I can't tell how many times I've heard that comment... often muttered by the husband just under his breath, (still meant to be heard by me), or told to me by the wife about her husband's comments before my arrival.
When an initial appointment is confirmed, my client understands that I will be charging for that time. Whether or not we go forward will depend on the wishes of the client, the scope of the project, the budget, etc.
We do a walk through of the areas of concern in the house. Many questions are asked. I'll jump in with ideas as we view the rooms, offering "if you moved this chair there, the flow might improve...". Sometimes I just listen until all the issues are brought up. If it is rearranging that can improve the situation, we discuss options, and often move the pieces in question right then.
If the doubting husband is listening and watching, I always include him in my questions, as the home needs to work for them both! With a little inclusion comes a little acceptance.
When I demonstrate that I am not spending their money by recommending expensive alternatives, a modicum of relaxation begins. If it is a major remodel, we sit to discuss potential budgets and options.
In one situation the couple was moving from their large house where they had raised their children, into a much more compact condo. What would move with them? What would they want new? After touring the house, and then touring the newly built condo on a different occasion, I made a plan of how it would all fit, and suggested changes that would bring a fresh look to their home.
We ordered furniture for the hearth room, (Black floral), had a red buffalo check swag valance, edged in black. We focused on a French country theme, using colorful fabrics, with interesting, even whimsical patterns. Because of the colorful floral fabrics, we had many colors to chose as tie ins with the other rooms.
When moved in, using some of the living room furniture they'd brought from the house, we settled the pieces in place. Two inch wood blinds were installed in the kitchen for privacy, topped by the non-traditional valance. New simple drapery panels were planned for the living room with some throw pillows on order for updating.
Over time, we created a beautiful, open feeling home, adding a new piece here and there, moving from the red and black in the kitchen to a softer rosy pink and cream color scheme for the living room, still incorporating a black throw pillow, and red touches to acknowledge the stronger kitchen colors.
John, came to trust my suggestions, even asking if they didn't need to replace that chair, or table to improve the look!
The best comment I received from him was when he told me that his wife had come home with a new vase she was planning to use on the mantel.
He asked her if it had been "Mishified?"
I laughed and loved that when he told me, as he pulled out the box of cheese crackers to offer me because he knew I liked them, but wouldn't normally buy.
We became great friends over the course of our 'beautifying' their home!