As a devotee of HGTV, I have come to appreciate and respect all of those designers like Joanna Gaines and her colleagues who sweep into a house and design it in a half hour. I realize that they take more than a half hour in actuality, but let’s face it–they have a hell of a lot of shows to put out there for the ravenous fans of home tv shows, and so I know these designers have to move it right along, folks. Decisions have to be made and made fast. No looking back.

So. We are moving into an apartment in around October. I am taking almost nothing that is in my house right now, because I want to turn over a new leaf. I want the new place to be clean, contemporary, and eclectic. Also, I am a decisive individual, and I want to get all of the stuff for the new place LINED UP. I want to have a Joanna Gaines experience: let’s take the floor plan and the measurements, go into ONE furniture store that has beautiful things, and get everything all at once. Like in an afternoon.

I know I can do this. All it will take is a willing interior designer who can work fast. So. I enter the store, and Linda comes toward me, not knowing the hurricane that is about to hit her. I sit her down.

ME: “Before we look at anything here, I want you to look at these photos I took of my house, so you can get an idea of where I am coming from.”

LINDA (not yet knowing what is about to happen): “Ok.”

I deal out the photos of my house fast enough that Linda’s smile begins to fade just a bit as she tries to focus on one photo at a time, as they flash past her. I deck up the photos and turn them over. The next thing I show her is the floor plan of the new apartment.

ME: “I am keeping my coffee table, one antique chair, lamps, and our bed. The rest is up to you. I want to pick out all the things this afternoon, if possible, because I need to carry a picture in my mind of how things will be in the new place, or I get anxious.’

Linda’s smile is a bit more tentative, but she squares her shoulders and stands up. I can tell that she is giving herself a mental pep talk. She takes off at a trot.

LINDA: “Ok. Let’s start off with the sofa, and we can go from there. The sofa is the anchor.”

I follow her to the back of the store, where she shows me a couple of contemporary sofas. On the way, we pass the chest pictured above.

ME: “I love this chest. I want two of them for the bedroom.”

Linda looks slightly bewildered. But we keep on walking.

LINDA: “We are talking about the living room right now, but ok, I will make a mental note of that chest, when the time comes to talk about the bedroom.”

After about twenty minutes, in which I have chosen the sofa, two chairs, a bookcase, a dining room table and chairs, Linda gets me. She points to something, I yay or nay it, and we move on. Linda seems to gain in both enthusiasm and energy as we continue.

At the end of an hour, the process is done, except for the “office,” which will be chosen by my husband on another abbreviated visit in which he lays out the guidelines:

HIM: “I only want to sit in five chairs. Five is my limit.’

LINDA (Who by now has probably told her boss about this gold mine couple who want to buy a truckload of furniture in the shortest amount of time possible): “No problem. What about Stickley? You look like a Stickley sort of person.”

HIM: “Yes. Stickley it is.” He sits in one chair. “This chair is fine.” He points to a desk five feet away. “And I will take that desk to go with it. Does it have a matching file cabinet?”

Linda nods a bit frantically.

HIM: “We’re done, right?”

We were. Linda not only kept up, but I think she made Joanna Gaines look like an amateur. She did have one moment of weakness, though. She questioned the choice of a chair my husband picked out.

LINDA: “I really think you should reconsider this particular chair. The rest of the apartment will look so terrific; I am afraid that your friends will come over, take one look at that chair, and ask you if your interior designer was out sick the day you chose this.”

We chose a different chair.

Joanna Gaines needs to up her game. I’m just saying…


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