"Day in the Life" - Design Success or Nightmare??



I deal with successes more than nightmares.....

But that is because I have learned from experience.   Design is all about Challenges and Solutions.  Execution of the design is a whole other thing.  

Dealiing with logistical challenges and getting positive results requires considering Murphy's Law.  "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong".  Don't ever assume that someone else has it taken care of.  At the end of the day, its your business and you need to check out the details.

I prepare for mistakes, check the details and make adjustments when necessary.

Stay Calm...there are solutions

Custom made items are one of a kind and costly.  I take a risk selling custom items to my clients.  Suppose the item is made incorrectly?  It doesn't show up on time?  Or in this case....It would not fit up the stair case.

However, I take the risk because the payoff is a valuable way for me to achieve even more success with my clients, get great photos, make them happy and get referrals.

The story:

There was a niche in the living room of this loft style space in an upscale area of West Los Angeles.  The previous owner had a two piece sofa in the space.   She had to because the stair case was tight and had three flights of stairs.

The clients loved the luxurious peacock blue chenille fabric and agreed to the sofa style I illustrated.  A deposit was made.  The sofa would be fabricated by my upholsterer I had used before and knew would do a fantastic job

(THAT IS KEY.  Don't take a chance as large as a custom sofa on a new trade person/workroom.  That is a recipe for disaster. Start with pillows or a chair cushion to make sure they can deliver)

How did i know the sofa would not get up the stairs?  Because before I order any large items....I think through how it will get delivered into the space, where it will be located and how it will be used.

Sofas should be measured diagonally.   Top back right to front left for example.  That measurement is the vertical height you need to be able to get the sofa up the stairs, turn it and get it up the next flight.

I knew it wouldn't fit.  

I didn't need a peacock blue sofa for myself- nor did I want to lose 5000.00 on a mistake!!  So I made sure I had a solution BEFORE I placed the order.

I contacted my delivery warehouse and discussed the logistics.  We mapped out a plan and created a solution.   

Delivery day.....

This was no doubt stressful - even with all of the logisitcs reviewed and figured out.  Things can still go wrong.   The delivery warehouse carries insurance and so do I but the client doesn't deal with this kind of thing every day.   So while I am doing my best to stay cool and calm I am also reassuring my client.  


No damage to the exterior.  No damage to the sofa.  No accidents or injuries.   

I could exhale!   Not to mention enjoy a glass of wine later  after that experience.  :-)

Struggles are what make us successful.  Be thoughtful about your choices.  Take risks but be smart to plan out the details.  Check and check again.  Don't leave it to someone else when its something that reflects on your work, can cost you the project, client and also money.


,Elizabeth Ribons, ASID,NCIDQ, CID

Don't miss out on  "A Day in the Life" series where I share client strategies, business tips, working with trades and more.   (this is what you didn't learn in Design School)

I am a professional interior designer/entrepreneur.  I have been desiging and operating my own firm for over 20years.  I love what I do and will share my experiences (even the not so pretty ones :) along the way so you can be successful)

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