30 Day Challenge

- Sunday, May 01, 2016

My cell phone rang last month, it was my contractor friend, Marc, with whom I had been consulting on a spec house in Sea Pines Plantation. “Hey, we got your furnishings proposal and it looks good, so let’s go ahead with it.”

“Great,” I said. Of course, I was thrilled, having worked on the project from the planning stage it would be fun to see it totally completed with furnishings and accessories. I already had an idea about the furniture layout. And, since I had selected the woods, cabinetry, granites, tiles, plumbing, and paint finishes, I knew the direction I wanted to take the fabrics, artwork, rugs and finishing touches to complete the overall theme of the home.

“There is just one catch,” Marc added. “We really need it in 30 days.”

This was more than a curveball.  While I had a goal in mind and a look I wanted to achieve, the need to complete the project in a month was definitely something unexpected. 

“Could I have a little more time, this is a big house. . . almost 5,000 square feet,” I said hopefully.  “Gregory, tell me something I don’t know, remember, I built it,” he joked. “It is almost spring, we have the Easter holiday and the Heritage Golf Tournament coming up, and the island will be full of perspective buyers. The real estate agent and investor really want it finished so it shows well. We want it to sparkle, so go work your magic, and please be quick about it.”  Okay, I thought, here is another interesting challenge.  Isn’t this why clients hire interior designers?  I have the vision and ideas, the ability to plan and implement, and a marvelous support team to help me. “No problem Marc, I can make this happen.”

And, I was lucky. I knew the charming Lowcountry style house in world-renowned Sea Pines Plantation would be fun to bring to life. The design has a wonderful flow and openness, a perfect setting for family gatherings and entertaining friends. My interior design needed to complement the quality of the house and also promote a comfortable vibe - a relaxing getaway. Much of my attention was focused on the generous main living, dining and kitchen space. The stunning kitchen has 2 islands and opens to a media area that features a lovely fireplace adjacent to more formal conversation and dining areas delineated with handsome moldings and columns.

So, I got busy and made a budgeted outline of items I wanted to provide and prioritized them by the lead-time needed to obtain them. I utilized the design library at the office and selected in-stock fabrics for any custom items that had to be fabricated, including the greatroom drapery panels and guest bedroom window seats. Those components were ordered right away to allow sufficient time for them to be made. Then I chose some companies I work with that have quick-ship merchandise available for immediate delivery. Some of the upholstery and casegood pieces were ordered from catalogs we keep in the design studio; others were bought from local vendors on the island.

To complete the project, I made a trip up to the Atlanta Merchandise Mart where the specialized showrooms enabled me to view and concentrate on particular products such as bedding, art, and accessories. There I placed orders for merchandise and crossed them off my list. By the time I returned to the office on Hilton Head I had already received confirmations of shipment on many of the orders.

It has been a few weeks now since my phone call from Marc asking me to work my magic. After several deliveries by my installers and many hours hanging art, dressing beds, and positioning accessories, I am happy to report that the house is now finished and looking great. A recent trip to deliver a few items coincided with a real estate agent just finishing a showing with perspective clients. “It looks wonderful,” he said. “I previewed it before, but now the house looks classy and complete. It shows so much better than it did unfurnished.” 

I thought about what he said as I looked around the greatroom, thinking how empty it looked just a few weeks ago. “Just a little magic,” I replied.

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