Monday, March 22, 2010

"His stuff, your stuff, now what?"

As an interior designer with over 25 years in the game, you could say I have endured some design challenges. And now as design head for Armani/Casa IDS, Giorgio Armani’s interior design studio, I have been fortunate enough to design home environments for bachelors like singer John Mayer, violinist David Garrett, actor Adrien Brody, and various captains’ of industry. I’ve spent seven years designing showrooms for Ralph Lauren, including the Beverly Hills and New York stores amongst others. But the most challenging feat is often a new home for ‘newlyweds’.

Man, Check! Ring, Check! Venue, Check! But did you really, sign on to gaze at that threadbare sofa ‘Til Death Do Us part’? What will your response be when he comes home dripping from sweat, some hazy, hot and humid mid-August summer day during a New York City garbage strike? He walks in, runs his hands through his sweat laden hair, hurls his Kenneth Cole laptop messenger bag to the floor, runs into the kitchen for one, no two, cold ones. Pops the cap, grabs the remote control and salt and vinegar chips, to watch the eighteenth run of Rocky 2 (like he never saw it before), poised to stretch out, feet up and realizes someone moved HIS sofa?

‘Till Death Do Us’ part. Hmmmmm. Sometime in the not-so–wee hours of the night (okay, day after he’d gone to work) the Salvation Army Truck arrived. I know, I know you never saw it coming, didn’t call them, but somehow they managed to enter your newlywed home and haul that raggedy thing to an unknown location. Hmmmm. Where, Oh where are the by-laws buried for the not-so harmonious task of ‘blending furniture’? This was not covered in marriage counseling. If so, the pages must have been stuck together. It is likely easier to ‘blend’ in-laws, and extended families. Well except for the ‘crazy cousin’ no one wants to claim much less talk to.

I am often asked to ‘marry’ styles. Contemporary, with Traditional, Moderne, with Bohemia, French with Vintage Metal, as in Heavy Metal. Generally there has already been a degree of editing done way before I show up. But all too often, there is that one piece that manages to be the ‘button’. The piece that can be a real deal breaker. The one fabric clad (often stained) heavy piece from the ‘hot’ bachelor/bachelorette days that can question your own judgment. The piece that makes you wonder is you should have married ‘Fred’ instead of ‘Ted’. What is the solution?

The answer, in short is ‘diplomacy’. The same level of ‘diplomacy’ required in deciding where to spend the holidays, how to tactfully avoid eating his mamas, overdone pearl onion casserole which is like chewing a plate of marbles, with cheese.

Identify pieces that fit well into the new environment.

When I say ‘fit’, I have four suggestions:

1) Scaled to fit. Do not keep a large sofa in a studio apartment just because your sister gave it to you.

2) Keep ‘non-trendy’ pieces that are in good condition and made well. Even if something is old consider updating with new knobs, pulls, hardware etc. Strip the finish and add a coat of paint. There are numerous shops allowing DIY practicing before committing to an entire job.

3) Make breathing new life into old pieces a ‘date night’. Wear sexy clothing and he will forget you’re ripping the denim fabric off of his favorite football night chair, replacing it with velvet and a colorful Jonathan Adler toss pillow. Whenever, he see’s the chair, he will imagine how much fun you had frolicking on it, forgetting what it used to look like. And if he can’t remember, frolic some more until it’s all he can think about. You know what I mean!

4) 1-800-STO-AWAY and any likely facsimile available in your region. Costs are generally manageable. Who knows, down the road there may be more room for it, or the style will come back. Again, only keep pieces in great condition.

Remember, “keep it moving or be left behind”. So try not to worry about sofas, curios, tables and such. When the music stops, just be glad to have a chair!
(Photo courtesy of The Nest)

1 comment:

Nick Carter Photography said...

Very well written! When I got married I sent my wife on vacation and I designed our place...she loves it!