Thursday, July 23, 2009

Even the dead need to look good!

Call me the working girls designer, the connoisseur to all things accessible and the Queen of saying "yes". No task is too difficult, complex or demanding. With that designer badge plopped firmly on my chest I am the attainable, affordable solution to all your design needs. The queen of "yes" and "no problem". SO it is understandable that I of all people would get THE CALL.

The voice informal, pleasant and cordial. "Amanda, my name is Catherine I buy and sell properties".... Perfect I thought, a woman entrepreneur who knows real estate. I LIKE real estate. I have done LOTS of things with real estate. Including, but not limited to meeting lots of interesting people with important jobs and snazzy cars. Jobs so fascinating they wear flashy suits and animated personalities. Interesting people who's charisma could carry John Wayne and Bugsy combined and dispositions as occidental as the western Vegas pacific wind. Who doesn't love a little hero gangstar in their real estate? Um, check YES!

My mind racing I thought, was it a run down mid century ranch that needed updating, a two story Brentwood box that needed to be gutted and renovated, or possibly a commercial slice of heaven with an ideal location and zip code? My anticipated thought process in this short 10 second lull in her breath could have moved mountains when suddenly she blurted out "My husband dropped dead just short of his 80th birthday"... Oh my I thought. What on earth does this have to do with property? She doesn't consider her husband real estate does she? OMG, what if she wants me to decorate him?!!! Deep breaths, oh crap where did that badge of mine go? Is that my shoe? Where did my pencil go? Should I spit out my gum? Am I even chewing gum? Oh my, I cant focus. "He left me 60 acres of property and several hundred thousand. I want to be a millionaire before I die. Im 79 years old and my friends are dropping like fly's. I have decided to invest my money into a funeral home and I need you to jazz it up, make it look nice and inviting." O-Kay. This seems completely logical, and practical. ( Right?) She sees a need, she has the money, completely rational and understandable thinking. Like any good entrepreneur would do.(hmmm, let's see, invest money to make money. Got it, good clean fun, completely rational and understandable thinking....)

"I have heard very good things about you Amanda. Now, I need you to understand that I want to be a millionaire before I die, so I cant be giving you all my money; BUT even the dead need to look good,... if you know what I mean"..... W-H-E-R-E is that damn pencil? Should I be writing this down? I should probably write something down. Something important and legible. Does it need to be legible, they won't know the difference. This is a completely natural and sensible undertaking, (right?). After all Im a DESIGNER. The things legends (gulp) are made of. Maybe I should use a pen. Yes I should write this down in pen. It is a little more permanent. And professional. Yes that is me, the professional. So several deep breaths and 17 swigs of diet coke later I agreed to the job. The queen of "yes!" I can decorate the dead. Can't I? Im a designer. I can decorate anything. All I need is a glue gun, some duct tape, and a screw driver. Besides I LIKE real estate... and I LIKE design, what could possibly go wrong? (No task is too difficult, complex or demanding)

Well to my surprise the dead aren't so bad to work for. They don't complain, object, criticize or fuss about a thing. They require very little and they LOVE everything I pick. They are simple, easy, and uncomplicated like me. Understated, undemanding and straightforward. I could get used to this kind of client. Pleased with my new found knowledge I decided to add funeral home designer to my resume.

Now it may seem quirky, eccentric and unconventional that I would add more sugar to my already growing mix of 'No task is too difficult, complex or demanding' ideals; BUT after 6 months Catherine sold her funeral home, (making her a millionaire, well almost $940,000 just shy of her 80th b-day) and I got featured in Casket Design Monthly (whoo-hoo, the designer badge right side up and worn proud!). This may be as completely natural as dying (seriously the pun is intended!), or completely irrational and illogical, I haven't decided which box to check for that answer (oooh, ohhh I know this one....D. All of the above!!) It is, however, inherent to me that I was born to design. (obviously! I made it in casket design monthly. Who doesn't want that on their resume?) And while design for me was established and defined by parameters inherited from those of "habitual" thinking, my spontaneous knee-jerk say "yes" to everything attitude to Catherine's request reorganized my thought process to adapt and adjust my designer alignment. It seemed at that moment I was levying my soul to Catherine, maybe even to the dead! (But they do clean up nice, and they LOVE everything I pick; a designer's dream COME TRUE!) But what I learned in my new community of thinking is that I can expand my horizons, add some sugar (or formaldehyde) to the mix, throw in some potpourri (it makes things smell nice) and swirl it around to create a happy ending; because even the dead need to look good!


  1. Wow! Is there nothing you can't decorate?! Talk about adaptability. :)

  2. Uh...are those floating caskets?? Spooky!! Leave it to you to make a Funeral Home look chic and clean! You just tapped into a huge market...and the bonus....death is recession proof!! ;o)

  3. I don't even know what to say! I am laughing at the way you so eloquently put it! Everyone has a need...even those that just need a casket...or an urn.

  4. omg....that was awesome!!! i love her upfront and straight up vibe! and look just how much more awesome your resume is're pretty much amazing!

  5. Congratulations. Published is published

  6. You interior design is bloody good and fabulous. People will enjoy better once they have something like what you have shown here. Home-sellers can get some idea from well I thought. Nice! From Home Stager Toronto

  7. How incredibly talented you are! What a neat idea on the floating look! I am amazed again!

  8. This is great, Darling! You really are very very talented!
    Did you get a blog makeover? It's absolutely beautiful!
    Thank you so much for leaving such a sweet comment about my basket purses! I am so excited about them, and appreciate the feedback and support! You're such a sweetheart!!!


  9. You have the most fantastic sense of humour. WEll, I guess i know how to face the client who is asking the unthinkable of me...:-) So ver Inpiring you are Amanda

    Thanks .. Vitania

  10. i think the photos you have put up is your work.... oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, and i thought you make only homes beautiful, amanda you are the most talented desinger i have seen eeer read ;)

    keep the good work growing no matter where it goes, you go girl

    take care and keep writing......

  11. I saw something that reminded me of you today. They really needed you in the worst way. You would have been horrified. I'll have to post a pic. But this of boarders gone WRONG

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