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Love him... but not his stuff

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You've joined your lives, and your belongings, under one roof but what happens if you don't have as much in common with his possessions as you have with him?

Despite wanting to relegate his beloved stuff to Vinnes, there are ways for different interior styles to marry.

My partner, Gregory McBean, and myself, each work from separate offices in our Sydney home.

I write about interiors plus health and wellness, Gregory is a photographer and one-on-one meditation teacher.

Being visual people, it's important that our spaces are aesthetically pleasing. My style is boho, nana-chic; Gregory's is pure boys' zone.

Fortunately, as we both love pre-loved vintage we have a meeting point. And that meeting point is smack-bang in the middle of our semi's narrow hallway!


The front section is filled with my market and op-shop finds including a pile of pre-loved chenille bedspreads and crochet rugs. The archway marks the transition where framed 1950s motor sport posters, toy trucks and an old child's scooter take over.

My office is all girly pretty: pastel green walls decorated with groupings of quirky treasures.

In contrast, Gregory's colourful office is filled with model cars and all manner of idiosyncratic ephemera.

Somehow, everything joyfully co-exists although he can't quite get his head around my crochet bunting.

Similarly, designer Carolyn Cavanough of Desire Beauty and her husband, financial market specialist, Scott, have navigated her penchant for contemporary New York loft style – "matte textures, minimalism, layered tonal greys, the excitement of the future" – with his love of mid-century style with its polished stainless steel and "comfort of the past".

In their new Lindfield cottage they've reached a happy compromise.

"As Scott spends much time in the garden, we agreed that he could design the exterior areas including the outdoor kitchen.  It is fitted with traditional cooking appliances; a teppanyaki plate is a concession to me!" Carolyn laughs adding that inside she has been left to her own devices.

"The interiors have a distinct New York sensibility with concrete kitchen benchtops and oversize sliding doors. However, as a concession to Scott, I have incorporated some subtle details including lights by iconic mid-century designers such as Verner Panton and Louis Poulson plus a Barcelona chair and sofa.

"The Barcelona is a classic made popular in the 1930's that's perfect for a contemporary home. It has the enduring detail that Scott appreciates" she says.

The bedroom melds his and her styles: a delicate chandelier sparkles with Swarovski pink and blue crystals lending a 1950s ambience and the floor is whitewashed giving a more gentle feel than the downstairs matt grey flooring. The bedding is in tonal greys, a palette that is continued in the ensuite.

Another stylistically yin and yang duo are Gold Coast couple Terrie and Malcolm Jones.  

As L'Oreal Luxury QLD sales manager, Terrie favours contemporary French Provincial décor while deputy school principal Malcolm loves a Balinese look.

Arriving at a similar compromise to the Cavanoughs, the Jones' have decked out the outdoor areas in his favoured style with the interiors in her style.

"We've attached a thatched roof hut to the back of the house and it suits the sub- tropical climate well. While there are several Buddha statues in the garden the plantings are a combination of palms for Malcolm and pine trees and hedging for me," Terrie says.

The interiors, in contrast, feature walls softly washed in whites and muted greys with chairs slip-covered in linen and artworks featuring French scenes.

In the kitchen there's a fun nod to their two different décor personalities: the white grooved cabinetry has drawers fitted with Balinese style handles while cupboard handles are French Provincial.

"Often one partner in the couple takes over but it's nice to be able to keep the harmony even if your taste is polar opposite to that of the other."