Thursday, November 10, 2005

Retiling the lounge

The last of the downstairs tiling to be completed was the lounge. This was also the most complex because it involved working out how to get the best effect in a large space wat was complicated by stairs on one side and a storage area in one corner. We wanted a classical colonial look that bore Moorish influences. Roberto, bless him, drew up some concepts on notepaper. One concept involved the use of the small decorative tiles as were being used throughout the house as a whole -- set on diagonals within the square space created by cutting one corner off each tile. The second concept was of a large inner section whose large tiles were set at diagonals to the large tiles in the surrounding area. The latter were laid in the same manner as the tiles in the rest of the house. The third concept was of decorative borders made in small coloured/patterned ceramics.

Roberto had never done this kind of tiling before, let alone been given the task of working out how to implement a concept that began as inchoate, but worked itself out in conversation and in conjunction with purchasing the azuelejos (the smaller ceramics). One way of deciding on how to bring an inchoate concept to fruition is to purchase tiles and then work out how to make them come together in a successful design. We knew the colours we wanted and the kind of concept. We worked with Roberto to achieve the design, but it was Roberto's knowledge of how to use diagonally cut half-tiles to make well-conceived corners that made the design come alive.

As the work unfolded we came to realise more and more what a gem of colleague Roberto is. He made it happen and you could feel his enlivenment as the thing came together. At the end of it, apart from the sheer joy of being able to see the floor as a finished work in twice the splendour we could have had in our wildest dreams, there was the thought: if this was Roberto's first hash at this kind of thing, what would his fourth or fifth be like?

While I personally have no intention of being part of any scheme to get to the fourth or fifth effort, I'd be less than honest if I didn't concede that the thought is almost tempting.

Bless you Roberto. May your tile cutter be sharp forever.


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