Can we please talk reality TV for just a minute? Tell me you’re watching this season of Million Dollar Decorators. It’s so completely ridiculous and excessive that I just can’t help but watch, amazed at how “the other half” live.
Did you see Tuesday night’s episode where Jeffrey Alan Marks was given the impossible challenge (at least, according to him) of decorating a Nantucket beach house using only product from catalogs? What?! No custom-made drapes? No custom-designed sofa? He was completely baffled. Well, you already know this got my feathers ruffled. Wouldn’t he be surprised to know how much of what he does could probably be (fairly well) duplicated from catalogs and chain decor stores?
He went into a West Elm and it was like a whole new world to him. He was grabbing stuff left and right, like he was at the Dollar Tree. (And, he strangely made a big to-do about eating a lollipop during the whole shopping trip. . . I guess that was to show us how casual he thought the whole thing was.)
The really crazy thing was that he did manage to order most of the furnishings from catalogs, but took it upon himself to add an $11,000 (not-so-amazing) designer bench at the end of the job and acted like it was a funny joke he was able to pull over on his client. (This all happened after they had a conversation about how her original budget was going to be have to be tripled.) He also did most of the accessorizing at a local antiques shop. (I need to take him to HomeGoods. He would think he was at Disney World!)
In the end, I thought the beach house was nice. Not spectacular, but pretty. My favorite spot was the small sitting room where he used two big square ottomans (from West Elm, of course) in front of a long sofa.
So here are my questions. . .
Are there really clients out there with budgets so big that they would find the humor in their designer buying an $11,000 bench when they specifically asked for all catalog, nothing custom? How does a designer build a good relationship with their client when they do those crazy things? How does a designer not get fired when the budget starts at $100,000 and extends to $300,000? Do you think this is all for TV, with Bravo footing the bill for the whole makeover?