"I guess I should put the Mercedes in the garage." Such a statement was uttered by me only because one of my clients had generously loaned her car to me while I was between car purchases. I usually park my car on the street, and I realized perhaps I should take extra care of the vehicle that was entrusted to me. A nice perk of being a designer is that you are privy to such luxuries.
The list of gifts received over the years is long and varied. Certainly the use of second homes is especially appreciated, and the use of "fleet" vehicles on location, too. Their generosity is touching. For instance, while on project location in New Orleans recently, I had the use of the client's Prius. As I was picking up my daughter Emily to drive her to classes at Tulane one morning, she asked, "Where did that dent come from?" I walked around to the front and was horrified to find a significant dent in the bumper. Somebody must have backed into it the night before. When I reported it to my client, with every intention of taking care of the repairs, she responded, "Don't give it another thought! Those things are expected to happen in New Orleans!"
And so it goes...my home is furnished with bits and pieces of my projects and the generosity of my clients. Scraps of fabrics find their way onto furnishings of one sort or another. It's a good thing that I never specify anything that I wouldn't want myself!
Instructions from my clients: "We insist that you drink our wine, eat whatever is in the kitchen, drive our vehicles and otherwise make yourself at home! Being in a relationship with this kind of client makes my job that much easier! Who wouldn't want to do their very best with such trust and appreciation for my efforts on their behalf?
Sometimes, when a client is moving, downsizing, or redecorating, I'm given things that don't fit into the new design plan. Here you see this painting by Matt Walters that didn't fit into one of my client's new home. She knew that I loved it, and gave it to me!
As a designer, you are also able to get first dibs on estate and tag sale items. In this case, I got a set of four Emeco chairs at well below my original cost. Such a deal! A lot of times, my clients just give me whatever I want before selling to the public or putting things up for consignment.
I have been the happy recipient of all sorts of wonderful things: bicycles, TVs, furniture and furnishings, rugs, clothing, foodstuffs, wine; just about anything that you can think of! There are also invitations to dinner, parties, special events, and of course touching grateful client gifts at all times of the year. My clients are THE BEST! I am blessed to be showered with their appreciation for all that I do for them. I have to say, though I don't like a lot of frippery in my design work, this job does come with a few frills!