Once upon a time, I was asked to speak to a class of Interior Design students. I prepared a (what I considered) brilliant presentation. At the current time, I remember nothing of the content, but what I do remember is at the end, I had a question and answer session where I was asked, “What’s the most important class you took in college, that has helped your Interior Design career the most?”
I promptly replied… It’s the class I didn’t take… Marriage Counseling! After the laughter died down, I said, “No, I’m serious.” Put two people together that think they know each other well, and have them make numerous decisions and they are always surprised at a preferences their partner has that they didn’t know about.
I remember one college class where the instructor said, “Here is your fictional client…design a house for them… they have two children, a dog, and the husband needs an office,” and that was it. So I dutifully designed an awesome home with everything “I” wanted, NO input from any fictional family whatsoever, and it was great! (I got downgraded half a point for putting pink and red together in a striped fabric I chose for the little girl’s room, the professor said, “pink and red do not go together!”… to this day, I DISAGREE!)
But the real world happened after college, and trust me husbands have LOTS to say and it’s more than just wanting an office. Suddenly, the strangest things happen and amazing discoveries come to light for both spouses! Recently with a new client, a couple whom I adore by the way, I was asking the usual questions,… likes, dislikes, preferences, style, etc., just to get started, and the husband said, “I DO NOT like orange!”
So, I simply responded by saying, “OK, duly noted!” Then a few days later we walk in and I’m showing them a gold-tan sofa, very neutral, and across from it are two gorgeous chair. My client says, “Love these chairs totally, want them definitely, how much are they?”
After a quick glance at his wife who is smiling and shrugging at the same time, after a very pregnant pause, I posed the question, “Do you do realize they are orange leather on the back?”
He says, “No, no they’re rust!” Got to love it! Often with clients when we are looking at granite or something, the husband will say, “No, I don’t like green, that’s ugly!” and the wife is blown away!
She comes back with, “I’ve been married to you for… (fill in the blank) number of years and I’ve never heard this one!” And what’s amazing, that number goes all across the board from year and a half to forty something or more. Strange preferences come out when you’re designing a new space for couples!
Even with my own husband and I, there are the same issues. Recently I decided I had “bathroom envy.” I’d been doing many Master Bath remodels and one was coming out more gorgeous then the other. So, I decided it was time to re-do our own bathroom. Our shower is large with shower heads at both ends. I’m asking what preferences he has on “his side,” and as the discussion goes along I’m starting to get confused. I finally said, “Which side do you use, the left or the right?”
He comes back with,“The right.”
To which I reply, “That’s my side!”
“No, it’s not,” he replies, “I get up way before you, and I use the right side, not the left.” Fifteen years! Who knew? I changed the whole design!