We’ve all heard the saying, “the customer is always right”.
And that is absolutely the case as well as the definition of good customer service. Any decorator worth their stuff knows that it is absolutely necessary to think outside the box and get creative in order to meet client requests, even when some of those requests can get a little out of hand.
This week, thanks to Architechtural Digest, I’m sharing some of the craziest requests interior designers have received from clients:
Kara Smith// “We once worked with a celebrity client who is passionate about animal rescue, and has a lot of pets. She wanted a whole area in her house designated to her dogs. Essentially, we created a dog bedroom, complete with a dozen dog beds, a chandelier-lit vaulted ceiling, a lounge area, and direct access to an enclosed dog run.”
Raun Thorp// “One of the crazy requests [we’ve received] is from the well-known drummer of a legendary English-American band who decided he liked the bathroom design [we] did so much that he wanted a pull-down desk in his master bathroom toilet compartment. When [we] gently suggested that it wasn’t medically advisable to spend that much time, ahem, in ‘his office,’ we were able to compromise on a very extensive built-in magazine and paper rack that also could accommodate work supplies.”
Eric Hughes// “A client I love asked me to decorate her little girl’s bedroom. I asked what color she was thinking and she said, ‘Pink, but the perfect shade of pink for the beach. Not too sweet, not too blue, not too grey, not a French pink, not a grand pink, not a conch shell pink, just a soft, pretty, beach pink, perfect for a little girl.’ I looked and I looked and I looked. And I couldn’t find it. Nothing was quite right. Then one day, I confessed to the client I was on the verge of a total breakdown over this damn shade of pink. And she said, ‘Oh darling, it’s so easy: It’s baby aspirin pink!’ And so it was, and I’m here to tell you it was the perfect shade of pink!”
Mary McDonald// “We were instructed to drain a pool and reconfigure the clients’ initials [that were on the pool floor]. They had been installed previous to a divorce.”
Taylor Spellman// “One particular A-lister was obsessed with getting an awning put over his outdoor terrace on the 24th floor of the high-rise luxury building he lived in. Every good New Yorker knows that outdoor space is the most coveted real estate feature, and this guy actually wanted to cover it so that paparazzi would not obtain a helicopter to come watch him grill a hamburger. I really wish I was kidding; but alas, this is a true story. My other favorite is about a playboy from a well-regarded New York family. He had me install soundproof floors so that his neighbors would not notice all the women in high heels that paraded through his home at all hours of the day and night. Mostly the night, I think.
Waldo Fernandez// “We had a client ask us to design a small house for their cat. It was definitely the oddest request we have received recently. We have had to sit down with the client to have meetings about the cat house and how to make it comfortable.”
Noa Santos// “The craziest request I’ve received as a designer was to design a whole room in just one color: floor to ceiling. That color was lime green. After some convincing, we luckily went in a different direction!”
Madeline Stuart// “I had a famous TV-star client who was keen on furniture that could do double duty. A dining room cabinet had to open to become a workstation, a living room chest had to morph into a TV lift, etc. In this case, he wanted the sofa in the game room to face the pool table (which was also a ping-pong table!) but also be able to face the other direction when the family played charades. We found the same mechanism used to lift cars in a repair garage. We cut out the floor and installed a commercial grade unit that was able to hike the sofa into the air seven feet and spin it, before coming down in place and facing the opposite side of the room.”
Yorgos A. Scarpidis// “One recent request is particularly intriguing. Our clients requested a concealed room accessible through the custom wine cellar we are designing as part of their new residence. What makes this a fascinating request is the purpose of this room: a private vault to house and showcase their antiquities collection. What makes the room extraordinary are the temperature, humidity, and pressure specifications required, in addition to the stringent security measures put in place for their artwork. Their request inspired our appreciation for James Bond, the Vatican Library, and our thirst for speakeasy establishments. We’d tell you how to access the room, but then we’d have to…”