Many of my clients in the last two years have become avid DIY fans. Doing a project yourself can be quite gratifying. Often times you will have a better appreciation for the design when you personally know the journey; the blood, sweat and tears it took to get from point A to point B. But doing it yourself doesn’t always mean getting the right result. Perception of savings in time and money VS. actual reality of savings in time and money can be two very different things.

Last June I was hired to help with a semi custom build by a client I have been working with for years. Her and her husband decided to buy a new home and she wanted it designed completely different than the previous home. The difference being she wanted me to get her going in the right direction, and she’d do all the leg work. Here is what I came up with for her overall color palette:

So far so good. After we selected all the finishes, i.e. the granite, the floors, faucets, lighting, cabinets, hinges, door hardware, doors, closet systems, trim applications, built-ins… get the idea…..we were ready for paint. By this point my client was getting overwhelmed and jaded. But she powered through and was excited to move in before the holidays. Excited to get the decorating process under way I got to work on the design concept.

AB HOME Design Concept

I am not sure what it is, but no matter how good a DIY client I have, the result is never quite the same. I told her all my ideas of what to do and what to look for. My concepts are never meant as hard and fast designs. They are best used as guidelines because as we all know, things change, get discontinued or better things come along. With a direction I set her loose, and after 6 months this is where she got:



Not bad at all. But many things are wrong. The clear blue lamps don’t work with the dark side tables. The rug is way too small and completely wrong in color. There are no pops of color (which was necessary for such a neutral paint palette, and she also purchased white stools for her white island, which is totally boring if I do say so myself:

Kitchen stools

Mrs K called me at the beginning of May and asked me to come out. “It’s just not coming together the way I had hoped and it is taking forever!” she shrieked. “This is so hard and time consuming and I feel like I am going in circles. Tell me what I need to buy to fix it so it comes together.”

Her mistake? Despite having the overall concept she was failing to follow it due to price. She was getting hung up on saving money, rather than buying the right things, ultimately costing her more money. The rug is a Karastan. She got it on sale and while it seemed like a good quality for a good deal, we ended up scrapping it because it was wrong…that isn’t saving money. Mrs K is a busy professional with two kids and the illusion of saving money got the better of her. She decided it would be faster and less of a headache to give me a budget and hire my firm to complete it. In less than three weeks I got my team scheduled and the necessary products purchased. The results? Well we still have to buy a TV cabinet and the drapes are in production but this room is by far one of her favorites in the whole house.

AB HOME Interiors after

AB HOME Interiors after

And the kitchen stools? Well they look much better with some wasabi!

AB HOME Interiors

Hiring a consultant WILL cost you money. However, the perception VS. reality needs to be in comparison of apples to apples not apples to cantaloupes. For six months Mrs K struggled with her design and made purchases that were not right. It caused unnecessary frustration, stress, mistakes, time and discontent. My team and I knocked it out in three weeks and handled everything. All the running around, purchasing, loading and unloading, set up, trash removal, and returns. All she had to do is walk into a beautifully finished room and start entertaining. To me it’s well worth the investment to let a professional knock it out right the first time so I can start enjoying it!

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