Archive for July, 2009
When we present a job to clients, we present the full thing – with renderings, floorplans and all the fabrics, carpet samples, etc to show the design concept in full. With it we give the client estimate sheets with the presentation so they know what to expect cost-wise – there are very few surprises when the client walks into the installed project.
I’ve often been asked for advice on how to best do a presentation and thought I’d share these with you. This shows you how close the final installation was to what we presented.
To buy a cookbook with hundreds of recipes becomes much more daunting, but the Wednesday NY Times food section for me is the perfect balance. It always has one or two recipes that give me an impetus to cook. Maybe it’s because there are only two or three recipes – not too much to think about? I find paging through a cookbook to be like shopping at Bloomingdales – there’s simply too much choice!
About three weeks ago the Times had this great recipe for pork loin stuffed with figs and another one with baby artichokes, tomatoes and olives, which I made over the weekend. Maybe I’m writing about this because it’s near lunchtime and I’m hungry, but I think the NY Times is a great place to get ideas for the weekend and I always try at least one when I’m in Montauk, experimenting on my guests.
Some never come back, but some ask for seconds.
Ralph Pucci is a dear friend and a long-standing client of this firm and he has just launched a beautiful book that features some of the most spectacular shows he’s hosted at his gallery over the past fifteen years.
Titled SHOW, the book melds art, furniture (you’ll spot some of my pieces in there), design and mannequins – which Ralph is probably most famous for – in the most unpredictable and imaginative ways.
You won’t be disappointed in either.
I don’t know if you agree with me on this one, but according to me there are basically three or four colorations I like to work with when it comes to wood floor finishes.
One is a sort-of drift wood color which makes the rooms feel earthy. The other is bleached floors, which I’ve been doing for so many years but still like the way they give a space a sense of lightness and brightness (especially when paired with white walls, which creates the perfect envelope). The third floor color I like is a Mahogany color which I use with part ebony (mixture mahogany & ebony) to give, again, a rich, warm sense to the space. But I always err on the darker side – more mahogany.
The last is a black stained floor, which I usually have stained on open grain, with two heavy coats of ebony to give a very contrasting sense in a room and it makes spaces look very graphic.
What’s your favorite type of floor?
My creative inspiration has always come from travel – seeing and experiencing new things in far-off countries awaken my creative thinking process and awakes my imagination. But when I’m not traveling, I draw inspiration from looking at artwork and paintings – whether impressionist or some contemporary artists. A few weeks ago, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a new retrospective on Francis Bacon opened. He’s one of the people whose color range and juxtaposition of tones have always been an inspiration to me. I guess it’s a contrast between harsh images and delicate coloration that has always appealed to me. How he plays one color against the other has always moved me and gotten me thinking how I could interpret that in my own work. Which artist inspires you and why? Or do you find your color inspiration in other places?
In trying to share with other designers out there how I work, I find that one of the most common questions asked of me is how I bill. First, we are pro-forma, which means that clients have to pay in full prior to receiving merchandise. Once a job is presented and approved, items are invoiced in full and for some items we receive a 50% deposit. The 50% deposit is for long-lead items (upholstery, custom furniture and pieces being shipped internationally), invoiced in full are fabrics or one-of-a-kind pieces like antiques or immediate delivery items like light fixtures. Both of these are billed with our commission.
As items become ready to be shipped, we bill the balance and at the same time, bring together all the different shipping charges which are added on to the invoice. The items are not shipped until it’s paid for in full and that rule is never broken in the office. Every time I have, I’ve ended up regretting it. I’ve learned the hard way that people are much happier to pay and get, than to pay once they’ve already received the items.
Concerning commissions and fees, I find that everybody works in different ways. We charge 35% of the net cost and if we are consulting on architectural detailing and specifications and the client already has an architect, we charge a flat fee, which depends on the bulk of the work. I find that however people bill (hourly, flat fee or a combination) it usually comes out to approximately the same thing. I feel very strongly about the fact that one should collect the cost of the merchandise and your fees before installing because you can be stuck with people not wanting to pay the balance and then you’re held responsible to your suppliers. This works very well for me as when we present a job, we present it in full, so all the figures have been calculated prior to presentation, which allows the billing to move very quickly.
How do you work? Have you worked this way and had problems? Let me know.
Have any of you seen the new Sacha Baron Cohen movie? I won’t say anything, but if you have, please let me know what you think before I speak my piece about it!
I’ve just been included in the ‘Twenty Icons of Design’ (not just interior design, but design!) by Traditional Home.
I was nominated by colleagues in the design industry, and in quite respectable company. Wow. Just to be next to Albert Hadley and on the same page as Robert Stern, John Saladino and Oscar de la Renta makes me giddy with excitement!
Besides being featured, the rest of the issue is really wonderful with a great sense of classic style and timeless design. You should get it.
I also hope to see you at the official celebration at the Las Vegas Market in September!
Last week we lost a great creative person. Robert Isabell was known for his creative parties and special events. He opened the industry’s eyes to the ‘million-dollar-wedding’ and with an enormous amount of inventiveness and ambition, he made an incredible mark on the special event industry. He did Christmas trees at the white house for the Clintons, launched Studio 54, Kennedy weddings and, for me, the most memorable event must have been Saul Steinberg’s 50th birthday celebration. I’ll never forget seeing the venue where he recreated the paintings of his collection in Tableau vivant style – all the tables were set with silver plates in a renaissance style and it was all over the social pages back in the late eighties. It was breathtaking.
If any of you are designers and have had to deal with those pesky clients we described in a recent post, Frustrations, I have found the perfect clip about that situation, thanks to Tracey Davids who alerted me:
Now my question is, do I send this on to those clients or do I just continue to grin and bear it?
My rebellious and sarcastic side says ‘Screw it and hit send!’ What do you think?