So, we’re remodeling and decorating our new home. If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll know that we bought our fist home last year, we completely gutted the kitchen and did a full kitchen renovation, and now we’re working on the master bedroom and bathroom. Many people are surprised to discover that Jason (my husband) is fully involved in the process, in every single decision. While not a designer by trade, he has a great eye and is a much more practical thinker than I am. Our kitchen reno was a total meeting of the minds and there is a lot of him in the kitchen.
When we first moved into the new home, we did have some words. I assumed that he would be cool with me taking the reigns and doing whatever I wanted in the new house. He (gently) reminded me that this was also his first time owning a house, and that he was just as excited about it as I was, and that he was going to live here too. Oh yeah. I was being totally unreasonable. Oops. So, over this past nine months I’ve learned a lot about what it means to design a house with a partner, (especially if one person is a designer) and I thought I’d share a bit about what I’ve learned.
1.) It may help to treat your partner like a client. One thing that has worked well for us is if I have an idea for, say, a pendant lamp, I provide him with several options that I like and decide on a favorite together. It’s only happened a few times that he veto’d all my initial options (and usually it’s for practical reasons) and then he explains why that pendant lamp won’t work for him, and I take that into consideration when picking more options. This way we both end up having a say and being cool with the end result.
2.) Split responsibilities. We have slightly different roles that we’ve fallen into. Jason does a lot of the detail oriented functional stuff (like picking out light switch plates and deciding where the switches will go) and I take lead on things like finishes. We still run things by each other for final approval but we have our ‘camps’ where one of us takes the lead.
3.) Follow the priorities. There are SO many choices to make when designing and remodeling a home, and it’s easy to get stuck on small decisions (especially given that everything is a little bit more stressful when your living in a house that’s under construction). How high should the wainscoting go? What finish should the shower hardware be in? Where do we save and where do we splurge? So one thing I have been working hard at, is learning to be really clear about what things are most important to me when it comes to the design of the home, and what things are most important to him. If he really wants slide-in oven and it’s not that big a deal to me either way, we get the slide in. If I really want Aja teal wallpaper in the TV room, he gives me that. We follow each others’ priorities to be sure that we are both getting as close as possible to our visions for our home.
The overarching theme (I think) is to make sure that your partner is (and feels) included in the process (if they want to be!). Ideas get run by each other and everyone gets a say. I think that at the end of the day, the home even works better for the whole family this way because decisions have been made together.
Have you designed a home with a husband/wife/partner? Learn any good lessons? Got any tips? I’d love to hear them!