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Jolly Old England

Kathryn discusses her relationship with James and the problem with problem clients.

By Kathryn Ireland

I love this episode! It begins and ends with me!

Jacqueline helps me get ready for my annual trip to London for Decorex, the most important and prestigious of all the design fairs in the world. Not only is Decorex where I launch my new collection of textiles; it's also the best one-stop shopping destination for my clients on both sides of the Atlantic.

This trip, I'm working with my client James Holland-Hibbert, a valued work colleague, a beloved friend, and renowned leading authority on contemporary British Art. The Georgian farm house he recently acquired in the West Country -- a remote, rural, and ravishing area of southwestern England -- is absolute perfection. Just as idyllic is working with a dream client like James, someone who has great taste, as well as an ample budget to realize his vision and the patience of a true connoisseur to get it right. (Incidentally, James is someone I recruit on those projects that come with a healthy budget for art. He's a genius at helping build collections for the discriminating art lover/investor). Turning this house into a home in a hurry is NOT on James' agenda. He told me from the very beginning he wants to take time finding the right pieces. And on this trip, we were able to make significant headway. Though the bones of the house are basically very, very good, we did have to implement some structural renovation to accommodate the country home lifestyle of a 21st century man. James wanted a really great bathroom, so I converted a bedroom into a roomy master bath, now swimming in natural light. To me, nothing is as sexy as a fabulous bathroom. We joke about me, my kids, and my ex moving in with him. . .but don’t worry, James, that won’t happen, promise.

Also in London this week, Martyn! Who goes there to curate a sale for One Kings Lane with owners Andrea and Susan. Martyn's theme, The Talented Mr. Ripley look, is so chic and totally Martyn. Although I sympathized with Martyn's frustration at not being able to convince Andrea and Susan to splurge on some big ticket treasures, I understand how hard it is to find good deals in London right now, with the dollar so low and shipping so expensive. There was so much material from this trip that the MDD viewer unfortunately doesn’t get to se -- me hawking my wares at my Decorex stand like a glam fishwife and Martyn launching his new furniture line with a fab party at the groovy antiques gallery, Guinevere, on Kings Road (Editor's note: see the launch party here). All the usual suspects of a Martyn Lawrence Bullard soiree were there -- royalty, rock stars, it girls, cute boys -- so much fun! His furniture line inspired by a lifetime of exotic travel is a huge hit.Martyn, my birthday is August 4. As much as I love your candles, I wouldn't kick your four poster Lisbon bed out of bed. I also threw a party for all of my clients -- the showrooms who represent me all over the world.

Hooray! Jeff and Ross have decided on a sconce for The Hungry Cat restaurant Jeffrey's designing. Only now the floor is an issue. Ross and Jeffrey don’t seem to be on the same page. Sometimes when one is experiencing fever dreams of inspiration and creativity, it's very hard to communicate relevant information to one's partner, the very person who will make the conception a three-dimensional reality. I drive my own team mad sometimes with last minute Eureka (!) moments. Anyway, I have to agree with the chef on this one. . .that’s a lot of money to invest in flooring for a restaurant making a daring move to the PCH. There is a budget, boys! And hurry up! I can't wait for a westside Hungry Cat. The cocktails there are the best in LA!

Mary, you and Nathan should team up, really. I’m a broken record on the topic. I forgot to tell you that my favorite line from last week was when Nathan's dog Nacho was glomming and slobbering all over you and you said he reminded you of a bad boyfriend.

But this week I could so identify with your conflict of whether or not to take on a big money job with a client and a house that wasn’t going to be an easy fit for you. And you knew it but wrestled with the decision because of the very large budget. Fortunately, there was no spinning that fruit bouquet, and all that it implied. I’ve learned the hard and expensive way that we should never do houses just for money. Onward and upward, girlfriend!

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