My Experience with an Interior Designer

20 Aug

I must say upfront that this is probably a very misleading title. Basically, it has nothing to do with my house specifically. It has more to do with my friend, who is an interior designer, and whose encounter with his client (who happens to be another friend of mine) that leaves me wondering if anyone should hire one in the first place.

As it turns out, the client contracted the interior designer to do up his 5-room apartment in Holland Road. It was to be a Mediterranean concept. Due to a series of events beyond the designer’s control, the original kind of terra cotta tiles were not delivered. In fact, the importer could not give a specific date on when the specific tile design will be made available. The client was understandably upset, for out of the scores of designs, he only liked that one. Although the designer offered to provide alternatives to the original design, the client is not willing to negotiate. The matter ended in stalemate: the client is not willing to proceed with other tiles, the designer could not provide the original tiles as ordered. Needless to say, there was significant delays. The client then proceeded to cancel the project and refuses to pay up the balance milestone payment that was due. The designer tried his best to explain and get the milestone payment but to no avail.

I was brought in, unfortunately, to mitigate the situation. I am friends of both and risked being enemies of both too. After much anxiety on my part and with lots of persuasion, the 2 parties finally decided to cancel the project but that any outstanding amount of money for costs incurred by the designer would be paid.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. That if an interior designer is to enter into contract with anyone, he would do well to put in some disclaimer clauses. In particular, he should not be held liable for any inadequacies of third parties, such as the tile importer. Otherwise, he would be opened to endless squabbles and perhaps even more seriously, lawsuits. On the other hand, clients should also be reasonable. In this instance, I was at least glad that matter did get resolve, although not that amicably.

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