10 indicators You are a Bad Client

10 Indicators: Yes, You are a BAD client….

Welcome to designing your dream home and the crazy train known as the next year of your life. I know you want to have the best Designers in town… BUT…

You have to be a good client.  

Those gorgeous published homes and effortless relationships happen because there is a two-way working relationship that is happy, fun, joyful and pleasurable for both people.

A really good and experienced designer is worth his/her weight in gold.   They will think about your project all of the time. They sleep and dream of your home.  They test their likes and dislikes daily on other homes just to make sure your home is perfect….. But here is the thing.  That super amazing designer may not take you.  If your budget is huge, yes you may be able to get in the door but —- let’s be honest..you are a bad client. And it is going to cost you.  


I am not talking about the red flags and the counter-intuitive comments you make, or the overzealous expectation and the inability to “compromise”… those items mean you are not experienced enough.  And by your second home, you might be worthy of a designer.  

This current project you are just going to have to learn on your own/ Neighbors opinion, less expensive designer/ Mother-in-laws crafted world.   Because you don’t deserve that GREAT designer.  Let me show you why.

If you are not wanting to wreck your first home and truly want to woo that designer of your dreams.  Let’s talk about what that looks like.

  1. What you see published is old. Factor in at least the construction phase of product old + design and selection before that.  Tile phases out in 5 years.  Most magazine images are 2 years from the date of selections. The quarry those counter were chipped out of no longer exists.
          1. Solution: Ask your designer what they are seeing for the direction of the design and find out if their future design aesthetic and goals may be more ideal for you.
          2. Solution: Consider getting inspiration from trade publications
  1. What your designer will introduce you to will be new or surprising to you.  (unless you “ In bad client form -say I just want restoration hardware, “  I am not saying that your Restoration Hardware “target” is not attainable.  It is not creatively full-filling.  It does not challenge you or the designer.  The Designer does not get to see you as a person blossom and exist in a unique home as beautiful as you.)
          1. Solution: Mention you like the natural fibers of restoration hardware, the sparkle, the distressed wood and there is a piece you have been stalking from there, but in all accounts, you want quality and scale that actually fits you.
          2. Solution: Saving you from a seasonal store look is a designers ultimate goal.  They know that highly manufactured product that is seen over and over goes out of style faster than unique hand made things. Unique and one of a kind is more fulfilling and BETTER.
          3. Solution: Talk more about the color scale and textures of vacation spots you have been to and how you want to capture the feeling and experiences of _____________________.  This indicates, light, scale, volumes, and proximity to the outdoors.
  2. Safety first: Super Shiny polished floors are not safe.- We won’t agree to put them in your house. PERIOD. Slip and Fall is a Legal issue. Also, there are other things you see in magazines that “I’m just not doing it.”- and it is for good reason.
  1. Construction and new home builds are famous for issues and surprises.  If you don’t handle them well or know to expect them it is pretty hard to work with you. Being on top of the schedule and making decisions is so important because last-minute decisions are NEVER THE BETTER DECISION.
            1. Solution: Create and agree upon a schedule and do your homework. 
            2. Solution: Have Faith
            3. Solution: Maybe you need a therapist. Wine is not a real solution.
  1. You don’t have to budget your time thinking about your house but your designer does.-  In a Perfect world  things can happen fast and you can be completely hands-off but the more hands-on that you become the LARGER YOUR DESIGN FEE.
            1. Solution:  Be honest, plan out when the appointments will be and either be open to new suggestions or tell them you want to go see everything and you will pay them handsomely to babysit you.
            2. Solution: Try to make steady progress and create a decision rhythm where you know what goes with the next thing you have to choose.
            3. Solution: If you actually would rather have your neighbor’s opinion or mother in laws opinion maybe you should not waste the designer’s time.   All the opinions will do is question the designer and cause doubt in your mind. Think of your neighbor’s opinion or the MIL’s opinion as a $1500.. waste of time and back and forth and doubt mix you just gave yourself.  Multiply at $1500  for Each Occurrence.. save yourself the headache and the money.
  1. Your favorite items in your closet are more indicative of your future happy home than your favorite HGTV show. ****FACT AND TRUTH, You are welcome.
  2. Nothing comes without a drawback. ,_ <Play on Repeat>  You should know that about as much “stuff” as possible. Houses are not perfect.  Neither is having pets, husbands, or children technically perfect… As a result, at all times you have to compromise on things.  You do it every day to make it ALL work.  The fact you are defiant about compromise means you don’t see that you do it often and you are fine. OR your marriage and partner do not let you get your way and you are perpetually irritated about it. Whatever your issue is there- you just explained you can’t be made happy at all.  
            1. Solution: We want people who know that they are a good compromiser and a person who can find goodness and happiness in all situations.
            2. Solution: If you feel compromise is not a solution for you there may need to be an outside solution to your problem.
            3. Solution: we literally wait to see if there could be a tantrum… like a real one.  It’s just a house and by  your custom house #3 this “issue” would not be your biggest concern.

8.       A bigger house does not fix your marriage/ family or financial issues.  A house is more expensive/ problematic and more stressful the bigger it gets.  Those 15’ ceilings have smoke detectors on them… with batteries that beep when they get to be around 1 year old- every year… and you have 10 of them.  Consider housekeeping bills that are double the price/ and a handyman that is out regularly to change out light bulbs, batteries, and air filters. (cause is your spouse going to be doing those things?- I’ll answer that for you. <NO>


9.  Lighting inside and out and the GLARE issue that happens with age is totally a game-changing problem for people.  Some of your ideas seemed like a good one at one time but you will need someone who can add comfort to your space through excellent lighting and light control solutions.     Solution: Budget for Drapes and window coverings, this isn’t a nudist colony people.


10.  SPOUSE Is not on Board.  If you want to SAVE money and time on your house have both partners available to make decisions.  If both people show up there is almost no chance of a reselect.  If the spouse is not involved there is an 80% reselect possibility. The spouse becomes the excuse… and the main contact person did not have ALL of the authority to make the decision.

letters honestly

being clear is best

If it’s your first house and you are anxious, upset or stressed the default is to — hand moreover and shorten your time to think about it, have the project move faster.

If you find you are fearful and incapacitated. This might be a sign you don’t have the authority to make the decisions and a designer will help.

However, you might have emotional baggage attached to the happiness of the whole world revolving around your house. Which you need to check that because it does not create/ make or generate happiness living in the house.  Ultimately working on your house teaches you a life lesson that you have to make a decision to love the place you are in.


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