Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Let's Talk About Design, Honey"

This is how the usual "design" conversation goes between the boyfriend and I:

Secrets of a Stylist
 Me:  "Hey honey - I really love the valances in this room.  I think I want to do something like this in the living room."

The Boyfriend:  "I really hate that."

Me:  "Really?  Well, that's what I'm doing.  It'll look great."

Now, in real life, he's not usually very negative and I'm not usually that pushy, but we have the almost exact conversation every time I show him a picture of something I like or want to do with the house.  Lately, I've been catching up on episodes of Secrets of a Stylist that I missed during the move.  (Did you know you can watch them online at - I have no idea why it took me this long to realize this.)  So, in a salute to design goddess Emily Henderson, I did a little style diagnostic of my own last night on the boyfriend.

Only I didn't use props or anything exciting like that.  Instead, I simply asked:  "If you lived by yourself and could decorate this house anyway you wanted, what would it look like?"  And he basically described this:

No offense if this is your house.  Or if you love the pictures and want to immediately go out and recreate the look for your own home.  But I kinda hate it.  In a major way.  It reminds me a bit of "Saved By the Bell" for some reason.

To give the boyfriend his due - maybe in his head his vision is much more upscale and cool looking.  But when you say "contemporary" "sleek" "minimalist" with those colors - this is what my mind sees and then immediately starts running away from.  No wonder I am so dismissive whenever he doesn't like one of my ideas.

Nine times out of ten, once I actually get around to implementing an idea - the boyfriend ends up liking it.  Like the ongoing red cabinet saga (stay tuned for tomorrow's post) - which he initially thought was a terrible idea (even with Jenny's awesome picture) and now is trying to figure out a way to keep in our house.

I'd like to believe that the fact that he always comes around is the reason I'm not crushed by his knee-jerk "I hate it."  I'd rather think that than the fact that I am a terrible girlfriend who could care less about his personal taste and if it is reflected in his house.  (Okay, I do admit to being about 10% this - because, after all, I am letting him build a golf room in our garage.)  So, after our little design talk last night, I made a promise to myself to be more give-and-take with this aspect of our relationship.  I obviously want him to have an opinion because I always run everything by him.  And I love that I can always count on his honest opinion and not just a rubber stamp approval.  It makes our house better.  It makes me pause and think about the choices I'm making, not just if I love something or not.

Like the valances.  They are awesome.  (They looked more awesome on the show than in that picture, by the way.)  But I think the boyfriend is right that they wouldn't look good in our house.  We have an oddly vaulted ceiling and the valances would probably cut the room in half and make the ceiling feel too separate from the rest of the space.  I want the ceiling to kind of fade into the background where you don't notice it, just feel the nice, open quality it gives.

Compromise - the key to any relationship.  I feel like such an after-school special.

Or at least a PSA.

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