Monday, December 7, 2009

My Husband Loves Kelly Wearstler...


And no, not just because she's cute. He loves her (get this) style. Perhaps this isn't headline-worthy news for the rest of the world, but at the Conn residence it's practically earth-shattering. I've spent the past three years trying to get Dave to elaborate on his decorating tastes with little more success than oblique responses like "I know it when I see it" (thank you, Justice Stewart) and "more ornate than yours" (what does that even mean?!). So imagine my surprise when I found him casually flipping through Ms. Wearstler's newest book Hue -- and I was left positively stupefied when he said "I actually like this!".

Perhaps the real irony here is that I really don't. While I'm a fan of Kelly's earlier work, her new '70s and '80s-inspired direction has left me at something of a loss. And a recent post (and the accompanying comments) over at My Little Happy Place suggest I'm not alone in this.


Like many of you who cohabitate with your spouse, partner, boyfriend (whatever), I've tried to involve Dave in many of the decorating decisions both in our new home and in our old townhouse. And, like many of you, I didn't get particularly far. Sure, Dave had veto power, but he exercised it more out of frugality than to advance his own design vision. Despite this, I have been able to glean some of Dave's decor preferences along the way that, in retrospect, synch up rather closely with Wearstler's latest twist on her ever-evolving style.


For example, Kelly's bathrooms (all covered from floor to ceiling with incredible and unique stone) scored the biggest with Dave. And this doesn't particularly surprise me as Dave has also loved polished marble, geodes and other natural stones -- the larger and bolder the pattern, the better. Indeed, he was sorely disappointed when I vetoed a polished green marble surround on the new fireplace.

Dave also has a proclivity for what I term "Florida colors". Think aqua, turquoise, purples, and even hot pink. This is, after all, a man who insisted that his "man cave" be painted teal. Malachite, amethyst, agate: these are three of Dave's favorite things. And obviously Kelly's, too, if this room is any indication. Where she's not actually working with these materials, she's mimicking the look in the floor-to-ceiling draperies.

This particular room strikes me as a bit (dare I say?) tacky. Little Black Sambos aside, it's all just a bit much for me. In fact, about the only elements of this room that I like are Wearstler's Birkin bag and fabulous pumps. Dave's response?: "Fun!"

Dave also prefers a more cluttered style than I do. As an avowed type-A, I tend to display only a few tchotchkes and mementos on any surface. Clutter is the gateway to messy in my book. Left to his own devices, Dave would keep out all of his many, many collections (coins, stamps, rocks, you name it, he's collected it). Kelly's latest "tablescapes" seem to be in keeping with Dave's philosophy as many photos in her new book showcase tables completely packed with curiosities and precious objects. As an amateur Classicist (a few years ago Dave tore through all of Plutarch's Lives), Dave also appreciates Wearstler's new found obsession with oversized Greco-Roman busts.

What's interesting is that all of this is very "of the moment" -- the next big thing in design (thanks in no small part to Kelly, I'm sure). In fact, I'd peg this renewed fondness for '70s and '80s glam as one of the major trends to watch for in 2010 (Belgian style being another). So what's a girl to do? Dave certainly has a right to dictate how our house is decorated -- after all, he lives there, too. And certainly one of the trade offs with sharing your space with another person (or persons) is that, inevitably, you have to compromise some and make your home reflective of everyone who lives there. So how do I incorporate Dave into my decor? Admittedly, I've not been particularly good about running every purchase by Dave and I've certainly ignored him on a few occasions and gone with my gut instinct (typically with good results). In the past I've justified this on the grounds that Dave doesn't really care about interior design and that he's always been pleased with what I've done in the past...now though, I'm starting to think that I need to rethink both of those assumptions.

And so, my solution is to work in Dave (aka "Mr. Wearstler") through the accessories. Bring in more naturally glamorous elements-- and definitely more rocks. Antiques. Gilt. Bold jewel tones. Not only will this inevitably make Dave happier, but it will force me to push the boundaries of my own "style" in a new and interesting direction.

Source list (clockwise, from top left): 1. Faux malachite boxes from High Fashion Home ($200-260). 2. Petrified wood trays from Jayson Home & Garden ($65-$148). 3. Tiny bugs from Mothology ($10 each). 4. Cameron table lamp from Circa Lighting ($3,150). 5. Eglomise coffee table from Beeline Home ($2250). 6. Amethyst napkin rings from Nate Berkus for HSN ($59.95 for a set of 4). 7. Gold leaf urchin bowl with silver spoon from Inglenook Decor ($26). 8. Gilded knot mirror from Horchow ($419.90).

So what about you? Does your S/O have a distinct design style? If so, how do you take it into consideration when you decorate?

26 comments:

pk said...

My husband prefers to be as far away from decorating as possible, but he will always help me with my DIY projects if I ask nicely. :-) He likes the logic/tools required for those.

I would say Kelly's a little out there for me most of the time, although she's obviously talented. Will be fun to see how you incorporate "Dave's style". You have a good eye, so I'm sure it will all turn out very tastefully done.

Things That Inspire said...

First - I must state that I absolutely adore your writing style!!! Your blog is one of the best written blogs, bar none, and I particularly enjoyed this entry.

Anyway, back to the topic...SOs. DH and I are in the early stages of designing a house, and I have been shocked (and a tiny bit dismayed, to be truthful) at how involved DH has been - in the past, it has been all about veto power rather than involvement in design. However, I think this is all about wanting to get the footprint right rather than an interest in the design. Time will tell. After 17 years of marriage, it is nice to be surprised sometimes.

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

Hey Averill! Thank you for the kind shout-out! I'm right there with you on your assessment of Wearstler's new "movement." Although I AM rather fond of the geode/hewn stone looks. Perhaps because I see it a lot in Brazil, too - maybe I'm at the "can't beat 'em, join 'em" phase! ;)

DO love those faux malachite boxes - swoon!

Kitty said...

I live with an artist who wanted me to wear something out of Flash Gordon on our wedding day, and would happily decorate the house with his own pieces, a la Betelgeuse. When we moved in here, however, he had fabulous velvet tiger striped revolving and rocking club chairs made for me. I like Nate Berkus' amethyst napkin rings above!

Tracy @ Comfort and Luxury said...

Fun post! Lucky for me, my husband shares my love of color and traditional style with a bit of folk art and whimsy. He's been great about putting his carpentry skills to work no matter how nutty he thinks my ideas are... and seems to always appreciate the outcome. If he suddenly came up with his own style after all this time, I'd think he'd been body snatched. Good for you to want to incorporate your hub's newly discovered style and take it on as a challenge to yourself. So many wives simply dimiss their husbands' preferences like it's not his house too and I think that's unfortunate. Can't wait to see what you two come up with!

Sarah Klassen said...

Great post, Averill! As always, you keep me laughing and picturing the entire scenario while reading through your post. I'm quite surprised that Dave is drawn to this style. I wonder if there is some memory or association that he has with this look that draws him to it so much...

Every David I have ever met has been brilliant. (just thought I would share that!) My David typically has very modern taste. As a designer, he also appreciates graphic design, photography, fashion and home decor. Once we marry, I can see we will have no troubles merging our styles...although, I may have to claim a "girly room" to display all of my overtly feminine collectibles such as "fouffy" chandeliers, chairs, pillows and artwork as he so charmingly puts it...and most importantly, anything relating to Audrey Hepburn. The odd time, though, he looks at a more ornate piece of furniture and says "that's pretty sick." Shocking, and therefore, I have decided that I cannot predict his style other than to say he likes a warm, modern home with the odd unique, ornate/antique piece. He prefers well-designed pieces that are bold and masculine has a "design-y style".

I like the selection of pieces so far, and I'm excited to see the results :)

Christy said...

What a fun interesting post to read. I personally don't care for her style at all, whatsoever. That one dining room with the Birkin is more than a TAD tacky in my book!

I think it's cool that you're trying to incorporate his tastes into your house too! Can't wait to see what pieces you end up purchasing and where you end up putting them.

Matt and I (luckily) have a very similar design taste. Though, of course, I tend to be a bit more frilly and girly - I manage to reign it in in all but Fiona's room!

sarah @ realestatestyle said...

I haven't seen her book yet, but from your pics, I agree with you on her new style. I like simple...these don't seem simple. My husband used to fight me on decor changes, but now I think he is trusting me more. He likes bright and open, and that is what I have done with our house. I am trying to get a good rep for the next house we get one day! Also, love that lamp!

Kara said...

I am not a fan of Kelly at all. Her fashion sense is fun but decorating - so not my cup of tea. Tacky is right!!

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Heee..larious Averill. I bet you were shocked, & amazed but really it's quite impressive. Men typically have such "whatever" taste in decorating that for Dave to be drawn to the Wearstler side is rather exciting!! Perhaps when you work with clients who have big bank accts. & therefore you do too, you design in such a manner that you can change it all up in a few years? I love (I admit it) her style & if I didn't have to be concerned with longevity, I'd love to be more avant-garde as Kelly. I just love her gutsiness and I'm afraid I've always been one to root for the one less rooted for, or is that, ride the rode less traveled?! Tell Dave, bravo!! Loving your picks to bring some of that style into your home too. Do I let Graham dictate, I've never asked him. Isn't that shameful?! Great post Averill. I now need to start asking poor Graham. x

Style Redux 2 said...

"My Husband Loves Kelly Wearstler"-I would prefer that my husband were having sex with her as opposed to loving her interior design, but that's just me. I would love to see more glamor, gilt, antiques, and accessorizing in your home. I look forward to seeing what you do.

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

I've gotta agree, I'm not particularly down with Kelly's style (for the most part - do love that imperial trellis, though!). That's awesome that you're trying to incorporate Dave's style - I'm still working on getting Jason to elaborate on his own sense of style, but for right now all he'll say is, "Not that." Helpful, no? :) Ah well, we'll get there! (P.S. For some reason, I love those bugs - I may have to get some for my brother!)

Laura@JourneyChic said...

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. Wow. I officially hate Kelly's interiors. They're a total assault on the senses, and not in a good way IMO. That being said, I do like the geological accessories you chose as a way to incorporate Dave's style. AND, I'm impressed that he's gotten to the point where he can verbalize his style. My hubby isn't there yet. All I know is that he likes really dark colors, which I shy away from. He once mentioned "mauve" wall paint, which I vetoed. When I hear mauve, I think of an old lady's skirt.

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

I was shocked when I recently saw pictures of Kelly Wearstler's own home. Speechless is more the word. Lots of clutter and a mix of patterns that just didn't seem to work. I like the old Kelly style better.

I think it's cool that your husband has ideas about style at all. My husband's idea of great style is 4 white walls, the biggest t.v. he can find and a recliner.

Couture Carrie said...

Love these spaces and your collage!
I don't live with my SO but I loooove his style!

xoxox,
CC

P.S. I am 5'10" but I still wear platforms!

Haven and Home said...

Very interesting. I have the same issue with my Husband...I wonder what he would think of Kelly...

Averill said...

Beth: I have a boatload of accessories and antiques (mostly from my mom!) in closets throughout the new house just waiting for tables, shelves, etc. to be placed on.

Maple said...

There's no way I could work at that desk (or that I could ask any guests to sit down in chairs that look like giant hands!). What astounds me is I'm sure each of those rooms cost more than my house.

Carolyn said...

I agree with Things That Inspire. You have a great writing style..so funny too. Good luck with your 'merger'!

Southern Aspirations said...

I LOVED this post! It is so interesting to me to see how one merges styles and your writing is quite humorous and intelligent. I am shocked about the KW comments- I was going to be critical in a post and thought I'd be shot immediately. I like her hotel decor but the other interiors... not so much. Not sure I like all the decisions she's made either, but that's another story.

My husband is much more into collecting things as well. And a more "rustic" (but not in a cute French country way) or very traditional (e.g., no art deco which I love!). He is very amenable to trying new things though!

Nichole said...

Hooked On Houses did a post and poll about her beach house a while ago. The readers did not like it.
http://hookedonhouses.net/2009/11/18/kelly-wearstlers-malibu-beach-house/

Averill said...

Clearly, I am not alone in my distaste for Kelly's new style! I wonder then, do you suppose design editors/other bigwigs who decide who's "in" and who's "out" actually like her new style or are they just putting it out there to be controversial/sell magazines?

Isabella & Max Rooms said...

While I don't care for her latest designs, I admire her for going beyond what she has become know for to try new things. That is brave...and besides, she is so gorgeous, I think editors will print virtually anything she does just to have a photo of her in their publications!
Janell

maureen @ The Inglenook Decor said...

I have two of her older books & adore those. I haven't seen her new work yet though. Much like musicians, I guess designers {and most of us}, our style & taste evolves & I think it's amazing that she can explore & do where her creativity takes her.

I must say Averill that I'm jealous that u're husband is into her work or anything design for that matter. I'm having such a tough time with our new place.{like Sarah Klassen}, i'm not into too much frou, frou or anything, I do love a little bit of old world charm & feminine touches but that's an absolute "no, no" to him. I'm sneaking in my flea market finds slowly though. :)

Jenn said...

I love that you unlocked your husband's design style! Also that it's ultra-glam Wearstler...who would think? My boyfriend moved in a few months ago and I have no idea what he would like, other than the fact that he hates clutter and I live for managed clutter. It's a work in progress for sure!

Bromeliad said...

Scary.

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