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My Husband Loves Kelly Wearstler...

And no, not just because she's cute. He loves her (get this) style. Perhaps this isn't headline-worthy news for the rest of the world, but at the Conn residence it's practically earth-shattering. I've spent the past three years trying to get Dave to elaborate on his decorating tastes with little more success than oblique responses like "I know it when I see it" (thank you, Justice Stewart) and "more ornate than yours" (what does that even mean?!). So imagine my surprise when I found him casually flipping through Ms. Wearstler's newest book Hue -- and I was left positively stupefied when he said "I actually like this!".

Perhaps the real irony here is that I really don't. While I'm a fan of Kelly's earlier work, her new '70s and '80s-inspired direction has left me at something of a loss. And a recent post (and the accompanying comments) over at My Little Happy Place suggest I'm not alone in this.

Like many of you who cohabitate with your spouse, partner, boyfriend (whatever), I've tried to involve Dave in many of the decorating decisions both in our new home and in our old townhouse. And, like many of you, I didn't get particularly far. Sure, Dave had veto power, but he exercised it more out of frugality than to advance his own design vision. Despite this, I have been able to glean some of Dave's decor preferences along the way that, in retrospect, synch up rather closely with Wearstler's latest twist on her ever-evolving style.

For example, Kelly's bathrooms (all covered from floor to ceiling with incredible and unique stone) scored the biggest with Dave. And this doesn't particularly surprise me as Dave has also loved polished marble, geodes and other natural stones -- the larger and bolder the pattern, the better. Indeed, he was sorely disappointed when I vetoed a polished green marble surround on the new fireplace.

Dave also has a proclivity for what I term "Florida colors". Think aqua, turquoise, purples, and even hot pink. This is, after all, a man who insisted that his "man cave" be painted teal. Malachite, amethyst, agate: these are three of Dave's favorite things. And obviously Kelly's, too, if this room is any indication. Where she's not actually working with these materials, she's mimicking the look in the floor-to-ceiling draperies.

This particular room strikes me as a bit (dare I say?) tacky. Little Black Sambos aside, it's all just a bit much for me. In fact, about the only elements of this room that I like are Wearstler's Birkin bag and fabulous pumps. Dave's response?: "Fun!"

Dave also prefers a more cluttered style than I do. As an avowed type-A, I tend to display only a few tchotchkes and mementos on any surface. Clutter is the gateway to messy in my book. Left to his own devices, Dave would keep out all of his many, many collections (coins, stamps, rocks, you name it, he's collected it). Kelly's latest "tablescapes" seem to be in keeping with Dave's philosophy as many photos in her new book showcase tables completely packed with curiosities and precious objects. As an amateur Classicist (a few years ago Dave tore through all of Plutarch's Lives), Dave also appreciates Wearstler's new found obsession with oversized Greco-Roman busts.

What's interesting is that all of this is very "of the moment" -- the next big thing in design (thanks in no small part to Kelly, I'm sure). In fact, I'd peg this renewed fondness for '70s and '80s glam as one of the major trends to watch for in 2010 (Belgian style being another). So what's a girl to do? Dave certainly has a right to dictate how our house is decorated -- after all, he lives there, too. And certainly one of the trade offs with sharing your space with another person (or persons) is that, inevitably, you have to compromise some and make your home reflective of everyone who lives there. So how do I incorporate Dave into my decor? Admittedly, I've not been particularly good about running every purchase by Dave and I've certainly ignored him on a few occasions and gone with my gut instinct (typically with good results). In the past I've justified this on the grounds that Dave doesn't really care about interior design and that he's always been pleased with what I've done in the though, I'm starting to think that I need to rethink both of those assumptions.

And so, my solution is to work in Dave (aka "Mr. Wearstler") through the accessories. Bring in more naturally glamorous elements-- and definitely more rocks. Antiques. Gilt. Bold jewel tones. Not only will this inevitably make Dave happier, but it will force me to push the boundaries of my own "style" in a new and interesting direction.

Source list (clockwise, from top left): 1. Faux malachite boxes from High Fashion Home ($200-260). 2. Petrified wood trays from Jayson Home & Garden ($65-$148). 3. Tiny bugs from Mothology ($10 each). 4. Cameron table lamp from Circa Lighting ($3,150). 5. Eglomise coffee table from Beeline Home ($2250). 6. Amethyst napkin rings from Nate Berkus for HSN ($59.95 for a set of 4). 7. Gold leaf urchin bowl with silver spoon from Inglenook Decor ($26). 8. Gilded knot mirror from Horchow ($419.90).

So what about you? Does your S/O have a distinct design style? If so, how do you take it into consideration when you decorate?

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