I recently came across a post on Facebook with a photo of an elderly couple with a quote saying “We were born in a time when if something was broken we would fix it, not throw it away…” This quote resonated with me. I found myself thinking of it while working on the same house – for the fourth time. I affectionately call this beautiful Southern California beach house the Humpty Dumpty home.
I started a wonderful business relationship with one of my favorite clients back in 2003. Initially, I was called in to “fix” and finish what another designer started. Once completed and with everything just so, the couple unfortunately divorced and amicably divided the art, rugs and furnishings. I was hired for a second time to recreate each room as close as possible to replace all items that were missing.
The house was happily restored back to the original design and all was well for a few years. My client relocated to the East Coast for a temporary job assignment and the house was rented to a person (whose name I can’t say) from a famous all-girl band. During this time there was a problem with the upstairs laundry room and water damage occurred. I was hired for the third time to help repair and update (ever so slightly) some areas in the house. My client requested to keep the design and feeling of the house intact because he loved it so much.
A few years passed before a pipe broke in the master bathroom while the new renter was out of town on vacation. Unfortunately, things like this do happen – and if not attended to quickly, major damage can occur. In this case, nearly the entire house was flooded requiring it to be completely gutted and stripped down to the floorboards and studs. In January of this year, I was hired to help the client, the insurance company, and the contractor put the house back together again. But unlike the Humpty Dumpty story, this house has actually been put back together again – several times over.
Although, this house and client have experienced some challenges, I say this is a perfect example of design success. My client has had many opportunities to change and create something new in his environment with every mis-adventure. Instead, he realizes his home is exactly the way he likes it. It has been such an honor to work with this man who is definitive, trusting, and confident enough to create (or re-create) the perfect home that “fits” his personality and lifestyle.
Although this Humpty Dumpty home has been good for my business, I hope the next project with this client is to decorate another property – perhaps a New York City Apartment!