All’s Well That Ends Well

December 3, 2010

The last leaves are about to drop and the intensity of these red ones was smack dab on the mark of an elegant drapery design/installation that we recently completed. And what a trial it was…
After so many years in practice …need I count? I have had the genuine pleasure of working with so very many people on a broad variety of projects and none to date have rivaled the Murphy’s Law series of events of this one.
Wonderful people, smart, thoughtful and creative – a follow-up consultation to a successful one of a year or two past, and an interesting combination of new design opportunities presented a creative challenge. The first item was concern for privacy and possible dressing of dining room windows. At the same time, two adjacent windows – long skinny and operable – begged for some attention.
The solution, (in this Asian-themed fairly formal dining room)was a fully lined, embroidered rich crimson red fabric of side panels backed by lightly textured but translucent full- width sheers – hung by rings on an iron rod with hand-forged hammered ball finals.
The fabric was in stock. It was put on reserve while we received approval to proceed with the order. The urgency of securing the fabric was the first order of business. Once done, the schedule to fabricate could be pursued. The order was placed and the fabric arrived within a week. That was the first phase. Without the fabric, nothing else can happen. You can select a fabric – fall in love with it – and then find that it is not in stock or even if you have reserved it, the stock has been sold out from under you. So in this case, securing the fabric was a coup.
The seamstress – our favorite – was pressed with many other orders and her daughter’s wedding. We said we could wait. She thought that she could have the order out in 6 weeks. And just about that time, maybe seven weeks, she finished the draperies. The client was anxious (not due to any date that we had previously been advised about) and indicated that she had waited “so long” for the draperies. We scheduled the installation and arrived on the scene. The installer proceeded to assemble the iron hardware that had been delivered to the site.
He elected to use his own counter-sinks instead of the ones include by the iron fabricator. The installer’s sinks were larger than the hand-painted screws provided by the installer so that when he put his in the wall and proceeded to install the screws – they spun around in the sinks – oops. At that point, the holes by his sinks were larger than the sinks proved by the fabricator – so an alternative was not at hand. He decided that they would hold for now and that he would come back and adjust the pieces later.
Then we carefully unwrapped the finely pressed to perfection draperies – only to find that they were a couple of inches too short – YES! At which point we could only re-wrap them with great care so as not to ruin the perfectly pressed folds and return them to the seamstress.
As it turned out, the communication about the placement of the double rods and their rings and relative length of the draperies was in error – oops! So the rods remained and draperies were returned to the seamstress with instructions to lengthen them accordingly.
Unbeknownst to us, the seamstress had enlisted the aid of a friend with a larger table as she didn’t want to work on such fine material at such a length on her smaller table. Unfortunately, the friend left town without leaving access to her home so we were 8 days waiting for her return in order to access her house and the draperies left on her table. The client was beside herself.
Inasmuch as we had never determined a date for completion, it was becoming an unusually protracted exercise in time to fabricate and install a drapery treatment – especially in light of the fact that the fabric had been immediately available. It was more about the delay in starting on the part of the seamstress – which at first was not perceived as a problem – but when they were the wrong length, the client was perturbed and more than disappointed and then to have them inaccessible in another’s house was strange – but true – and seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. So that’s where we stood. The client was in tears.
The seamstress came to the site to verify the dimensions, learned that the client was hosting a luncheon in a week and was unable to commit to having them finished due to the fact that they were stuck in a friend’s inaccessible house.
The seamstress hovered over the phone of the absent friend to insure that she would have access immediately upon her return. And as soon as she did returned, the process to modify the draperies began. Within 24 hours the changes were made and the draperies were scheduled to install. The client’s luncheon was the following day. The install went without a hitch. The draperies and their installation were perfection. Except for one other thing, (remember, Murphy’s Law?). The center bracket was too long and projected down an inch into the window. NOT apparent to anyone in passing but the owners knew and it certainly was not the right detail. So it sat in their craw for a couple more days until we could get the iron fabricator out there and with the help of the client, cut, paint and re-install it.
There are many cruel and frightening things happening in the world every day. Inconveniences like this in a privileged world – not intentional – and among many caring and responsible people –who for unknown reasons of coincidence, human error, or some fantastic confluence of energy is a Murphy’s Law that is to be recognized as such, understood – if not laughed about – and moved beyond. However, this particular series of events (and a couple of equally innocent others that occurred for this one couple on their four month design project) unnerved them.
The end product was beautiful. They have expressed their pleasure with the final outcome and we hope that they will appreciate all the effort that went into the compensating accommodations despite and/for the freaky series of Murphy’s Law events that riddled their project. All’s well that ends well.

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