16 September 2009

Follow up from yesterday

At about three o'clock Tuesday afternoon I got a phone call from the same client who was panicking on Monday. I saw who was calling on the caller ID and braced myself for another round of "let's talk this woman off the ledge." Instead, when I answered the phone I was greeted by a series of rapid fire thank yous and choked back sobs. I'm not kidding. Apparently, the electrician had just left after having hung the final pendant light and she was at long last alone with her renovated kitchen.

"Everything's even more beautiful than you said it would be Paul, I'm sorry for being so much trouble." She went on, but that was the gist of it.

Boy do I love being right.

So here's the tile that was at the root of yesterday's melt down:

It's an inexpensive, $25 a square foot glass tile. The only thing unique about it is the shape of the individual tiles. From my perspective, it's still pretty tame. But by the standards of the development where this particular project took place, it is downright avant garde.

The client had her heart set on white cabinetry all along, and I suggested a sienna-toned white paint on a maple cabinet. Bright white is hard to pull off without looking sterile, so I always go with a tinted white to tone it down a bit.

She picked this granite. It's an easy to find Brazilian stone and it too is pretty basic. That wall tile was the gentle prod that room needed to make it something other than what all the neighbors do. A gentle prod, that's all it was. Due in a large part to that tile, her finished kitchen is a warm and inviting place. The textures and patterns are interesting but still subtle. I say anyhow and now that she's happy and will pay her final invoice, I'm happy too.


  1. Nice job Paul! Please post a pic of the final moment!!! Want to see the kitchen!

  2. Sometimes, people get uncomfortable when I ask if I can publish the results of their project. I always promise to keep it anonymous, but a lot of people don't want the attention. I will beg when I go up to do my final inspection tomorrow. Hopefully, she'll say yes.

  3. Isn't it so rewarding to have the gift of helping a client achieve their dream space in their home? You've helped to change her life. :)

  4. Great layering of colors and textures. Spot on!

  5. Thanks Rachele, it is the best part of this job. Something I imagined a couple of months ago is now a physical place where she can play out her life. It's pretty cool.

    Thanks too Laurie. White cabinetry is all the rage again and I see it really poorly handled a lot. People either go all light colors around it or they go immediately to sharp contrast. I say that you need a gentler touch. I'm glad you agree!

  6. I really like the backsplash tiles :-) Very cool shape.

    Yes, beg a LOT tomorrow so you can show us pictures!! And if the answer is no, post them anyway ;-)


  7. Thanks Kelly, it's just production stuff from Emenee. It is a neat shape though. I'm going to be stoned if some of my better mosaic pals get wind of this though...

  8. Hey, congrats for bringing a client out of her comfort zone, and having her learn that IT'S FUN OUT THERE!...(and really quite comfortable)

    You're doing the job she hired you for. If she wanted basic, she could go to Home Depot and get stark white thermofoil cabinets with white 4"x4" tiles for the backsplash, and it would all match!

  9. Thanks Leona. I feel like my job is to be the anti-home center and to challenge people and it's a great feeling when that lands in fertile ground. The result almost always brings about a little conflict, but great ideas are seldom born in calm moments. You know?

    The picture you conjured is a grim one indeed. White thermofoil and white 4x4s are the stuff of my nightmares!

  10. I hope your client agrees to some photos. The elements look fab!

    Would appreciate you sharing any guidelines in respect to choosing the correct color of grout for a tiling project. (Thanks Paul.)

  11. Thanks Brenda, I'll beg good and hard this afternoon and with any luck she'll relent.

    What color grout is a topic for a whole other post. There aren't any hard and fast rules, but I'm pretty particular about it and I'll share gladly how I approach it.


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