Setting up house together? Looking to create a cohesive space that isn’t divided by his and hers, masculine and feminine, but comes together as an attractive, comfortable space that both of you can’t wait to come home to?
For newly engaged Los Angeles couple Marty Reynolds, a computer programmer, and Jan Glick, a professional make-up artist, reconciling his propensity for all things spare, modern, edgy, and dark with her love of colonial architecture, gingham, and antiques was a process. But it wasn’t nearly as challenging as finding common ground for what they affectionately called their “gender stuff.”
Living in Marty’s 1,200 square foot condo, though defined by clean, open spaces and minimal furnishings, rooms were overrun with his tennis and cycling paraphernalia and hockey equipment, and defined by imposing black leather chairs and couches and dark accents. When Jan moved in, gingham-and-lace window treatments and fine antiques in tow, along with cases of make-up and beauty products for her job, a rapprochement was in quick order.
But sometimes finding a gender-friendly design solution is easier than one might think. What’s more, today’s design standards are not rigid and restrictive (traditional vs. modern; contemporary vs. colonial) but more often than not are a confluence of styles, colors, objects, furnishings, and textures.
First, during a long and candid discussion over an afternoon of lattes at their favorite haunt, Reynolds and Glick were able to ascertain what was most important to each of them. “We actually made lists of what each of us couldn’t live without,” Reynolds said, “followed by lists of what was somewhat important, and then what we probably should have jettisoned five years ago–which we promptly did.”
The next day, the couple visited a container store and got some advice about attractive, space saving items like behind-the-door shoe storage (to open up floor space in closets) and in-drawer kitchen equipment facilitators. They purchased storage containers in various sizes but all in the same material (in their case bamboo) so that whether a bin concealed 20 of Reynolds’ tennis balls or 20 Stila makeup brushes for Glick’s work, unity was established.
But that’s not to say the couple didn’t exercise a little individuality in their design. Pulling from their first coffee house list of “must have’s,” the couple chose items that each wanted to look at every day, such as Reynolds’ high school team trophies and Glick’s great grandmother’s silver tea service and Belleek vases. “We created focal points in the living room, dining room, and bedroom with what meant the most to us,” Glick said. “It all worked.”
A limited color palette that featured gender-neutral colors such as cream and muted green, but with an accent wall and rugs in brick red didn’t compromise Marty’s modern or masculine sensibilities. The brick red was also emblematic of more earthy colonial hues, something that appealed to Jan’s design preferences. To establish cohesion and continuity, the same colors were pulled through each room reflected on walls, in fabrics, window treatments, accent pillows, throw rugs, and more. In this way, and even with their decision not to get rid of Reynolds’ heavy black leather furniture, items were brightened with the addition of lighter throw pillows, vintage, textured shawls that became throws, and repurposed antique quilts that did double duty as bright window treatments and helped keep down energy costs in winter.
Finally, with two full baths Reynolds and Glick got to fully express themselves in their respective spaces. “We had so much fun doing this–finding common ground both in heart and design,” Glick said, adding they can’t wait to decorate a family home together one day.