Home: Where women make the decisions

When Erica and Harry Tripp moved in together, the first item on her to-do list was to pack his trophy collection and get it out of her house.

She replaced them with family photos.

"All the posters stayed at his mom's, (too)," Tripp said.

The couple has been together more than 10 years, and Tripp said her husband doesn't get a vote in their home's decor.

"He doesn't have much say in how I decorate because I'm stubborn," she said. "If I like something, I might run it by him so he thinks he's helping."

Typically, Tripp gets to pick paint colors and her other half gets to put them on the walls. She designed her living room to have a hunting lodge theme with a country feel. Their tastes seem to come together well in that room, particularly because Harry loves to hunt.

"We have a few arguments when he wants to put his bigger catches on the wall," she said.

Her daughter, Sydni Tripp, 4, has her room in pink and bathroom in rubber duckies. The kitchen is covered with apple accessories, inspired by a baked apple pie candle Erica likes.

"It's neither feminine nor masculine. It's blended beautifully, I think," she said.

She gets some of her ideas from television shows highlighting decorating tips. Lifetime's "Merge," for instance, combines newlyweds' furnishings and accessories while they are away on their honeymoons.

Participants can choose one item to protect, but everything else is at the discretion of the designers. Some items stay, some are refurbished, some are donated and some are thrown to the wood chipper. When the couple returns, the inside of their home is finished, whether they like it or not.

Erica has been motivated by these shows, and used these ideas to settle a dispute she and Harry had over bedroom furniture.

Both had beds and dressers they wanted to keep. Erica compromised by painting his pieces and putting hers in Sydni's room.

She made the bedroom a garden theme, but stuck to husband-friendly green tones to make him comfortable.

Even if he didn't like what she was doing, Erica said his discouragement wouldn't deter her from decorating how she likes.

"If he says, 'I don't like it,' I say 'I'm going to do it anyway,'" she said. "It makes me more determined."

Pam Foster, owner of Pam Design Interiors, said the Tripps' situation is not unusual. She consults homeowners on layout and aesthetics of their rooms.

She recommends that couples pick their own spaces to decorate so they each have a say.

But, only half of her male customers care what their homes look like.

Often, women get what they want.

"It's just a higher priority with some (men) than with others," Foster said.

The Tripps have made their situation work for many years, and Erica has plans to give Harry a space to call his own when they move into a bigger home.

She's considering pulling the trophies and posters back out to fill a space with a bigscreen television so he can have friends over to watch the Super Bowl and hang out.

"He needs a space of his own," Tripp said.

"I've got the rest of the house."

Visit www.lifetimetv.com/shows/merge/ for more information about "Merge."

Call Foster at Pam Design Interiors at 824-8244.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or mperry@craig-dailypress.com.

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