September 19, 2011

A day in the life of a decorator

I wish it was like HGTV and it could all be  done in one day.

The reality is it takes months to put together a room, let alone a few rooms.  It starts with the planning:   floor planning, furniture selections, colour selections, fabric selections, accessories and lighting, area rugs……this alone could take months.


Putting It Altogether

Then the ordering.  For a single room, say a family room, you may need to contact 15 suppliers, workrooms, tradespeople etc… You do the math.

  • 6 fabrics (sofas, 2 chairs, pillows, drapery)
  • drapery workroom
  • drapery hardware
  • window blinds
  • upholstery manufacturer
  • 2 casegoods suppliers (cocktail table, 3 end tables, console, tv credenza)
  • area rug supplier
  • delivery company
  • drapery/blind installer

Now multiply that by 4 rooms.  That is a lot of co-ordinating, emailing and phone calling.  (Yes, I’m not sure if my love of wine has evolved cause of the teenagers or the job…..hmmm, maybe a little of both).


That is not including the calls in between from suppliers that tell you fabrics are on back order, trades that can’t do the work when you’d like, and manufacturers that tell you the furniture you’re waiting for is on a slow ship on the ocean!   And don’t bother ordering anything late July early August from overseas cause that’s just not going to happen.  Summer holidays are taken very seriously in Europe and in the far east and well, you’ll just have to wait for September before they even look into it!

freight ship

“It’s a long way to Canada…”

So, day 1 of move in arrives.  Some of the furniture arrives:  family room casegoods, hall pieces, kitchen dining furniture, bedroom furniture.  A piece for the hall came in sooner than you expected.  (I guess that was an express ship).  And the sofas, well, they’re not ready.  (This took about 3 hours of set up)


Some of the family room furniture arrives….

Day 2.  The electrician puts up the fixtures that have come in.  A few crystals missing and one broken-nothing surprising.  A call to the supplier and they’ll get replaced (with time).  Hmmm….the little chandelier in the powder room looks like it will interfere with the door opening and closing.  Wow, 1/2″ to spare …pray for no earthquakes….we can’t afford any movement here.  (These fixtures took about 5 hours to hang with me unwrapping and handing the electrician all the crystals).


“How many more crystals are we hanging?”


Day 3.  Blinds go up and kitchen and family room drapery are hung.  Dining room and bedroom drapery fabric is still on back order.  (Did I mention it is so nice to have wonderful, understanding  clients?)  (This installation took about 4 hours)

Drapery installer working hard

One window at a time…


Day 4.  Ahh…the sofas and chairs arrive.  Now the clients have somewhere to sit other than a kitchen chair or bed!  We spend a little time deciding how we like the furniture arranged best.  We had two possible options using the same number of pieces…so time to play a little.  Finally, got it right.  Then rearranged the accent pillows to put the colour where it was needed.  We always make a couple of ‘drool’ cushions (ones the family can actually lie down on, fall asleep and well, you know, drool) and a set of ‘pretty’ ones which are not for sweaty, tired heads.  (Yes, they are to be used, just with more care)  Wait till you see them!


Day 5.  TV console arrives (now client can set up his 60″ TV) and a couple more chandeliers arrive.  The crate that  is holding the hall chandelier looks like its a cage that would normally hold  a couple of guerillas.  Good thing there was room in the garage to store it until we can get the scaffolding arranged to hang it.  I’ve had a sofa not fit through an entry before but never a chandelier crate.  21 years later and there are always ‘firsts’ in this business.  You gotta love it!

So, we’re still waiting for all the bedroom bedding and drapery, the dining room drapery and dining room furniture.  We haven’t started on the area rugs, accessories and art.


Four rooms, not quite finished and three months later.  No worries, we’ll get it done  before the holidays.  So much for a day in the life of a decorator…..but this is true reality.  Four rooms that need to be fully furnished and decorated takes time.  And sometimes the big ‘reveal’ can’t be done all in one day.  It logistically just can’t work.

This client was living in a rental for a year until this new home was built.  We wanted to make her and her family as comfortable as possible as quickly as we could.  Within a week, the home was totally liveable.  Nowhere near fully decorated-just liveable. Major pieces of furniture in place, windows covered (to an extent), most boxes unpacked… It is so nice having clients that understand the process takes time and has its glitches along the way.  But it’s all worth it.  Especially if you believe, like Lumar, that your home is where true relaxation begins and  the ultimate comforts belong.

We’ll be sure to post some of the ‘afters’ of this lovely couples’ home in Aurora, Ontario.

If you would like some help in making your home your haven [email protected].




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