new surcharges on furniture, fuel, international shipping charges, parts, foam, down, paint, labor, deliveries. Review invoices to ensure that new surcharges are not tacked onto past orders and readjust quotes on items not ordered yet.
16. Schedule and pay for furniture touchups, or complete replacements, for damages incurred in trucking items to MN.
17. Schedule in-home furniture touchups on damages incurred in local delivery between warehouse and client's home.
18. Contact the manufacturer about the beds that arrived with the fabric installed upside down, after 9 months of waiting. Order new fabric, negotiate a quick replacement, re-schedule the pick up and delivery.
19. Convince the electrician that the light fixture is indeed NOT too large, and will look great when he hangs it. And, it does! :)
20. Track "in stock" levels with key vendors prior to starting a design plan.
21. Stay in touch with furniture reps on quoted production timelines to determine which companies to work with before the design presentation. All vendors still impacted by high demand, loss of skilled workers who took early retirement at time of pandemic, and new distancing protocols.
22. Repair the finish on the chest which was rubbed off by packing straps.
23. Get the sofa skirt steamed prior to delivery and pay for the 2-hour service.
24. Notice the chair fabric which has a slub not caught in manufacturing, so order yardage, set up delivery to local upholsterer, schedule the workroom, check the work in person for approval, set up client delivery.
25. Reorder and redeliver the light fixture that shipped with clear glass balls vs milky glass balls, as ordered.
26. Communicate and coordinate with the workroom that didn't use contrast welt on custom pillows, so had to remake.
27. Return and replace shades on 2 matching lamps that were different – one linen, one paper.
28. Reframe the artwork that slipped within the matte in shipping.
29. Source new accessories when the ceramic glaze did not match the prototype sample.
30. Hire a team to get a sectional through the 2nd floor window due to the low ceiling drop on the staircase.
Now that's a lot of balls in the air. As you can see, it ain't easy...and, it ain't pretty! But, every one of these hiccups is part of the process and we handle them with grace and care – the past 2-1/2 years have just been a bit more trying than most. But, the day we get to finally share that last reveal with you makes it all worthwhile!
So, thank you for your patience! Please know that we always have your project covered – and will deliver quality, beautiful spaces keeping it simple, easy and stress free for you.
We won't ever mention the little hurdles we've jumped over on your project. We take those hurdles off your plate and manage it beautifully.
(Now, you just may understand why we have a few gray hairs!)
If you have a project that you'd like to discuss with us, schedule a Free Discovery Call. We will create a custom space for you and your family, and manage all the details so you can enjoy the process!