A New Life, A New Look
Congratulations! You’ve fallen in love! Whether the two of you are newlyweds, just moving in together, or an older couple who once found love but are now with a new person, it’s time to brace yourself for the next hurdle: making your two styles coexist. Building a new life for the two of you can be difficult. Their bad habits aside, what if their style doesn’t suit your fancy? Two worlds colliding also means two styles clashing and navigating these waters can be a tricky (and emotional) journey for both members of the couple. Taking that next step is a huge transition when all of the sudden you have to negotiate your personal style with that of someone else. Sometimes that transition will be easy. Maybe the two styles match, but often this isn’t the case.
Enter Lisa Peck: the owner and principal designer for LiLu Interiors with over 26 years of experience. Peck has seen many people through a lot of life transitions and stresses the importance of focusing on things that both people like. “Look at what things brought us together, what we have in common and build an aesthetic around that,” she says.
One of the first steps for the couple to do before anything else is to take note of all of the pieces already owned. “You have to see what things are so important to you in terms of emotional value that you could just never give it up,” says Peck. She stresses that it can be difficult if a piece is important to one, but the partner hates it. If this is the case, Peck advises a solution in which it doesn’t have to be given up, but is also not in the main rooms of the house by placing it in a guest room or office.
After an initial inventory of the couple’s assets, Peck suggests measuring everything to make sure it fits together. “If you know you’re going into a new place and only half of the stuff fits, what things can you say ‘we’re going to go purchase this together?’” explains Peck. “So then you have some things you had beforehand as well as new things you got together.” According to Peck, the fun starts when the couple goes out to shop or work with a designer to find things that truly represent them.
The best method to decipher what represents a couple, according to Peck, is to compile a list of words to describe the couple, not the individuals within the partnership. The list should be some adjectives that describe who the two people are as a couple – almost like coming up with a couple brand. “Whatever your words are as a couple, build your aesthetic around that list and what your core values are,” says Peck. “Some people are really into taking care of the earth and being earth friendly, so reusing things would be an important part of that. Or if you’re sophisticated, focus on what is sophisticated to you. Or if you’re fun and like to entertain, then maybe comfortable is more what you have to go to.”
But what about that one piece of furniture that you just can’t bring yourself to let go of even though your partner loathes it? Making a minor alteration or two could be all that is needed. This was the case for one couple Peck helped. “Her grandmother gave her a chair and he didn’t like it, so we reupholstered it in a really modern fabric.” Peck explains. “If you’re willing to update it, maybe new hardware or fabric, just finding something to merge the two aesthetics could make a difference. Changing it can be a key to everyone feeling like they’ve had input.”
Not every couple is going to contact a designer, but Peck believes that consulting a designer can give people confidence by having a third party to bounce ideas off of. “There is a third person to guide you,” she says. “If you’re really stuck, a designer can help with the negotiating and it doesn’t have to be a super expensive cost either.”
No matter the methods used, Peck assures that for long term happiness and health as a couple, finding that balance is important. Her greatest advice is just to be honest with what you do and do not like. “Never agree if your partner is like ‘I love this rug and I just have to have it,’ but you hate it. If you agree, you might find yourself regretting it and resenting that person five years later,” she urges. “Don’t just think aesthetically but really think about who you are as people and let that guide the process. Keep in mind why you fell in love in the first place. ‘I love them because their edgy or stylish,’ or whatever it is. Remember that this is one reason why you fell in love in the first place.”
In the Photo:
Window Treatment Fabric: Westwind #3746 Noella in Sage by Pindler and Pindler
Loveseats: Andorra Loveseat #C130-58 by Charles Stewart
Fabric for Loveseats: Ballroom #9800-12 by Brentano
Pair of Chairs: Turner Chair 4049-C1 in Graded in Fabric Celeste Mineral Grade 19 by Dwell Studio for Precedent
Ottoman: Cocktail Ottoman 1623-90 by Lee Industries
Fabric on Ottoman: Ceylon in Hummingbird #4525-05 by Brentano
X Console Table: Hollywood Console by Tritter Feefer
Coffee Table: Campaign Table by Jamie Young
End table: Rustic Copper Ring Table 9.91827 by Global Views
Custom Fabric on Large Pillows: Bukhara 6039/05 Mahogany by Pollack
Lumbar Pillow on Loveseat: Lace Ink Pillow through Room and Board
Orange Pillows on Chairs: Lyra Cayenne Pillow through Crate and Barrel
Armoire and Art: Existing of Clients
Photography: Susan Gilmore
Interior Designers on Project: Lisa Peck, ASID and Christina Winter, Allied Member ASID