He’s quitting. One of Boston’s top interior designers, a regular at FCG, dropped that bombshell last week while he was browsing around the store in Natick. Collectively, our staff gasped.
Quit? That seems impossible. One of the regions’ most influential designers, he’s done showhouses from coast to coast. His work has been featured in the top design magazines. And over the last decade or so, he has created extraordinary interiors for some of the most beautiful properties in the world.
Out of respect for his privacy, I won’t disclose his name. And that’s in part because his reasons for quitting the business are so raw and honest. “I can’t do it anymore”, he confessed.
He still loves the work: the designing, the planning, the installation and the dramatic unveiling for the customer. All of it was a thrill. But in recent years things changed. Actually, he admitted, it was the clients.
“I used to meet with a client initially to discuss the project,” he said. “They would give me a deposit and I would work uninterrupted, start to finish. At the end, the client would return to a fully completed vision and be dazzled.”
Now, he said, projects take twice as long. His clients want to weigh in on every decision. They want to approve the paint colors, the fabrics and every piece of hardware. His gift – bringing together disparate components in artistic harmony – is being nitpicked to a dreary end.
Even more disheartening, clients are increasingly demanding of personal services, asking him to be a marriage counselor, a stock boy, a gardener, a pool cleaner, a babysitter, and a dog walker. “While you’re at the house…” is how those requests begin.
Among his recent clients were a lonely widow, a newly married couple each of whom was reeling from a nasty divorce, and a demanding housewife distraught about a cheating husband. Their projects were exciting. But their troubles got in the way of his work.
His quitting is a lesson for all of us. When you hire a qualified designer, give him or her the freedom to do their job. Respect their professional boundaries. Your reward will be a work of art you get to make your home.