Well, over the course of my design career, I’ve had numerous occasions when the husband and wife had different feelings about design.
One particular situation that comes to mind involved a woman who liked traditional styles, traditional furniture, etc., because this was the look she grew up with. As a result, she felt this style defined who she was and should also define the character of her home.
Then she met a man and they fell in love. This guy was hip, cool and really liked contemporary design with clean lines. His mind was very much on minimal design, because that’s what he felt represented the future.
So what I did with a couple of their rooms was: In one, while keeping in mind what I heard from her about what she liked, I would create a traditional interior that was mostly for her. Then, within that same room, I’d take a piece of contemporary furniture, place it in a very obvious space and spotlight it, making it the focal point of what was mostly a very traditional room. This furniture piece could be anything: a dresser, an armoire . . . you name it and it would work.
Because I placed so much focus on the contemporary, it made the traditional look even more traditional, and the contemporary piece look even more contemporary.
In the second room, I’d do the precise opposite. There, the whole interior would be contemporary . . . really contemporary . . . sooo minimal, clean and gorgeous. Then I would take a piece like a victorian dresser, covered in carvings and beautiful ornate details, and spotlight it. This made the dresser that was surrounded by contemporary things feel like an art piece, and it stood out so much that people would see it and instantly be like, “That’s a gorgeous piece of furniture!”
I’ve taken this approach repeatedly for such situations, because there are always ways to blend things. It’s always a lot of fun to do, and I always love the results.
Bonus question from interior designer, Irene Turner:
Why do you think all the home design shows on TV are such big hits?
I think people like to see other people making decisions, because they can relate to them.
Sure, it’s all well and good to look at photographs in two dimensions, but actually seeing people making decisions as they walk around the three-dimensional space they live in excites the senses in a much more satisfying way.
Then, of course, there’s the fact that we’re all naturally very voyeuristic, and TV shows allow us to be that way unlike any other medium.
Coming Wednesday (9.9.12): Michael Payne will join us again to answer the question: How do you handle one person in a relationship who’s wanting to dominate all of a project’s decisions?