Recently I put out a call for guest writers here, so I thought it would be great to start off with one exceptional guest spot from Lilah, a blogger from Urban Sardines, a design and décor blog. Since I made the big announcement that I got engaged, it’s been a bit of a struggle how my fiancé and I are going to combine all our stuff into one small apartment (especially given my penchant for extremely girly home décor like hot pink walls). Enter Lilah, who’s going to offer up some excellent advice on how to blen your style with your boyfriends when you move into together!
When you move in with your man, you might expect to fight over who will do the dishes, who will take out the trash, and who gets to pick their favorite side of the bed…but you might be overlooking something far more fundamental.
Consider exhibit A:
If your bedroom looks anything like this, you may be in for a bit of an adjustment. Gorgeous though this room is, your man may feel a bit… um, emasculated…. In this space.
How do you reconcile your gorgeous, girly décor with his barcalounger?
Make It Gender Neutral
Finding neutral ground can be a great way to bond with your partner. After all, the space you live in is a significant expression of who you are as a person, so it should also reflect what you are like as a couple. A great way to find neutral ground is to figure out what colors you both like and build from there. To tone down feminine vibes, avoid detail, scrolling, and rounded edges in furniture and major pieces. Once you establish more “masculine” base, you can add pops of color and feminine touches without causing your boyfriend to need testosterone injections.
Here are a few examples of spaces that are “gender” neutral:
This bedroom from Kishani Perera has dark, masculine colors, but is also very elegant and vibrant:. The bed is a good balance between feminine and masculine, and the pop of color from the flowers brings a feminine edge to the room.
Steven Gambrel’s living room design is a great inspiration for masculine spaces that are elegant and gorgeous. It’s a great balance between masculine and feminine. The colors are warm, but masculine, the lines are clean and simple.
Here’s another great Steven Gambrel living room. The orange bar station is modern with clean lines, but the pop of orange has a feminine vibe.
Understand Each Other’s Cleaning Habits
Before you move in together, get an honest assessment of what your cleanliness habits are (I’ve known both men and women whose partners complain about each others’ cleaning habits). If your habits differ, consider some modern appliances (without a dishwasher, my boyfriend and I would have split long ago!), and if you can afford it, consider handing over some of the responsibility to the pros. My boyfriend doesn’t do laundry, so he sends it out to an affordable local cleaner every week. Problem solved.
Consider Ditching Some Items
Review each other’s furniture and decide what you can both live with. When I moved with my boyfriend, he got rid of a clunky, broken desk, and I got rid of my extremely feminine bedding. We are both happy with the results (although I miss my lacy bedding sometimes, and I’m sure he misses his desk).
Make a Man Cave
If you have the space, let him create his man-cave while you create your girly haven. For my boyfriend and me, this isn’t an option (living in a small urban space, you usually don’t get a few extra rooms to play with). However, I know a lot of couples who have separate offices or art studios where they can decorate to suit themselves. If I had such a space, I’d channel all my girly instincts into that one spot, and let the leather furniture take over in the living room.
Compromise, Compromise, Compromise
Finally, when moving in with your man, remember it’s an exercise in compromise. You may have to live with his leather couch, but hopefully, he’ll graciously live with your perfume collection, giant collection of heels, and blanket your Grandma crocheted for you.
Lilah is a writer living in a small Victorian in San Francisco, California. Her small living environment inspired her to explore the world of small-space design. Along the way, she started the blog, Urban Sardines, to share what she has learned about creating a warm, inviting home in a small space.
Recently I stumbled upon this super cool chandelier - The Sunsa Chandelier. It's made up of 21 shades, and looks kind of like Japanese umbrellas upside down, but in a very refined way. The four layers of shades are either 24” or 30” in diameter, creating a large scale sea of light.
This statement piece would look amazing in an entryway!
Photo Credit: http://blog.styleestate.com/
three little monkeys laying on the $25,000 mattress
This past weekend I went with my brother and fiancé to a historical part of the city to walk on the cobblestone streets, sip some gourmet locally roasted coffee, peruse the art in the galleries, and sample some Toronto micro brewed beer.
Just as we stepped out of the car I happened upon a mattress store. It seemed a tad out of place to be in this area, but since we're in the market for a new mattress we decided to step in.
And step into another world we did indeed!
At the Hasten's store(Swedish for extremely expensive...I think) we decided to try out the mattresses. They were divine! If a pea were under that bed you would never notice. You could probably have a pea farm under your bed and not notice!
We were all having a lovely time on the bed and my fiancé was ready to buy one. I said "honey, these are not your average mattresses, these are $25,000!" He brushed it off and said "Well, if one at a different store is $1,000 I think it's worth it, this feels amazing!" I pulled him aside and gently said "No, not $2,500, I mean $25,000, kind of like you're sleeping in a car".
He raised his eyebrows and said "ohhh". That's right, it's $25,000 for this fancy schmancy horse hair mattress.
I can't imagine paying that much, even if it's the official mattress of the Swedish royal family.
Would you pay $25,000 for a mattress?
Recently I discovered this super fun quiz by Ethan Allen to help figure out my house style, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
Since I’m getting married next Spring I’ve been trying to find a place to live that my future husband and I will both like. As a part of my magazine project I’ve been clipping my dream houses out and also one’s that I think my fiancé will like. But every house I’ve chosen for him has been dead wrong!
So now we’re going back to basics to try and figure out what style “category” each of us likes. That way we can figure out how to appropriately mix our styles.
Hopefully we have it all figured out before we move in together!
I love home decor and designs. I could spend weeks browsing through stores looking at nick knacks, paint colours, home accessories and design elements. I could go to open houses every weekend. I could buy all the coffee table books and magazines on beautiful houses and homes.
If I had it my way I'd be changing my apartment design every month.
But, clearly that gets a little pricey.
So, for now I'll stick to my pink 377 square foot apartment, and keep the plan to redecorate in my back pocket.
But even then, the styles of homes I like are so varied. Stone and wood detached homes look cozy, deep red brick square homes look traditional, and I love modern townhouses too. I just can't decide!
I think I'll have to be a house flipper in the future so I get to experiment with all these different styles!
Photo Credit: Young House Love Blog
For every girl that's ever dreamed of living with bright colours and bold design this one's for you. Take the chance and make your dream place become a reality!
My wall before the colour explosion
Like most girls I had a dream apartment in my mind, but just couldn't make it happen. Partly because I doubted that it would work out - would hot pink really look good? What if I hated it as soon as I saw it on my walls? Doubt crept in and every time I thought of painting I reconsidered.
But also, the amount of work required to fix my apartment and decorate it just like I wanted seemed so huge and impossible. How long would it take? Would I be living in a construction zone for months?
And then of course the cost was another factor. How much would it cost? Could I afford it? Was there a less expensive way to do it?
In the beginning the plan was to hire a painter. But then my fiance (then boyfriend) told me that painters could be pricey and they wouldn't care as much as I did about the little details. And then he offered to help me paint.
So we bought all the supplies and got down to some serious work.
The first strokes - it's too late to turn back now!
The first pink coat looked amazing, but another coat was needed. The second was also great, but just not as hot as I wanted. So a third coat was put on...and it looked terrible! We used a tool that wasn't meant to paint a full wall, and there were streaks and stripes everywhere. I tried to pretend it didn't bother me, but I couldn't hide it - the wall was going to make me crazy unless it was fixed.
Applying the finishing touches - again!
So we headed back to the hardware store and got more paint to cover up the last coat. We spent a few hours painting and then let it dry...only to notice the new coat didn't match the earlier ones. The earlier coats were from paint bought at a hardware store by my office, and the last can was from the store close to my home. And they weren't the same colour (I learned the hard way to make sure you buy all your paint from the same store!)
So we headed back to the store by my office and picked up another can of paint. And after this coat I had the perfect pink wall!
The finished wall with decorative touches - a mini pink palace!