Interior decorating has never been my strong suit, so I had to raise an eyebrow when my friend Raphael asked me to help him pick out the finishes for his new apartment. What does he think I’m going to do – somehow improve on his deeply ingrained European taste and understanding of design? Not likely.

He probably just wants someone to go shopping with, to legitimise his extravagant purchases. Purportedly, forest green paint is the order of the day, along with dusty pink velvet upholstery. See, this is exactly the kind of thing that drives me up the wall. Just because everyone else is going nuts for some arbitrary colour scheme or textural feature or another, I see no reason to buy into it for myself.

Raphael is just the opposite. Maybe he wants me to help because I’ll provide some restraint to his extreme trend-following. At the end of the day, though, he should probably speak to some professionals. Again, that’s something I can guide him towards, because he sure as heck won’t be doing it himself.

Who are the best kitchen designers, Melbourne has to offer? I know there are plenty of you interior-loving types out there reading this, so help me out. The kitchen is a room where, in my opinion, functionality should come first, but I know that Raphael doesn’t see it that way. That’s why he needs a pro to figure out how to merge his aesthetic vision with features that actually work.

The custom bathroom renovations will have to wait, although I know that Raphael is champing at the bit to get onto that part of the process. I can’t bring myself to ask him what he has in mind for it… let’s just say it’s bound to involve a hot tub, a rain shower, lots of black marble and gold tapware.

The more I think about it, the more I realise that I am indeed being recruited as a means of reigning in Raphael’s excessive tastes. Just because something looks impressive doesn’t mean it’s good for his wallet or having a functioning house. Lucky me.