Tuesday, September 11, 2007

When is it Worth it to Spend More Money? On a Wallpaper Hanger!

We have lived in Monster House for 21 years. It is beautiful, indeed; we use most of the space, with two home offices, and it's in a fantastic urban neighborhood. Just the same it needs endless amounts of maintenance, let alone having any fun decorating. The kicker of living here for 20+ years is that we're needing to redo things WE ALREADY DID!
About 2 years ago we acknowledged the wallpaper in our kitchen needed to go. I wrote about the challenge of finding eco-friendly wallpaper, but we did settle eventually. We got the name of a wallpaper hanger from one of the stores, and this lady was classy. Her promotional material (when a wallpaper hanger has promo material, you know she's good) was a tear sheet of an article about her pizazz and craftsmanship.
She did a beautiful job in the kitchen, attending to all sorts of details. But the little jewel box she left behind is the powder room under the staircase in our front hall. Since we entertain often, it is a much used room. The old wallpaper (which we had picked) was a nice pattern but the last wallpaper hanger blew it. He was the brother-in-law of Alan the handyman, who vouched for him - "he knows how to put up wallpaper". Just not that well. He didn't charge a lot, but the work looked bad from the first and for the last 15 years, we've been bothered most every time we walk in the room. We also stuck in a cheap vanity. Two dumb mistakes.
This time Ruth, the artiste, did a magnificent job. She was poetry in motion, and there was enough grasscloth to wallpaper our small vestibule as well, which she knew just how to do. Every surface matches seamlessly, all is perfectly flush, and the grasscloth shines. And actually smells like grass.
My prediction is that while she was expensive (probably 3 times what the brother-in-law cost) we will not think about that, but instead we will enjoy the beautiful craftsmanship of her work. So my learning in this is: if you expect to stay in a place, spend more to hire top people. It will be worth it. You won't have to spend money to undo something, and you will enjoy the results more.


Anonymous said...

It's the old adage again: You get what you pay for.

If it's important enough spend the extra money for longer term gain.

Glad to see you blogging again and that your recovery is going well.

Art Mama said...

I made a similar mistake getting some friends of friends to paint some beams on my ceiling - I was told he was a professional painter looking to fill in a week before starting a new job. Big mistake. He got paint on other areas around the beams, and lots of other places, like furniture and even the carpet, despite being supplied with an abundance of drop cloths (too lazy to move them as he worked). Because he had no painting company behind him to tell him to work to a good standard, he didn't bother. Luckily I was about to recarpet also, but it was an important lesson.