Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

“Decorators should never insist on throwing out everything the client has. Even when they are far from perfect they add personality”  

                                                                                     ~Billy Baldwin

This quote brings to mind, my very first residential client many years ago named Don. He was a bachelor in his 60’s and had spent many years taking care of his aging mother. After she passed away, he decided to move into a one bedroom condominium and wanted a contemporary look that was fresh and reflected his personality. Everything was to be new and with $25,000.00 cash in hand to shop, it was a young designers dream!

Of course I had a vision for the space and he trusted me with any decisions and purchases I made for him. As a young designer, I prided myself on my eye for what worked and what didn’t and was very proud of the end result. On move in day, he had tears in eye as he walked in and saw his new home. it was even better than he had dreamed and I was thrilled that he was so happy – after all, that’s what it’s all about!

Then he said “Amy, I have one more thing for you to do – find a place for this. He handed me a very bad silk version of a red rose. Three red roses, in fact, that may have even been plastic. The look on my face was one of a deer in headlights. Are you kidding me? The entire house was done in jewel tones and the primary color of a red rose was definately not in the color scheme. “These are  moms”, he said “and she treasured them- they need to be someplace special”.

It was a defining moment in my young career, because I realized then, that it’s not about creating a show place, but creating a home. For Don, the roses made his house a home. I could have hidden them in bedroom, or tucked them into a corner, but I put them on a prominent shelf in the living room so that he would see them every day. In the end, it’s not about what is beautiful to the designer, but what is beautiful to you. I am grateful for that lesson early on.

Update: Jayne wants to add that she made all the fabulous floral arrangements (she had a custom floral design business at the time) and that it was after she brought in and placed all her BEAUTIFUL arrangements, that he brought out the plastic or silk red roses. You should have seen the look on her face – haha!

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