Is All Fair in Love, War, and Decorating?

Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas in "The War of the Roses."

I am now of  "a certain age,"  which I don't plan on revealing--let's just say that in a future nearer than I like to contemplate, I will no longer be able to describe myself as "thirty-something."  But it's not aging that so much disturbs me; it's the fact that I am now old enough to realize that many beliefs and ideas I held to in younger years are just not practiable and applicable to the daily life of an adult.  For example, I now know that many people actually do enjoy going to bed at 9:30, and in fact, retreat into that bed with a feeling of relief and actually do not wish they were still out clubbing at 2:00 a.m.

One of the ideas that I am now forced to abandon is the idea of a couple being equal partners in decorating.  As a young designer, just starting out, I quickly noticed a pattern in design jobs featuring couples:  at the first meeting, the wife (I don't want to stereotype this behavior--occasionally it has been the husband that is most interested in the decorating of the home, but it's usually the wife who is most interested) would make it clear that this was "THEIR" home, and that she really wanted her husband to be involved in major decisions.  A few meetings later, not to mention tense words over recliners, stained woodwoork, and leather in the formal living room, and the wife would explain that they had agreed that she would make most of the decisions, but that the husband's office (or study, or media room, etc.) was his domain.  By the end, the husband would often be relegated to picking the flooring for the garage.  As an idealistic (and single)  lad, I used to think these was awful---would it be that hard to compromise your design vision a little?  I remember even recently seeing a house popular on the blogsphere where every surface was draped in white linnen and ruffles, with no accent color except pink, and being very surprised to find that there was a husband and a couple of small boys living there--it looked much more like the house of a single mother with a couple of daughters.

With this ideal in mind--equality---I initially decorated our house in 2006/07 trying to incorporate Thomas's taste as much as possible.  And, to be fair, the house was his before we began dating, and our tastes do overlap in certain areas (we both like color, comfort, mid-century design, found objets, and a touch of kitsch).  Anyway...fast forward 3 years, and I staging a design coup.  I am using every weapon in my arsenal:  debate, passive agressive behavoir, agressive behavior, pouting, pleading, persuasion, and the occasional firearm to have my decorating way.  And is it wrong of me that I now only want the colors, fabric, and window treatment that I want?  And feel absolutely no regret over painting over the orange paint he loves (I admit I did pick it) with the pale blue/grey/green I prefer?  And really, isn't a happy partner (ME!) worth a little sacrifice?  I think so. 

Stay tuned--there are some major design changes ahead at Villa Vortex!*

*Considering the truly bizarre occurrences that go down with regular frequency at our home, we have decided it is the vortex of strangeness, and have thus dubbed it "Villa Vortex."


beki said...

Thankfully, I live with a man who could care less (really, he's just laid back and wants me to be happy). I think we're pretty much on the same page on most things. I do run ideas by him, but as long as it isn't anything super crazy, he's okay with it.

P.S. I thought I was older than you :)

anita @ a dreamer's den said...

welcome to partnership!
if you're like me, i get tired/bored/sick of most things i've picked out or painted within about 2 years. i think you have to put that out there to thomas. if he's like my husband, once something is done, he can't understand why we *have* to change it. i am looking a very expensive chandelier we both picked out about 5 years ago (and i loved it at the time), that i would take down today if i could!!! he'd think i was crazy.
love your blog!
(and i am older than you...)

Marlo said...

This is what I love about your blog - we never know what you're going to write about next and it's always interesting, insightful, humorous and written well. Didn't you once say you wanted to be a writer?

Whenever I want to do something around the house I explain all the reasons why it would be great let him think about it; eventually he agrees - but not always.

Sometimes we just have to let it go and try again in a few months.