Real Designing Women
Four of the most successful female interior designers working in North America today, Dee Dee Taylor, Eustace (Toronto), Lori Dennis (L.A.), Jennifer Flanders and Nina Freudenberger(NYC) lead us on a fun, fascinating and completely real jaunt through everything and anything design related (real designers, real clients, real everyone) – it’s their world and we’re invited in!
Episode 1 – Client Control
On this episode, our real designing women experience the grief, and the glory, of the all-important client.
In this episode, Dee Dee is shocked to be given only a promotional beer bucket to inspire her pitch to land a major restaurant chain as her newest client. It means she has to make her first trip to a strip mall in years, only adding to her woes. Also adding to her woes? The clients take on what she comes up with.
Lori, meanwhile, has to do a pretty big tap dance to convince a suddenly concerned couple that the colour they signed off on will work, and she’s eventually proven right.
For Jennifer, it’s a classic designer ploy. Sensing the client might reject her idea for a new dining room table, she bargains with a Park Ave. retailer to “borrow”, and deliver, an expensive floor model for a personal pitch.
Episode 2 – On the Road
On this episode, our real designing women pull up stakes, to take their message, and their skills, on the road.
In this episode, Lori has written a book on sustainable design in an attempt to position herself as a specialist in the field. Her work attracts the attention of the Milgard window company and they send her to do a book-signing and talk at a trade show in Portland. Trouble is, in spite of Lori’s comical attempts to make anyone care, no one does.
Nina, meanwhile, is excited and flattered to be invited to create a room for the prestigious Hampton’s Showcase – a well known charity event two hours from Manhattan. Top designers donate their talents to decorate different rooms in a single house which is then auctioned for charity. After much anxiety, her foyer garners rave reviews and an unexpected treat: her design hero Mario Buatta shows up and personally congratulates her.
For Dee Dee, it’s off to Florida to personally check on the special furniture she has commissioned for the Grafsteins’ project, check in on a local reno, and jam in a polo lesson with her new fella.
Episode 3 – You Snooze you Loose
On this episode, our real designing women take on the good, and the bad, in the all-important world of self-promotion.
Dee Dee’s charisma, style and industry stature also means she’s considered “A list”. A chance encounter with Bonnie Brooks, president of The Bay department chain, at an industry event, inspires her to go on a mission to re-brand herself (with the help of a marketing firm) and test her ability to go “mass market”.
Lori lands an unexpected invitation to a design bloggers luncheon at an infamous Hollywood mansion. She then lands a coveted spot designing a room in the Greystone Mansion, a yearly event in Beverly Hills.
Nina and her team at Haus Interiors have their hands full when they are green lit on a big project for The Dillon condo complex in Manhattan. The budget is tight and she only has four weeks to outfit not one but four different condos! No time to order custom furniture or items, she has to go on a mad shopping/begging spree to get it done.
Episode 4 – Finishing School
On this episode, our real designing women take on the heat for the happiness of a job well done. In this episode, Lori continues her design at the infamous Greystone Mansion in Beverley Hills (historic site and well know movie location) for one of the most prestigious magazines in the business, Traditional Home. She decides to use the room to pitch herself as a potential “insider” for V and M, a website that connects designers to moneyed clientele. When the websites president comes to view her “jeweled meditation room”, he immediately offers her the position.
Dee Dee, meanwhile, oversees the finishing of a pricey condo penthouse that she has been working on for a client friend of hers. During a walk-through, Dee Dee notices some problem areas and makes sure they are taken care of before her friend sees the finished product.
Nina has her hands full in NYC as the deadline for The Dillon condo showrooms looms. While helping to sell condos or magazines she’s really, of course, trying to sell herself as a designer. With the help of her assistant Bryn, Nina has to shop, place, and prepare the showroom with not much time for anything else.
Episode 5 – Troubles and Triumphs
On this episode, our real designing women take on some the industry’s most unique challenges. One of the most important attributes of a designer is the ability to problem solve and in the design world, problems are plentiful.
Nina’s long battle with an incompetent Long Island contractor finally comes to a head over shoddy workmanship and missed deadlines. She takes over and re-does a lot of what he did and is finally relieved with the final product.
Dee Dee, meanwhile, is working on a very elaborate cottage which has its own set of obstacles. As always, Dee Dee will do whatever it takes to make sure her clients are happy with the finished product, even if it means lots more schlepping up to cottage country.
Lori’s current project is typical West Coast cool: a meditation room; but not just any meditation room. A client/friend of hers is having it designed for his very young girlfriend, and on his dime. Very West Coast.
Episode 6 – Living the Life
On this episode, our real designing women prove that staying on top isn’t just a job, it’s a full-on lifestyle.
In this episode Lori’s continuing re-design of a beautiful Laurel Canyon villa serves as the backdrop to an unexpected argument between her and her contractor husband about the improper installation of an air conditioner.
Dee Dee is up to her usual fun, flirtatious ways. Her charisma, style and industry stature also means she’s considered “A list” for most society and industry events like the Absolut Vodka event she is trying to find a date for.
Nina, meanwhile, has a retail store of used furnishings and accessories in Little Italy called Haus Interiors. It has become a celebrated design resource and could be called Nina’s first love. That’s why she claims to “curate” it rather than stock it. Nina and her girlfriends take their annual four hour trip to the Brimfield Flea Market to find “objects” that she believes will become the next “it” items for the store.
Episode 7 – WEALTHY CLIENTS
Dee Dee puts the finishing touches on an important clients’ home – the wife of a Senator – while showing an upstart on her team how it’s done.
Lori takes her client shopping with her. After two years and a big budget, she finishes up her Laurel Canyon project and walks her happy client through the home.
Jennifer wishes she had a bit more time on a Hamptons home renovation project she has been working on. She has to make a slew of decisions from hanging art to bathroom tile as the deadline approaches.
Episode 8 – NEW TIMES, NEW WAYS
On this episode, it’s new times and new ways of doing things for our Real Designing Women.
Dee Dee gets her junior designers to implement ‘interior design online’ as a way to lure clients. She oversees her designers and visits these clients to see if this new approach works.
In Stamford, Jennifer acts as an advisor for a client/friend of hers who is having a hard time making decisions on the reno project she has taken on herself which has a very tight budget.
Lori’s new client is extremely detail-oriented and has difficulty making decisions. Lori tries to help her and her husband achieve the home they envision.
Episode 9 – NEW SPACES
On this episode, our Real Designing Women prove there is always more to filling a space with furniture, art or accessories then meets the eye.
Lori helps out a single male artist friend of hers bring his dream bachelor’s loft to life.
Dee Dee impresses a developer after finishing a model penthouse suite in a swanky new condo.
Jennifer shops antiques with a new client who needs help filling her home with interesting pieces.
Episode 10 – NEW VENTURES
On this episode, it’s new starts and new ventures for our Real Designing Women.
Dee Dee is excited to move into a new home. She walks us through the home she is leaving behind and the new one she will share with her new beau. She also makes a presentation in front of her daughter’s classroom at school.
In between staging a mansion in Miami for a design magazine feature and running a photo shoot for her own magazine in LA, Lori throws a birthday bash for her little girl.