Write on: Our home

I didn’t bring it up, but the topic kept surfacing anyway.

During all my talks with local interior designers for this month’s Spaces & Places stories, I kept hearing the word “compromise.”

Designer Arianne Bellizaire told me how she married the differing styles of a couple she worked with on a project. He wanted their master bedroom to be calm and quiet. She wanted it to be a little bolder and louder.

The answer, Bellizaire often finds, is in the blue.

“We know that blue is a great compromise color, which is why you see a lot of blue in our projects,” she told me. “It’s not that it is our favorite color. It’s just that when we’re designing for a married couple or a shared space, blue is typically a color that is easy for both people to get their heads around.”

In this design, midnight blue pillows, chairs and curtains offered the liveliness the wife was looking for. Bellizaire grounded its vibrancy with neutrals and golden yellows more suited to the husband’s tastes.

And all the designers I talked with agreed on one thing—communication in the beginning of the design process is crucial.

If she’s working with a couple, Rachel Cannon likes both clients to be present from the first meeting, so there are no surprises down the road. It saves time—and money—because it prevents disagreements and changes at the 11th hour of the design process.

The more I talked to the designers about these other couples’ stories, the more I felt like they were unknowingly reading my mind. I couldn’t help but silently apply their advice to my own life.

I just got married. And after many years together—most of which were spent in some form of long-distance relationship—my husband, Adam, and I are finally living together full time.

It is truly the best thing ever and a stage of our lives we have dreamt of for a long time. Getting to come home from work to each other every night, cook together daily and even watch Netflix sitting next to each other on the couch are activities we will never take for granted.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Even if it means getting rid of the pink in our apartment.

Adam and I have extremely different styles. I live for color. Especially pink. His style is darker and industrial.

He’s all about minimalism, organization and form over function. I’m a maximalist. If I see something I love, I have to have it, even if I don’t have space for it.

And yes, this makes me a little bit messy. But perhaps my worst offense is prioritizing style over things that well, actually work. I’m that person who will covet a gloriously design-y couch even if the cushions are rock-hard uncomfortable.

So we’re different. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But now that he’s moved into my pastel-filled apartment, I can appreciate that he wants to come home to a space he loves every night as much as I do.

When we had our friends Brittany and Matt over, Brittany walked in the door and said, “Wow! I love your space.”

Adam replied, “Oh, that’s all Jenn.”

“Yeah, man, I can tell,” Matt said with a laugh.

Adam gave me a dark look.

There’s a part of me that wants to sell everything I own on Facebook Marketplace and start over. Make a Pinterest moodboard. Pick everything out together. Ride off into a perfectly designed sunset.

Instead, though, we’re taking it slowly and realistically, making one change at a time.

I bought pull-out drawer organizers for the cabinets under our bathroom sink to control the overflowing tsunami of our bathroom products (cough, OK, mostly mine). It was an utter game changer.

And once, when Adam was at work, I surprised him and spent all day swapping out some of my artwork and hanging up his.

The labor was worth it as soon as I saw his smile when he returned to our home that night.

Because that’s the thing: It’s not just my home anymore.

It’s ours.

This article was originally published in the April 2020 issue of 225 Magazine.