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 same to shouting matches that make everyone blush…but typically it lands somewhere in the middle.
I believe a space makes sure to resonate with all its inhabitants and my job is to find out what is most important to each party and what is the breaking point. This is not an easy task! Since interior design not only addresses cerebral needs such as function and financial considerations as well as emotional needs such as nesting and being seen for who you are there are some deep seated sentiments that are brought to the surface in every design project. I love 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 and 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 in relationships.