I didn’t think anything would be more frightening than Sarah in charge of my business or Jenni’s wardrobe, but the House Beautiful kick-off meeting proved to be far more terrifying. When I was asked to design the Kitchen of the Year, I knew that it was a large-scale big budget project, but I had no idea what was in store for me. As I walked into the two-story conference room on the top floor of the Hearst Building, my little heart stopped. Very few times in my life have I been left speechless, but this was one of those moments. I am grateful Jenni was with me for support, otherwise who knows how it would have turned out.
For clarification purposes, I did not wet myself. As my heart began beating again, I was informed I had to give a speech to the 45+ people in the room. The sheer terror on my face was evident and actually, that’s the point when I wet myself. Thank god for the adult diapers I bought after several unfortunate bed wetting accidents during nights of binge drinking. It would take another 3 minutes before I could actually breathe again. After I stumbled through the uncomfortable unfunny introduction, I began to switch gears. Jenni kept whispering to me to focus on the work and I took her advice. I dove into the design and began explaining my vision. That part was easy and the meeting progressed quickly and smoothly.
I still can’t get that first three minutes out of my head. It is one of those painful experiences that are permanently etched in my psyche, like the time my high-school homecoming date passed out cold at the dance and was rushed to the hospital via ambulance. Apparently she had to have her stomach pumped after nine shots of Jagermeister. She promised me her virginity that night. I hate when people break their promises and can’t hold their liquor.
Although initially I found the House Beautiful meeting to be painful and embarrassing, the end result was both positive and productive. I could feel the excitement in the room and I knew at that moment this kitchen was going to be a success, not just for me, but for the entire Jeff Lewis Design team.