I love to read cookbooks. I can read a recipe and taste it. I can put flavors, textures and tastes together in my head. I can taste things without actually tasting them.
I wish that ability translated into being able to visualize interior design. But, it doesn’t. I just can’t look at a 3” by 3” paint chip, square of carpeting and picture of a light and get a feel for how it will all come together.
Here’s the dilemma. At the hotel show in November, I found a chair that I love. It is awesome! I don’t feel that the chairs need to be unique – but they should be comfortable and have a sense of style. Plus, the fabric and stitching can be customized. So, we fell in love with a lush ultrasuede fabric. It is blue – not blueberry, not royal, not Duke blue (sorry, Blue Devil fans!), not too much red – a deep blue. We took it to the restaurant and looked at it in lunchtime light and dinnertime light. We spilled wine, chocolate and ketchup on it to make sure it was hearty. Perfect!
Then, we found out that this perfect fabric had to be custom made-great. In Japan-fine. Then shipped to China, where the chairs are made-okay. Then shipped to the U.S., which could take a while, even if things go well with customs – Ooops! That means there is a possibility they may not be here in time for the opening.
That was bad enough. Then we found out the price. It didn’t seem too bad by the square foot – until you multiplied it by 120 chairs. Whoa! The fabric for the chairs ends up costing more than the chairs. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one.
Needed a moment to think about that. Are these chairs so important? Is this fabric the only option? How much would it cost to rent chairs while we wait for ours to arrive? To figure that out, I took that paint swatch to Loew’s and had them make a can of paint. I painted a wall in my apartment, laid down the carpet sample and the chair fabric and lived with it for a few days. Then, I tried a second, similar fabric that Lee McGillin found. That helped me decide whether to hold out for the chair fabric we originally chose OR to order something else.
I decided to go with the original fabric we chose. After badgering the companies, Lee found out that the lead-time is less than originally anticipated. It’s just a better fabric – it has more give to it and is a better final product. I feel that I need to be as respectful of the design as I am to the food in the kitchen.
The fabric will be a world traveler – from Japan to China to Ft. Washington. A bit like me.