painting home

A couple months ago, my husband and I got into one of those “I can’t believe we’re talking about this” arguments…

“This is NOT going up in the house,” I told him. “I’m serious.”

“Just wait to see what they look like on the wall,” he answered, smiling and holding a black frame over our living room couch.

The source of our argument was a set of three drawings of SpongeBob Squarepants. But not your regular SpongeBob Squarepants. It was cholo SpongeBob Squarepants.


For the next couple days, Max and I bickered, pleaded, and bargained over where SpongeBob should live (Max: “It’s SO sick!” Me: “It’s SO ugly!”). Max wanted to add them to our kitchen gallery wall. I thought they’d look lovely in the garage.

By day three, we were still stuck. So, we decided to do something we’d never done with an argument: we posted an Instagram poll.

For the next 24 hours, we kept tabs on the “house vs garage” count. Finally, the vote was over, and praise the good Lord (!), the people declared that SpongeBob and his Bikini Bottom crew belonged in the garage.

Today, I mostly stand firm in my decision. But part of me feels torn. Because I do want both Max’s taste to shine through in our home. (If I didn’t, our whole house would be covered in floral wallpaper and quirky animal drawings.) But while Max has shot down plenty of ideas, honestly, we go with most of my suggestions.

Which makes me wonder, do most couples have one person who makes all the house decor choices? If not, how do they peacefully co-design?

Since living together, our friends Trenton and Keeley have renovated a 1973 Airstream with a cool mid-century modern aesthetic. So, I asked Keeley how they approached decorating.

“We usually agree on overall vibes but sometimes disagree on decor choices, since I’m a maximalist and Trenton is a minimalist,” she told me. “But if one of us doesn’t like the other’s suggestion, we just don’t do it. That helps us avoid silly arguments.”

This year, as Max and I tackle more home projects, I want to stay open to how he expresses himself. Because the prints you hang on your walls and the colors you paint your rooms are reflections of who you are. And the way he views the world adds so much richness to mine — like his love for classic cars and four-mile hikes among redwood trees.

While I’m not holding my breath, maybe one day I’ll even find something in cholo SpongeBob. But until that day comes, he’s staying in the garage.

Jannelle Sanchez husband Max

So, I’m curious, how do you and your loved ones make design decisions? Does one person take the lead? Are you naturally in tune, or do you have opposite tastes? I’d love to hear.

P.S. The #1 question to ask before getting married, and what’s your wagon wheel coffee table?