Battle of the Sexes: Designing for Mars and Venus
When a man from Mars falls in love with a woman from Venus how do they make a home together?
They hire a great designer! And every great designer should also provide mediation, arbitration and
marriage counseling within the design scope.
Seriously, I have so enjoyed working with marvelous couples who were incredibly varied. I have learned
never to make any assumptions. Each couple has their own unique set of dynamics, preference, dichotomies
and psychosis that makes for fresh experiences each time. Yes, we have had extremes… from clients that
come in dressed the exact same to boxing matches that make everyone blush… but typically it lands
somewhere in the middle.
A successful space resonates with all its inhabitants and my job is to find out what is most important to
each party and what is the breaking point. It’s not always an easy task! Since interior design not only
addresses cerebral needs such as function and financial considerations but also our emotional needs such
as nesting and being seen for who you are. There are often deep-seated sentiments that are brought to the
surface in every design project. I love this about my job! So many facets. So many aspects of understanding
my beautiful clients are required to take a pair of love birds, or even a pair of Japanese fighting fish, and
creating a space that makes them both feel happy and at home.
One of my favorite examples is a kitchen design for a couple on the opposite spectrum of design. She is
vivacious and gregarious and colorful. He is an engineer, calculating and exact. And they loved to cook
together. The solution was a streamlined kitchen full of function with strong but simple lines, geometric
shapes for him but executed in pomegranate red stained anigre and dynamic contrast of textures for her.
They both loved it.
Another example was also an example of extremes. He loved Santa Fe architecture, cowboy art and reading
his history books; she could live in a Zen modern environment with only a yoga mat.
The structure that was created to reflect both personas is still one of my favorite homes: strong, simple,
modern lines implemented with reclaimed woods and textured Indian limestone and hot rolled steel. The flat
front smooth brown oak kitchen incorporates carved ethnic panels spaciously highlighting the art work. I love
how the couple complement each other in their marriage and how their home is a perfect reflection of this unique connection.
After all, juxtaposition works in design just as it does in relationships.