I’m Paige Wassel. WAS the Newsletter is your weekly dose of design inspiration, neatly tied up with a grosgrain ribbon.
A PA(I)GE FROM MY LIFE
Despite being a classic under-sharer, you can now cross these facts off your Paige bingo card:
I like my dad’s homemade Italian anything, especially clam sauce
I like my mom’s…(thinking?)…she makes a nice bed
I’m obsessed with my siblings – Teague (28), a festival operations manager, my second therapist, and hype woman. And Jack (26), a corporate sell-out bish boy who is also the sweetest and just started contributing to doing the dishes.
I love my dead dog, MIZZA GOY
I love my friends
I love a f***ing bargain
I <3 The Bachelor and my mom hates it
SHE’S AN ICON, SHE’S A LEGEND
This week we’re celebrating a piece with legendary status in the design world. I’m talking about the Eames lounge chair and ottoman, of course.
The classic Eames lounge chair was introduced in 1956 and remains one of the most significant designs of the 20th century. It’s a touchstone for the entire midcentury modern school of design. The Eames came to be when a designer wanted to create a chair that gave off the same kind of warm and receptive vibe as a broken-in baseball mitt.
Is the chair pricey? Obvi. When you consistently deliver that much comfort, that much style, and that much attention to detail, it comes at a cost. When Elise Portale wrote about this piece in Architectural Digest, she said, “The Eameses built the impossible: A chair that’s comfortable no matter how you want to sit in it.”
If you worry you’ll never be able to afford an Eames lounge—the going price is around $7995—fear not. Someone out there wants to get rid of her ex’s “ugly grandpa chair” so she can upgrade to a Joanna Gaines modern farmhouse beanbag. When she posts it on Craig’s List for $25, be prepared to swoop.
DON’T FIGHT CLUB
So you’ve finally found your person. Congratulations!! GOSH! It’s all very exciting while you’re picking out that first space together (a couples high if you may). It’s less exciting once the moving boxes are unpacked and you discover… they did not get rid of that um one lamp.. so yeah, you don’t love your partners interior taste.
It’s fine, we can do this.
Having good taste in interiors is a hard enough skill to learn when decorating your own home. Establishing a cohesive style is even more difficult when you have to incorporate a whole second set of ideas, especially when you care about your partner’s opinion.
People often move in together and learn they have completely opposite taste, or bad taste, or really young taste. For most of us, it's about growing into your adult style. We tend to establish our sense of style in our first post-college apartment, clinging to whatever trends were big at IKEA the year we graduated. Perhaps Gen Z and younger Millennials have never seen Fight Club, so they don’t know it’s normal to look at their Gunnared dark gray Morabo tufted sofa and think, For a couple of years, you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, you’ve got your sofa issue handled.
Anyway, thank God they have you, and by extension, me, because we are all a byproduct of a lifestyle obsession.
Here’s what to do:
Go vintage when your partner loves something you hate, like sports team logo stuff. This way, you don’t dismiss whatever you hate right out of the gate, yet you also don’t have to feel like you live in a Wrigley Field souvenir shop. Buy vintage Cubs mugs instead of using their current collection of Murphy’s Bleacher Bar plastic cups. Pick up vintage memorabilia, whether it’s a pennant or a sign or photo. The retro nature automatically becomes kind of cute. If they're obsessed with having a team flag, find a vintage flag and put it in a good frame. You’ll save scads of energy by incorporating the things they love… on your terms.
Place your partner’s questionable décor outside of the main living space. Hear me out–I love bathroom art. It can be so chic. And it’s not insulting to say, “Hey, let's put this art above the toilet so everyone sees it.” I mean, everyone has to use the washroom when you have guests over. You likely have pieces your partner hates, so throw that stuff up in your laundry room. Displaying décor you can’t both agree on somewhere out of the way prevents you from having to put it above your fireplace, where it’s going to stir up resentment. Look at you two, peaceably co-existing! Shaboom.
Take your preconceived notions about what’s feminine and masculine out of the design equation. There’s a meeting point between Barbie Dream House and Mojo Dojo Casa—find it. If you do have super feminine taste or ultra masculine taste, open yourself to the type of taste that your partner has. You might be surprised how much you like something beyond your norm. Maybe you’re into an equestrian print, while they sort of dig a muted floral print or a ginger jar. No one’s mad when compromise makes your home look like a Ralph Lauren flagship store.
What if you still can’t strike a balance? Try the following:
Make your own Pinterest boards showing the design direction you love. Include example photos, include furniture pieces, just everything that you want your ideal room to be. Swap them and you each get to eliminate 50% of the images. Then, combine what's left of the boards and hopefully that can bring you in a nice direction to get things going. The bonus is, the exercise allows you to know what your partner really hates. For example, if you had a bouclé chair and your partner eliminates it, then you’ll know to nix it. (This will also keep you from being stuck with neon beer sign art. You’re welcome.)
Find other options and keep showing each other different suggestions until you meet in the middle for joint purchases. Look at kitchen tables, for example. Maybe you love a Restoration Hardware reclaimed farmhouse table and your partner wants a spartan MCM model. When there’s no overlap, eliminate both choices. Like Tyler Durden said, “Stop trying to control everything and just let go. Let go!” When you start seeing things your partner likes and they start seeing things you like, you're going to have that in the back of your head when searching Round Five of kitchen table options.
Store what you don’t want on display. Put it in the basement. Put it in the closet. Your partner’s bad taste has an origin story, and most likely, that origin story entails their mother. Those pieces can be stashed away in a designated spot, so if the in-laws come over, you can whip out the glassware and be like, “Of course, we love these comical word art wine glasses, we use them at wine o’clock every day!”
Ultimately, interior design isn't that serious. If you have a partner who has bad taste in furniture or they have a bizarre floor lamp or an unnatural attachment to their IKEA Morabo sofa, don’t let this be a relationship-ender. Taste is fluid, lamps will break, and an IKEA couch has a limited life span.
In the words of The Narrator, “This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.” But if you apply my tips and tricks to all aspects of your relationship, you two may well see forever together. Ok, I guess I am a therapist.
Invite me to the wedding. Or don’t.
KATE’S PAINT COLOR OF THE WEEK
Finish: Flat or Semi Gloss
Room Light Level: Any