designing in tandem {& defying convention}…

tree hotel

i “designed” my first home when i was all of fifteen…

it featured a sunken lounge {no judgement, it was the 80s} and a round, galleried library with a giant oak tree growing from its centre & extending upwards through a domed glass enclosure {though i never did finalise the technicalities of that bit}…

fast forward quite a few years & it appears very little has changed; i’m still trying to fuse as much nature as i can with my interiors & i still refuse to bow to convention…

& never has this been more evident than in the process of planning our future home…

floating concrete benches & cantilevered stairs blend seamlessly, drawing the eye to the courtyard beyond; a combination internal/external fireplace nestles alongside expansive walls of glass, blurring the boundaries between inside & out; & a wood-clad larder to rival that of a dean & deluca franchise makes the prospect of unpacking the groceries a decidedly pleasurable one: my delight is palpable…

it’s hard to imagine, but after decades of scheming & scribbling on scraps of paper, mentally redesigning innumerable rental properties & salivating over countless design tomes i finally get the opportunity to put my ideas into practise & see my dreams realised…

not too hard to imagine is my horror upon realising there was a fundamental flaw in my plan…

planning a home from scratch is hard; planning a home from scratch in tandem with your partner can prove considerably harder, especially when your design approaches are diametrically opposed…

we’re only at the initial planning stage {we submitted our design brief & initial drawings to the architect today}, but already walls are starting to go up & they’re not the bricks & mortar variety…

suddenly my polished concrete visions are reminding a certain somebody of building sites; my floating benches raise eyebrows & pulse rates for all the wrong reasons; & as for my indoor/outdoor fireplace…

& yet i can raise a smile; afterall, there’s a certain irony to all of this that doesn’t escape me…

i’ve been told i’d make an excellent police officer as, in my day-to-day dealings, i’ve been known to be a little ‘feverish’ when it comes to following the rules {i’m the girl that buys a ticket even when there’s no inspector}

but when it comes to design, as already noted, i don’t bind bending those rules one little bit; i don’t mind at all…

my partner, on the other hand, serves as my mirror image; ordinarily he is the first to fly in the face of conformity…

he prides himself on his ability to swim against the tide & it’s imperative in his line of work that the moment everyone else starts doing what he’s doing he maps a different course entirely…

yet, inexplicably, when given a house plan to ponder mr rules-are-made-to-be-broken magically metamorphoses into mr granite-worktops-are-us {not that there’s anything wrong with granite worktops, but i’m all about pushing those boundaries}

& so it is, sometimes we advance, sometimes we take two steps backwards & at other times i’m left wondering if we’ll ever find a common path to follow at all…

but more importantly, if & when we do will it be paved in concrete or granite?

image via: tree hotel

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12 thoughts on “designing in tandem {& defying convention}…

  1. Well. We have concrete counters in our kitchen and butler’s pantry AND a concrete apron sink and LOVE it. It suits us. We tend to be more contemporary/modern than traditional and I like that you’re making something rather than taking something from the earth. I also LOVE what you can do with concrete…in fact, you can do so much that it was hard to make decisions. Give me a holler if you ever want to chat. When (someday!) we build our dream home, I’d do it all over again!

    • ahh, fabulous! a co-conspirator! i LOVE the look of concrete counters… they just look handsome, sturdy & unpretentious… and i love even more the idea of juxtaposing them with some raw wood… i’ll definitely be in touch! do you have any photos i might be able to show the lad at this end to sway his opinion? & what’s an apron sink? doesn’t actually help that his dad’s a builder & his brother is a concreter… too much pre-conditioning in the one family! i’m going to have an almighty battle on my hands with this one 😉

  2. Wait, you’re supposed to take your partner into consideration when designing a home? Hmm. Don’t know how I feel about that. I’ve been lucky in that so far, J lets me do whatever I want to the house (the downstairs guest room + den construction was all my idea) because he says he has no eye whatsoever for design. I’d kindly remind your bf of the same thing 😉 “Leave it to the experts, sweetie!” Haha.

    Also I love the idea of having a tree shooting through a glass roof of your house. I can picture it perfectly, and it’s magical. WhenI was a kid I always wanted a room in a finished attic, with frosted glass windows, with a thin, paved stone walkway across a shallow pool of water leading to another door. Obviously that makes sense 😉

    • must concede, boyfriend is staying out of it for the most part, but sometimes the things he objects to take me aback! attics unfortunately give me the heebies… must be from watching amityville horror… but the shallow pool with stepping stones i can dig completely! 😉

  3. I think a tree going through a glass dome sounds amazing!! Alas, when someone has their own ideas of what does and doesn’t work for them, it just means we’ve gotta get more creative 😉 You’ll be happy to know that my other half veto’s lots of my more ‘creative’ ideas (ahem) and had the nerve to say to me the other day, ‘I hate brass. It’s such a 70’s metal.’ to which I replied, ‘HOW ARE WE EVEN TOGETHER?!?!’ Ok, so I was being melodramatic but STILL!! lol I’m sure you’ll find a way to make your dreams work for you both and it’s going to be fabulous!!

    And thanks so much for your kind birthday wishes! I was very happy to find out that many of my colleagues actually thought the birthday balloon was a windup!! lol I may have to start lying about my age 😉 xxx

    • i actually did think the balloon was a wind-up too when i first saw the photo! seriously! lie girl, dammit, lie! we have lots of ‘HOW ARE WE EVEN TOGETHER?!?!’ moments here so i’m confident(ish) we’ll work through the current concrete vs granite dilemma like we do most others! 😉

  4. What great bit of storytelling… I can picture you at 15, in the present, and right now am constructing an image of your relationship with your beau. Fabulous!

    Congratulations on submitting drawings and plans to the architect:-) How very exciting for you guys!

    Designing in Tandem must be hard. I only ever did it alone, together with my architect (who admittedly was a friend and we had history together;-) I did feel the design and execution was very much in Tandem, but then I was the client. The beauty of it was that he knew me really well and was able (although quite minimal in his design aesthetics) to merge with my colour and patterns thirsty needs and help create what is today my small but perfectly formed home! I loved our entire creative process and that ying and yang and I would do it all over again tomorrow.

    This is many years ago and every day I dream of a new project where I push boundaries and apply my new thinking and alas, one day it will happen.

    So, I say to you, go forth, enjoy every moment, argue, make-up, and remember, us girls win in the end!!!

    PS. I once volunteered for ‘Kids Company’ and got pissed off with something so went and had a meeting with Camilla (founder) in her office. They were given a huge but derelict office block which was kindly donated. Camilla’s office had been transformed (on a tiny budget) into a child’s fairytale. There was a tree planted and around the horrible windows they created a multi-layered stage set of landscape, flowers and waves. We had tea and I didn’t want to leave that space which reminded me of my childhood. It was truly inspiring and cost next to nothing;-)

    • i dare say i think there will be a lot of back & forth & negotiation, but thats’ part of the fun, right!?! in this case my bf is most definitely the client! oh, & i love the sound of that stage set!!! wouldn’t that be lovely if it was in your house & you could just change the scenery every day… mine would be an ocean scape… a ferocious wave carrying a pirate ship, a mermaid on a rock, distant land, a gull or two hovering overhead…

  5. I hear you. I used to ask the opinion of my other half and got veto’d a lot. In the end when we moved house, I started making design decisions even if he didn’t like them and you know what, he actually liked it when he saw it. It could also have something to do with the fact that I compromised and he got to have those super big speakers that are fit for an audience at the O2. I’m sure you’ll get there in the end with much haggling and negotiation. All the best. xD

    • ha! love it… once i came home to find my boyfriend had impulse purchased a tv the size of a football field! men! i’m sure we’ll haggle something out… makes me more creative having to bend to a ‘client’s’ wishes 😉

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