28 Feb 2010
My wife has told me on several occasions that I have ruined her. Before me, she would have been happy to live in a nice large, new, builder home with furniture straight out of the Pottery Barn catalog. Now, I have made her painfully aware of the terrible, the unplanned, and the danger of asymmetrical hierarchy that is embodied in every custom builder home that is so pervasive in our neck of the woods. I know shopping for houses, furniture, whatever, is a complete beating for her because I have a strong opinion about everything.
The design direction on most of our projects are driven by women with the men relegated to creating one or two man rooms (typically a study, media room, or garage). For the most part, the men are grateful to not participate in the design meetings when fixture packages, color schemes, furniture arrangements, kitchen layouts, etc. (I could keep going for awhile) are discussed.
Not my poor wife. She can’t make a move without getting unsolicited input from yours truly. You can’t really blame me – this is what I do! I spend an exorbitant amount of time thinking about these things compared to the average person. For all I know, I am judged by every Tom, Dick and Harry – scratch that – Jill, Sue and Mary who come over to my home (not that there are lots of women coming over to my house, let’s focus people!). I can’t help but think that all the concessions my wife and I extend to one another in the spirit of compromise dilute the “design vision” of our house. We have spent hours talking about cabinet pulls, butt hinges, concrete pads, even plants.
Another other crippling blow that I routinely strike comes when it times to buy furniture. If I can’t afford to buy exactly what I want, I would rather not spend anything. As a result, and after 15 years of marriage, a large percentage of our house is still outfitted with the finest IKEA has to offer.
It is insane and I know I don’t handle it well. I am used to people coming to me as the expert and paying to hear me tell them what to do in all matters of design. Only since moving into our current home, have several of these things have started to change, a little. We moved from approximately 3,000 square feet to 1,800 square feet and we had to get rid of a lot of stuff. That process of reduction has empowered us to buy nicer things for the simple reason there was less to buy. A perfect example is door hardware. The previous four homes all had door hardware from Home Depot or Lowe’s – but this house, since there are only 6 doors, we got some really nice stuff, almost extravagant. This was a luxury we never considered possible before.
Yes sir, things are looking up. As a matter of fact, we had a delivery made at the house today and the deliveryman said this was the coolest house he’d ever been in….then again, I can’t remember if that was before or after I gave him a tip…..