Jimmy has opinions.
Most husbands have the sense to defer to their wives in all matters involving design, decorating and aesthetics. When it comes time to redecorate, the couple may discuss their mutual needs, and the wife might offer fabric swatches or paint chips, just so the husband feels slightly involved, but for the most part, the wife makes all the choices. Most husbands are happy with this arrangement.
But not Jimmy.
Now, this would not be a problem if Jimmy's taste was...mmm...good. But unfortunately, Jimmy's taste is...how shall I put this? Well, to put it nicely, Jimmy's taste is...unusual. One-of-a-kind. To put it more accurately, it's...tacky. Okay, I said it. Tacky. Jimmy's decorating style lies somewhere between Good Fellas glam...
...and hippie dreck...
For Jimmy, it's all about..."the vibe". He has to get a "good vibe" from a place, for him to live in it.
Now to his credit, Jimmy tends to have accurate "vibes". So if he has a "bad vibe" about about something or some place, I usually listen to him. When we were house hunting, many a decision came down to whether Jimmy got a "good vibe" or a "bad vibe" from a place. We actually have some friends in New York who bought a summer home based almost entirely on the fact that Jimmy had a "good vibe" when he drove past it.
But unfortunately, Jimmy's vibes don't take into consideration things such as style, sophistication or good taste. In fact, Jimmy seems to believe that anything thought to be stylish and tasteful is in fact boring, bourgeois and "white bread". He feels that any attempt on my part to get him to conform to the tastes and norms of society is in fact an effort by society at large to stifle his personal creativity and joie de vivre. He believes himself to be a free-spirit, and his personal style to have a certain "je ne sais quoi".
And I'm afraid that over the years, people have fostered this belief by saying things to him like "Wow, Jimmy, only you could pull off that outfit." Which he takes to mean "Wow, Jimmy, I am amazed by your unique and passionate display of individuality and creativity. You are HOT." But in fact means, "Wow, Jimmy, that is one freaky weirdo outfit you're wearing, but I appreciate your display of personality and lack of caring what anyone thinks about how you look."
I have learned over the years, to involve Jimmy as little as possible in regard to home decorating. And for the most part, I'm able to get away with it. Luckily for Jimmy, my own personal taste tends to be slightly on the quirky side. My friend Brian once described my taste as "Parisian Flea Market", which I think is fairly accurate. So I guess he can usually handle my choices.
But occasionally, he takes things into his own hands. Once, Jude and I came home from New York to find that he had rearranged all the pictures in the living room. Not one picture was hung in a place that fit the size of its frame, nor was any attention paid to things such as spacing or style. I guess I can't blame him, as he learned such things from Mommy, who is responsible for these...
When I saw his handiwork, I'm afraid I freaked out a little, which caused Jimmy to accuse me of the whole "white bread", bourgeois thing. I managed to slowly put the pictures back in their original places, sneakily rehanging one picture every few weeks. It was a pain in the butt.
So when I decided it was time to FINALLY redecorate our bedroom, I paused. How much to involve him? I realize now that I should have not involved him at ALL. But unfortunately, I must have been feeling kindly toward him that week, and decided to give him some limited choices.
Gretchen: What kind of "feel" would you like the bedroom to have?
Jimmy: Warm. I want it warm.
Gretchen: Really? Because I was thinking that since it's the bedroom, it should be soothing, and peaceful.
Jimmy: No. I want warm.
Gretchen: Hmmm. Okay. What about color"? Is there any particular color that you're "vibing"?
Jimmy decided to think about it. A few days later, he handed me this tube of cream...
Gretchen: Well. That's certainly warm.
Yes, Jimmy wanted to room to be...orange. Not just orange, but DAY GLO orange.
God help me.
Luckily, I had a secret weapon. My friend Maralee is an interior decorator and set decorator. She's been the set decorator many, many tv shows including "Dirty Sexy Money" and that new show "Hot in Cleveland". And she knows Jimmy, and what a pain in the butt he is. And for some unknown reason, Jimmy trusts her taste. So I told her my predicament.
Clever Maralee, managed to choose a color that was "warm" and in the orange color family, but wouldn't have made my eyes bleed every time I entered the room. The best part was that the name of the color was "Harem", which of course, sold it to Jimmy.
So here you have our new bedroom...
Not bad? Right? The color's sort of terracotta. And it's very warm. And luckily, fairly soothing as well. As always, I apologize for my horrible photographic skills. The duvet's from Pottery Barn, the coverlet thingy's from Bed, Bath and Beyond, and the rug and the lampshades from good old Target. The curtains were leftover from our old apartment. So it was all pretty cheap.
I still haven't hung anything over our bed. I have a typical Southern California fear of hanging any large glass items over the bed, in case of earthquake. Any ideas?
The best part? Jimmy immediately got a "good vibe" from it. For a couple of weeks he kept walking in there, looking around and muttering things like "good vibe" and "warm". Whew.
But NOW? Jimmy has decided that he thinks I should carry the whole "harem" theme further, by hanging fabric from the ceiling. I have told him that under no circumstances will I turn our bedroom into the Moroccan theme room at the Madonna Inn. Please back me up on this.
In a couple of weeks, I'm going to paint the kitchen.
I am asking Jimmy NOTHING.
Please visit Sprite's Keeper for more spins on the topic - Decorating.