He Said, She Said: Building a Home Together

Family, Home & Life.  Those are three things that I blog about A LOT here.  Daily, I drill down to the nitty gritty happenings around our abode, whether it be organizing a drawer, painting curtains, installing a paneled wall or renovating an entire bathroom.  Although my main man, Bryan, doesn't get nearly enough love and attention on my blog, the majority of the projects wouldn't happen without  him.  At the end of the day, he brings SO much to what happens around here, whether that be just by supporting my visions, contributing to an idea or lending a helping hand {a.k.a. taking over and making the end result rock!}.

Occasionally I share a little about the behind the scenes conversations that take place when a project goes down, and it always drums up questions about our process, and how we work together.  Sure, I run the blog, but Bryan is such a BIG part of it.  So I thought I would invite him here today, to not just be the Wilson of the blog {think Home Improvement, although we typically only see Bryan's hands and feet around here}, but to be a voice.  He is joining me today to answer some of the most commonly asked questions we receive, regarding working together and building this happy little home of ours.

What do you think about the colors used within your home?  Who makes the choices?

"I think the base colors on the walls and furniture are fairly neutral and would say that we both have an equal say on what colors go into the main aspects of our house.  However when it comes to staging/accessories, I leave it up to Jen and sometimes she surprises me with colors and patterns that I wouldn't have necessarily chosen, but they work!"  


 "You all know that I love bold and brilliant colors.  Hello!  Green living room walls!  But if I stayed on my own self destructing path of being a bit too color happy at times, our home may look like a box of crayons lost their lunch.  Having boys in the home keeps me balanced, and ensures that I keep neutrals, blues and grays within the majority of our areas.  When it comes to the most of our living spaces {excluding my studio}, I select a few color options, and always run them by Bryan first.  Nothing goes on the walls without his approval, and there are times when he turns them all down and I have to go back to the drawing board until we find something we can both agree on.  Spray paint is a different story, sometimes that works out and he doesn't even take notice, other times, I am heading back out to respray in a less alarming color.  So although he may not be the one to pick the color right off the bat, even curtains are run by him before they are purchased and hung."

How does the project planning process go?  Who decides what's next?

"Jen usually comes up with an idea for a project either from her own thoughts as she eyes up a space in the house or gains inspiration from the interweb and brings the idea to me.  I usually say that it won't work and it will be too time consuming, and she says 'Great, that's what we're doing next, I am sure you will find a way to get it done!' 

Beyond that, we usually eye up the project from start to finish, plan it all out from initial measurements to finished projects and draw it out on paper/excel and visualize what we are hoping the end result will be.  Come up with a materials list and usually make one or two extra trips to the local HD because we ran into a snag or forgot something!"

"Oooh.  This one is a tough one for me.  I am always drumming up new thoughts and ideas and can't ever seem to turn off my brain {blogging work hazard}, so if it were up to me, we would be doing 87 things at once.  Bryan limits that list to no more than eight, ha!  I am also a huge list maker, and keep track of all of the things we want to do, on project planning checklists.  I revisit the list often and will often times 'pitch' the next project idea to the hubs, in a casual and relaxed environment.  Tossing it out there while he is in the middle of cooking or watching football, will get me a big fat NO.  It is all about timing.  Then, I share why I think we need to focus on it next, and sometimes I will even need to show him visuals of where I want to go with it, because just trying to describe it vocally can be really challenging.  It is my goal to get him as excited about my idea, as I am.  So to get him to 'see' what is in my brain, requires me to pull as many examples from the web, on TV or from magazines, as possible.  I also know that I need to gain his buy-in because he is the brains and execution behind a lot of what I dream up.  I think everything will be super simple and quick and he brings me back to reality and thinks out all of the details.  Most of time it all works out when I am excited to start something new, and other times he will pitch right back, and remind me why it is important to focus on cleaning out the garage before taking on a kitchen project."

What are your thoughts on painting furniture?

"I had always been against painting natural woods.  The swaying moment for me was when we painted the cabinets in the kitchen though, which was a dramatic first attempt at painting anything in our house.  I still believe there is beauty in wood grains and don't agree with painting some furniture, but with older, gently used furniture, a fresh coat of paint can make a tired piece of furniture really new again.

See the post on our night stands {where I won...}"

"I go through many phases when it comes to painting furniture.  Some days, I would paint anything that moves.  Other days, I can completely appreciate the beauty in wood, new or rustic.  I am trying to ensure I create a balanced mix and match of beautiful woods, and nicely painted trim and furniture pieces.  I think every space needs a little of both.  Smaller, inexpensive pieces, may get painted without me running it by the hubby first, because there is little harm or impact.  But I always be sure to show him the end result, as the more he sees the awesome transformation that some paint can make, the more he understands and is willing to take the plunge when the time comes to paint a larger item.  My advice to those who live with guys that are completely against painting any wood is to do two things: show him oodles of examples of where a painted piece of furniture shines within a space, and, start small.  Update something like an end table or stool, and let him in on the process and end result.  The more my hubby saw that it worked, the more he trusted me to make the right decision in the future."

How do you manage through disagreements that come up throughout the project process?

"I feel that when I disagree with Jen, I am stealing her creativity, but I live in our house too and have to live with things that we do.  So I am not afraid to share my opinion on anything she wants to do.  With disagreements comes compromise and in the end it allows us to both be happy with what the end result is.  Just know in the end when I am bragging about how great it turned out, it's because of 'MY' suggestions and input!"


"I lock him out of the house until he agrees to see things my way.  OK, so that has never happened {yet}, but there are a few things I know about working with Bryan, and one is that no project is worth getting upset over.  Bryan is the laid back one, and often times has a justifiable reason behind his decisions.  Just as I have gained more and more trust with him the more I make changes around the house that work out, the more I have gained trust in his decisions, as he has made choices about building or how he tackles a project.  If I completely disagree with his approach, or where he wants to hang something, I go back to my original point of showing him visual examples to support my argument.  Most projects end with compromises on both ends, and leave us both grinning ear to ear that we made it through another project stronger than before we started."

Any tips for getting through a project without calling your attorney at the end?

"There are a few projects that may have involved either stencils or wallpaper, that a few "very necessary" adult words got thrown around... or we have finished a project and both look at it and realize it wasn't at all what we wanted it to be and have to head back to the drawing board, but again, it comes down to your ability to plan, agree and execute.  I haven't been one to be able to look at a space and see the end result of a blank slate, so sometimes I grit my teeth and smile through the frustrations of projecting, because with all that we have done, I am still proud to show family and friends the end results!"

"Kelly Clarkson had it all right, 'Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger!'  Every time we do a project, it blows me away at how different we are and how we approach things in the completely opposite way.  Even things as small as household chores and folding sheets, he folds one way, I fold the other.  Instead of getting frustrated with that, we find ourselves literally on the floor laughing.  Projects can be really hard work, a lot of blood, sweat and tears go into the things we do around our home, and arguing would only result in creating an un-happy home, which is obviously a contradiction to our end goal.  It really comes down to trust, and letting the other be the expert in their individual roles within the project.  Over the course of taking on many things around our home, we have streamlined our responsibilities; I propose the idea, he proposes how to get it done right, I propose the paint colors and finishes, he proposes how and where to install them.  It's a balance and give-and-take and in the end I know most of my ideas wouldn't become reality without him."

So that ends our little love fest for now.  Things are not always rainbows and butterflies around here, and I think it was more challenging for us in the very beginning, and has only gotten easier and smoother as we go and build a system and confidence in one another.  I always love how he may raise an eyebrow at one of my ideas or suggestions, but then is the first to share it with friends and family when it is complete.  THAT makes my heart smile.  And I also adore that I come up with some strange things, or change my mind seventeen times throughout the process of working on a room, and he bites his tongue and makes things happen.  As our home has changed and evolved, so has our relationship and ability to work through the process of turning our house into our home.

Now it is your turn!  Who wants to weigh in and share what works for you when working with your significant other on a project?  Any funny stories to share of where it all could have gone wrong, but you pulled through it together with flying colors?  

Pssst!  You may have noticed our rockin' new headshots!  A special thank you to Miroslavich Photography for doing such an incredible job!

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