"Oh hai! Let's talk new trim for this door!"
But this person is giving off a weird vibe and you have a nagging misgiving or four. How do you tell if your potential client has a certain joie de vivre or needs a few restful months in the Charlie Sheen wing of the local psychiatric hospital?
1. Their home is a mess. And I don't mean the symmetrical vases on the mantle are a few inches off. I'm talking capital-D dirty with Jurassic-size dust bunnies and junk piled everywhere. If they can't maintain a basic level of sanitary living, they have no respect for anything home-related.
2. They throw out a decorating red herring. Visions of beautiful classic spaces fill their heads - linen slipcovers, custom cerused oak built-ins with bone trim, lamps and objets from high-end showrooms, oh, and plastic perforated solar shades. Because that's what they've always had and it works for them.
3. Feng shui is discussed with reverence and at great length. Your potential client truly believes that household objects and wonky floor plans are imbued with magical life-transformative properties.
4. You're told a mother/aunt/sorority sister/pot dealer (don't laugh, I've had the latter happen) will be weighing in on all design decisions. Because they have a "flair."
5. Entire episodes of HGTV shows are quoted. Candice Olson is a goddess, 4 gallons of paint will cover an entire home, and all contractors work for free. They can't wait to experience their own Big Reveal.
Now one or two of these signs doesn't necessarily mean the project is doomed. Any more than that though and you should snatch your card right back out of their hand and sprint for the door.
Tell me Dumplings Who Work in Design, what are your potential project red flags?