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Odd Job

Mary explains the process of an "add-on" job, the use of "Chien de Provence," and the idea of being too rich or too thin.

By Mary McDonald

I just came back from New York last night after a fun filled week of Watch What Happens Live (super blast, BTW!), some F.Schumacher design meetings, and a job in the Hamptons.

Glad to be home but could easily live on the east coast for the summer. I could also easily do the Andy Cohen show every week it was so much darn fun. That is really how I act most of the time, so I guess the cat is out of the bag. Those six minutes of business-self a week seem a lot scarier than it is. I got so many tweets and posts asking if we were all drinking a lot and the answer are NO! I paced myself so well that by showtime I had three sips and needed a drink in a desperate panic! That is my real self with about two sips of pinot! Scary huh? I had a blast with Rocco and Andy and think everyone should do it!

Well it's back to L.A., nose to the grindstone for me while I dream of those beautiful Long Island beaches. Speaking of beaches -- where the heck do I buy that gorgeous eyelet, beach shift Kathryn had on at Ross' party? It is so weird how small our world is since I've known Diana, the homeowner, since high school when we all wore girls' school uniforms. Small world out there. Lesson: be careful who you tick off.

Jeffrey and Ross are really super cute with their life looking like a Polo ad 24/7, don't ya think? I am a w---e for the whole styling aspect of one's life so I love to see who has what beach outfit, where, what's on the table, etc. They have a great Ralph Lauren-esque style those two, and I am glad Jeffrey finally delves into the culinary world. Hey, I would love if Suzanne Goin would give me a tip or two as I really like to cook. Maybe that's another show? What would I wear?

Speaking of wear, I LOVE that dress the uber-chic Tamara Mellon has on in Act I. Not sure whose it is. Does anyone one know who designed that lady-like geranium shift with the chic, wide, cowl yoke? Of course, it helps that she is literally a walking pencil but to use the phrase "I die" is not sufficient. Loving getting to see Martyn with the plexiglass remedy for Tamara's "art." Love it. She is who the phrase "You can't be too rich or too thin" was coined for, I am sure of it.

I think I am feeling jealous, so I must move on to our hilarious, repeat HILARIOUS, Kathryn. God love a woman who cooks with "Chien de Provence." I liked her great presentation boards. She needs to come do mine and give my office a little bootcamp in that department.I was really getting the beachy English vibe. I was a bit confused, and still am though. Was that existing furniture in the beachhouse Shannon and Dean's? Or the old homeowner's who they bought the house from? I have known Dean since I was 14, and I have never seen this Telluride streak, pretty much ever. I think Kathryn will be doing the right thing here leaving the look behind for a snowier environ.

Of course our darling, lovely Nathan was playing hard to get again this episode. It's soooooooooo Nathan to give you a little taste and then disappear knowing you will be clamoring for him. He knows you guys out there are sick of us and now screaming, "Nathan! Nathan! Nathan!" He is a tricky one my Nate. Knows what he's doing every time so stay tuned for his great story next week. . .This kid knows what he's doing, and I am going to take a lesson from him.

Thank goodness he had some feminine chairs for my zippy "add on" job as Martyn calls them. That is actually a great term Martyn coined: "add on" job. You see, what happens is you will design someone's entire home, anywhere from 5,000 square feet way upwards, and after you have pretty much completed the job they want to add a room, or some wallpaper, or even just hardware. Although you would probably never want to be hired for these little things on their own because you have done so much work for them you MUST do these small jobs because they are your clients and have given you sooo much great big work.

My little office at Jill Roberts Freeman, owner of Seaton clothing and Freeman cosmetics, is basically just that, an "add on" job. We added a room to my previously designed work of the entire home. I swear, I don't even think I knew that room was there before. Jill is one of my most fun clients because since she is in fashion and is not scared of much. I could say let's paint the outside of your house red, and her first reaction would be to think about it without fear. She gets it. She is creative with a vision and is totally open to any new idea outside the box -- without the usual client fears. I was kind of shocked she did not have a positive first reaction to the floor, actually, and in my head was thinking "Wait, this is NOT good" while playing it cool.

You never want to panic with a client because they panic and all sorts of craziness ensues. You've got to get through it knowing the end result of the big picture will balance the microscopic issue of this one element. When all is said and done if a client REALLY doesn't like the outcome you're in TROUBLE, so I was kind of hoping this would go as planned. I know how looking at pieces of a whole can derail the average client, but Jill is not that gal so I was really kind of freaking a little. Thank goodness she got it after I said trust me 10 times. I would have had to start from scratch -- and believe me that's when it gets hairy. It all worked out and I am looking forward to doing her beach house. Maybe with more horizontal striped curtains by the way. I kind of love them don't you?

Ok I have to run and get back to all the work piled on my desk from being away.

Stay tuned for next weeks hi-jinx.

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