For years, friends told Bob Eveleth he had a "cool bachelor pad."

Eveleth, co-owner of a chain of photography studios, has a hip image that was reflected in his home. It featured a con-temporary black leather sofa, state-of-the-art entertainment center and a gigantic pool table.As president of a modeling agency, Page Parkes follows the cutting edge.

But her home remained a refuge from her work with pastel colors, rough-hewn wood tables, hand-painted furniture in a Santa Fe style and folk art pieces.

When the couple decided to blend their lives as well as their belongings, they knew they were in trouble, given their differing tastes, unless they got some outside help.

So the couple, who married a few months ago, called a "furniture therapist" to help them merge two houses into one comfortable home.

Kim David has no degree in psychological counseling. Her background is interior design, and she works as a designer at a furniture store.

But the Louisiana native has carved a side career as a "design mediator" for people getting together or breaking apart.

"I've felt that I've been a `furniture therapist' many times. I've seen knockdown, drag-out fights," she says. "A lot of people think they're the only ones who are at each other. Everyone is at each other when this goes on."

Eveleth and Parkes each owned comparable houses in Houston's affluent Memorial area. They decided to move into Eveleth's home because it has a swimming pool and sits on a larger piece of property.

But they were in a quandary about how to blend their vastly different tastes. Enter David, whom Parkes had previously hired to help furnish her home.

"I knew she would make it less emotional," says Parkes. "It helps to have a third, non-biased opinion."

In her role as a "design mediator," the first thing David does is talk to the couple to determine what each person absolutely cannot live without.

"There are sentimental things in everyone's household," she says.

"Everything else is fair game."

Even though Eveleth's home is contemporary, he wanted to keep a trunk and an antique grandfather clock that belonged to his grandparents.

Parkes was willing to part with almost everything but a dining room table with a metal base designed by artist Cathy Boswell. The only problem was, Eveleth didn't care for the gold-leafed base of the table.

"It cost $3,000, and he thought it was garage-sale material," Parkes moans.

After much discussion, they opted to keep the base and put the glass top from his dining table on it. They positioned the grandfather clock nearby to blend in with the wooden benches that surround the table.

"It's just a matter of compromising," David says.

But the pool table proved to be a bigger bone of contention. Eveleth wanted to keep it, but Parkes wasn't crazy about it. At first, David suggested putting removable glass over it, so it could be converted to a dining table.

Parkes rebelled. "We were not going to spend (more) money on the pool table."

The pool table remained without the glass. But David removed such bachelor trappings as a dart board and softened the living room area with colorful kilim pillows on the leather sofa and Parkes' rustic cart coffee table.

Off to the side is a sitting area that combines Parkes' kilim rug and Southwestern-style chairs with Eveleth's grandmother's trunk.

The couple is pleased with their new home, except for one thing.

"There's no place for clothes," says Parkes. "There's no doubt this is a guy's house."

David (whose name is pronounced Dah-VEED) got into "design mediating" out of necessity. After graduating from the University of Southwestern Louisiana with a degree in interior architecture in 1985, she arrived in Houston just as the oil bust hit.

Since many people couldn't afford to buy more furniture, she marketed herself as a consultant to help them rearrange the belongings they already owned. Soon, she began helping couples who were blending their houses for the first time.