Last week I started a new blog series, Design Diaries, to give all of you aspiring designers insight into the daily life of an interior designer. In the beginning of April, I officially relocated from NYC to DC. I packed up a rental SUV with half of my clothes, half of my office, and a bunch of show house art and furniture, ready to settle into my parent's house (where I'm housesitting) and the DC Design House (where I designed a room). Things didn't exactly go as smoothly as I had planned.
Lesson One, Day One: I don't know everything I thought I did about Plumbing.
When you start a load of laundry, and within minutes your laundry room floor starts to look like the image below, you are in trouble.
Yikes. I grabbed a mop, left my clothes soggy somewhere in the middle of spin cycle, and begged the plumber to come as soon as possible. 8am the next morning? Fine, so what if I have movers showing up at the same time.
The plumbers scolded me for various objects found in the drain, snaked it, and recommend further investigation. A few days later they showed up with something that looked like the machine above, which took a picture like the one above, and I prayed the culprit wasn't a dead raccoon or bunny rabbit (it looked awfully furry and morbid on camera). Luckily, or not, it was a tree root from a former oak that used to line the driveway. The oak has been long gone, but the vicious roots still existed. We went for the larger snake, and now I'm crossing fingers and toes that the roots are gone for good.
Lesson Two, Day Two: Regan 0, Plumbing 2.
The next week, after a shower, I noticed a suspicious cloud like mark on the living room ceiling. Oh no, I thought, that's not good. I sat, watching the cloud grow larger until eventually water droplets started forming. Something told me the plumber and I were about to be best buddies.
Or not. I mean, look at the ceiling! What I thought was a grout leak, was in fact a faucet leak. Naturally a good chunk of the ceiling had to go, as did a large portion of the shower wall. Thankfully now it's all patched up, but I'm starting to miss my little apartment in NYC with my super on speed dial.
Lets not forget why I'm here in DC - the DC Design House! What fun! I mentioned above that my movers were supposed to show up the same day as plumber #1. Well, 9am came and went, as did 10am and 11am. Where were these guys? I finally got a hold of someone, who told me their truck broke down, and they were stuck in traffic. OK, I thought, I'll believe you. Once. 12pm, 1pm, still no movers. Did I mention that my living room was full of ALL of the furniture, art, and accessories for the show house? Yep, that would be the same living room that was soon to spring a leak the following day. By 3pm I realized the movers were never going to show. Frantic, I called around to find a moving company that could help me in a pinch.
Metropolitan Movers to the Rescue!! I cannot praise these guys enough. If you are moving in the DC area, CALL THEM. That's their shiny clean truck in the picture above, as they unloaded at the DC Design House.
I bet you thought everything in my room at the DC Design House just magically came together, didn't you? Try again. For a week straight, I was up at 6am and working until 11pm. Installations are often that way - they initially look like a hurricane came through the house, and then slowly things start to come together.
Once all of the major pieces were in place, I concentrated on filling in the gaps with additional accessories. In any large space, I've often found that the room sucks up accessories. You can never have enough on hand, just in case. I made daily trips out to Rockville Pike, which looked like the image below, no matter what time of day.
Traffic is a killer! I haven't driven regularly in twelve years. It has been hard enough to adjust to sitting behind the wheel of a car, much less trying to navigate all of the cars going every which direction. I have made countless U-turns, driven the wrong way down one way streets, and within a month I racked up an embarrassing total of parking tickets and moving violations. I can't bring myself to publish the dollar amount.
I like to plan ahead, and think of any problems that might arise during an installation. The installation week was going well, until I walked in one morning to realize a slight mistake on the Roman Shades. The one above just didn't seem right. It was supposed to look like the other two:
Huh, peculiar. Was it the sunlight altering the appearance? Was there a film on the windows? The I figured it out. The shades were ordered with privacy lining (which lets in light), and one was accidentally made with blackout lining (which blocks all of the light). These things happen, we are all human. But with the DC Design House opening in three days, I had a problem on my hands. Luckily, The Shade Store has some of the best customer service in the industry. I kid you not, two days later I had a brand new shade sitting on my doorstep. Now that's impressive.
By week four, the house plumbing and the DC Design House installation seemed to be in order. I, on the other hand, had to host a one party intervention when I realized I had worn yoga pants everyday for a nearly a week without having been to the gym once. It was a slippery slope to finding myself grocery shopping in pajamas. Turns out design isn't always as glamorous as it's pumped up to be.