I received the newest Ballard catalog today.
About a year ago when I was in my design prime I got my biggest assignment to date. I was somehow entrusted with the redesign of a much loved local bakery that wanted to redefine it’s look and have a friendlier feel of a desert cafe. I already had a great relationship with the owner, Robin, because I sold my items in the boutique area and staged it from time to time.
Robin (doesn’t her name suit ME? wish my name was Robin it would go with my blog so nicely) and I had great fun choosing colors, flooring, lighting, wall treatments, backsplashes, fireplaces, window treatments, tables, chairs, and booths. Ahhh, the booths. Let’s just say that took awhile. First of all, when it comes to telling my sister which table to get to go next to her bed, I’m completely bossy. “No, don’t you dare get that, it’s awful, you have to get this one”, or something like that.
This was the first time it really mattered to a lot of people. Everyone I knew loved this shop. I was SO not qualified. But, for some reason, Robin believed in me. We decided to order two corner booths from Ballard. COM. Meaning Customer’s Own Material. Meaning I had to, I mean got to choose fabrics for these booths. I was SCARED TO DEATH I mean, so excited! I had dreams about fabric and booths for weeks. I must have looked at 100’s of fabrics. I did love doing the work itself– I had to dress cute, and I knew all the fabric store ladies by name.
We narrowed it down and decided on a fun, reversible, robins egg blue and rich brown animal print. Actually, I have to admit, this was not my top suggestion but, Robin loved it the most. So, the next task was to get Ballard to approve it. That is, after I made sure that we could get 60 uncut yards from my favorite fabric store. First, multiple phone calls to Ballard, fabric content, pattern, railroaded or not… Then, they had to see samples to see if this fabric that my client was in love with would work. They were very nice but, extremely careful about what fabric they will use. I overnighted the fabric and the next day we got the call, yes, the fabric was approved!
It turned out great from what I hear. I instantly forgot how hard and unnerving it was to find this fabric and confidently tell my client it would work fine. Robin then asked me to help in the design of her new commercial bakery. Dream Job! In our city, this was big time! Everyone was familiar with this shop. I had arrived.
Then, my husband got a new job. That we needed like mad. In a new city.
We moved the day the booths were delivered. My life is completely different now.
Last year at this time I had a major client, friends who I would redesign for (some for money, others for meals or iced coffees) a house redo under my belt, and a roomful of merchandise that people really seemed to like.
Today, I am home. With my 3 sweet boys. One has a fever. I do not have to make any phone calls, drag them to any fabric stores, or worry if someone is gonna like what I think will look best. I am homeschooling and cooking dinner most every night. I was able to keep my three favorite clients, my mom, my sister and my sister in law. Also, for some reason, I still have my worst client, you know, the one who’s never happy or done and super picky–myself. Our life is slower paced and I am so glad. I had all but forgotten the thrill and heartpounding, scary delight that surrounded me last year.
Until I saw the cover of Ballard. See that fun, robins egg blue and rich brown animal print on the chair on the right? Yep, that’s our fabric. I took it as a big fat compliment. I’m sure that I had nothing to do with Ballard deciding to carry that fabric but, I might just let myself think that I did. Especially on a day like today when I need a shower, my walls are painted a drab beige and my window treatments are nailed directly to the walls.