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A Very Expensive Mistake

Martyn discusses Jeffrey and Ross' coffee table debacle and explains how to avoid it.

By Martyn Lawrence Bullard

In Episode 7 I am happy to report I got to spend some fun time with my BFF Kathryn Ireland when we head off to Palm Springs together. Kathryn, exhausted by all the shenanigans with her client Shannon Factor, comes and joins me for a little R and R while I fix up the Palme d'Or, the luxurious presidential suite of the Colony Palms Hotel that I designed several years ago. The suite had been used by one of the properties' owners and was decorated in his personal taste, so when the suite was offered back to become part of the hotel, they called me to step in and give it that MLB touch. I had worked on it for a month or so, working up my design scheme to tie in the existing vibe that I had previously used in the rest of the hotel. I didn't quite realize how long it would take to install everything, as I had the curtains and painted wainscoting done before I arrived. Poor Kathryn was eager to have a playmate to drink, lounge, and entertain her. Sadly I had to fluff up the pillows, hang art, and generally create an ambiance fit for the celebrity clientele that frequent the property now, so I didn't get to indulge in all the decadent delights that Kathryn enjoyed. The up side is that my clients were thrilled with the suite revamp. It has breathed new life into the hotel, and my darling Kathryn got to relax, recharge, and sip upon a few pink lemonades that I'm sure weren't quite as innocent as they looked!

And speaking of hotels, my favorite duo, Mary Mcdonald and Nathan Turner, travel to North Carolina to launch their new collections of lighting and furniture at High Point, the biggest designer manufacturing convention in the country. The poor things however end up in a hideous, dumpy hotel room that literally looked like some horny locals had just finished a whip-up in there seconds before their arrival! I'm happy to report they survived the experience, and both their collections have done extremely well. Nathan in fact launches his big window of furniture at Bloomingdales in NYC this week.   

Jeffrey and Ross however make a very expensive mistake for themselves when they become emotionally attached to a John Dickinson vintage table that they want for their own home. The table, a fine specimen of Dickinson's work, seems in great demand and they end up in a battle to prize it back from a buyer, who beats them to the purchase at the San Francisco antiques show. Once home with their prized piece however, Jeffrey finds the table scale is far from what he had imagined for the space, and finally after many permutations, ends up re-purposing it to become a side table, which is what it was originally designed as. Yes, an expensive side table, an expensive mistake too, but fortunately it's a great piece that I'm sure will end up as an investment some day. 

The lesson to learn here is always do a room plan, scale it out, and roughly draw in the furniture pieces you have in that space currently. Then you can clearly see the size you need to fill in with a desk, bookcase, or coffee table as in Jeffrey's case. If you take this plan with you when shopping, you can instantly tell if a piece is too big, too small, or actually perfect. A good designer's first talent (hopefully) is an understanding of space and scale. 

So my delicious ones, learn from my tip, avoid your own expensive mistakes, and as always -- live, love, and decorate!


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