Decorating for Two: Lofty Aspirations

Like most internet-scrounging bloggy-types, I've amassed a collection of decor images that threatens to cripple my hard drive.  When I have a design problem (how high should I hang my drapes? can white trim work with deep greige walls? should I arrange my frames in a grid?) a quick click through the archives is sure to bring me the answer (just below the ceiling, mebbe, no!) and probably a host of completely unrelated "aha!" moments (I should have a dust ruffle! nailhead trim on the settee! a wooden chandelier!).

When I resolved to make my apartment a bit less girl-dominated, I went straight to the files for inspiration.  I pulled an assortment of rooms that I think succeed fabulously at being couple-friendly without being dully asexual.  Each room has elements of masculine and feminine style- and they seem to be made more beautiful in balance.

This dining area seems to beg for an imaginary scenario to go with.  She's a thoroughly modern girl with a sunny attitude, he's a traditional type who appreciates her quirky ideas as long as she doesn't paint his grandpa's solid wood table?  Who knows, but they've got a good thing going- proof that gender neutral doesn't have to be colorless.

Image Source Unknown

There's something approachable about this vignette.  Touches of whimsy like the silhouette, branches, and magenta decanter are grounded by the black table, angular clock and bottle, and (naturally) the dead bird.

Image Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Here's the magic of a loft: without walls, couples are forced to blend their decor (no man caves or boudoirs behind closed doors!).  The airy, gallery-like space makes every item an objet d'art and exaggerates the interplay between masculine and feminine.  It's impossible not to get dramatic in a loft.  This one (which you have probably seen recently on like... every other blog on the net) is so awfully lust-worthy.  If I lived there I'd want to throw in a few more feminine touches, but those pooling curtains against the raw wood floors and beams... so romantic.

Image Courtesy of Loft Life Blog, Uxus Design

I'm not sure how many of you have ever tuned an instrument before, but it's quite the experience.  It's odd, I know, but my favorite thing about playing the violin was always the pleasure of easing each string up to its perfect pitch... the initial wobbling discord, then perfect resonance.  This kitchen has a similar hum to me- the ornate gold mirror and playful chandelier in harmony with the rugged brick and clean modern cabinetry.

Image Courtesy of Living Etc.

Purple is not in the least bit girly when set on point and matched with somber grays.  Yes, the pink roses are the definition of girly, but what man would care if he had a deep tub like that?  Living with men is all about acknowledging a different scale- it may not be the pink he minds, perhaps just the petite furniture!

Image Courtesy of Waterworks

This dining room is all about contrasting weight and delicacy.  Solid architecture, deep color, heavy table.  Light as air branches, tiny specks of bright color, impossibly wispy chairs and candlesticks.  Balance.

Image Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

The next logical step in this progression towards couple equality?  I suppose I should ask Adam what he likes... so tomorrow I'll be posting HIS picks from my image library and exploring how they work with my favorites!

3 Have Spoken.:

Jane Flanagan said...

Oh this is fun! I can't wait to see what he picks. I love your choices. I always think of heavy wood and industrial pieces when I think of my guy friends and happily I like those things in balance too.

The strangest thing a guy friend has ever objected to is the Saarinen tulip table. He claimed it seemed structurally unsound and he could imagine tipping it really easily. Seriously random thing that would never occur to me. Men!

Adam said...

I like most of this stuff, but if you can squeeze in my beer bottle collection, a poster of Bob Marley and various Mariners memorabilia, I will like it more.

Kenneth said...


I'd appreciate if you can give me some feedback on our site: www.regencyshop.com

I realize that you are home decor-modern design connoisseur :) I'd like to hear your opinion/feedback on our products. Also, it'd be swell if you can place our tulip table on your blog.

Thank you,