Masculine Design: Beyond the Man Cave

August 11th, 2011

Hello!  Today I’m featuring an important topic that many couples face, it’s the age old struggle between masculine versus feminine in design.  This tug of war is not rare, rather it’s a common issue in so many relationships, and even plays into many a discussion of décor here in my own home.  One of the struggles I’ve recently faced in our shared master bedroom (always a work in progress!) is how to balance my mister’s love of dark furniture and his more traditional taste against my love of white and bright with touches of modern.  

Today, addressing the topic on a larger scale, Courtney is back with his monthly contribution. To me, this is a fascinating topic, and I willingly embrace any tips that address the issue of how both masculine and feminine style can coexist in harmony. 

Please welcome back Courtney and his interview with top designers addressing the definition of masculine style, and how to successfully balance it with feminine tastes.  

“A college friend recently moved in with his long term girlfriend and called me to complain.  He was distressed that all his favorite pieces of furniture and home accessories were being either sold, relegated to the guest bedroom, or simply being placed in that black hole known as offsite storage.  As more of his beloved possessions exited the new apartment, he became increasingly agitated and an argument ensued. 

After the dust settled, I went over to play “design negotiator” which is relationship counseling, but with furniture.  Sitting them both down, I asked a very simple question, or so I thought.  “What is it about his things that make them ineligible to enter the apartment?”  She turned to me and said quite simply  “Courtney, his stuff is totally way too masculine and it just won’t work in here.”

Too masculine?  Aside from his international beer bottle collection and large screen TV, my friend’s possessions were run of the mill items picked up over the years from IKEA, CB2 and big box stores.  What was it about his possessions made them :too masculine”?  Can’t masculine peacefully coexist with feminine design?

Seeking answers, I sought out advice from two designers I respect for not only their fantastic design talents but their ability to break down complex design issues.  I asked several questions of Joe Cangelosi of Joe Cangelosi Design and Brian Dittmar of Brian Dittmar Design to get their take on what elements create a ‘masculine’ space, how it deviates from a ‘feminine’ style space, and can the two exist in harmony?  Here is what Dittmar and Cangelosi had to say:

Q: First and foremost, is there such a thing as a ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ room? Don’t people define spaces, and not the things within?

Joe Cangelosi (JC):  There is absolutely a difference!

Brian Dittmar (BD):  Yes, I think so. A ‘masculine room’ is the result of a feeling that is created through a collection of objects versus each object being one way or the other.

brian dittmar designs

Brian Dittmar

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Savoring What’s Left

August 10th, 2011

Every season has its feeling.  For me, summertime is the definition of relaxation.  Warm nights spent barbequing, and lazy mornings sleeping in, waking up to the whirring of the fan.  I know many moms count the days until school begins and the weather cools, but this week I’m completely caught up in the notion of savoring what’s left of summer.  No schedules, no official bedtimes, no busy or hurried pace, just days that melt into one another.

Last weekend we went out touring some wineries along Olivet Road in the Russian River Valley, me with my Nikon, my hub with his palate, tasting, sampling and photographing for our new venture, a regional book on living in wine country.  We stopped at DeLoach Vineyards and while my mister sipped Pinot Noirs, I snapped pictures of the grounds and the kids played in the little brook out among the gardens. 

I watched them engaging with nature, sending their flip flops downstream like little boats tripping along the rocks only to repeat it over and over again.  I observed their fascination with the cool water as it ran over their feet, and their ability to completely live in the moment with no thoughts of the past or worries about the future.

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