We can’t agree on a dec­o­rat­ing scheme

Three read­ers re­veal what hap­pens when a cou­ple’s tastes dif­fer – and how to avoid fight­ing over state­ment tiles or bold colours

Real Homes - - Front Page -

‘I often play a game of “Do you no­tice any­thing dif­fer­ent to­day?” when he comes home from work’ Donna Henry, a stay-at-home mum and for­mer graphic de­sign tu­tor, lives in Welling­bor­ough, Northamp­ton­shire, with her hus­band Dave, a tech­ni­cal de­signer, and their daugh­ter, Eva, two

‘Be­cause of our jobs, we’re both quite dif­fer­ent in how we look at things. I’m from an art and in­te­rior de­sign back­ground, but Dave is more prac­ti­cal, so he often doesn’t see my vi­sion like I do. I’m quite into de­sign and our home is quirky and mis­matched – there’s lots go­ing on, and he thinks it’s a bit much. He plays it safe whereas I’m a bit more dar­ing. If I tell him an idea I’ve had, he’ll be like, “That’s a bit weird.” He al­most al­ways loves it once it’s done, though.

‘I used to tell him my ideas and then when he hes­i­tated, I’d sug­gest just try­ing it out. I’d al­ways say, “If you don’t like it, we’ll change it back,” but in the end we don’t usu­ally have to do that. If I didn’t con­vince him to try things, we wouldn’t have half the stuff we have now! These days, though, I don’t bother ask­ing – I just play a game where I say, “Do you no­tice any­thing dif­fer­ent to­day?” when he comes home from work be­cause I’m al­ways chang­ing things around. If we were bur­gled, I’m not sure I’d even no­tice what went miss­ing!

‘Dave isn’t re­ally into DIY – he’ll put stuff up for me if I ask. He’s a lot more prac­ti­cal and likes to plan, plan, plan, whereas I don’t like to wait – I’m quite im­pul­sive. I’ll ad­mit that a few times I’ve re­gret­ted my de­ci­sion, then had to take some­thing down and re­paint a wall here and there. Gen­er­ally, though, we work to­gether well. The ma­jor night­mare was our con­ser­va­tory, which we re­did as the old one was leaky. We had glass pan­els all around the room, but we ac­ci­den­tally left the mask­ing tape around it when we’d fin­ished paint­ing the wood and it stuck like glue to the glass. In the end, we had to board it up so it looks like wooden pan­els. We got over it and turned it into a pos­i­tive, but he re­ally washed his hands of it af­ter that.

‘These days, he’s happy for me to take the lead in our house, and he has a garage that he’s do­ing up – I’m happy that he’s got his own space. The next project is the bath­room, which we’re work­ing on to­gether – we’ve al­ready agreed on state­ment tiles. I al­ways con­sult him on ma­jor things like that, but I think this time we have the same vi­sion.’

‘My part­ner al­ways starts off as if he doesn’t like my idea, then I over­hear him telling peo­ple it was his’

‘We’ve al­ways had sim­i­lar tastes – we both like old mixed with new, and we have a mas­cu­line choice in colours. It’s more how we get to the point of fin­ish­ing a room where we dif­fer. James is very prac­ti­cal but im­pul­sive – if he sees some­thing he likes, he’ll get it. I’m more of a thinker. I like to plan things.

‘James will ad­mit that I al­ways tend to get my own way. When I have an idea, he’s usu­ally against it straight away, so I think it’s go­ing to be a mas­sive strug­gle to try and get it done. I think it’s a no, but then I hear him talk­ing about it with friends like it was the plan all along. Some­times he tries to pre­tend he never said he didn’t like an idea, but I can lit­er­ally re­call the ar­gu­ment we had in the shop!

‘I’m a big fan of Pin­ter­est and have boards for dif­fer­ent rooms in the house. I love re­search and spend lots of time sort­ing things out. We land­scaped the gar­den over win­ter last year and James de­cided to do it him­self with a friend. I sent him pho­to­graphs of how I wanted it to look with spe­cific de­tails about the grey resin deck­ing. I came home to find the deck­ing was brown in­stead. James de­cided last minute that it was a bet­ter colour. He told me it’d look good when it was laid. Once it was down, he looked at me and said,

“Yeah, you were right.” He spent a day try­ing to paint it be­fore rip­ping it out.

‘Our dec­o­rat­ing process in­volves lots of talk­ing at each other. He gets de­fen­sive when he thinks that some­one has a bet­ter idea than him. We talk it through, I show him a pic­ture, and he sketches it out. Once he’s done that, he likes it – then it be­comes his idea!’

‘I had to fight tooth and nail for the lime green bath­room she thought would be too loud’

‘If I had to sum up my style, I’d de­scribe it as bold and vi­brant – I love bright oranges and limes, and funky fab­rics. I think I watched too many car­toons when I was younger. I’m no fan of any­thing tra­di­tional – Ar­tex is the work of the devil. Danielle was more con­ser­va­tive when we first got to­gether, but over time she’s grown to be more dar­ing. It takes ages to talk her into things, though she usu­ally agrees in the end.

‘I’m a painter-dec­o­ra­tor by trade and this is my fourth project, but my first as an up­cy­cler. I got into that af­ter our wed­ding. Ev­ery­thing we were quoted for a venue was out of our bud­get, so we de­cided to do ev­ery­thing our­selves, rent­ing out an old school and up­cy­cling fur­ni­ture for the cer­e­mony and re­cep­tion. I’m a bit of a project man­ager – I did the last kitchen up by my­self be­fore Danielle moved in. I know it’ll be a bit of a cul­ture shock for her when we start on our new one. I’ve man­aged to talk her into hav­ing stand­alone units from char­ity shops – a bit of a chal­lenge, but for­tune favours the brave!

‘We do com­pro­mise, but most of the time I can per­suade her to do some­thing a bit bolder – nine times out of 10, once I’ve talked her through my idea, she’s good to go on it. I had to fight tooth and nail for our lime green bath­room be­cause she thought it was too loud. It took a cruise to per­suade her to dec­o­rate our kitchen splash­back in coloured glass – she thought it was an aw­ful idea un­til the restau­rant on the ship had a sim­i­lar de­sign on its doors. I’m try­ing to get her to agree to paint­ing our wooden fire­place teal with a yel­low hearth – she’s ap­palled but I keep telling her, “Trust me – it’ll work”.’

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