Oh, I’m sure this is going to be boring for you. I am soon to be married (for the third time) to THE ONE. How do I know that he’s THE ONE at age 54?
Do you have an hour? No, I didn’t think so. He’s a wonderful man and makes me very happy.
But… You knew there had to be a “but” because why would some moron write you to say that she’s about to be married for the third time?
Here’s the problem. Brace yourself for a shocker, Laurel.
He loves his mission-style furniture; however, it turns my stomach. Laurel, what am I going to do? I mean, I HATE it! I don’t like the colors, and I don’t like the stuffy, stodgy style. The sofa seriously sucks.
Above is the living room. This is from a realtor’s shot. We had the house on the market for a while but then decided to keep his home and sell mine, but instead of starting fresh, he wants to keep everything as is. We have the means to redo it all, but he doesn’t want to change a thing.
While I realize that some people will love this room, it is so not my taste.
Here’s his favorite chair in the den.
I do love your recliner post. This certainly could be scads worse. But, it could also be a lot better.
The dining room was staged for the realtor’s photo. (not by me) This room does not appeal to me in the slightest. Is that table base weird, or what?
[Note from Laurel: It’s definitely a what. What are those things supposed to be; models for a nuclear reactor?]
What do I want? I guess it’s called Farmhouse Style.
Like, I painted that panel molding yesterday! Wouldn’t it look great painted?
My preference is for light, and bright– whites and blues, and I like the color too, just not mustard, rust, and green.
I adored your two posts about Mark Sikes, and I like all of the images you post of Studio McGee.
And, of course, I also love the Serena & Lily look.
The other day, I casually mentioned that I’d like to redecorate and then saw a side of him that I had never seen before.
He rarely raises his voice, but he said, “If I Wanted Farmhouse Style, I’d Go Live On a @#$%^&* Farm!”
I ran out of the room crying! If a man is going to stay up all night with me in the hospital, can’t he at least be willing to bend a bit?
Well, yes, he can because a few minutes later, he came over and gave me a big hug and apologized. See? He is a good man. I’m very blessed.
I lost my second husband to a sudden heart attack. I think my new husband, Mr. D is afraid of losing control, and maybe a part of him just can’t completely let go of the life he had built with his late wife. But, I know that he loves me; however, he went through a rough time with her lengthy illness. That’s how we met; at our Church’s bereavement group.
He says he’s willing to compromise; he doesn’t want to live with a bunch of fru-fru.
I asked him what he didn’t like about the farmhouse style, and he said he thought it was too cutesy-precious and feminine looking.
Objectively, I do see what he means by that. And, I don’t want that either.
But then he surprised me when he said, “Why don’t you write to that decorator that you’re always talking about– Lauren, something.”
Don’t worry. I told him your name is LaureL. ;]
Well, here we are.
You could say that I’m “A little bit country ____ He’s a little bit ____” lol.
I’d be very grateful if you could do a blog post about blending our two styles.
Oh, one other thing. I do like a lot of different styles. I love color, and I love earth tones. But, I adore white. I need light!
Thanks, Laurel. I’m hoping that there’s enough here for a blog post. That would be wonderful!
I agree with Mr. D. Farmhouse style is often too precious and cutesy. I always think of faux chipped furniture and prints on the wall that say corny, hackneyed expressions with fake-looking white-washed frames.
As for mission furniture, an offshoot of the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th century, I’m with you. But men adore it! They adore the oak and the straight lines; it must appeal to their inner caveman.
However, his upholstered furniture is not Mission-style, but he probably got it at a store that sells it, like Stickley. The sofa is what I call “ersatz traditional.” The leather wing chair is close but not entirely cutting it. The rust chair, however, could work.
So, step number one towards creating your more sophisticated farmhouse style aesthetic.
If there’s a separate office or den, maybe make his MC filled with all of his Stickley furniture. That would solve a lot of problems. He gets his furniture, and you don’t have to look at it.
Let’s address the walls. The wood paneling is gorgeous, and yes, it would look amazing painted white but wait. You’re going to love this. I just got a comment the other day, which I DELETED instead of publishing it. The darling (not) put in a fake email address; email@example.com. It appears that he made a typo there. I believe he meant it to be douchebag@A-holes.com.
Here’s the comment:
Hey Laurel, I’m just an average family husband/father surfing for ideas for our newest purchase. (Hideous white with golden stained oak and softwood). Have owned seven average homes (two now). Sweetheart, it’s time to get over your hatred of wood trim. The primarily white rooms you display are hideous indeed to the average person.
[Excellent point, Douche. My readers are not “average.”]
Perhaps you only write for, work for the rich who often go with what is popular vs. what is practical and appealing to the family with kids who run around touching everything in sight. People who come home from a hard day of honest work desire a warm, soothing environment. A place of comfort that includes a place for the natural, as nature herself is the great [de-stressor] of life. Not looking for a space washed away from the natural world around us.
Oh, how fun it is getting this crap in my email. :/ If that’s average, then the world is indeed in great trouble.
For the record, I’m none of those things he accused me of
Plus, I raised my two grimy little boys in an ALL-WHITE LIVING ROOM. (They washed their hands before and AFTER eating.)
Alas, it’s true. It isn’t easy to get the menfolk to paint the wood once it’s stained. I can tell you, though, that when you manage to convince them to paint the wood and then do it, they ALL love it and wish they had done so sooner.
But no problem. We’ll keep the wood and work with it.
Wood is either brown, cognac, or caramel in color. And that needs to be taken into consideration. These warm tones love cool colors– like blues and greens. Please see this recent post about the best colors with stained wood trim.
I’m hearing that you dislike too much wood, weird, stodgy shapes, and tired colors.
Mr. D loves the wood, but as far as the furniture goes, he may be just going with what he knows.
This gives me enough to go on, to come up with a beautiful compromise that will allow you guys to keep the wood paneling and a mix of more modern elements that I think will give you a handsome room that you’ll both love.
Of course, these are just general ideas. There are zillions of possibilities.
Sometimes when people say that they don’t like certain colors, it only means that they don’t like them in a particular context.
Please hang onto that idea.
Let’s look at some furnishings to create a sophisticated Modern Farmhouse Style.
(that will not be in the slightest bit precious.)
One website I’d like to share with you is Jayson Home. I don’t believe there’s a “Jayson.” In fact, I think the owners are women. However, there is nothing cutesy about their interiors.
What’s interesting is that for the furniture, I either love it or it’s not my thing.
However, all of the rooms and vignettes on their website are impeccably edited. And yes, many are more modern than what I usually feature on the blog.
There are some more trad pieces that I have featured on the blog. And owners of the Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collection will see a couple of pieces used repeatedly from Jayson Home.
However, what is cool is that the architecture in their vignettes is often quite ornate or rustic.
It makes a beautiful counterpoint to the more contemporary pieces you’re about to see.
And yes, some of the interiors are a more contemporary farmhouse style– but with a twist.
So, let me begin by sharing some images, and we’ll be able to develop a color scheme.
But, before I do that, I think it’s good to know that a home doesn’t have to have all white or all dark walls. Therefore, if you’d like a light, bright living room because there are a lot of windows, you can do that and have a darker moody den, dining room, or maybe even a hall or vestibule.
I love this vignette because it marries the feminine and masculine perfectly. Plus, I love this warm, deep gray with a touch of green undertone against the black door. Very sophisticated and chic.
2121-10 Gray by Benjamin Moore
Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal hc-166 is one of the Laurel Home paint collection colors in the dark grays and blacks section.
Above are three contemporary chairs juxtaposed against white walls, a dark walnut hardwood floor, and a lovely art print. All are available from Jayson Home.
This is a fantastic cabinet with Chippendale-style doors and a stylized malachite-esque interior. This would look amazing with a collection of creamware/ironstone inside.
Sidenote: These doors are almost the same size doors I want to do for the back of my kitchen. Mine will be slightly more narrow, however.
My new hobby is obsessively looking for the perfect kitchen pendant. Oh, I’ve found two that I love. The problem is that someone else owns them now.
Above is another twist I love. The only discernible pattern is on the draperies, which are the star of the show in this room. This entire space is such a masterful blend of contemporary and new-traditional. Bravo! (Please see the ultimate window treatment guide.)
Of course, there could be a mirror or art over the mantel. However, I think there’s something quite zen about the mostly spartan space and then these opulent (AKA: mucho bucks) window treatments.
Above is another dark but not at all dreary room.
The wall color looks a lot like Benjamin Moore Caponata. And, yes, it’s another Laurel Home paint collection color.
Paul Montgomery is such an incredible artist. Above is a printed wallpaper in a Sepia Version of four panels and available at Chairish. (144″ x 120″h, but it can be trimmed.) It says “Casa Cosima”; however, the address on Chairish is the same address on TheMuralSource website.
This lovely vintage 10’7 x 7’7 Tabriz rug shown in the room scene above is available!
Above, is a classic contemporary living room with a ming-style coffee table.
Jayson Home also sells vintage pieces and antiques at very reasonable prices. There are some lovely items, so please check them out.
I love the classical architectural detailing in this room with contemporary furniture. If that coffee table looks familiar, it’s the same as in this recent post.
You can find the Milo teak coffee table here.
Above is a wonderful late 19th c. French Jacobean-style chair with antique upholstery.
Please click on the above image to go to the source.
Oh, to have a room like this!
Wait! I DO have a room like this. haha! Well, almost.
And, that’s the food for thought I have for you today.
In this case, both the husband and the wife may have discovered an entirely different style that married their differing aesthetic into something new. It’s not exactly farmhouse style. You could say the merged style is a metaphor for their new life together as a married couple.
There’s another post that I did a while back about a couple with disparate tastes in decorating.
PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES! And, also the OUTDOOR SHOP is open! Melissa and I regularly add new things to it, so please keep checking back.
PPS: This is not a sponsored post, however, yes, the links to Jayson Home, a brand I love, independently, are affiliate links.
I waited on Marie Osmond once. Back when I waited tables. We got a lot of celebs. It was fun.
I agree that dark green velvety sofa on the black and white floor is worth drooling over!
If it were me, I would paint the paneling, and switch out the sofa, drapes, rug and dining table with something that was compatible, but closer to Marie’s tastes.
That’s a reasonable compromise!
I have deleted a lot of my blog notices, but it’s posts like this one that keep yours solidly in my address book. I simply love (as in LOVE!!) that I read the work of a blogger who receives missives from such hyphenated personages as Donnie-Ann Marie-Osmond. Who wouldn’t? And I love that reply by the Texas woman who puts “farmhouse” where it belongs and knows what a real traditional home is. She took the words right out of my Louisiana mouth. I’m not a marriage counselor, so I can’t go there, but I do think a soul who loves white walls and lots of light might go bats in such a room as that shown. And going bats is pricey, I’m told. Thank you for keeping laughter, nimble-mindedness, and good taste in print. Rare things, those!
I love Jayson Home too! The store is so fun to visit and shop, with excellent service. Ditto for the framing shop next door under the same ownership. They also have (at least pre-Covid) fun warehouse sales. I don’t know about the two women you
mention, but believe it is owned by a man named Jay. Oh, look https://goltzgroup.com/about
Totally agree with selling the house and getting one to start together. My partner and I did not do that. His late wife had passed away after a long illness. They had been married almost 50 years. They had been in the house for over 40 years. When I moved in it was like going back to the 1980s. It really needed to be updated and decorated. The family room was dark, ugly paneling and the decor was Cowboys! When he agreed it needed to be our house the trouble started with his adult children who wanted to make the house a museum to his late wife. Every change no matter how slight was met with scowls I was accused of trying to erase her memory. His son no longer speaks to him and one daughter will have nothing to do with me.One daughter loves me and is happy her dad is living again. It’s been a complete heartache. Sell! Get a place that’s neutral and you can both call your own.
Another vote to sell both houses and get something new.
Not only will a picked-just-for-the-two-of-you house be a fresh expression of this fortunate chapter in your lives (I mean, what a blessing to get a third chance at marital happiness!); but your kids, if you have them, won’t be eternally confounded by what step-mom did with dad’s furniture or why step-dad won’t let mom have even one white thing.
Out with the old! It’s just stuff; it’s just real estate. Let it go. Make a completely new home to celebrate the two of you.
Exactly what I was going to say. Sell both houses and get a place without history. Especially with a widow. A dear friend passed away and her widow was devoted to her and thinks their house is/was perfect. He is currently engaged to a woman who wants to make some changes, he absolutely cannot imagine any changes or selling the house and oh my it’s not going well. It’s material things, people!
Go house hunting first, find a place you both will be comfortable in.
But consider: No one is 100% happy with everything, there Will be trade offs. I’ll give you the kitchen you adore since you are the greatest chef I know, and you give me the….?
Then furniture shop so you have a plan and budget.
Hopefully this will bring you together and see a beautiful, comfortable, new life together emerging!
Get a stager to fix up his house to Sell!
And live happily ever after
I am lucky to be married to someone who HATES furniture shopping, decorating. However he most def has an opinion on what he likes and dislikes. So I work with a decorator and then I show H what my final, (but maybe not final final lol) choices are. If he does not care for something, I show him option 2,3,….and eventually we have a mutually agreed upon item that works in our home. Last year I had a beautiful leather recliner picked out for him, and a fabric swivel club chair for me. He ended up choosing the same club chair, but no swivel with a beautiful leather ottoman. It looks beautiful flanking our fireplace, and is used every day. My personal opinion is work with a designer to determine style(s) and just about anything can work in a combination. No one wants matchey matchey anyway.
Oh gosh, y’all, pretty sure this is a fake letter (did no one else catch the signature: ‘Donnie-Ann Marie Osmond’ ??) No need to call in the marriage counselor or divorce lawyers just yet 😂
OMG–Fortunately, my husband believes that the Lady of the House should be in control. I run most choices by him and if he really doesn’t like it (chevron!), out of respect, I’ll find something else. Any future husband I might have would need to understand that I will always be the Lady of the House, and just deal with it.
I live in an actual West Texas farm house. I do not have windmill blades or chicken feeders on the walls. I do have some country things inherited from grandparents and even great grandparents but have them mixed in vignettes with old silver platters and trays. I keep my breakfast nook table and formal table set at all times with china, stemware, and silverware from the 1800’s of which some belonged to the above mentioned grandmothers. I have traditional rugs, French Bergere chairs, original French watercolors, large gilded mirrors, and a some antiques, although most are not fine. I do not have my antiques painted and distressed, as the new trend is, except for two old china cabinets painted in a wonderful black that I polished to a sheen with wax and steel wool. I have applied fabric in the back of one and contrasting paint in the back of the other. Both treatments make collections of dishes pop. OK, that’s enough about my house. I just want people to know that even us humble country folk can have good taste and we don’t use garden implements or fake distressing in our decor. All this to say, to the woman and husband in conflict, that Farmhouse does not have to be trendy or painted or feminine. Maybe they can reach a compromise with old things that belong to each and make a warm but fresh interior they will both enjoy.
I’ve been reading Laurel’s blog for a few years, and I’ve read all her archives as well. I’m fairly certain this is an older post that has been updated. AND, if I remember correctly, this is a fictitious couple! Of course, whenever Laurel uses a fictitious person, the problems she outlines are based on actual situations that she has encountered. All that to say, I don’t think anyone has to worry about this particular couple :] Laurel, love your blog post, as usual!
Laurel, some of your responses to this commenter made me laugh out loud. (I’m not a blogger, but there must be some way to block certain people from leaving comments.)
I’m going to go out on a limb and sound like a marriage counselor here, and I’m not, but it concerns me that this lady’s new husband is so inflexible and so angry about her desire to make some changes in what is now her living space too. I agree with some of your readers that perhaps the wisest thing would have been to sell the house and buy a new house where they would be equal owners. I’m sorry to say that I agree with Roslyn. I hope I am wrong, but it may be too late to buy the new house and begin again as equals.
I certainly share the concerns about the relationship that others have expressed, but this lady is also looking for some practical advice. While the man-cave suggestion is a good one, does she really want to send her new hubby off to his own room, or do they want to share their new life with one another? Practically, in the first room she shared, a new wall color, white, soft blue, or soft green, would work wonders. Lose the window treatment, maybe paint the back of the shelving a lighter color. Restyle the shelves. Lose the rocking chair and replace sofa with something a bit less bulky and in a lighter color, or print/stripe. A new area rug is the jumping off point for colors and prints throughout the room. Nice thing about area rugs is that they are interchangeable as tastes, seasons, etc. change. These are small-ish changes that can be the start of expanding the tastes of both individuals and eventually lead to creating their own married “style”.
First, I agree about selling his house and buying a new one. My husband and I were both married previously and divorced, and although neither of us owned a house when we met, just the thought of moving into a house he shared with his ex-wife makes me shudder. I’d be living with memories kept fresh by his surroundings, and they would constantly interfere with the new memories I’d be trying to create. It would be even worse in their case, because he was happily married.
That said, I have several pieces of Stickley furniture in my dining room and love them. The table is nothing like the pictured monstrosity, and I have other pieces that are curved and soft. The dining chairs are upholstered. The effect is bold but not overwhelming, and women think the room is beautiful. The mix you speak of, Laurel, is very achievable, especially if they sell the bad pieces and judiciously incorporate the rest with new or antique furniture.
Dear Laural, I have not even looked at your post yet and please do not publish this comment. If that story is a real one, I believe it is, there is a big red flag for this woman marrying this man who had an uncontrolled outburst. I smell an abuser here and trust me, I have had much experience with that type. Too wonderful for words but hiding his temper. Really, that outburst from him including the swearing is a sign. I guess there is nothing you or anyone can do about this, she is hooked. I hope I am wrong,
Oh, I can so relate to this post. I grew up in a REAL farmhouse on a REAL farm and nothing but nothing looked like the modern farmhouse trend. We had dark dark trim and doors everywhere, which is where I learned to love white in reaction. As an adult, I painted our kitchen our kitchen cupboards white 25 years ago when everyone thought we were nuts. I still love it. I do not know what it is about dark wood that makes men drool but it does. Mine, unfortunately, doesn’t “love it painted” at all and it is a huge problem in our marriage. He would live in a wood cave and be perfectly happy. Men…
I agree with Tracy–as long as you are in “HIS” house it is going to be a real struggle because he “really cares” about the furniture (luckily my husband doesn’t care about design). If you can’t move maybe you can hire someone to help you find things that you both like. I know Pottery Barn is not high end …but it does have a more masculine style that might appeal to him. GOOD LUCK!!
I’m sure a lot of designers run into this type of thing often.
They end up being a marriage counselor in addition to designing spaces.
I think when the two parties can’t agree on the direction of the design it’s time to bring in a designer.
Here is another idea from a very happily married woman. This was the third marriage for both of us. He had just bought a perfectly nice house right before we started dating, and it made no financial sense to turn around and sell it. Besides, he loved it. But it was filled with bulky black leather furniture and honey colored oak, which I absolutely hate. I rented my house, stored the furniture I wanted to keep, and moved into his house. By then the Great Recession had hit. At the bottom of it, we bought my house of dreams, a gorgeous neo-classical house wih tall ceilings and millwork to die for, in Tennessee, where we planned to retire. When the market recovered a few years later, we retired, sold both houses, and moved
into our dream house. His black leather furniture now lives in the man cave in the finished lower level. The first floor level is furnished in my taste…RL roll arm sofas (Chairish), sea grass rugs… and he loves it. As we lived together, he grew to love and trust my taste, which became our taste. We chose the new furniture together. In these challenging times, and insane housing prices, you may want to consider living in his house for the moment, with a clear vision of moving on in the future.
So right, sell it and start over with both of you having input. Change is very difficult and the older we are the more difficult it can be.
My husband told our son to buy a house prior to marriage and decorate it the way you want that way no woman input. So silly as my husband and I renovated and built homes and never one argument. My son didn’t take his dad’s advice and I’m glad. He “adjusted” to his wife’s taste.
My arrow was in the wrong direction – I was agreeing with Tracy
Laurel, I just love this post! I have a raised ranch home and I realize it would look ridiculous to go with all traditional style in here as I don’t have a stitch of ceiling moulding in my home as the lines of the home are simple. That being said, I can appreciate all design styles and have a soft spot for antiques. I think modern and contemporary decor with traditional architectural mouldings is so savvy looking. Last week I had to make the final decisions on what window and door casings I was going to go with in our final renovations (I’ve been weighing this decision this for over a year!) and I was seconds away from choosing flat stock. Then I thought, will that give me a farmhouse look in a ranch house? NOT what I was going for. The thing is, I chose I chose masonite two panel raised panel doors for my interior and I’ve been pondering which casings would pair nicely with them. I ended up choosing Lowes window and door casing #356 mitered in a picture frame style around my windows and doors and the outcome is gorgeous, especially around my kitchen window, which I agonized over because I have a new black and white kitchen with white shaker cabinets, and I was worried that style moulding would look out of place. Turns out it adds just a hint of sophistication, like the pictures you’ve shown above and again looks so savvy! Nothing in your examples above looks contrived, which is the perfect blend of design aesthetic to me. PS: Have you tried FB marketplace for antique lighting? You’d be surprised at the gems people are harboring!
I’m sorry but it seems apparent, as a total stranger, that the plan of moving into his and his late wife’s home, is not a good idea. Please take a step back and think it through – you are already giving in to an environment you’re not comfortable with. The potential husband should be excited to create their new home together.
I am with Tracys. While this is my first marriage it is my husband’s third – succeeding his sadly dead young wife and the rebound divorced one. We are happily together 35 yrs now – BUT I had to contend with actual (not emotional) baggage from my predecessors. I still have his wedding china from the first marriage in our basement. And our tastes are wildly different – his is Bronx basement while mine is Southern Home. However, he is a kind and reasonable man and trusted my judgement – plus I gave him his own room – which looks like Bronx basement. So if he loves you, he will be flexible and it is true to say ” happy wife, happy life”.
Speaking as someone who married a third time (happily), do NOT move into his home. Sell it and sell yours and get a NEUTRAL space that you both can decorate.
You will avoid a lot of warring. Because even if he thinks he is flexible, it will feel like HIS home and he’ll resent you redecorating it. He’s already reacting harshly to the suggestion. Imagine actually living in it.
Please call that realtor back. If he’s up for a commitment like marriage and a new start, he needs to go all in. Your stuff in boxes? His stuff in boxes. You downsized? He downsizes. Healthy relationship are based on reciprocity.
I suggest he gets a man cave, and can go crazy with his brown leather stuff. I think zones of decorating work in mid-life marriages.