Tile: A Lesson in Marriage

There are many things I didn’t think about before accepting my job in a tile store. For starters, I severely underestimated the amount of math I would be using on a daily basis. I also didn’t realize that if you wear heels in a tile store, you “click” all. day. long.

My Best Friend

But the most random thing I didn’t expect to experience is the portion of my job spent acting as a marriage counselor. The best example of this is a recent event that really taught me (and hopefully my clients) a lesson.

A beautiful mid-30’s woman came into my store looking to design her backsplash. She was visibly frustrated from the get-go. I asked her if she had anything in particular in mind, and she told me the following:

She loved very trendy backsplashes. She wanted to incorporate at least two different materials, and specifically wanted to use blue glass in some way. She wanted no traditional elements. Then, she took a deep breath and told me “this kitchen renovation might end my marriage,” and proceeded to explain that her husband disagreed on all accounts.

Mrs. X's Style

Her husband specifically wanted a traditional subway tile, a very neutral, muted color palette, and did not like the look of glass. He particularly liked browns. He did not like anything too “daring.” In fact, his opinion of daring was using a dark grout with a white tile, giving a similar effect as what I pictured below.

Mr. X's Style

Well, this was a bit of a problem. It was clear that my client had had no luck working with her husband on this project, and she was at the end of her ropes. So I did what anyone else would do, I made her a coffee and went to work.

As I rummaged around in the sample room trying to find all of these requirements and wondering how many marital woes were due to differences of opinion on such matters as tile or curtains…I realized something: There is ALWAYS a compromise. So, I grabbed every material that both parties had discussed and came up with this:

Original Backsplash Concept Sketch: White Ceramic 3x6 Subway Tile, 1.5"x24" Aluminum Liners, 1"x2" Matte-Finish Glass Tile Accent

When I showed it to her, she was thrilled. She didn’t get everything that she wanted, but neither did he. No party was “winning,” because the design incorporated elements of what each side wanted. He had to compromise on the traditional look, but he got his subway tile and muted palette (which was fulfilled using a matte finish on the glass tile rather than the more common gloss). She got her way with the more contemporary look and the use of the glass, but she had to tone down her color palette. In the end, it was a win-win situation, and they installed a gorgeous kitchen backsplash that fit both of their needs.

Just for fun, my alternate idea

So, the moral of the story is this: There is ALWAYS a compromise if both parties are willing to give a little. Some say a happy wife is a happy life, but I don’t think that makes a healthy marriage. A healthy marriage is giving and taking and incorporating both personalities into one beautiful finished product.

Final Concept (had to picture with 1"x1" tiles because I had no 1"x2" in the right colours, but you get the idea)

If you would like assistance planning your next tile project, email me at tiletramp@gmail.com for a free consultation!

3 Responses to “Tile: A Lesson in Marriage”
  1. Pharme328 says:

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  2. Jennifer says:

    It is your amazing skill to blend multiple concepts that will take you far in design! I would love to see some after shots of their finished kitchen!

  3. Tile Tramp says:

    Thanks Jennifer! I’m actually still waiting on the glass tile to come in for installation, but when it’s all done I’m going to bribe her as best I can to send me a photo of the finished product. My shots are just from laying out the concept on the table, so you definitely don’t get the full effect.

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