Thursday, December 3, 2009

$5,175 makeover.




HERE.

I love it. Simple and happy. You? Discuss.


Before.



After.

60 comments:

MoreSkinnyDays said...

This is a goldilocks makeover--not too theme-y, not too decorate-y, juuuust right. It's light and doesn't rely on weird paint colors, it incorporates art that would actually hang in a home, and it has nice old pieces and new furniture that looks comfortable. When can I move in?

Einat said...

What a difference the white desk and new floor lamps make! I think they are the key to this makeover. Love it!

kelly@TearingUpHouses said...

i like it very much, especially the mixture of the different scales of furniture in the first photo.

although, in my opinion, the before wasn't awful -- at least there was something cozy about the space.

kelly

Anonymous said...

Did anyone read the accompanying article? My co-worker forwarded it to me this morning and said "the decorator sounds like a friggin' nightmare."

I couldn't tell if she was overbearing or, in the words of MoreSkinnyDays, juuuuust right.

DoxaHome.com said...

I think it is a really well done makeover, very tasteful. Funny how the budget went from $2000 to $5175 (pretax) which is really over $5500, almost three times the original budget. However, the designer was fiscally responsible in directing them to the Avery Boardman sofa as opposed to the IKEA. And then of course, she waived her $10,000 fee, I think that is why she may have been as insistent as she was...she was really doing them a favor and intended to use the experience for marketing and wanted it to reflect her firm's point of view and capabilities. On a budget that small, I imagine there is not a lot of room for compromise.

Best,
Jaime

Anonymous said...

yes...and what a concept -opening up your curtains and letting in some sunlight can really brighten up a room!

bene said...

While the place is quite lovely and I love the transformation into a more lively space, I have to question the sanity of spending 750 on throw pillows when she was already over the clients 4k budget. And the antlers with out consulting the clients is just a bit tacky - at least they had the sense to realize it wan't them and gave them back.

Anonymous said...

it's alright, but i don't see the money in it.

Anonymous said...

In the comments, the reporter is extremely defensive of critiques of the designer and the couple. (Why, I'm not quite sure--she's a reporter, right?) What's really funny is that she subscribes to (in the reporter's words) the designer's theory that "all purchases are investments." Of course the designer would say that--but come on. "All" decorating/design purchases are definitely NOT "investments." "Investment" is a term that's bandied about way too much in this field as justification for buying what you want and not necessarily what you need.

Anonymous said...

Pssh, I don't consider a throw pillow or antlers an investment. They probably could have achieved the same look on the original budget.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

I have problems with an interior designer 'pushing' anything on a client. A designer's job, in my opinion, is to bring about the client's tastes and make them feel at home in their space -NOT the designers. So both the antler's and 'rejecting' the friend's artwork (but later liking it?) seem very unprofessional to me.

I also have problems with the fact that throw pillows were a splurge when the clients didn't seem to care -and frankly you can go to tjmaxx and get similar throw pillows for $50 total.

The room looks great, but definitely the priorities didn't seem to be in order other than investing in a quality couch.

Melanie said...

My question: What happened to the books? They aren't out anymore, but I'm guessing they weren't discarded? Book storage is always a problem for me. I love my books but they end up making my spaces look...cluttered. :)

The Blasphemous Fiendess said...

I have to admit the rooms looks good, yet there are many things in it that are not my personal taste. I agree that a designer should work with the client to create a good looking version of the clients preferences. I would never tolerate a designer changing all of my wood furniture for white laquer-I hate white furniture. I also hate the lamps in that photo-although they are very "in" right now. I don't think most things are an investment unless you love it. Then you might keep it even thought the trends have changed. Like a good couch to reupholster.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Great improvement from before—airier, more stylish, with lots more personality. And prettier too. And frankly you want a decorator to push your buttons. They're supposed to push you beyond your comfort zone. And I was gratified to read the decorator was guilty of fighting back too, over that painting, which she eventually realized truly was right for the space. Sounds like it was an eye-opening experience for all participants. Decorating should be fun but nobody said it had to be easy.

amymezzell said...

I know I have cheaper lifestyles than most decorator-y people, but I feel like the room wasn't THAT much different afterwards - especially not to constitute over $5000. Am I the only one? I probably am.

DesignAddict said...

I likey! I could steal that loveseat right from under them. I also really like the room arrangement...the before, while ok, really closed off the room and made it seem smaller than it actually was by artificially shrinking the seating area.

Snowiye said...

I'm with amymezzell, I had to really LOOK to see what the differences were in the After shot. Umm, exactly how complex was this project... is there any more to the rest of the work? $10,000 of services for a makeover for one room that doesn't look all that much different from the original seems too expensive!

Not to mention, spending $700 for 5 throw pillows and $30 per yard for cotton fabric? Hardly cost conscious choices if you ask me!

katiedid said...

I think it is a great change! But the pillows could have been less, it's true. (The sale area at Z Gallerie usually has great pillows). I noticed fabric was purchased at Zarin fabrics (Remember Jill?) I watch way too much TV.

2 By Design said...

I love any room that includes a West Elm Parsons Desk. Lacquer love I tell you, lacquer love.

Kristin McRea said...

The room looks better, but you don't need a decorator to buy a new couch. Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

"And frankly you want a decorator to push your buttons. They're supposed to push you beyond your comfort zone."

First, let's stop with the "push"-y Oprah-isms, and second, I don't want a decorator telling me I should live with a pair of antlers AFTER I've already told her I don't want them, as happened here. That's not what decorators are paid to do. That's not "pushing buttons," that's being insensitive and putting her taste before the clients'.

I also read all the readers comments on the online version. What's up with the reporter butting in to defend the couple and the decorator at every possible turn? She was embarrassing herself. I wonder if her editor knows how intrusive she is?

reclamationdesign@yahoo.com said...

This is the kind makeover everybody (I) needs. Your place is not horrible to begin with, but just a few well placed accessories, move the furniture around, change some fabrics and it can be 1000 times better. And this one is 1000 times better. But, come on, most of us civilians just don't know. I mean should the area rug complement or contrast, and where is the line between accessorizing and clutter. I don't know. Good job. And kudos to them for vetoing the antlers.

boops said...

i like the end product...but do we ever get to see the before? sigh....i need a professional (decorator)

boops said...

oops.. i forgot... i don't know how i feel about slipcovers for non-upholstered furniture

Amy said...

This is a study in furniture layout! I agree the before wasn't awful, but the room has breathing room in the after photo.

Now I'm off to read the article. All your comments have piqued my interest!

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Love this makeover...it looks so much fresher and more open.

Warm blessings,
Spencer

Erin said...

STRIPES!!!

Oh man. I really really love that inset striped wall framing one lone piece of art.

(Confession: Did not read the article or any of the rest of your comments...yet. But I will.)

Amanda Calhoun said...

"The Wootens established a budget of about $2,000, and set to work on their first assignment: packing up the wedding gifts and storing them in the laundry room."

I want a better description of what these wedding gifts were. I'm all about circulating my stuff but honestly. Unless it was all decor crap and was in every corner then what the heck. I would be very displeased with a decorator that told me my stuff was inadequate then showed up with some shitty South Dakota antler relic and put it over my tv.

Anonymous said...

Very Ordinary.

No Personality (of Owners that is).
Frankly, looks like many homes in second tier decor mags. Blah.

Weliza said...

I'm so glad a couple of folks pointed out how defensive the reporter seemed in all (all!) her comments. Jeez -- back off.

I'm not going to comment on the cost, b/c that terrain's been covered. Instead I'll simply say that I loved the new layout of the apartment and thought that a few of the pieces the designer picked up (lucite lamps, desk) made a tremendous difference in the overall look-and-feel of the place. I am also in LOVE with those dining chairs. Love them. And I, for one, would NOT paint them. I thought the finish looked perfect the way it was.

Anonymous said...

So where are the books? What is with the big stupid grid on the wall? I'd rather have board-and-brick undergraduate bookshelves with the books than the grid. Too much clutter is hoarding. Too little is sterile. What is with that rope chair sitting in the middle of the room away from the sofa and without table or lighting? Just for the picture, I suppose. It looks nice overall. It is a change certainly. But I am not excited by it...and yes it does look like every other picture in a second tier decorating magazine.

Lolo said...

I like it, a lot. The fact that it is an improvement and reworking of what was originally a nice, comfortable room into something "more" is what makes it for me.

Anonymous said...

"I was gratified to read the decorator was guilty of fighting back too, over that painting"

First, the painting was by the couple's friend. Second, the decorator wanted to replace it with art that the couple did not like. Nothing "gratifying" about this. With some things, a decorator should butt out.

Anonymous said...

Love it!!! Maybe not all the specific details are my taste, but the overall effect is successful. Some people don't know all the tricks, so they need decorators to help out. This example illustrates much of what has been discussed in recent posts, including the painted vs. white ceiling dilemma...

My only questions as well: where did the books go? I can't do without my books, need them right next to me - but I'd like them to be part of the airy, cheery vibe too.

Anonymous said...

$10,000 in fees to do THAT? What a fucking joke.

Anonymous said...

The comments in the New York Times about the article are rather interesting. Most were not very flattering of the re-do or the couple. The biggest complaint was the $750 spent for the pillows - considering they were on a "budget". It is pretty apparent that someone recently inherited some money that allowed them to up the modest original budget of $2,000 to over $4,000. The apartment re-decorating is not that note-worthy to be featured in the NYT.

Talia said...

I actually did not like the makeover--the pieces picked although strong on their own did not add up to a cohesive look that should have been the goal-I think that is a reflection of the conflict between designer and client--in looking at some of the designer's other work--it was much more successful and interesting--I think this was a matter of it not being a good match of client and designer--a designer shouldn't push your buttons--stretch you a little maybe -- add a little fantasy but ultimately create a room that you can't wait to get home to and enjoy every moment in

lucitebox said...

Take some of the pillow money and get a book shelf.

Then, take some more of the pillow money and find a credenza/table thing for the television. That slip cover is just dumb.

Really--I LIKE this room but it's not much of a change. It's just simple little tweaks and a few key pieces added that someone (say, Jamie at I Suwannee) could do in her sleep and probably HIT the budget. (By the way, I don't know Jamie, but I've seen her work on her blog.)

Again--I do like it. But the makeover left me thinking--really? $5K? For that? And the real price would have been $15k had she not waived her fee? Plus you have to put up with that woman forcing their taste on you? No thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Oh jeez, that TV-table slip cover... It's like a coffin cover you'd get on etsy.

Anonymous said...

I like the final product but not the price. From looking at everything, I think a good end result could have been had by rearranging what they had and adding a few items, like the white desk. Then leaving them with a list of a few items they could have bought over the next few years. But then I have learned that it is not what you have but how you arrange it. I think they had good bones and were ripped off.

Anonymous said...

I loathe the slip-covered TV cabinet but I think overall this makeover was successful. Upping the budget for a quality couch was a good idea, the $700 they spent on throw pillows: not so much.
I recently paid off my credit cards and have been splurging on stuff for my apartment. I've spent nearly $3000 so far and really my place doesn't look all that different (most of the key pieces, like my couches and dining room table, didn't change). Stuff just adds up!

Kerry said...

Wow, I love it!! It does have a much more cohesive look, that's for sure. And something everyone needs to remember is that the sofa was 2,000. (or approx.). It was their choice to go with it and also, that's not a huge amount of money for a sofa.

If you look at the breakdown, the only thing that seemed out of line, was the cost of pillows.

As to the painting, I think the designer was wrong to not want to incorporate it into the design, period. And as to the antlers- if the clients didn't like them she should have found something else to work in that spot. (I liked them, though)

I imagine that sometimes designers need to try to get their clients out of their boxes, so to speak. If us non-professionals knew how to do it, we wouldn't need to hire anybody. That said, I'd like to think that my opinion counts for something.

If either the client or designer are reading this I HAVE TO KNOW WHERE I CAN GET THE BUTTERFLY PAINTING! Though I'm sure it's antique and probably some sort of textile.

Nick said...

I think it's fabulous, a lesson in furniture arrangement as Amy said. Just wish their (existing) sisal area rug filled more of the room.

But I also wish folks wouldn't knock "expensive" throw pillows -- they're called accessories for a reason and to continue the tired women's clothing metaphor, there's nothing chicer than Levis and a white tee shirt paired with amazing jewelry and shoes. And I think we all can spot a pair of Steve Maddens as quickly as West Elm leopard pillows ...

Shauna said...

Love it!!!!

Huge improvement. Makes classic young and zippy versus the frumpiness of early on.

LOOOOOVE the stripes. Especially against the dining table/ chairs. And she nailed the SCALE of things, which is where the layman usually effs if up. Worth 5k.

Especially if they're the kind of couple who own a Hunt Slonem painting -- there is $$$ in that kitty.

raine turner said...

The 'new' chair looks so 'uncomfy'----this is why 'decorators get a bad name-- looks okay--- but not so nice to the owners-- and not so comfy

Anonymous said...

The space just does not have the look or feel of a modern young couple in NY. It really is simply too catalogue average. More like a late middle aged makeover in outer OC.

Nonetheless, I hope the couple make the space their own - hiding the ridiculous stripes with a handsome bookcase, complete with books, would be a start. As would entering the decor blogging world - lots of great ideas there.

Anonymous said...

The Hans Wegner folding chair knockoff is most definitely NOT an "investment." There are always a ton of those on eBay, and they never go for more than $200. It's a Pier One-level purchase.

Anonymous said...

The $$$ pillows were the clients' choice, not the decorator's.

holly goes lightly said...

exquisite in its simplicity. and i need those chairs. now.

Kerry said...

Oops, forgot to leave my name.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Shauna, I'm going to go vomit now... or at least cry. I knew that painting would be unattainable for me. Sad.

That pretty much sums it up - even if the painting was a gift.

I don't believe the reporter was being defensive at all! She was simply explaining how decisions were made... She explained that the pillows were the client's suggestion and choice. It makes sense that she would explain this, considering how negative the response to the cost of them.

theindistincthum said...

Where is the article ? I want to read it -

Anonymous said...

Airier, yes, but just as lackluster as the prior incarnation. Getting rid of that tortured little cluster of pics and the inadequately sized other painting was a good move. Bringing in 3 (3!!) exceedingly similarly styled tables - not so much. Also, not enough use of texture, at least as far as I can tell from the photo. Throw in some velvet, some linen, some silk, dunno. ...Just 'meh'.

Anonymous said...

"I don't believe the reporter was being defensive at all! She was simply explaining how decisions were made."

Of the 73 comments on the online article, the reporter made 16 of them. That's 22 percent.

First, how does a NYT reporter have that much time on her hands?

Second, besides butting in and being less than objective, some of her comments weren't even on point; e.g., she wrote:

"I dated a management consultant once, and he made far less than $300,000 a year. But I hope for his sake that it is true about Mr. Wooten [the client]."

Are comments like that supposed to be considered journalism?

Kerry said...

Well, again, I read nothing "defensive" in the tone of the replies the reporter made - nothing at all. Most of the people making negative comments hadn't, obviously, read the article!! Here's a response from a friend of the clients'.

DesignSavyFriendNew YorkDecember 3rd, 200911:13 amI think that many of the comments miss the mark entirely...having seen this apartment and knowing the couple, AND having done a renovation recently myself, I can say that they were VERY cost-conscious and managed to get good deals on everything. I realize that the cost for the pillows may seem high to some, but it really is design 101 to use a bold fabric to dress up an innocuous sofa or chair...yes, they could have gone to Pier One and found something cheaper, but they wanted to be original; spending money on high-quality fabric is a smart move. Also they may be newlyweds, but both have worked hard at their jobs for many years and spent their own money on this project. The cracks about parents subsidizing the project are cheap shots and sell the many hard-working young couples short in this City who support themselves. And to say that they could have done better buying their furniture at K-Mart or by sewing their own pillows is ridiculous. As far as going over budget is concerned, the designer and the client obviously came to the mutual decision to expand the project by investing in a high-quality sleeper sofa. Having had one in my first apartment, I know this is something you don't want to skimp on...cheap sleepers fall apart quickly and then getting it fixed or replaced is suddenly no bargain. Had they gone with a normal sofa they would have probably stayed close to their original budget. So I say bravo to the designer for her hard work and creativity and to the young couple for stepping outside themselves and their comfort zone for this project!

AND this: "I dated a management consultant once, and he made far less than $300,000 a year. But I hope for his sake that it is true about Mr. Wooten [the client]."

Was in response to this: "As for these young newlyweds and how they can afford all this, keep in mind that a management consultant in NYC makes upward of $300K and that they've both been working for several years. They might even be helping their parents out!"

Up Mama's Wall said...

I love it. But I do wonder where all the less-than-picturesque things went. And the white desk? Lovely but nobody is doing any work there.

Anonymous said...

If a reporter needs to add 16 comments, then her original story was full of holes.

For instance: The detail about the couple themselves choosing to spend $700 on throw pillows? Should have been in the original story itself. Especially since the theme of the story was "decorating on a tight budget," that detail cried out to be explained.

(And she didn't need to give the info. twice, in two different comments.)

The "I dated a management consultant" comment was a perfect example of the reporter's being unprofessionally intrusive. The comment adds nothing. Either the reporter knows the client's salary and reports it, or she doesn't. It's not a journalist's job to speculate idly about a subject, basing her guess solely on her own personal dating experience. That's not journalism.

Anonymous said...

Vast improvement: a lucid, fresh, coherent and age-appropriate design. The Wootens got a deal - and an apartment that they will ENJOY. Bet they've probably had friends for dinner every night since the decorator left.

Early on in the minuet, the decorator got them a $5,800. sofabed for $1,950. At that point, the client discarded the budget - so don't blame the decorator for going overboard.

I'm not in the trade, but people always underestimate what they can and are willing to spend for most everything: clothes, art, food, sex...everything. When inspired people always find a way to pay more than they originally thought possible.

Everything after the sofabed was gravy for the client - the decorator worked with them for EIGHT WEEKS without a fee - even the $700 (not $750) worth of pillows that they added to the budget look great. (Note that they had 4 throw pillows at the start of the project, so they were willing to get rid of old things to refresh their place.)

As for the decorator being pushy, Mrs. Wooten admits to some some resistance at the outset and her personal life was in turmoil - so some give & take, or even pushback is understandable.

What's really interesting is how cavalier many readers are about the value of the decorator's time. Brendan Kwinter-Schwartz is obviously skilled - regardless of whether you endorse her aesthetic - and that has value. And one can't say this wasn't worth $10,000. because she worked for FREE.

Professional consultants often overstate their fee to journalists to discourage grifters from wasting their time. The "My kid could do that" critique always comes off as willfully ignorant, scared and/or envious.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous
Your post was longer than it would have taken to rearrange the furniture in the apartment, as evidently there was precious little else done. Chill, my dear.
Anon.

Anonymous said...

Age appropriate? Are you serious? I am in the same age range and would never live in something that looked like this. I really think it lacks character and, if age is part of the equation, feel that is looks comfortable enough but unadventurous late middle-age (kids have left, let's have a makeover, something very safe). But actually, most the late middle-agers I know have far more interesting places, so what am I saying! Let's face it. The space is simply boring.
The designer worked with the couple for 8 weeks to achieve this? Extraordinary.

Marie