Nothing’s Better Than Decorating Using Someone Else’s Money


A few years ago, my daughter Jen bought the two-bedroom house across the street from her own house as an investment. Her plan was to rent it out to people she knew and trusted. However, after several years of watching these trusted renters a) tear up the house, b) invite hordes of unknown, untrusted friends to live with them, c) bring in a variety of undisciplined pets, and d) not pay the rent anyway, she decided to convert it to an Airbnb.

I was concerned about this, as I recall that “b-n-b” stands for “bed and breakfast.” Even in her own home, Jen usually doesn’t have time to make either beds or breakfast, but the “air” part evidently means “that section of the definition is up in the air.” If you want either “b” made, you’ll have to make it on your own. You’ll get to stay there for a week, use the linens and dishes, and we’ll clean up after you when you leave, but that’s about it.

The best part of Jen’s experiment is that she hired me to decorate the house. Yay! There is no fun greater than re-designing the interior of a house using someone else’s money. And there is no compliment better than someone saying, “I like your taste so much I want it replicated here.” And there is nothing more thrilling than one of your kids saying, “And I want to work alongside you because we have so much fun together.”

I was in heaven.

Of course, then we started working.

We patched and painted and sanded and “touched up.” We spent four days buying furniture, moving in furniture, shoving furniture from room to room and deciding that we still didn’t have enough furniture. I was getting tired. On the fifth day, we rested.

Jen hadn’t intended to rest — ever. But it was Sunday, and I had heard about a brunch restaurant that offered a fabulous menu option entitled, “Make Your Own Mimosas.” Yes! They would bring you a carafe of orange juice and a bottle of (half price!) champagne, and you could stir it up your own way. The fact that the bottle of champagne was three times as big as the carafe of orange juice told me they were our kind of people. “And they package up the leftover champagne for you to take home!” I enthused. It didn’t take more than that to convince her.

Two and a half hours later, as common sense started to settle back in, we headed back to the house to paint that last room. But we thought we’d unwrap the new couch cushions first and put them onto the couch. And we’d bought a vintage hi-fi (that’s “high fidelity,” kids) at an estate sale, and it had an old Perry Como album in it, and we figured we’d better see if it still worked — you know, for her guests’ sakes. So, we fired that puppy up.

And tried out the couch cushions.

And finished off the champagne.

And that was that for Sunday.