the tile guy and his pot of gold

Pearls of wisdom often come from the most unexpected places  — in today’s case, the tile guy.

I’m having the powder room in my house remodeled and did a quick run into town to collect the tiles I’d ordered about a week ago. They’re unusual – porcelain that looks like wood but in two tones: a darker, wenge background with a sharply contrasting light-grey wood grain with knots. It’s one of those things that you see and just know “That’s it. That’s the one.”

I always say that the powder room is the room where one can really “go to town” in terms of personal style and design. It’s a small enough space where if the next homeowner hates it, it’s easy enough to re-do.

When the tile guy who owns the store understood that I’d actually already purchased the aforementioned tiles (from his assistant) he was in slight shock.

“Wow. I hadn’t realized you’d actually bought that design. Well done. Good for you!”

“Why ‘well done’?”

The tile guy is Irish and even after fifteen years in the States, he still has a sing-songy accent that makes me feel as if I’m being offered advice by a leprechaun.

“I’ll tell you what…most people don’t do exactly what THEY want. They go for what they think will help them resell their house. I think it’s a darn shame. If you worry so much about what others think, you end up compromising on what you really want for yourself and then somehow– it’s not even that’s it not quite right– it’s just wrong.”

The tile guy wrinkles his nose as he speaks and pauses for effect before continuing.

“And you end up with a house that you may own but is never really ‘you’. You’ve designed it ultimately for someone else who you don’t even know*. I see it with clients all the time.”

He may as well have added, “So there you have it– my pot ‘o gold. Take it or leave it or pay the consequences!”

His unexpected soliloquy is a profound observation that one can apply to how we design not only our homes, but our lives.

I think of all the possibilities where the tile guy’s philosophy rings true on the macro level (college, university, career, spouse, partner, house, etc.) and then back down to the micro level (individual style, make-up, clothing, design & décor, furniture, vanity, mirror, floor tiles, etc.)

It’s so simplistic, it’s almost laughable.

“To get it right, choose for YOU. To get it right, do for YOU.”

Plain and simple.

How very bold! Kinda** like the tiles I chose….

*Do note, Dear Reader, that I am not paraphrasing. This is exactly what he said because I transcribed his words into my handy-dandy notebook the second I got into my car.  Also, the correct wording would be “WHOM you don’t even know. WHO is a subject, WHOM is an object. Just sayin’ and yes, I am a grammar freak.

** I know, I know. The correct spelling is “kind of”.  I’m a great fan of stylistic devices as well. 

4 responses to “the tile guy and his pot of gold”

  1. That’s why the houses that are decorated with the help of an interior designer are so impersonal! There is no “you” there.

  2. That’s why the houses that are decorated with the help of an interior designer are so impersonal! There is no “you” there.

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