Living with an interiors addict (by my fiancé)

In a very brave move, today I gave my fiancé Damian the chance to blog about what it’s like living with me. I must be crazy…


I used to have a collection of interiors books which I kept in my Ikea Expedit bookcase in my bedroom. I was quite proud of them, from Terence Conran’s Storage to collections on small spaces. Sydney property prices being what they are, I was realistic about the size of my first property. I felt like I was in touch with interiors. An interest beat out only by Formula 1… and cars… and travel… and planes… OK, it was a distant fifth, but just go with me here.

In the middle of 2010 (I think – the last few years have been a bit of a blur), I moved in with Jen. We lived in a small two-bedroom Mosman apartment next to the local school. Handy if you had kids. We don’t. I had it in my mind that I was going to turn that apartment around and add New York and Paris inspired minimalist touches that would revolutionise what was quite a bland little pad (Jen hadn’t been there long enough to put her mark on it).

How clueless I was (and arguably still am).

It turns out that Jen’s distant fifth passion was Formula 1. You don’t need me to tell you what her number one is. As time went by it became obvious I was losing my passion for interiors just as quickly as she was losing her passion for Formula 1. But that also may have been because Jenson Button was progressively proving his 2009 World Championship win was a flash in the pan… bloody Poms. I digress. I was losing my passion because Jen’s was so strong it swept mine up and carried it away far out to sea. But that’s not a bad thing at all. Quite the opposite. It allowed me to find my place.

The point is that when you live with someone with an intense passion, unless you share that same intensity, it’s unlikely that you will have equal say in matters relating to it. I command the TV for all live F1 coverage, and there is little to no talk about Jenson Button during telecasts. It’s all about Mark Webber and Nico Hulkenberg. It will also be about Valteri Bottas this year too, but I’m yet to break that to Jen.

She’ll be fine with that though, because on the flip side, as I quickly found out, when you live with an interiors addict, you strap in and go for the ride or you get severe road rash from the ordeal. Road rash in the form of an impossible number of cushions kicking you off the sofa, that classic Formula 3 poster you picked with her turning out to be a little bit “wrong” when you both saw it in person (you don’t really know why though) and your prize Sony Bravia LCD TV being too “fat” for the space. I certainly wouldn’t choose as many pink and green accessories as Jen has, but that’s okay because she assures me our “forever home” (the one for when we grow up) will be very monochrome with touches of industrial. Hmm…

At the end of the day though, after all the trial and error (and there is a lot of it), the results are often pretty damn good. No amount of interiors books would be able to help me sort out an apartment in quite the same way. It’s the passion that puts the icing on the cake.

But that doesn’t mean my interest in interiors has vanished. Instead, it’s been refined. Some readers might find this has happened in their relationship too, but Jen turns to me for help in areas she may not know a lot about. Which laptop to get (yep, that MacBook Pro was my idea – it goes well with my Air), the connection solutions in our apartment and the entertainment system (after the fat TV was killed off) are all my department.

Rather than feeling like that’s placed me in a stereotypical corner, it’s given me a way of controlling a significant amount of the design that will directly affect my usage of our space. The entertainment unit dictates the flow and colours in the living room. Win. That new TV, component stereo system and PS3 aren’t going anywhere. Win. The size and shape of the laptops will also play a part in the desk size, shape and colour when the new office goes in. Win… I think. Let’s see.

That’s about as much input as I need. I’ll roll with the rest of changes. It’s worked well so far. After all, it’s pretty damn easy to look at a lot of pretty interiors books and assume you could do the same. But in practice… 


  1. says

    Brilliantly written. My husband, who’s passions are surfing and mountain biking, definitely has to take a back seat when it comes to our interiors. I try to include him, but in the end it’s better if I make the decisions – after all, I wouldn’t tell him which mountain bike to buy! With three daughters fast following in my footsteps he will forever be outnumbered :) x

  2. says

    It’s Moto GP and Event Design in our house, but all of the above still sounds familiar! Sounds like you’ve found the perfect recipe to a successful and happy partnership!

  3. says

    Great post Damian! Good to see you trust Jen (obviously – we all do!) but when I had the shop, the amount of times the husband/boyfriend would influence the wife/girlfriend, nearly convinced me to write a “No Husbands/Boyfriends Allowed” on the door. As if they knew or truly cared whether the slipper chair would fit their bedroom decor…. Like Vic @ Nook & Cushions wrote, they wouldn’t be dictated to which bike/PS3 game/surfboard to buy!

  4. says

    Oh I wish it were that simple…! My husband and I are both interior designers and I have to say HE makes most of the design decisions in our house. It was decided that I would design our new kitchen as I’m at home most of the time with our girls, but did I get it right…? Not a chance…! Ah, well, lovely to ‘meet’ you Damian…:)

    • Damian says

      I can relate, Natasha. Jen and I are both journalists with somewhat different ways of getting things done in our profession. It lead to some interesting ‘discussions’ when we talked about each others magazines. Hope you at least got part of the kitchen you wanted!

  5. says

    Hahaha…what an awesome read…Damian ..interiors coming a distance pretty darn good…if it were my husband I would have added a zero onto that !! I love how it allowed you to find your place ; ) …but dont even think about shifting that “place”…or you too will be far out at sea! lol . Best advice before marriage…Continue to roooooooll with it! Jen is super awesome at what she does, her passion comes through in every post she writes, she believes in what she does, the words she writes, and the people she shares them with…THAT is what makes Interiors Addict so amazing..and stand out amongst so many others. She’s a golden good egg! :)

    • Damian says

      Thanks Anna. Yeah, she does OK… Jenson Button aside! Believe me, I’m rolling, and picking up some considerable speed!

  6. says

    haha! This has made my evening :) Fab post Damian!

    Myself and my boyfriend are both due to move in together in 4 weeks time, and i have to agree with Natasha on the comments…when it comes to sharing space with another interiors-lover it’s quite a challenge! What could’ve been a 2 hour trip around some furniture stores this weekend turned into an entire weekend of moving from store to store, sitting, standing, sitting, standing, sitting standing… and learning that we both have very different interiors tastes (mine’s just the right one!) May have finally found one that we agree on, but i had to compromise on my Downton Abbey-esque button backs…i should’ve moved in with a girl!


    • says

      I can’t imagine not making all the decisions Kerry, I would seriously struggle! Although Damian does have good taste and sometimes I wish he would be more interested (but not too interested!). Good luck in your new home!

    • Damian says

      Congrats on the move, Kerry. Hope it all goes well. Just switch on the TV and open a bag of chips, he’ll then never notice what you are changing. That works on me anyway…