9. Rejoice When He Doesn’t Care with Svietka Rivilis

August 18, 2021

In This Episode
Svietka Rivilis is not your typical interior designer. She focuses on practical and affordable luxury, and coziness. Svietka works with couples to redo their homes and acts as a bridge between the husband and wife—all while having fun! She also shares ways couples can renovate their homes without problems from initiating the renovation to the end of the process.

Highlights
01:39 Svietka Rivilis is an interior designer who focuses on practical and affordable luxury, coziness, and adds elements of fun to her designs.
02:56 Cozy is a word that cannot be translated into Hebrew, but this is something that everyone wants to feel in their homes and relationships.
05:11 Even if one likes the minimalist style, a home can be cozy.
07:20 Svietka focuses on renovation, which is more complicated than building a house.
07:45 The reasons why men and women want to start a renovation are very different. Svietka enumerates various factors that affect the renovation.
12:39 A viewer shares that her husband initiated a renovation because he wanted a shower instead of a bath and asks if this was a reason for initiating a renovation.
13:24 Men need their space in the house, whether it’s a man cave, garage, or shed.
14:13 In a relationship, it is usually woman who initiate the renovation because the man needs to process her needs but he also wants to feel comfortable at the same time.
16:25 All a husband wants is to make his wife happy. He is willing to spend money and time so his wife will be happy.
17:37 Svietka makes a joke that interior designers should be charging more because they must understand what goes on between a couple.
18:06 The bottom line for men when it comes to making their wives happy is the cost of the renovation.
18:12 A house is more than just a place to eat, drink, and sleep for a woman, that’s why they do not budget/care as much as the men when it comes to budgeting for a renovation.
19:18 The problems usually start after the initiating the build and can lead to finger-pointing. However, Svietka shares what is important to know about your spouse to avoid problems.
21:32 Rejoice when your husband doesn’t care because this gives you the freedom to let him take care of the things that he cares about. These are four things he cares about most during a renovation.
22:55 There are exceptions to the factors that Svietka shares because she has experience with male clients who are more involved than women during a renovation.
23:05 Men can get apprehensive before a renovation because he doesn’t want to argue with you.
25:35 Whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s important to get in touch with yourself to avoid blaming others.
28:38 Hiring an interior designer can give expert advice on what emotions, feelings, alignment, and technical aspects a color, piece, or placement can do to your home.
26:03 Expectations of the level of participation from you and your partner is important to do before a renovation process in order to make easier choices during the renovation.
29:51 The interior designer is also very important because they can bridge a husband and wife during the renovation process, and to keep you on budget.
33:54 Svietka offers online interior design consultations for international clients.
34:53 Decluttering is the most important thing to do if you want to change the energy of the house.
37:58 The reason people don’t declutter is that people get overwhelmed, according to Svietka. Rebbetzin Bat-Chen adds that perfectionism is also one of the factors that stop us from decluttering.
39:39 Svietka believes that there is no such thing as the wrong color mixture because it is purely a personal choice.
43:58 It is very important for you to know what makes you happy.
44:39 There are husbands who do care about renovation and household work, such as Rebbetzin Bat-Chen’s husband.
47:40 When everything becomes important, problems during renovating can occur. Choose your battles.
49:39 Rebbetzin Bat-Chen adds that you have to pick your peace as well.
52:05 Svietka believes that you must not be a slave to your house. Your house needs to work for you, your husband, and your family.
52:40 There is one important room in your house. Can you guess what it is?
55:29 The process of renovation should be fun. If it continues to be an argument, you can stop and take a step back.
56:24 Bring God/Hashem into the renovation process because He will make it easier to decide, and make you realize that there is a bigger picture to the renovation.

Links
Svietka Rivilis: Pinterest | Website
5 Surprising Ways to Improve Your Marriage
Marriage Breakthrough Retreat
Gina DeVee
Rebecca Saltzman

Books
Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray, Ph.D.

Let’s Connect!
Connected for Real is on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn
For more information about Connected for Real, visit the website!

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REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Welcome to the Connected For Real Podcast! I’m Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman, a marriage coach for women in business, and my mission is to bring God’s presence into your life, into your marriage, and into your business. Let’s get started. The following is one of the many conversations I had with experts and professionals about real life and how it affects marriage. Let me know your takeaways on Instagram or Facebook, @connectedforreal. Enjoy. And we are live. Welcome. I am Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman, a marriage coach and the founder of connectedforreal.com. This is Svietka. She is going to introduce herself. Today, our topic is about renovating, decorating, and all of that fun stuff when you’re doing that in your house. How does it affect your marriage? What can we do about it? How do we prepare? How do we think about it? How do we change our mindset a little bit so that things go smoothly and we don’t have to get into those conflicts and big issues? Svietka, introduce yourself. Svietka tell us what you do, who you help, and why people should know you. I was gonna say why you’re so awesome, but you told me not to say that, so why people should know you I will tell you what she’s so awesome in just a minute.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Oh my God, I need to crawl under something and hide. [Laughs]

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Don’t worry, we won’t tell you why she’s awesome. At the end of this conversation. You will figure it out yourself.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
My job description is an interior designer, but now in Hebrew and we try to figure out how to call it in English anybody who has ideas is welcome to say that it’s also because of so many projects that I’ve done that are complicated and that have to do with actually breaking down the walls and redoing houses and adding stuff and adding floors so it’s called Melavat Bniyah. Melavat is like when you are accompanying the whole process from A to Z. We were trying to figure out how to call it in English. I don’t think we came up with anything smart or funny cause I’m all about funny. I like funny names. I just like funny. I like funny design. For instance, when you walk into a small bathroom, I love for people to start laughing because I think a small bathroom is the place–what they in the states they call powder room, or a guest bathroom–the reaction should be you start laughing. It needs to be outrageous. It needs to be fun. It needs to be happy. It needs to be a place that’s talked about, and to me, this is what I call fun, funky, funny design. So by idea, I’m an interior designer but I like to say that I am all about affordable luxury and practical coziness. Now the word cozy is another word you can’t translate it into Hebrew. What’s up with that? I was going to write to the Academy of Language and say there’s an awesome word in English called cozy. Please make one up in Hebrew because I’m all about it. Cozy–all the other translations that have to do with huggies, kissy, warm, homey—no, no, cozy. I’m all about affordable luxury and definitely practical coziness because you can’t for normal average people. Not for oligarchs and millionaires and people with enormous amounts of money–for them they don’t need it. I am not their designer because they don’t need practical, and they definitely don’t need affordable, but the normal human beings walking on this earth, we want our spaces to feel luxurious. We do want to feel a little bit of this little extra touchy feely feeling but we just don’t want to pay for it. So that is why it needs to be luxuriously affordable, and I think everybody even the super-rich, super broke, and everybody in between–everybody wants coziness. We want coziness in our lives. We want coziness in our relationships. We want coziness in our surroundings. We want to feel cozy in this world. When we have a place that makes us feel cozy in this world, our friends give us that feeling. I think coziness is something that men and women–we crave it because I think it’s the feeling we get from when we really feel at home. We grow up with it.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
I’ll tell you what I think. It’s also the opposite of sterile. When you go into a hospital or you go into a doctor’s office, and you go into something that feels the exact opposite, then you feel that, and so you automatically want to make sure that your space isn’t sterile. Even if you’re minimalist, you should still have cozy because that’s two different things—

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Minimalist–that’s not empty. True minimalism–it’s a difficult style to achieve. It’s usually not a cheap style because it’s all about very specifically picked items, very well made items that are going to last you probably forever and thereafter. Each item that you pick for minimalist style–he is the star. Minimalism can definitely be cozy. I don’t particularly care for that style. I design in that style, and I’ve done more than one project in the middle of my style, and it can be cozy, but to me–it’s because I like stuff. I like flea markets. I like hunting for a broken chair that I see on the sidewalk. I’m like, “Oh my God, the things I can do with that chair.” So minimalist is not myself but it can definitely, definitely be cozy as well.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Let’s get into marriage because I really want to know what you think the biggest issues are that come up when you work with couples.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
First of all, I need a disclaimer because I will make some statements—actually, my opinions that are based on years of experience and doing more than 60 projects, but everything that I will be saying it will be genderfied, which means based on gender. It will be very general statements. Basically, I will be saying things like, “Men are…” and, “Women are…” like the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. I guarantee I would be probably right now burned at the stake for that book. Well like, “Man, well you can’t say, ‘Oh man…’ and, we are all, ‘Women…’” No. So to me that book is like a bible because when it comes to design, we really are, “Men are from mars.” Totally. Probably even another Galactica, not even from mars. They’re not in our sphere of action. So I needed a disclaimer because if in your marriage, if you guys are building, everything is hunky-dory, and you’re totally on the same page, more power to you. I’m very happy but the things I’m going to be talking about is what happens in most of the families and with most couples. So before we start anything I think it’s important that we have to discuss why do we even start the whole process of reno. Who needs it? Who wants it? Why are we bothering? Where does it start? Where is it born and who starts it usually? Let’s talk more about the renovation and not building the house because I think it’s more complicated when you’re doing the reno than building the house, and usually the budgets are very different. So the reasons when it comes to men and women why we start are very, very different. Usually, women want to start a renovation for at least five—six—11—1,100 different reasons. The first reason is she’s feeling that she needs an update, that this is already old, she’s annoyed by the color on the walls. She’s annoyed it’s too old. “We haven’t done anything with the house. I need new energy. I need an update. I need something prettier in my eyes.” The other reason a woman might want to do a reno is that she feels that it’s too hard to upkeep. The ceiling is leaking, then after they fixed it, there’s still a spot and it hasn’t been and it hasn’t been painted and then the handle is broken, the sink is not as convenient, and then she constantly have to sweep the floor because the when they were doing the house, they chose this color floor, now it’s slippery, and now you can see every crumb, and whatever. so the house is not acting. It’s not flowing, and it’s not being to her as helpful as it needs to be. That’s the second reason. The third for a woman to want to start arena is because there are objective changes that happen in the family. One of the kids went away. They are in the army. The third one is married. Now, people are working from home. You need an office. There’s a fluidity of the family. His parents or her parents are more often coming over. They’re staying overnight. She needs a guest room. So it’s objective fluidity of the family. Another reason that she might want to do changes to the house is energetically. She feels stuck in the marriage, in the friendships, whatever and we get restless, and we just feel if I’ll do something to the house–I’ll move the wall, or I’ll paint a corridor, it doesn’t matter what the energy will move. I just need to change something. So usually these are the reasons. Now I will summarize all of these reasons for the woman. It’s an actual need now. When she says that to the husband, he compartmentalizes in his brain and he says, “Some of them are needs, and some of them are wants. She wants—well, let her continue wanting but she does need–uh-huh.” So we’ll discuss about what the guys are thinking. The three or four reasons that men will initiate any kind of renovation is first of all is how can I get away from the kids? “I need my man cave. I need an office. I need something. They’re all over me. They’re in my head. I come from the work. I have no place to hide. I need a place to hide. It’s time I have a place to hide. Now it doesn’t matter whether the family is religious or not religious. So the not religious guys they might need an office, or a place where they can watch football–the man cave, and the religious guys need a place where they have a Chavruta (Study Partner) and that he can study in peace and whatever. It really doesn’t matter. So the reason for the guys to initiate, and he will come to you and say, “Honey, I think it’s time we redo something in the house,” is usually because he needs to get away from the kids. The other reason for him to initiate–I’m talking about initiating–not going with you. I’m talking about initiating any kind of build is because as it is right now, he is exerting too much effort into helping you run it. What does it mean? It means, “Oh honey, can you bring it down? Can you put it up? Can you move it? Can you fix it? Can you hang it? Oh honey, the Plata (hot plate) needs to go up. The Mechaim (Hot-water urn) needs to come down.” We’re constantly asking him because the house is not working very well for us, so he is thinking we need to do something because this is ridiculous. It’s a big thought for him how basically the renovation will save me the amount of effort I have to be putting in. The third reason he will initiate anything with the house might be, and it happened to me only three times out of 60 projects, but when the guy actually becomes aware, and he’s also very surprised by it because he never thought about himself that way, but when he becomes aware that he’s apprehensive about inviting his boss over, his teammates, or his workmates because he’s not really proud of his house because it doesn’t exude the feeling that he wants them to have, and then all of a sudden he’ll comment and he’ll say, “Honey, listen. I was thinking of having guys over. I was going to have my boss over for dinner or something. Do you think maybe we should paint? It’s been 14 Pesachs since we painted. Maybe we should paint.” So that’s the reasons usually that the guys will initiate.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
We have a comment. Somebody said her husband initiated because he wanted a shower instead of a bath. Would you say that’s one of the things?

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Absolutely, absolutely. It means that he is sick of climbing in and climbing out because the bath is not convenient to stand and he feels squashed. Also, usually when you have a bath, you have a shower curtain that’s constantly sticking to his body and then he needs to constantly unglue it while he’s washing his hair. He’s annoyed. He’s annoyed. Now, whoever ask asked you that if that was the reason. He’s annoyed. He wants more space. He wants to feel confident. He wants to walk in–even if it’s a shower curtain–but he wants to be able to walk in, have a shower without fighting with a shower curtain without feeling squashed. That’s what he wants.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Here you got another one. She says, “Or if he plans to buy more stuff,” and he wants more room for his stuff.”

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Man cave. We’re back to the main cave. Exactly. Whether it’s a shed, it’s a garage, it’s more shelving in the basement–it doesn’t matter what. He needs his space where the kids are not. Now, he can ask, “Honey, we need to enlarge the living room because then the kids are all going to be there, and I’ll be there,” or he will tell you, “Honey, we don’t need to do anything but let’s build an addition so that the kids are going to be in the addition, and I will be in the living room.” No matter how you look at it, that’s where the guys would initiate their renovation. Otherwise they will not. Now, I’m going to make a statement. Let’s see how many people are going to get pissed off over it. “He who initiates it is usually not the one who budget for it.” Let me tell you that usually—obviously, the one who initiated are the women because all the things I mentioned before—these are the reasons. These are our needs. For men, even if they’ve been married 20, 30, 40, 75 years, the whole thing with feelings that the wife is feeling is very hard for him to accept. So when you’re feeling that you need to change something in the house because the energy is annoying you or because the color on the wall—he needs to process that information that the feeling is in the actual need because most of the guys, most of the dudes, they come home—they just don’t want to trip over the bags that were left by the kids at the entrance. They don’t want to be told, “Pick up your socks, honey, and put them in—” He wants to feel comfortable. They usually do not see it, or they train themselves not to see it. Most of the men do not notice the things that bother us. He definitely will never come and say to you, “Honey, I think we need to do this main wall in a different color. I’m sort of sick of this. Pink—maybe we should go mauve.” I want to see that happen once. [Laughs] Once. That the guy will initiate to do something to the house because he’s sick of the soft pink wall that he wants to go mauve. It’s funny but sometimes I get clients who call me–they’re men and because somebody who recommends me–they tell them, “Listen, talk to Svietka. She speaks man.” [Laughs] I do. I speak man. Maybe it’s because I was in the army for so long. Maybe because I just know the difficulties that men have with the whole thing that has to do with renovation, and when I have guys that call me up, it’s usually because they know the wife is unhappy. They know that needs something to be done, and he doesn’t know what he can do, where to even start—what does he need to build, what does he need to buy, what does he need to paint and break, and then fix it—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Can we just take a pause here and go back to what I say every single live? From the beginning. All a husband wants is to make you happy.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
And that is the reason actually–out of all the reasons that I told you that the man will initiate a reno is when he sees his wife is unhappy, and the bottom line is men want their wives happy. They are willing to exude more effort than they would be happy not to exude. They’re willing to put in hundreds and thousands of dollars into stuff they really don’t care about just so that the wife will be happy. They are willing to spend time looking at ridiculous pictures of toilets just so the wife will be happy. Whether or not you want it to be chrome or gold plated because it’s a little faucet that you put in your guest bathroom, he really doesn’t care, but he will look at it, he will participate, and he will tell you, “Honey, I don’t care but let’s pick whatever you want. I think we need to charge a whole lot more than we charge the interior designers is exactly–it’s the psychology of understanding what goes on between the couples because even though the men at the end want their wives to be happy, the bottom line for the guys is always one and the same. Who can guess? Who can guess what is the bottom line for the dudes?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
The price.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Exactly. [Laughs]

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
I was being very practical.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
How much is it going to cost to make you happy? How much? So that is the bottom line. Now if we talk about the, “He who initiates is usually not the one who budgets for it,” usually because the one who initiates is the woman because we have more needs because we are the queens of our abode, and because houses are a lot more important to us than just a place to eat, drink, and sleep. Therefore, we do not budget for it even if we do the money in our families and we are the one who run the budget. We are not going to initiate it while thinking of the budget. First we’ll initiate the reno and then we’ll talk about the budget because it has never happened from what I know–in life that a man would come to his wife and says, “Honey, I really think we need to change the windows in the house because they’re a little drafty. They’re not very practical but we don’t have the money for it—but we really should do it we have the need but we don’t have the money. It will not happen because if that will happen, what will usually the wife say?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
“Oh, good idea. Let’s do it.”

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Exactly, and then she’s going to say, “But what do you mean we don’t have the money? How much is it going to cost?” Do you imagine a man telling her, “Well, I don’t know. I have no—” No, he will tell you, “I checked. I called all the providers. I checked how much is going to go. We don’t have the money.” That’s what will never happen. The men will first find out the price. They will find out the timeline. They will find out the budget, and only then they will initiate the whole build. Now, initiating the build basically means is when the problems start, and very often did you start, is we always revert to, “Who was it that started this?” Then there starts the point the finger pointing. “Ah! No, it was you who wanted it.” So from the very beginning, it’s very important that he who initiates knows what attitude toward the renovation the partner will have, and what are the limits. We called our talk today Rejoice When He Doesn’t Care. What do I mean by that is do not press—and now I’m mostly talking to the to the women—but if there are guys if we have guys in the audience with us, I think they will really agree with me on that—they will love me for this. I’m telling all the women in any project–don’t force the guy to care about stuff that he doesn’t care because women equate of him when he says, “Listen, honey. I don’t care.” We quit that he doesn’t care. No, he does not care. He just doesn’t care. It’s a different non-caring. He doesn’t care what color. He doesn’t care if you have the same color shoes to the proper dress that fits with your earrings. He doesn’t care. “You look put together. You look wonderful. It didn’t cost a million dollars.” It’s all good. The same thing if you want this wall to be this color or that color people, he doesn’t want it too feminine that he feels like he’s walking in a little field of flowers. Otherwise, most of the things men do not care. Why do I say rejoice in it? Because it gives you the freedom to let him take care of the stuff during the renovation that are important to him. Usually the things that are important to the men—men care about if I would say four things. The bottom line for him always is how much is it going to cost? How are we going to stick to the budget, can we afford it, how many things can we not afford it, do I need to find the money–it’s everything that has to do with the budgeting. That’s number one thing that men care about when we’re talking about renovation. Number two is how much more effort am I going to have to exude while reno? Do I have to take time off? Do I have to go with her shopping? Do I have to look at the pictures? Do I have to send emails? Do I have to find out the price?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Do I have to have a broken wall that’s open to the cold? To the heat? This is a big thing. They don’t care?

SVIETKA RIVILIS
He only will care–is because you’re going to be uncomfortable, you’re going to be nagging him, you’re going to be pissed off, and that’s what he cares. Otherwise, “So we have a little open wall for a week—oh my God. It’s uncomfortable because the wife now needs more help from me to close it off so it’s not cold, so the kids are dry—” Otherwise, no. No. Doesn’t care. He doesn’t. Usually, he doesn’t.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Don’t forget—not all men. We said this in the beginning.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Yes, not all men. Listen. Let me again stipulate this. There are men who love going shopping. There are men who love picking stuff and pay more attention to little details than women. Yes, there are. I had a wonderful clients. They’re my return clients. We’re working right now on something else but when we started, my client told me, “Listen. I don’t want to go shopping. I don’t care. You go with him. He understands it. He likes it. He enjoys it.” We went shopping. We had a gorgeous day. We took pictures. We sent it to her. We told her to pick. Basically, we did with her what I usually do with the guys. Yes, there are exceptions but on the majority, if I take 10 families it usually will be one guy will say, “No, please. I want to see them all before we decide to paint it because I know the difference between the mauve, soft pink, antique pink, and the rose pink so show me those five pinks because I know the difference and I want to pick it. If you give me one family out of 20, good, but it usually doesn’t happen. That’s the second thing that men care about, and the third one is are we going to be fighting during the reno? That’s what guys care about because they want you to be happy. They don’t want fights. Therefore, that’s why a lot of men are really apprehensive before renovations because they know you will ask him to care about stuff he doesn’t care–you will care about things that he just doesn’t understand, and you will demand his participation in your caring about things he doesn’t understand. So he, already in his mind, knows all the fighting that’s going to be happening, the amount of effort he will have to exude not to fight with you and to go along. So the women–we care a lot more about a lot more stuff. We care about basically everything, and we do. We don’t know how to let go. We don’t. We don’t know when to drop it. We don’t know how to let it go. Even women who are not control freaks become control freaks during the reno. They want to be on everything. Every little decision. So when we tell the guys, “Listen, I want your input,” it’s usually for two reasons. One is we think if we don’t ask his opinion, he’s gonna feel left out and that we don’t care about his opinion, which he doesn’t. The other reason is that when we’re being indecisive, when we can’t make a decision—if it needs to be mauve or soft pink.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
You hit it on the spot because a lot of times what we do, and ladies, listen up because this is universal, we will look for external answers when we can’t find our own answers. Then we’ll blame them and use them as an excuse because we couldn’t get in touch with ourselves, and we couldn’t take the time to just pause and get reconnected. That is huge.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Bam. You got it. Bam. You got it, and this is when we have totally different expectations of the level of participation from our partner and what they are capable of. It goes both ways. It doesn’t matter. It goes for the guys, that goes for the girls. Because if a man is totally on top of stuff, and it’s very important for him, and what’s driving him crazy is that when he comes home or he steps out of his home office, there is a mess, and the kids shoes are all over the place, there are seven school bags at the entrance to the house and that’s not including the two that are on the way home and they haven’t gotten home yet, and when there is just a mess and he’s the one who is the tidy one, he’s the one that’s organized in the house but he knows you’re not capable. You have  you have seven kids who came home and two on the way. There’s just only so much you can do, and he’s not really willing to help either, because he’s annoyed at the mess but  there’s only so much that he’s willing to put aside. What he basically does is that he stifles the annoyance. He’ll step over the bags and then he will complain, “Oh my God, why can’t they put the bags on the side?  We need an actual normal entryway, and we need Svietka to create storage so the bags are not going to be thrown as you walk into the house.” So when you have expectations that you discuss before starting the reno and when you understand what are the limits of participation of your partner, then you already on the way to a very healthy–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Journey.


SVIETKA RIVILIS
Journey. Exactly, exactly, exactly. It’s going to be much easier to make the choices that you need to make. It’s going to be much easier to budget. It’s going to be much easier to communicate with each other when you know what to expect—when you know not only what to expect when you know what to involve your partner in and where not to bother, or the involvement will be only on the level of “Well, let me tell you. I’m just informing you,” which for men is very difficult because the minute you inform him, he usually thinks ah I need to participate. I need to give my opinion. I need to solve the problem. I need to fix it. I need to find the solution whatever, and you just go, “No, honey. I’m just telling you. I’m really confused between the mauve and the pink.”  To train him in everything else, to just sit there and listen to your confusion–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Just smile and nod.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Smile and nod. Exactly. Smile and nod.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
But this is why you have Svietka. That’s the whole point of hiring someone—is so you have someone to talk to that isn’t your husband. Could you imagine if you were the only one doing this? You would be alone in this so then you would need his support to—“What do you think? Should I go with this, or should I go with that?” But the whole point of hiring you or any other interior designer is so that you have an expert that’s going to say, “Listen, this is a better color. It’s gonna be warmer in your home. It’s going to be cozier. Let me help you make this decision,” because sometimes their expert decisions—as a designer—I used to be a designer for 15 years, there were things that definitely were just like, “Yeah, make a decision. It really doesn’t matter which one you choose.” But there are choices that I can explain. I could say, “Listen, this is centered. It will give you a certain feeling when you see it. It feels a certain way. This other thing gives a different feeling,” and I think for your client, for your life, or for your whatever needs, this is the right choice. Now you still get to make the decision but I’m able to articulate better because this is my profession or my expertise. So I feel that’s one of the reasons why you would get an expert.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
The other very important reason to get an expert is the designer–he is the bridge between both of you because first of all, to me an interior designer is the most important person in the whole building process. More important than the kablan for sure because the kablan does what the designer says. More important than the architect for sure because architect does the job then I do the adjustments. A good designer’s job is to bridge the differences between the husband and wife, first of all, because you might want different things, you might have different tastes, you might see needs very differently, and actually a designer is more important on the job for the husband than for the wife. The reason for it being a matter of trust. If that the husband trusts that the designer has their best interest heart, and not my own–it’s not my own vision that I want to create. Your house is not my ego. I don’t need your house to fulfill my vision.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Your vision is because you’re an expert and you’re so good at what you do. Your vision is what they want. It’s just you’re able to envision it. It’s not what I want for you. It’s what I know that you are communicating. You tell me what you need. I’m gonna mirror it back to you with a vision.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
But I’m gonna mirror it back to you with a vision to keep you on budget. This is where usually the husband’s apprehensive about designers because they go, “She’s gonna make up all these things. Let’s have gold leaf on the ceiling, and  and stuff like that,” and I keep telling them from the beginning, “Designer is the only person who is in your corner, the only person who has absolutely no personal interest—well, shouldn’t have a personal interest in doing your house.” My only interest in my only worry is actually the client’s budget, how can I make all of their dreams come true without going over budget, and how to keep them  in line. I think this is where the designer is more important to actually for the husband because if I say something that something needs to be done, the husband first thing he asks is, “How much it’s going to cost me?” and I’m telling, “Listen, no. This solution is fertile. We’re keeping on the budget,” but if I tell them, “Listen, you need it. Yes, it will cost more but—” and then I can explain logically why this needs to be done.  When the woman will say, “Listen—because I want it, because this is what I want, because it’s pretty—”  With guys it doesn’t cut it because it’s pretty. “Honey,  another two thousand dollars just because it’s pretty? Nope.” But if I tell them “Listen, because it’s more practical, not just because it’s going to complete the vision, but because there is a logical explanation why it needs to be done” That’s why I think people really should never, ever, ever do anything that has to do with the reno or building the house without the full team. You have to have an interior designer not just to make it pretty right but to keep you on budget.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
I know that when we were renovating and this was a long time ago–maybe eight years ago, there were things that the kablan did not think of like where the lighting should be and where your electricity should be and where the light was the opposite he couldn’t care less that when you go down it turns on and you go up. It was completely backwards but to him, that was fine  and he wanted to put the sink all the way to the edge because who needs it to be centered? There were things that were really funny about dealing just without any  expert in the way. Thank god we had  we had really amazing people working with us so that was really helpful, but it’s something that you really have to take into consideration.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Listen, it’s not his job to plan it out for you. His job is to execute to the best of his ability. It’s not you have to think if you want this light to be connecting  the living room and the dining room together. Everybody needs to know what their jobs are,  and it’s not a kablan’s job.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
I was going to ask you do we do Zoom consultations where people can show you the space and you can give them advice and send them really inspirations?

SVIETKA RIVILIS
I’m gonna out probably one of my clients right now is there. She’s in Melbourne, and we’re doing her house. We’re not doing the reno. We’re finished with reno but we’re doing the house ready for sale. So we’re going shopping. We’re buying stuff. we’re moving stuff. It’s perfect timing because of the time difference. Yeah, it’s great because it’s evening for me—it’s one o’clock in the morning for me. Yeah, I do a long distance I did a place in France. We did a full renovation in France. Definitely, yeah.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Yeah, that’s really cool. So when do the problems start let’s hear because I have so much to say. Now, we rent an apartment. We are decluttering now. I would love to hear what you have to say about decluttering.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Decluttering is god. Decluttering is the thing to do. If you have a problem decluttering because you just like stuff there’s an awesome show on YouTube or Netflix, I think it’s called the Hoarders. Watch that show once or twice. You will be running to every room and grabbing something into the garbage bags. After watching the show, nothing motivates you more than that show. It’s an amazing show. Decluttering is the most important thing to do if you want to change the energy of the house, if you want to shake things up in your relationship, if you definitely want to do a renovation—

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
If you want to make more money–

SVIETKA RIVILIS
If you want to make more money—everything—decluttering. It’s funny but it’s more actually about women than men and I can prove it to you. Majority of women cannot go on vacation and leave any kind of dishes in the sink. Why? Because while you are on vacation, even if it’s for one night, the thought of having a messy kitchen it will pass sometime. It will be less than a second and you will get annoyed. We can be in the middle of a job. We can be in the middle of a presentation as CEOs of major companies, and all of a sudden the thought that actually our shoe aisle in our walk-in closet is all messed up and not organized, it will pass. We don’t know where it comes from. We will remember it. Our day will be ruined even for that second. So when you declutter or when you organize the spaces–not clean them because clutter and cleanliness are not the same thing–you can have dusty shelves but as long as the stuff on the shelves is organized, it’s a different feeling.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
It totally is. By the way, if you guys want to go back on the YouTube channel or on the Facebook Group, I had Rebecca Saltzman, who is the queen of decluttering, she has a program called Conquer Your Clutter, and now before Pesach, she’s doing a whole Pesach thing, which is really cool—how to prepare for Pesach, how to declutter, and how to get ready. She is so organized, it’s crazy. She came on and we spoke about this. I did her program, and I decluttered my clothes. I gave away seven humongous garbage bags of clothes, and that was after my daughter went through all the stuff and took, and that was after my mother and my grandmother—everybody took stuff and I still had seven bags. I did not believe that about myself because I really didn’t have that much clothes, but it opened up my life to so much abundance in so many areas of my life because it really weighs you down. You don’t even know it. You don’t know it, and by the way, now I have to do it again, It’s been I think a year since I did it or maybe over a year but it feels I want to do it again because it really freshened up my life. It really does.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
I do decluttering for clients. I also have a system of decluttering because I think a lot of people—the reason they don’t declutter is they feel overwhelmed. The woman thinks, “Oh, I need to do this room, this room, this room. The desk, the closets, the kids clothes, and the winter—“ and then you get overwhelmed and you go, “Never mind.”

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
It’s not only overwhelmed. It’s the perfectionism. If I start, I want to make it perfect, and so I might as well not start because I know it’s not going to be perfect. That is my number one issue. I cannot start doing the books if I know I’m not going to be able to finish.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Perfectionism is from the devil. It needs to be beaten out of people perspective is the devil. It is the most terrible excuse for procrastination, for not doing anything in life, for not taking chances, for not renewing yourself, for not progressing for being stagnant–if you want to live your life as a stagnant frog that’s in the same pond with the stinky water, then be a perfectionist.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Yes, I love how Gina DeVee says, “Little miss perfect has to die in order for you to become queen.” That was the best line, and it really is so true. We have a really good question here. Her problem is that she likes too many colors, and she has a hard time finalizing the decision of which color scheme to go with and if to paint the ceiling a bold color or not. She loves it all. She can’t decide.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Let me talk to you about colors and mixing them matching them. It was funny. I gave a lecture to 60 kindergarten teachers. They had an evening of that was organized by them, and I was invited to talk to them. I didn’t do a disclaimer and I came out saying, “Listen, there is no such thing as a wrong color mixture.” [Gasps] People stopped breathing. Seriously, it was like that reaction, and everybody started arguing with me. “No, what are you talking about? Of course this color doesn’t go with this. I’m like, “Listen, let me say that again. There is no such thing as wrong mixing of colors. Why? Because color mixing is absolutely totally personal choice. Just like when something is too salty, too sweet, or too bitter, whether you like wasabi on your sushi or you don’t like wasabi on your sushi. Taste for colors has to do not only your personality, it has to do with what you’re going through in life, and it has to do with emotions—the emotions that the color raises in us, how we react to things that are happening around us. It’s all about perception. It’s really on hormonal level—the study of color. So if she likes all the colors, good. Mix them and match them the way they make you happy. You can’t make a mistake. It’s your house. I always like to give this example. I personally do not like blue and brown. Not turquoise. Blue. Blue color and brown colors–two colors that I do not like together. They do not make me happy. When I look at them I go, “Wait, what’s going on there? No. Just something is wrong. No.” I had clients–many clients who wanted blue and brown. They wanted brown cabinets and blue tiles on the wall. It’s absolutely fine if this would make you happy, and when I say makes you happy, I always tell the clients when we look at something, if you go—like when you get giddy on the inside from looking at something that means it makes you happy. So my job as a designer–to tell you, “Listen, let’s go maybe a little deeper brown, and maybe a little light bluer because the light is playing a certain way, because the lighting that you have on top is going to look different with this tile and all. Let’s get a blue vase and then let’s get brown handles. It doesn’t matter what it is. So if all the colors make her happy, go wild, and about the ceiling—I think it’s a Shanda (scandal) to leave a ceiling white. No white ceilings.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
I agree.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Yes, paint it hunter green, deep  that you feel you’re in a forest, and when you have a small bathroom plant paint it black with a little white polka dots, and pink walls.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
I know someone who has that. [Laughs] I went to your bathroom once.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
My guest bathroom and my kids’ bathroom–it’s actually black French design wallpaper, pink on top of it with white polka dots and the ceiling is black with white polka dots. Insane bathroom, which is less than a square meter. It only has a toilet.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
It’s so important to get in touch with what you like and what you want. I think that’s one of the things that is almost the prerequisite of starting any project–is really getting in touch with what you like You were just saying that giddy feeling—I just opened up a brand new box of Medjool dates that are gigantic. I bought this new box and it was huge and it was yummy inside. They were melting in my mouth and I was telling my husband how it makes me so happy and he’s looking at me like I am crazy but who cares. It really filled me up. It made me a different person and that’s one of the things that I teach–is make sure that you know what fills you up if you know that  buying frozen fruits and making yourself a smoothie is going to make your day, go buy fruits. Really, it’s more important for you to make sure that you’re happy. Why? We spoke about this before. Svietka said and I repeated—your husband wants to make you happy. So if you get in touch with what makes you happy, and then give him credit for you being happy, your life will be complete.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Giving him credit means that he is enabling you, and he is going with your flow because he wants you to be happy. he really doesn’t care about the color on the walls, he doesn’t care about the ceramic tiles,  and he doesn’t care if you want to put the ceramic tiles vertically, horizontally, or crisscross. He doesn’t. He really doesn’t.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Let’s talk about those who do care. I’ll give you a great example. My husband is the one who cleans the bathrooms. He is such a good husband. I love him. I’m very, very happy to announce that  I am truly happy as a marriage coach. This is a big thing. People want to know I am actually happy when I’m giving people advice, so I’m very grateful. I’m very happy that he does this job, and he does a lot of other jobs too. He’s amazing, and we’re talking over supper and I said, “What would you say  if they don’t care?” He’s like, “Well, sometimes there are some technical things that we do care about. For example—Yes, he doesn’t like the hanging toilets. He feels like they keep telling you, “Oh, it’s easier to clean, easier to clean.” He says, “They are so annoying. I probably spent a thousand shackles trying to just fix those things. Every couple years there’s this little plastic rubber thing that gets air in between. Well, whatever it is there’s this little piece that you have to replace every couple years, and it starts a whole leak and it’s really annoying and he’s like, “It really was not worth it. I’d rather have the normal toilets, the old-fashioned ones that make me happy,” and I was thinking, “You’re the one who cleans them so if I do any type of reno, I would just let you pick the toilets. I really wouldn’t care.”

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Exactly, so you see, you just gave a perfect solution. First of all, you totally said the same thing as I did. He doesn’t care what the color of the toilet is, he doesn’t care on what tile the toilet is hanging, and he doesn’t care what color the toilet itself is. He cares about the practicality. He cares about the upkeep. He cares about exerting the effort that it takes him to run or help you run the household. That’s what he cares about so that’s one thing. The second thing the best thing that you just said was exactly what I’ve been saying all along. When you don’t care about something and the other person does–it doesn’t matter if it’s a wife or the husband, let it go.  You don’t care about the toilet. You don’t clean it. It looks fine to you whether it’s an old looking toilet, so you let it go. You’re not going to stand your breath on something you don’t care about.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
I might care I think that it looks nice when they’re hung but I don’t really care. As long as they look clean and nice, and they’re taken care of and I don’t have to do it—

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Exactly, exactly. Again, it’s knowing what to expect, what are the limits and what is the logic from your partner before you start the reno because if people tell you, “But listen, because I clean them and whatever can we please not get a white toilet? I want a cream toilet because I think the dirt shows less  on the bottom of the toilet  where it’s connected,” or, “Can we get a green toilet?” You’re going to say, “Well, do I really care if it’s a green toilet?” You’re going to say to yourself, “No, let Svietka help me pick the tiles that go well with green toilet and we’re done.” People get into the problems of renovating when they don’t pick their battles, when everything becomes important, when everything is a life or death situation and usually it’s the women, because usually for the guy he’s like, “I don’t care.”

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
And it goes back to really not being in touch with yourself. It really does because if you can be in touch with what is important to you, you’ll have an easier time letting go of the things that aren’t, and if you’re not in touch, then everything feels important. It’s more about the ego trying to say, “But this is important to me–but this is also important to me, and this is also important to me.” Chill. Breathe. Relax. Get pregnant.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
As a designer, as a professional, I can tell you a lot of things in design are just not important. Sometimes, I will tell the clients, and it’s very seldom, I think very few designers that actually have the same attitude as I do, but all of a sudden they will ask me what they should buy and I will tell–whatever for instance the bed, and if they have a huge room. They want a bed that has  on the side a little wider frame, which will take up another 10 centimeters, let’s say, and whatever. I’m going to tell them, “You guys, design-wise it doesn’t matter but you have a tiny room. You’re going to be  moving the beds apart. We don’t have the space for these 10 centimeters therefore, you can’t get it.” So it’s a practical decision and has nothing to do with the design. There’re just things that when you’re starting to do a renovation–I think it’s in life, it’s not just renovation. Really seriously pick your battles. Pick your fights. Pick your wars. Pick things that you really do not care about. They’re not even fights. Just before you start the reno, tell yourself, “I don’t care about this. I don’t care about this. I don’t care about the sudden–I don’t care about these things,” and if he doesn’t care about them either, then let your designer make the decision. If he cares about that, more power to you, honey, take it upon yourself. You make the decision.  

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
I want to say also pick your peace. Pick the train that’s going to take you to where you want. Pick the trajectory of the goals that you want.  Sometimes we have this thing where we’re so stuck on I need to be right right now, that we don’t see where it’s taking us but it’s really taking us the wrong direction and it’s not serving us in any way. Svietka, we have a big question–how can I contact Svietka?

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Well, I have a phone. I have a WhatsApp. I have a Facebook. I have an email, definitely. We’ll give you the phone number. We’ll give you anything and everything. You guys can talk to me we can continue My whole thing—why did we decide to talk about this is at some point the reno becomes a burden. It becomes one prolonged fight. It stops being fun when you forget what you just said. You forget where you’re going. You are going towards something that should make you happy, makes your life easier, makes your life not being stuck on not important things. I’ll give you an example. I built my kitchen out because I have a mind-blowing view—a million dollar view and I wanted the kitchen facing that view so I built it about 11 years ago, and of course I did all my pickings and I picked my own floor. After a while I realize I hated the floor–not how it looks but I’m a slave to it because it was a light colored floor. The tiles were slippery. It looked sort of like a stone–like real stone it looks beautiful but I constantly saw the dirt on it. I am not a slave kind of person. I am not obsessive about cleanliness. I do like an organized house. I am not obsessing. I needed to sweep it three times a day so that it would look fresh and clean. I have got sick of it. I just changed my floors in the kitchen. Beautiful, gorgeous tile. Oh my god, you guys. I walk around and like–I’m giddy all day because it’s been six months. I’m giddy all day about my floors in the kitchen because first of all, I don’t have to clean them once a day. I don’t. I don’t have to clean them once a day. I’ll keep it in the secret how often do I clean my floors in the kitchen but it’s a nice tile. I love the look. It looks like old wood that has been found in the middle of nowhere. Every tile is different color. It’s not slippery. I’m not a slave–this was important to me. Of course the look was important but I believe that your house needs to work for you, and not you work for your house. Even if you’re a housewife, and it’s your main job is to keep the house, I don’t care sit and watch soap operas most of the day and don’t  work on your house most of the day. It needs to be the other way around. The house needs to work for you, and you not to be a slave to it, and it needs to be fun. The house needs to be fun.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Oh, yes. Your house needs to fill you up, not suck your energy out. It is such a huge thing.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
Ask people right now who are watching us, what do they think is the most important room in the house?

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
What is the most important room in your house?

SVIETKA RIVILIS
The most important–

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Well, I think you said it was the bathroom. The guest—

SVIETKA RIVILIS
It’s not the guest bathroom.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
You gave it away. Just kidding.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
It’s not a guest bathroom.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
It’s a master bathroom.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
The most important room before we leave, that all of you should know, it’s your master bathroom because the bathroom is the first place you see once you open your eyes, your whole day is set how you open your eyes, what do you see, how convenient, how beautiful it is, how giddy do you start your day, and it’s the absolute last place you see before you go to bed. That’s how you finish your day. So all of you out there go to your master bathrooms and see how they make you feel, and then decide that you want to do a reno. Let’s renovate master bathrooms. [Laughs]

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Oh my God, you are incredible. If I could, I would talk to you all day. Everybody should talk to Svietka about colors and the psychology of colors because it really is so powerful is it was so much fun it brought out conversation. It helps you get to know yourself. Really  play with it, find the colors that make you happy, and really enjoy them. Bring them into your space. By the way, my house is full of color, and it makes me really happy.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
We’re not white and grey people. Mistakenly, people think that white and gray is calm, and it goes with everything, it doesn’t. You get bored of white and gray very fast because you get no stimulus. It’s not the colors that make you happy when you look at them.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
There was a friend of mine who was renting a place, and it had a big red wall in the back and for a couple years, she’s like it really is not her color. It really is not her color. If I lived there, maybe it wouldn’t bother me, but it really bothered her, and the second she could, she went and painted it, and made it this dark blue. Suddenly it’s like all the energies went down. It was so interesting how much it affects you but it really—you should pick colors that fill you up and make you happy and you look at them and you get excited every single time, and I just want to add before we finish that sometimes a loud color is more expensive because it has a lot of pigment–it’s totally worth it. It’s totally worth it because you save so much money by  not doing other things and just painting that wall, and making yourself happy with that anger of a color is so worth it. Last word, Svietka. What do you want us to all remember?

SVIETKA RIVILIS
I want you to remember that if at some point, the renovation becomes a burden and that it becomes one continuous fight, stop. Take a step back, talk to somebody, hire a professional designer to sort out the problems, and get back on track. Remembering that also the process–even though it’s a very difficult process, it can still be a very fun process. Listen, we’re women. We’re going shopping. We’re playing with colors. We’re playing with textures. I mean, hello, renovation is enormous fun. It’s fun. You shop till you drop. You think about the amount of decisions you have to make on the shopping stuff that you’re buying. It’s trying on dresses. Here, you’re trying on ceramic tiles.  It’s more or less the same thing.  It’s like, “Oh, look at this style. What do you think? Does it go well with my face?”  So it’s the same thing. Have fun. Enjoy it. It needs to be a fun process.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
Great, and I want to add  a little bit of Bat-Chenism into here. Bring God into it. Bring Hashem into the conversation, into the experience, because when you’re able to connect and say, “Help me choose. Guide me.  Help me stay focused, stay grounded,” you are already not alone it. It automatically makes you a part of a bigger picture, a part of a partnership, and you’re gonna feel a little bit less doubt about making mistakes, about worrying too much. It just feels more flow when you bring God into the situation, and this is in every situation, but especially with a situation that has a potential of blowing up. Just pause and become present with the fact that you’re not alone in anything–but you’re not alone in this situation specifically, and it’s really important so that is my final words to pull it all together because I really feel very strongly about this. Thank you so much this Svietka.

SVIETKA RIVILIS
You guys are great. I don’t know who’s there, who is not, but thank you for coming I really appreciate it it’s definitely lovely.

REBBETZIN BAT-CHEN GROSSMAN
So thank you very much and come back next time. And that’s it! Thank you for listening to the very end. I would love if you can leave a review and subscribe to the podcast. Those are things that tell the algorithm, this is a good podcast and make sure to suggest it to others. Wouldn’t it be amazing if more people became more connected for real? And now, take a moment and think of someone who might benefit from this episode. Can you share it with them? I am Rebbetzin Bat-Chen Grossman from connectedforreal.com. Thank you so much for listening, and don’t forget, you can be connected for real.

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