You're Moving in Together—So, Whose Stuff Stays?

Take a cue from this stylish (and newly-engaged!) couple and let your decor reflect your personalities

Updated 02/26/18

Weston Wells

When Noa Santos and Ross Matsubara first moved in together, it took some major negotiations to merge their distinct styles. Noa, cofounder and CEO of Homepolish (@homepolish), a decorating service that matches clients with designers, is a minimalist, but he says his fiancé, Ross, a VP at a PR firm, is a “more-is-more kind of guy.” After some give and take and many, many paint chips—their Manhattan apartment now feels right for both of them. Here, they explain how they’ve reached a happy balance.

Noa: “When we moved in, Ross and I were excited to swap the weekender bags for a shared dresser—and I was excited to paint over the orange accent wall in his entry.”

Ross: “Before we met, my decor style was about leaving a lasting impression, with that bright orange wall and a massive gold mirror. Looking back, that lasting impression was probably one of insanity!”

Noa: “Our tastes have actually grown together and become more layered over time. Ross manages to find remarkable objects wherever we go. They’re usually bold things that I’d never choose myself, but I grow to love them once I find a way to work them into our space.”

Ross: “Every piece that I really value in our home is something that Noa and I discovered together. Our home is a living scrapbook.”

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Ross is a hunter-gatherer. Noa dislikes clutter. That said, he’s stopped objecting to Ross’s finds. “Noa doesn’t have as much patience to sift through the aisles, but he knows exactly where to put my statement pieces,” says Ross. He brought the animal head mount home from Hawaii in his luggage. Says Noa, "Initially I’d put up a fight when I thought something was too bold but in fact, I grow to love most of his choices once I find a way to work them into our space."

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Ross likes bright colors. Noa prefers neutrals. When they started dating, Ross had a bright orange accent wall, far too loud for Noa. Now they bring color into their living room with a Rothko-like canvas that Noa painted. “Evidently, Noa thinks accent walls are a crime punishable by death,” Ross jokes, “so we’ll never have another one!” Noa found the super-realistic (they're actually faux!) Magnolia branches at the New York Flower Market.

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They both love a bargain. “We wanted a leather Chesterfield but didn’t want to spend a fortune,” Noa says. “I found this faux leather one at Home Depot for less than $800.“ The lamp is a vintage find that the pair found together.

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In their small bedroom, Noa and Ross went with a dark wall color (this is Ralph Lauren Club Navy paint), which makes the space feel more cozy. They also chose dark bed linens, to jibe with the dark walls and blackened floor. To play off all that blue, they worked in some small contrasting items, like one of Noa’s DIY color-field paintings, and the brass accents on the sconce, side table, and bed.

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Noa corrals stacks of design books and decor accessories into small vignettes throughout the apartment.

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Noa and Ross found this Huichol beaded cow skull last year on a trip to Todos Santos, Mexico. "The skull is a perfect example of a “Ross choice”—it's something I probably wouldn’t have bought on my own but I’ve grown to love." says Noa.

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Photos, flea market finds and barware intermingle in this kitchen counter vignette.

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Ross and Noa hang out at home. Noa found this vase and pedestal at the New York Flower Market.

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