Decorating for Two: Battle of the Sexes

You live with someone for four years, you think you know them, and then one day the truth comes out: they have a design aesthetic, and it's not quite the same as yours.  

The fact that Adam has his own taste is a shocking revelation for me. Call me oblivious, but all these years he's never voiced an opinion! It's amazing how the give and take of a relationship works- he gave me total sovereignty over our shared abode, I pretended to enjoy watching televised poker tournaments (sorry to finally break it to you, Adam). Those days are over though. From now on we're going to be watching a lot more Project Runway and Adam's been promoted to design consultant.

Last night we held design summit with the help of Skype screen sharing, and Adam worked on his visual vocabulary. And boy, did he ever. He had a lot to say- both about what he likes, and what I like (that he doesn't). I may have created a monster, but I asked for it (and I probably had this coming after I threw away his Bob Marley and Scarface posters).

He responded to this bedroom immediately- the stormy walls, the majestic dark wood bed, the fireplace. He even knew what style of chandelier that was (making me look like a total fool). I was intimidated by this pick, as it seems more formal than our budget and pocket apartment can provide. What I have to learn from this is that I do need to decorate to accommodate my 6'7" fellow, and that I should think twice before painting over wood furniture.

Image Source Unknown

We were in complete agreement about these two rooms.  He liked the wood floors and architectural details, I am very into that table and chandelier. Very.

Images Courtesy of Unknown, Anna Wolf via Dwellings & Decor

These are a couple of my favorites that he stuck up his nose at (I saw you Adam, video chat!).  He hates having furniture floating in the room like this round table, instead preferring to have everything anchored to a wall.  As for the second image (the one that's been on my Berkeley apartment mood board)... the color scheme was vetoed firmly.  Good thing I hadn't bought any lavender paint yet, argh!

Images Credits Unknown

Adam had very strong notions about organizing- stacked and visible. In Adam's world if you put something in a cabinet and close the door... it no longer exists (which makes hiding Christmas presents a snap in our household). He repeatedly pointed out neat images of kitchens and craft rooms with open shelving, many of which had a sophisticated mercantile feel.

I'm all over this, as long as we pick out beautiful furniture and showcase our things in a pleasing way!

Images Credits Unknown

Conceptually, we both love this first image. In real life, we have neither the private property or the self-confidence for a bathroom like that! Thinking more practically, Adam chose images of bathrooms with deep double sinks, large and tall mirrors, exposed pipes, basket storage, and patterned hex tile flooring. That's my kinda man!

Image Credits Unknown

Adam shares my love of curiosities, but we didn't see eye to eye when it came to display. While I prefer a more naturally staged approach (like Mr. Puffin there), Adam liked seeing the objects laid out in the glass case. I guess that's a scientist for you.

Image Courtesy of Spagat, AT

Remember this stunning loft that I mentioned yesterday? He liked it too- except for the drapes, calling them "too feminine." I'm in disbelief here. I suppose he's not a fan of these either?

Image Courtesy of Loft Life Blog

Many of my favorite homes have a fairy tale quality to them. Stone buildings with peaked roofs, all swallowed up in vines. Mazes of nooks furnished with mismatched antiques, and lots to be discovered. It was a dream come true that Adam picked out these images as HIS favorites as well! He didn't even bat an eye at the floral mural in that odd green room, acknowledging that it just added to the charm.

Image Credits Unknown

One of the most important design decisions we'll make together will be about how to store and display our rather large library. I'm afraid this could be a point of contention. Adam liked grid shelving, pointing out every room with an Expedit unit (very subtle hint, boyfriend). He noted how this bookcase made from crates combined rustic and geometric elements that he favored. On the other hand, I prefer floor to ceiling bookcases with a little more drama... 

Images Courtesy of Unknown, Domino Magazine

This is a very broad and eclectic spread- it's going to be fun to help him narrow down his vision and start blending it with mine! I'm envisioning a major decor purge as soon as I move. Perhaps he'll wish he'd kept his mouth shut when I've turned the house upside down? Heh heh.

What do you all think of Adam's first dip into the image pool? Is this something you'd consider doing with your partner or spouse? Any design professionals out there who want to chime in? I'd love to know how you help your clients define their personal style- your techniques might come in handy here!

3 Have Spoken.:

CopyStrands said...

I love open shelving, we are remodeling our kitchen right now and it will have a couple rows of open shelving, it does give it a more sophisticated feel! Good luck with your choices, remodeling can be fun :)

Adam said...

I can remember cleaning my room as a kid and having my mom ask "Why is your closet empty but your windowsill is full?". I also remember that tarnished metal and distressed wood was always interesting (as in old or historical) to me rather than ugly. I have always been a night person rather than a morning person, and have felt uncomfortable in very well lit environments. Bright light and bright colors, whether they be artificial or natural, literally hurts my eyes.
I never thought of my sense of style much, but now I see it is influenced by my visual memory or aptitude, an emotional connection to old things, even purely physical factors like sensitive eyes and (as Liz pointed out) my height. These are really interesting topics that I am eager to explore, but I will still defer to StB on how to decorate my home.

sinan said...

Those shelves made of crates are just the kind of thing I love! Modular, easy-going, has lots of character, and inexpensive! Thanks for a great post!