Masculine vs. feminine

So we’re still busy moving Spencer into his new home in a neighboring town, but things are definitely coming along! Elevator or no elevator, the boxes are stacking up in the living room, the kitchen is stocked and the fridge is no longer emptied of anything but cherries, wine and Pepsi Max.

And now comes the fun part. While I fully recognize that this is Spencer’s house and Spencer’s stuff, I’m the girlfriend who enjoys prancing over and decorating. I’ve never had a blank palate with which to work or my “own” space outside of my bedroom. That might be why I’m so obsessed with decorating my office — choosing artwork and furniture; spicing it up just so. It’s mine.

Spence has been very good-natured about letting me organize things. While I would never be so bold as to wantonly stick stuff where I would want it, he hasn’t been micro-managing where I put every little fork or pair of scissors or shirt. It’s been a collaboration. And I’m trying to remember that Spencer is:

a) A man; it’s one of the things I like most about him.
b) Not interested in anything pink;
c) A man; and
d) A man.

Also, that he is living there full-time and will thus be subject to my whims . . . and I will not.

So.

I’m being good. I’ve resisted the urge to order every print from this Etsy shop and paper the walls with them (though I’m in love with everything there, especially this). The only pink item in the condo right now is a cherry blossom soap dispenser, and I’m not going to lie — I love it. The fresh scent. The girlie bottle. Everything.

I’m terrible.

And I’ve decided that, rather than subject my sweet guy to my eclectic decorating fancies, I’m going to have one pet project: the guest bathroom.

Not the main bathroom, I should note. Not Spencer’s bathroom. But the secondary bathroom, the one reserved for visitors and, you know, me.

That will be my baby.

I will not do anything pink or feminine or crazy. I will not put a vase of fake flowers on the counter. I will stick to neutrals with punches of color and I will not, under any circumstances, put something that my boyfriend hates in my boyfriend’s own condo.

But other than that? Well, I’m going for it.

And we have a blank slate. The tile is light brown with a faux marble finish; the walls are a very light beige, almost white, so compatible with just about anything. The cabinets are a dark maple (see photo). I’d like to stick in the brown/cream range with an accent color — maybe red? turquoise? blue? I haven’t decided. I think I’m waiting for the right shower curtain to appear in my life, introduce itself and then hop into my cart at Target.

We were there on Sunday evening after a long, hot day of moving boxes and furniture with our friend, Eric. Spence pushed the cart as we wandered through the bathroom fixtures area, taking note of the different patterns and textures (and price tags). Everything that caught my eye — because it was pretty; because it was feminine; because it was unique — was not something that pleased my boyfriend.

I’ve never had to marry styles before. I’ve never dated a man who had his own place before. And, more than anything, I’ve never been instrumental in the establishment of a home before, so this is all totally new to me.

And I don’t want to think this is totally masculine vs. feminine. I would like to believe that I’m evolved enough to enjoy a tastefully decorated room even if it hasn’t been dipped in pastels or bright colors, florals or a fleur-de-lis. Though I know Spence would never go for a neon-pink bathroom, it’s not like I would really want that, either.

But I want this to be awesome. Classy and simple but lovely and put-together. I want it to be a grown-up, uncluttered and adult space.

Yes, I realize it’s just a bathroom. And it’s not like I’m being tested on any of this.

So why does it feel like such a paramount decision? Why am I spending so much time looking at shower curtains and minute details that, in the grand scheme of things, are probably not a big deal?

Because I like projects, I think. And because I love him. And because I want this space to feel like home.

So my search continues.

Hey — seen any cool shower curtains lately?

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23 thoughts on “Masculine vs. feminine

  1. Make sure to have FUN with your decorating! When my husband and I first got married, we tried to make our home all “sophisticated” and “grown up,” and realized after a few months that it just wasn’t really our taste at all. Now in our second apartment, we’ve given ourselves permission to just go with what we LOVE, and the house is so much more a reflection of us – “adult” or not 🙂 PS: Love that book print!!

    • You raise an excellent point, Katie — it’s important to feel like a space is very “you,” regardless of what’s trendy or “adult.” Love that you just went for it with your new space, and I’m sure I’ll be taking a page out of your book!

  2. It’s funny you should say that because I can get more hung up on shower curtains than anything else in a house! There’s just something about having to look at it every day that makes it really important! So I agree, it IS a big deal! :–)

    • Totally agree, Jill — that’s why I’m so crazed over having my workspace “just so.” When you sit there for eight hours daily, it’s important to feel like . . . well, not like a crazy person, I guess! I like the spartan look, though I’m far too cluttered as a person to really keep that up for long.

    • I’m all about reduced items at Target, Kathy, that’s for sure! And something with letters appeals to the book-lover in me. I’ll keep my eyes peeled!

  3. This is cracking me up. The guest bathroom is your decorating playground. Do it up, girl! When you’re finished, you’re welcome to come to my apartment and go crazy.

    • I am definitely a fan! I love the idea of bringing the outdoors in . . . plus, that’s very soothing. Great choice!

  4. Like the topic. I think it gets even more interesting when you marry. Here I sit in a house where my wife of course also lives, and so there are sometimes competing styles. We haven’t overtly chatted about the decorating too much, but I imagine she feels she has made great compromises. We did just go buy new furniture after our last move, and that was our biggest collaborative effort. 🙂

    If you get to that spot where you read Love on the Big Screen, you’ll hear a lot from guys and I’m interested to hear what you think of them and if they seem to be the sort of men you’d even be friends with. Hmmm.

    Best,

    Bill

    • Looking forward to reading, Bill, and will definitely share my thoughts! It’s interesting to see how competing styles blend together, even when it’s just among friends or family.

  5. Love the shower curtain with the leaves. Don’t stress so much over it and I am sure you will have a beautiful bathroom for all his guests to enjoy including his first guests mom and dad! You have a wonderfuI sense of taste so go for it. I know Spencer’s decorating ideas or lack of , so I know he really does appreciate your help!

    • Haha — thanks, Alex! Hoping the place will be reasonably put together for your visit soon. I picked up a few purchases yesterday and will be unveiling them to Spencer later . . . hope he approves!

  6. Good luck!

    My advice: don’t pick anything you don’t like. Sort of steer him away from that stuff. Because once you guys go to the next step, you’ll be stuck with the new purchases.

    My suggestion: Some solid colors so later when you blend, you’ll be able to work with it easier.

    • Excellent advice, Juju — I’m definitely going to heed your advice! I’m thinking a solid Tiffany blue shower curtain in the guest bath — something that can be adapted or changed later, and complemented with all sorts of colors. I love the blue/brown combination.

    • Ha! I love it, Eric, and I’ve seen a similar one on “The Big Bang Theory.” That would definitely be right up Spence’s alley!

  7. Love this topic! Not all guys care about decor choices, but my husband has very definite feelings on these matters. Our house is definitely a collaborative effort. We’ve worked to define what is “our” style rather than bits and pieces of competing styles. I think it works to keep the whole place unified and homey.

    If you have an IKEA nearby, check out their bathroom offerings. We both love our IKEA shower curtain (it’s not on the web site, but it’s light green with a darker green leaf pattern that’s both subtle and slightly modern). In a room as small as a bathroom, you pretty much have to start with the shower curtain since it takes up the most visual space in the room. Our style is classic without being stuffy traditional… sort of transitional with lots of clean lines. IKEA is overall too modern for our tastes, but we’ve found some great gems there and the prices are right.

    Have fun with your project! Can’t wait to see the final reveal. 🙂

  8. My husband’s an artist, and I think that’s why he cares, more than me sometimes, about the appearance of our home. The shower curtain, over the years, has been one of the hardest things! Most of the time, I don’t even like most of the choices, and when we *both* have to like it? Nearly impossible. Needless to say, the shower curtain is downplayed in our house, rather than being the focal point.

  9. Ok…just to torture yourself…hop over to Anthropologie and look at the shower curtains…there is a pink ruffled one that I am always tempted to buy…our bedroom is sort of pinkish… I have a pink striped over stuffed chair in one corner and I always put a pink summer bedspread on our big white bed…I don’t think my husband notices the color…or else he just loves pink, too!!!

    Have fun…

  10. I’ve just moved into a new house, all on my own. Tasteful (and boring) neutral colors abound. For 13 years my wife made all the decorating decisions, and I went along with them, so I am relishing the prospect of doing my own thing. That said, the limitless possibilities are both exciting and overwhelming. I have given the children free rein to do what they like to their bedrooms (within reason) but am struggling a bit to work out how I want to put my mark on the rest of the place. I figure there’s no rush. (My shower curtain was from Target. Simple but bold blue and white paisley pattern.) Good luck!

  11. By the time Art & I moved in together, I had already grown out of what I would call my frilly stage. Still, he never really gives any input, just nods his head when I show him things or bounce ideas off of him. (Not sure if the nod means he likes it or if he is just a very smart man, agreeing with me)

    Walmart, believe it or not, has some shower curtains that I have had my eye on. They aren’t foo-foo, but definitely pack a punch and I love that most are fabric.

    Have fun remember to make Spencer think that you are involving him in the decisions. If you give him a say, all will be well, even if you don’t listen to him;)

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