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Monday, September 23, 2013

52 He Said, She Said: Building a Home Together

Family, Home & Life.  Those are three things that I blog about A LOT here.  Daily, I drill down to the nitty gritty happenings around our abode, whether it be organizing a drawer, painting curtains, installing a paneled wall or renovating an entire bathroom.  Although my main man, Bryan, doesn't get nearly enough love and attention on my blog, the majority of the projects wouldn't happen without  him.  At the end of the day, he brings SO much to what happens around here, whether that be just by supporting my visions, contributing to an idea or lending a helping hand {a.k.a. taking over and making the end result rock!}.

Occasionally I share a little about the behind the scenes conversations that take place when a project goes down, and it always drums up questions about our process, and how we work together.  Sure, I run the blog, but Bryan is such a BIG part of it.  So I thought I would invite him here today, to not just be the Wilson of the blog {think Home Improvement, although we typically only see Bryan's hands and feet around here}, but to be a voice.  He is joining me today to answer some of the most commonly asked questions we receive, regarding working together and building this happy little home of ours.



What do you think about the colors used within your home?  Who makes the choices?

"I think the base colors on the walls and furniture are fairly neutral and would say that we both have an equal say on what colors go into the main aspects of our house.  However when it comes to staging/accessories, I leave it up to Jen and sometimes she surprises me with colors and patterns that I wouldn't have necessarily chosen, but they work!"  


 



 "You all know that I love bold and brilliant colors.  Hello!  Green living room walls!  But if I stayed on my own self destructing path of being a bit too color happy at times, our home may look like a box of crayons lost their lunch.  Having boys in the home keeps me balanced, and ensures that I keep neutrals, blues and grays within the majority of our areas.  When it comes to the most of our living spaces {excluding my studio}, I select a few color options, and always run them by Bryan first.  Nothing goes on the walls without his approval, and there are times when he turns them all down and I have to go back to the drawing board until we find something we can both agree on.  Spray paint is a different story, sometimes that works out and he doesn't even take notice, other times, I am heading back out to respray in a less alarming color.  So although he may not be the one to pick the color right off the bat, even curtains are run by him before they are purchased and hung."




How does the project planning process go?  Who decides what's next?


"Jen usually comes up with an idea for a project either from her own thoughts as she eyes up a space in the house or gains inspiration from the interweb and brings the idea to me.  I usually say that it won't work and it will be too time consuming, and she says 'Great, that's what we're doing next, I am sure you will find a way to get it done!' 

Beyond that, we usually eye up the project from start to finish, plan it all out from initial measurements to finished projects and draw it out on paper/excel and visualize what we are hoping the end result will be.  Come up with a materials list and usually make one or two extra trips to the local HD because we ran into a snag or forgot something!"





"Oooh.  This one is a tough one for me.  I am always drumming up new thoughts and ideas and can't ever seem to turn off my brain {blogging work hazard}, so if it were up to me, we would be doing 87 things at once.  Bryan limits that list to no more than eight, ha!  I am also a huge list maker, and keep track of all of the things we want to do, on project planning checklists.  I revisit the list often and will often times 'pitch' the next project idea to the hubs, in a casual and relaxed environment.  Tossing it out there while he is in the middle of cooking or watching football, will get me a big fat NO.  It is all about timing.  Then, I share why I think we need to focus on it next, and sometimes I will even need to show him visuals of where I want to go with it, because just trying to describe it vocally can be really challenging.  It is my goal to get him as excited about my idea, as I am.  So to get him to 'see' what is in my brain, requires me to pull as many examples from the web, on TV or from magazines, as possible.  I also know that I need to gain his buy-in because he is the brains and execution behind a lot of what I dream up.  I think everything will be super simple and quick and he brings me back to reality and thinks out all of the details.  Most of time it all works out when I am excited to start something new, and other times he will pitch right back, and remind me why it is important to focus on cleaning out the garage before taking on a kitchen project."




What are your thoughts on painting furniture?


"I had always been against painting natural woods.  The swaying moment for me was when we painted the cabinets in the kitchen though, which was a dramatic first attempt at painting anything in our house.  I still believe there is beauty in wood grains and don't agree with painting some furniture, but with older, gently used furniture, a fresh coat of paint can make a tired piece of furniture really new again.

See the post on our night stands {where I won...}"





"I go through many phases when it comes to painting furniture.  Some days, I would paint anything that moves.  Other days, I can completely appreciate the beauty in wood, new or rustic.  I am trying to ensure I create a balanced mix and match of beautiful woods, and nicely painted trim and furniture pieces.  I think every space needs a little of both.  Smaller, inexpensive pieces, may get painted without me running it by the hubby first, because there is little harm or impact.  But I always be sure to show him the end result, as the more he sees the awesome transformation that some paint can make, the more he understands and is willing to take the plunge when the time comes to paint a larger item.  My advice to those who live with guys that are completely against painting any wood is to do two things: show him oodles of examples of where a painted piece of furniture shines within a space, and, start small.  Update something like an end table or stool, and let him in on the process and end result.  The more my hubby saw that it worked, the more he trusted me to make the right decision in the future."




How do you manage through disagreements that come up throughout the project process?


"I feel that when I disagree with Jen, I am stealing her creativity, but I live in our house too and have to live with things that we do.  So I am not afraid to share my opinion on anything she wants to do.  With disagreements comes compromise and in the end it allows us to both be happy with what the end result is.  Just know in the end when I am bragging about how great it turned out, it's because of 'MY' suggestions and input!"

 
 

"I lock him out of the house until he agrees to see things my way.  OK, so that has never happened {yet}, but there are a few things I know about working with Bryan, and one is that no project is worth getting upset over.  Bryan is the laid back one, and often times has a justifiable reason behind his decisions.  Just as I have gained more and more trust with him the more I make changes around the house that work out, the more I have gained trust in his decisions, as he has made choices about building or how he tackles a project.  If I completely disagree with his approach, or where he wants to hang something, I go back to my original point of showing him visual examples to support my argument.  Most projects end with compromises on both ends, and leave us both grinning ear to ear that we made it through another project stronger than before we started."



Any tips for getting through a project without calling your attorney at the end?

"There are a few projects that may have involved either stencils or wallpaper, that a few "very necessary" adult words got thrown around... or we have finished a project and both look at it and realize it wasn't at all what we wanted it to be and have to head back to the drawing board, but again, it comes down to your ability to plan, agree and execute.  I haven't been one to be able to look at a space and see the end result of a blank slate, so sometimes I grit my teeth and smile through the frustrations of projecting, because with all that we have done, I am still proud to show family and friends the end results!"



"Kelly Clarkson had it all right, 'Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger!'  Every time we do a project, it blows me away at how different we are and how we approach things in the completely opposite way.  Even things as small as household chores and folding sheets, he folds one way, I fold the other.  Instead of getting frustrated with that, we find ourselves literally on the floor laughing.  Projects can be really hard work, a lot of blood, sweat and tears go into the things we do around our home, and arguing would only result in creating an un-happy home, which is obviously a contradiction to our end goal.  It really comes down to trust, and letting the other be the expert in their individual roles within the project.  Over the course of taking on many things around our home, we have streamlined our responsibilities; I propose the idea, he proposes how to get it done right, I propose the paint colors and finishes, he proposes how and where to install them.  It's a balance and give-and-take and in the end I know most of my ideas wouldn't become reality without him."




So that ends our little love fest for now.  Things are not always rainbows and butterflies around here, and I think it was more challenging for us in the very beginning, and has only gotten easier and smoother as we go and build a system and confidence in one another.  I always love how he may raise an eyebrow at one of my ideas or suggestions, but then is the first to share it with friends and family when it is complete.  THAT makes my heart smile.  And I also adore that I come up with some strange things, or change my mind seventeen times throughout the process of working on a room, and he bites his tongue and makes things happen.  As our home has changed and evolved, so has our relationship and ability to work through the process of turning our house into our home.

Now it is your turn!  Who wants to weigh in and share what works for you when working with your significant other on a project?  Any funny stories to share of where it all could have gone wrong, but you pulled through it together with flying colors?  


Pssst!  You may have noticed our rockin' new headshots!  A special thank you to Miroslavich Photography for doing such an incredible job!

52 comments:

  1. I so enjoyed this post! It's so much fun seeing a little peek behind the scenes of what goes on before each post comes together. I completely agree with you about timing on when I pitch my idea to him. If I am too pushy or impatient, then he isn't excited about my idea or the work involved. If I can get him on board, then it becomes a really fun thing that brings us together, which is really the best part!

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  2. Just want to say, what an adorable post! This was a neat, fresh idea! Keep up the good work with working together.

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  3. Hi Jen -- I think the most important benefit about working together as a family is to keep in mind what you're teaching your kids. They will pick up that "can do" attitude and also learn to roll with Plan B or C (or more) if Plan A doesn't work. The world needs more doers, not just watchers and supervisors and critics, IMHO.

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    1. Couldn't agree with you more. Great reminder!

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  4. This "I think everything will be super simple and quick and he brings me back to reality" is exactly me and my husband too! I can't even count the number of projects I excitedly start thinking they'll just take a few hours only to still be working on them three days later. I'm so thankful to have a patient husband! :) This was such a fun post. Thanks for letting us have a little peek behind the iheart organizing curtain!

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  5. Enjoyed reading this very much! Thanks! And thanks for inspiring many people! And love the photograph!

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  6. I love this post! What a great insight into how you two work together. It's probably really good for your kids to see how you two work too. My hubby and I have a hard time seeing how to get a process from start to finish, so it involes a lot of talking up front. We don't tackle anything like you guys do, though, so it's fun to see how that works! Thanks to both of you for sharing!

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  7. People always ask me if my husband is on board- usually he starts out not so much, but ends up helping, giving ideas, and making the project better!
    I wrote this post on why it is awesome to DIY together & why to keep doing it!
    http://createbakecelebrate.blogspot.com/2013/06/create-graduation-wall.html

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    1. So so true! My hubby typically enjoys volunteering his advice when I am trying to tackle something on my own. And I never mind because he is usually right. :D

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  8. Oh my gosh you guys sound like me and Michael! Hahaha! You can see each other's strengths and weaknesses, but it can be hard to agree on things at times. Michael helps me SO much on projects, but he's taught me a lot along the way. :-) And I LOVE that picture of you two!!!

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    1. Thanks sweet Friend! And I love your outlook, they do teach us a lot! I am guessing we teach them a thing or two as well. Such a nice balance. xo!

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  9. What a great post! I love hearing from both of you as to how you approach projects, blogging, and decorating. What a great relationship you have! Plus, I love the new headshots. Gorgeous!

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  10. Such a fun post Jen! Kenny and I have been building a house together for the past year and a half (almost done!) and oh my word! Has it ever been a challenge! We celebrated our 16 year anniversary together a few weeks ago and do you know what we gave each other? I high five! We're so proud of ourselves for making it through building without getting divorced (although at times it felt like we might not make it!). ;) This kind of stuff is stressful for a marriage, but I totally agree with you. Sometimes you just have to sit back and laugh. And whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. :) That being said, thank goodness we are almost done! Can't wait to get moved in so I can organize and decorate! :)

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    1. Congrats on the new house! Just took a look and it is incredible! And also congrats on 16 years!!! So amazing!!

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  11. This is such a fun post to read, love, love, love! You are so right, timing is everything, and yes pictures can speak much more than words, for sure! Let's see a dropped water heater, or not shutting off plumbing before taking apart a jetted tub and faucet.. just to name a few. Kelly did say it best!

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    1. Oh my! Sounds like you have survived more than most DIYers! Kudos to sticking with it! :)

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  12. I absolutely love the green walls and the desk spaces in the closets. Such great ideas!

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  13. What a great post. You two should have your own show on HGTV!

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    1. Haha! Thanks Tina! Not sure I am cut out for that though! Made an HGTV appearance once and was shaking the entire time, lol. xo!

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  14. Loved this post. Hubby and I have done many DIY projects together (the biggest installing hardwood floors throughout the upstairs of our home). My girlfriends are always amazed we are still married. My favorites times are when he tries to "do it on his own, his way" only to get frustrated, give up...and then I love to come behind him and "fix it"...HE HATES THAT! I always tell him, "I'm a lefty, I just approach things differently." LOL

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    1. Oh my gosh, so funny! The opposite seems to happen here, he always rescues me from my fails :)

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  15. I can totally relate to having the eye-rolling husband later share a project with family or friends! ;) It makes my heart smile, too. I love your constant references to trusting each other...I need to trust my hubby more on projects! I've said it several times on my blog, but my projects often wouldn't be possible without his help!!!

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  16. You're very lucky to have a husband who's involved in the decorating aspect of your home.

    My husband, eh, not so much. A story recently...I was trying to pick out new paint colors for the living room and passed a couple options by my husband and he said (and I quote) "This is your world, babe. I just live in it" lol!

    It would be nice to get a 2nd opinion from him. But I guess I can't expect much, when as a bachelor his "decorating style" for the living room was overstuffed Lazy-boy furniture, Rubbermaid containers for end tables, and a huge projection tv, lol!

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    1. Bahahaha! Love the reference to your husbands decorating style. And that's awesome that he lets you run wild with your decorating ideas. xo!

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  17. Great (and realistic) post! Sounds like our house. I envision and he executes. We plan and work together, but I know I couldn't do it without him. Really a great combo. I see mutual respect in the words in this post -- that is most important.

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  18. My hubby isn't always on board with everything either. He is also a visual person. So, like you, I find the visual aids to show him. This is our third house. So lots of remodeling going on around here the last 20 yrs. We have gotten better about figuring it out without it turning into an argument. There are just times you need to walk away for awhile. I do know when my DH gets a bee in his bonnet, it will be hard to change his mind and that is hard. For example deciding (him) to put in a 16x26 paver patio in August and that side of the house at our old house, it was going on was on the west side. First, working during the hottest part of the summer was not a good idea. It didn't quite work out in the beginning how we had hoped. But we made it work in the end. Sometimes, I know how to do something, but am not good with the saws and super sharp tools (alittle accident prone). So I have to try and explain to him how to do something. Oh the stories I could share. LOL Funny thing is... these home projects are kind of our source of entertainment. We like having something like this to do together (most of the time).

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  19. Does your husband work outside the home, or is blogging both of your main job? Love your blog!!!

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    1. Yep, he has a full time job outside of the home. That is why I feel so blessed to get as much help with home projects as I do! xoxo!

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    2. Wow!! He is awesome!!! I'm impressed!

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  20. You two are the cutest. Thanks for sharing this - it is true that everything is compromise and whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but I still wish my Mr. would just trust me and let me do my thing. Hahah
    Thanks to you both. You're such an inspiration.

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  21. What a fun post! I need to make my husband read it so that he knows I'm not the only one who goes running to their hubby with grand plans every other day! ;) Thanks for sharing both sides of the story!

    ~Abby =)

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  22. Just wanted to say love your blog. Keep up the great work

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  23. I love this post! Super cute!!!! That first photo is so me & Dave! xo Kristin

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  24. I have found every word of your post to be true! January will be three years married and we have had to learn how to do projects from two very different views. We have very different working styles too, so we often have to take a deep breath when I deal with his slow, methodical methods and he deals with my get-it-done-RIGHT-this-very-minute methods. Our first major project was updating our bathroom. I picked out a soft blue wall color and a deep expresso brown for the vanity. He was dead set against the brown, so I let him pick the color. Three times he picked and I repainted. The fourth time I made an executive decision and painted it the color I originally wanted.
    He got up the next morning. Brought me coffee and an apology for all the repainting. He said he would never question my color choices again because he LOVED the brown, when he was quite sure he would hate it. Do I still ask his opinion? Oh yeah.... but only for which of the colors he likes best from the ones I've already chosen! LOL, I love my hubster, our home and our ability to do projects together!!!!

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  25. OMG! Your kiddos are little mini-mes of your DH!

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  26. Timing is everything! I've been too pushy in the past and gotten nowhere!
    Adorable headshots and gorgeous home!

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  27. Great post! My husband is the same way when I try to start a new diy project. He can't visualize it at all, regardless of how I'm describing it, until I show him an example. And then it's as if a lightbulb clicks on and he totally sees what I mean. It doesn't mean I get to go ahead with the project, but at least now we're on the same page!

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  28. You guys are too cute. This reminds me SO much of me and my hubs! I'm (usually) the mastermind behind the project, but I will admit he is way more creative than me and can find a way to add a special somethin' to whatever we're doing. It always turns out way better than I had planned!

    We rehabbed our entire first home ourselves; and when we finished without strangling each other, I knew we were mates for life :) Six years later, we still enjoy doing projects together!

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  29. My hubby and I have been married for 30 years and have tackled some pretty amazing projects, from putting on a rolled asphalt roof (never again!), stripped 2 layers of THE ugliest wall paper from a huge 2 story front hall (never again!), redid a brick wall in a green house (never again!), hand chipped (removed) a tiled front entry floor (never again!)!!! See a pattern here!?? LOL The worst was the wall paper....it was SOOO ugly and put on with the wrong kind of adhesive...a contractor came out to give us some advice and he just shook his head and said he 'pitied us'!!! Well, that just kicked us both into high gear and we said 'oh yeah....we are going to get this done, somehow...no one pities us!' :) And we did...steamers, tons of hot water, scaffolds that defied the laws of physics, and hand sanding 2 stories worth of the problematic ceramic glue, took those papers off and parts of the walls too....but we fixed it all, and really, it made us a better at working together. We found if someone told us we couldn't, we just banded together and DID it! We just finished the drywall to the basement in our new house, after someone said that is best hired out...oh yeah!??! Well, yeah, we will never do THAT again either! You have a lot of years to catch up to us, but it is a really fun journey for sure....building a home is something worth all the aches and pains and occasional disagreements! Rosie

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  30. You guys are so cute! I love how the two of you can work so well together.

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  31. This was such a cute post! I love how you show relationships come into homemaking. Compromise is everything! And you two together have made a beautiful home :)

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  32. Love this post Jen! We are about the same in our house, but since I like to build, I do that the most and ask for a hand when I can't do it myself. I've asked my husband a lot about things he'd like in our home, and they are all great ideas! Which surprises me sometimes! :)

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  33. When my husband and I renovated, we wanted to kill each other at times, so I'm impressed that you too are getting on so well while tackling renovations. :) :)

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  34. Great post:) I've often wondered how you got your husband on board to do so much of the work...now I know!

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  35. You both sound like you are open to differences. This must help you listen and appreciate what you each bring to the project. For us, we gravitate to our own territories; that is what we are each good at.

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  36. Love this post! As an attorney (and frankly, as someone who is not at all gifted when it comes to either building or decorating), I read this blog for fun and inspiration but can't relate to a lot of the process... until now. Negotiating, strategizing, getting stakeholders on board... now this is stuff I do every day! I had no idea what was behind the projects you post about here. Jen, if you ever get tired of home improvement, you should consider management consulting!

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  37. Hey Jen,

    I have been following your blog for a couple of years now and I've read literally every single post. This post was so amazing and I love how real it was. I feel better knowing that I'm not the only one who suggests building furniture or painting things to have my husband be "not so jazzed" at first glance. It sounds like over all you and Bryan have a great relationship and are an amazing balance for one another. I love this post thanks for being so honest!

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  38. I really enjoyed reading this post. Made me smile as always while I learn how to convince my hubby to do something like you do!

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