For the last 6 years I have lived by myself. My house was my house, my style was prevalent throughout, and I was able to do what I wanted to do. I have always been strong minded to put it lightly (although others might call it stubborn and still others may call me a pain in the ass) and my general rule is that I am always right. In three weeks I move in with somebody who is equally strong minded, but has a different style and aesthetic than I do. I love modern, he loves traditional, love lofts he loves divided space, I love blues and greys, he loves greens and tans. Needless to say joining our stuff and figuring out where things are going to go has been a bit rough going and we are not even in the new place yet.
Our first compromise was a rough one that almost lead to bloodshed. I liked the loft he liked the traditional home and we ended up with a loft inspired two bedroom with an open living space but two bedrooms. This compromise was not really one we worked up but one we were forced into by a friend in DC and the overall price of the place. It was bitter and ugly and while we are both happy with our decision now we were both not thrilled at first.
Our second compromise was the one that was the most bitter and lead to the most fights and finally a discussion on how we are going to live in the space together. The second compromise/ decision involved the paint color in the bathroom. Yes, I am serious, this was a fiercely contended battle with my blues and greys going up against his greens and tans and all of the colors of the rainbow were considered. I am not joking when I say that we honestly considered over 200 colors for the bathroom and his mother called us crazy when we were excited to get the number down to 35. The 35 colors consisted of 17.5 colors I liked and 17.5 colors he liked and fights erupted over the elimination of a single color. We finally needed to step back and look at the absurdity of this and openly discuss how we were going to live together. We recognized that we were both stubborn and needed to be more flexible in order for this to work. Not only do we need to have our own space but we need to be flexible in our likes and dislikes and make things work together. Finally, after three weeks of discussion we narrowed the paint colors to four that we both liked (with these new attitudes in play) and I let him select the final paint color for both the bathrooms (silver strand) and the guest room/my room is going to be painted a pretty blue and we set aside a nice green for the master bedroom should we choose to paint it at a later date.
Now onto the couch... going into this move I immediately said that his couch did not fit the style of the house and that mine would be the better choice. He loves his couch (I hate the way it looks) I love my couch (he hates the way it feels). Again that traditional vs. modern debate and obviously according to him modern is uncomfortable. We finally came to the decision that he would sell his couch, I would store my couch and we would buy a new couch. We even decided that our compromise would be a nice small brown leather sectional. We knew exactly what we wanted, we had agreed on it, now all we needed to do was find it. By the way we decided on leather because we will have five animals and my cats hate to cuddle on leather and we can keep his dog from licking the leather and even if she does she won't leave a stain.
The quest for said couch took over two weeks. We knew exactly what we wanted but we could not find it in any furniture store. The options we did find lead to more debate. I thought this one was too big, he didn't like the color of that one, I hated the stitching on this one, the arms on that one were not comfortable enough. The problem here was we had set our mind on something and after several furniture stores we couldn't find it.
Flash forward to this past weekend, tax free weekend here in Massachusetts. Sunday was decision day, if we were going to get a new couch we needed to do it today. We set out for brunch with an agenda. We would eat brunch and then convince our friends to come to five furniture stores with us so that we had a second and third opinion and people that could also witness how crazy we were. After brunch we hop in the car and we are off to the suburbs (ick). Stop one Cardis... speed shopping... purple, no, curved, no, floral, no, fabric, no... thirty minutes in and we had ruled out a majority of the showroom, met some very nice sales associates and left the store with pictures of three options that weren't quite right. Two of them were not even sectionals. Next stop Bernie and Phyls... drive past the address twice and then notice that the store is closed. Next stop... Jordans, four floors set up like a maze, with movie theatres and screaming children. Again, speed shopping, yellow, no, fluffy, no, vomit, no. I run out of the store screaming that this place is my nightmare, no options and nothing even close to what we are looking for. At this point we are over two hours into shopping and utterly exhausted and drained. Stop 3... we find the new location for Bernie and Phyls and I send the doctor in ahead of me as I park the truck. He speed shops finds two bad options, I follow him in speed shop and find the same two bad options. One of them is across from a couch that looks like it is straight out of a Star Trek movie (ick). We sit and contemplate... the associate kicks us out of the store telling us if we are not going to buy anything we have to go (fine bitch see you later).
Back to Cardis (after I drive off the wrong exit). We walk in at 6:00pm with two hours until they close. Two amazing sales associates help us weigh our options. They sit down with us on our couches and explain the differences. They tell us that if we move a piece out of the harsh showroom lights we will notice that the color isn't that bad. They tell us that we do not want composite leather with the animals because they will cut into the polyurethane where as with Italian leather the damage will be almost invisible. They give us time to think. The Doctor is making this purchase so I obviously allow him the final decision. After an hour of honest and open help which included life stories trips to Vegas and Louis bags and the associate saying, "If I was your mother I would tell you to get this piece..." the decision was made. We ended up with a beautiful classic brown Italian leather sofa with a matching brown Italian leather club chair and ottoman. Not quite what we set out to get but damn it was comfortable and a nice piece that could be delivered and was discounted because of a sale. Even our guest judges (fellow friends) liked the one we ended up with the best.
After hours of grueling shopping we needed food, JCH hadn't eaten and was going nuts. We wanted food and we wanted it now. It had to be heavy in carbs and bad for us. We stopped at Olive Garden... it was the worst service you could have imagined. I always leave at least a 20% tip and I left 10% for this service. It was awful, but we had a couch and we had compromised.
I am sure we will have many more lessons to learn and that living with another person will be difficult for both of us but at least we are making the first steps towards being successful with just a little bit of compromise.