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He Said, She Said

Do design dilemmas bring about debate in your house? Here at Casa Giese, I am not the only person who cares about the likes of furniture, fabric and form. In truth, I rely a great deal on Ben's eye. His approach is more methodical than mine, and he often sees the possibilities of a room through a different, more pragmatic prism. It all works as a good counterpoint to my delusions of design grandeur!

Oftentimes at night, when I'm sitting with my laptop putting together a post, Ben will be doing his best to keep up with world affairs -
you know, oh, like the U.S.' collapsing economy. That's when I'll hit him up with, "Hey, look at this room. Isn't that fantastic?" Or, "Wanna help me out with this Design Dilemma?" Sometimes I get the brush off (is this a man's version of 'Not tonight, honey, I have a headache?' ;) Other times, he's full of ideas - AND opinions. Regardless, when we both contribute to a design concept, you better believe we bring our 'A' game!

I've been tossing around an idea for a post contrasting Symmetrical versus Asymmetrical room arrangements. I believe this is one of those hot or cold concepts - If you like rooms that are very orderly and symmetrical, it is likely irritating to your senses to live in rooms that are not arranged that way. I am drawn to rooms with lots of symmetry - pairs of chairs, tables, and lamps are very soothing to me. And yes, I understand this is likely a reflection of my OCD tendencies!
Ben on the other hand tolerates asymmetry very well. He looks for points of interest in a room, and has the ability to disregard if items are mismatched - so long as the overall appeal is balanced.
I was going through the images of my Symmetry/Asymmetry post, and asked Ben if he'd contribute...Here's our little design version of He Said, She Said...
Ben: I like the style of the room, but honestly, there's no point of reference - it's literally a mirror image of itself.
Me: I love this room - love the semi-rustic style of it. And there IS a point of reference - the books are "off" - that's how you know what side of the room you're on! Really, though - those iron chairs, that limestone fireplace. I could handle it.
Me: This room is by Phoebe Howard. Do you know her story?
Ben: No.
Me: She's a wildy-successful designer NOT formally trained, and her style is impeccable - if a little formal. I want you to get transferred to Jacksonville so I can stalk her, and become her design assistant. OK, the room..
Ben: Not bad. I like the colors. There's alot of furniture packed in there. I'd probably do less of the "two of this, two of that."
Me: But, that's the whole idea - perfect symmetry.
Ben: Well, they don't have to overkill it on that.
Me: Love this room! This is what I'd do if I were going all-out with the trad-mod look.
Ben: Yeah, looks great. Is anyone REALLY going to sit on those stools, though? And, I don't know about the fake animal pattern. I have a polyester tiger-print blanket that looks a lot like that.
Me: Mmm...sure the designer would beg to differ. Interesing mix of colors, too.
Ben: I like it. I think the perfect symmetry is nicely broken up by the mantel arrangement.
Me: It's OK. To me, it feels like they went to The RoomStore, and bought everything at one time. I do like the furniture arrangement, though. And I really like the palm in the corner.
Me: Love it!
Ben: Ugh! Hate that!
Me: Why?
Ben: It's too small. What's the point of having two sinks in such a small space? And I hate that wallpaper.
Me: Mmm...I like the wallpaper...
Me: I LOVE this room. The herringbone seagrass, the pair of X-leg stools and gourd lamps, the oversized art. LOVE IT!
Ben: Yeah, they did a good job, except for the tree stump growing out of the rug.
Me: It's just a side table - designer trying to "add interest" or texture.
Ben: Well, it's just bizarre. Otherwise, I think the room works.
Ben: Nope. No purple.
Me: I think it's purple done elegant. I think the symmetry balances the unusual color.
Ben: I just don't like purple.
Ben: It's nice, for a Country Club sitting area.
Me: Yes, very traditional. What do you think about the furniture arrangement?
Ben: Kinda weird. The armchair on the right looks like it's directed to the left lamp. I like asymmetrical, but this is just odd...
Ben: OK, I like this.
Me: Why? What about it do you like?
Ben: I like the yellow chairs, and I like that you're not looking at a mirror image - keeps your brain more occupied.
Me: I love the yellow chairs...There's not perfect symmetry here, but it's very balanced. I dig it.
Ben: I hate this room.
Me: Me too. Why do you hate it?
Ben: It's too dark. It looks like my grandmother's house.
Me: But you loved your grandmother's house.
Ben: Well, this is what her house would've looked like if she'd had bad taste. I can't stand the rug.
Me: Nothing appeals to me in this room, either. I'm especially annoyed with the little black chair that floats in the room. Bad. Just bad.
Ben: I like it. The art arrangement is such that the grouping becomes one. I think you might hit your head on the light, though.
Me: I like it, too. It's clean and modern, but warm with the persian rug. Asymmetry works so long as it doesn't cross the line into clutter.
Ben: I like the art, it's very Brazilian, but I don't like the chairs.
Me: Yeah, kind of voyeuristic, isn't it? Like two people watching the bed. Weird. Otherwise, dig the art.

So, what do you prefer? Symmetry or Asymmetry? Do you and your "sig-other" differ? Was this the lamest idea for a blog post? Aww...come on! ;)

Images: Apartment Therapy ,Phoebe Howard ,(help??) ,HGTV ,nskwood ,Todd Romano ,Design Hole ,Decorati ,Elle Decor ,House Beautiful,Ooh Food,BelleMaison


ms. less is always more said...

Cute post... what a fun idea. I like symmetry, but not too matchy matchy - there are some really good inspiration rooms here!

Hill Country House Girl said...

I loved this post! What fun to hear what your husband thinks! I can just see the two of you - you posting on your computer and he working on whatever he has to work on that night(this is at our house, too) So funny - your man puts a lot more thought into what he says about the rooms, though. He seems very sure of his opinions. Great post!

marty39 said...

My DH doesn't comment unless I ask him and then sometimes he's very profound and right. I like for things to have balance, not necessarily symmetry. Great post. Hugs, Marty

Morning T said...

Very clever post! I've honestly never really asked my guy for his thoughts on design details...I'll have to try it out.

LindsB said...

hahaha, I cant even remember what I was reading about because I'm laughing SO HARD! Seriously, are you a fly on the wall in my house too??

I swear the BF and I have the SAME conversations, although usually my BF does not give as much detail as your husband does. You are lucky he has an "eye" and can pick apart pieces of a room. My BF just says hate it or love it but can never give me reasons why and its VERY frustrating when I'm trying to please both of us in designing our house.

haha, still laughing at your conversations with the hubby- too funny!!!

Re:Fresh Design Studio said...

I thought that was really fun! Interesting to hear how you both differ. Good work!

Averill said...

Adorable post! Your conversations sound an awful lot like ours, but in reverse (I can tolerate assymmetry more than Dave). Dave also prefers a very traditional look that I'm constantly trying to update just a wee bit (otherwise, our house would look like my mom's).

Hill Country House Girl said...

Thanks for your visit - glad your parents had fun. Sounds like "tourist priced pickles" to me!!

Simply Mel said...

Hilarious! Ben is very practical and logical with his comments...just like a man! And you have such a fun flair for seeing the pretty things in every little piece (like the tree stump!).

Believe it or not, my hubby does most of the decorating. I'm just the cleaning staff!

paula said...

this just had me rolling...

bluehydrangea said...

What a great, original idea for a post!! I am impressed, your husband seems to know his design. all I get from my husband is "what?" "does this have anything to do with golf?" and my favorite "how much is this going to cost?"

my favorite and my best said...

GREAT idea for a post! there is a great deal of "symmetry/assymetry" in your relationship it would seem. i like that room that you both hate...there is so much to look at. it seems a little out there design wise like it has no direction but i kind of like that.

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Ok...I was just about right on target with Ben. Kinda loved the pragmatic nature of his comments.

My guy has opinions...that I usually disregard...and he knows it

...I wear the decorating crown. He wears the computer/technical and pool/barbeque crown. Works for us. Yep.Beeeyotch I am.

PS~Erin said...

Okay, I loved this post and you're presentation of it all!

I am quite symmetrical. I do like the assymetrical look, but I can never pull it off myself. I try to arrange a room that way, but I can't ever settle on a pleasing arrangement. It always ends up very balanced.

I was determined to do a random gallery type wall arrangement. I had the hardest time. I ended up taking a picture of each piece, photoshopping a "random" arrangement and then copying it on my wall.

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Fun post! My husband also takes an interest in the home decor (sometimes I wish he didn't, but you have a great way of looking at it - he brings a different perspective, and probably a needed perspective). I LOVE symmetry, but I don't like for anything to match! laurie

Cristin said...

This is a brilliant post. I was LOL because I've had similar conversations with my hubby!!!

I really like Phoebe Howard designs too. I also happen to like the living room by Palmer Weiss (green sofa - my favorite element in the room).


madamesoleil said...

This post idea was totally un-lame! I love a woman who can get her man to articulate his opinions. I have to admit, about a few of the rooms you chose at least, I think I agreed more with him than you! But that probably shows you just how much (read: little) I know about design.

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