I started my morning with a visit to a client; always a good thing. (No clients, no eat). I had no trouble finding the house because I had worked for the previous owner twelve years ago, when the house was first built. In fact, I had dug up the archived file from 1998 to show as a talking point.
I am always on time, which in English terms means a few minutes early. My client did well, for one who combines the sensibilities of being an Interior Designer and a Californian, she was impressively punctual. During the five minutes that I waited at the gate another car pulled up and a smartly dressed woman came to say "Hello". She introduced herself as the one who was there to "Sage the House". Rather than play guessing games about whether that was a new way to describe being a painter who was going to cover the structure in sage colored paint, I admitted that I did not know what that meant. (She wasn't dressed like a painter, anyway).
It turned out that she was there to perform a cleansing, or blessing, per American-Indian Spiritual Traditions. I nodded "Sagely", as if I thought every Faux-Mediterranean piece of expensive California real estate, that just changed hands, should automatically be treated this way. Hey, I got through the Feng Shui era, I can survive Sageing.
Once in the gate, I got my samples out of my car. The challenge was to find some indoor-outdoor flooring to cover mud-room, laundry room and patios. It had to look awesome, appeal to my client's taste for authentic French stuff and be available right now in a large quantity, at a killer price. Welcome to my world!
I had the options of hand distressed French limestone pavers or a mix of terra-cotta tiles that were left over from a Polo-Ralph Lauren store that we had supplied in Texas a while ago. This client was a little more decisive than the Design Committee for the Polo job. They had required that I bring in samples from my supplier in the French Pyrenees and send them to a Design firm on Madison Avenue, New York and then wait a long time for the final go-ahead.
We perused my samples and discussed the visual weight of the colors in balance to the brown-red barrel tile roof. I was asked to imagine the new configuration of the outdoor areas. The columns were being removed, the patios were being torn up and re-shaped, the doors and windows had to go and all the interior tile was being replaced by 10" wide oak planks. Our Spiritual friend stuck with us, giving her opinion (I wonder if she charges extra for that?). Once I moved on to measuring the imaginary new spaces she asked to be excused to fulfill her mission.
I love the aroma of burnt sage. I use the herb often when cooking on the barbecue. Apparently "Sageing" a home consists of lighting a twig or two of sage and wafting them around in each room, muttering something I think was a prayer that the smoke alarm and sprinkler system not be activated.
I had my own prayers going on for some kind of order to be the result of our meeting. My client had a decided a preference for the terra-cotta tiles which was fine with me. They were bought and paid for long ago and just waiting to be turned into cash-flow. I could have given them away, if I felt so inclined.
My mercenary cunning knows no bounds. I always respond to cues from my clients. I can smell New-Age/Self-invented Spiritualism over the smoke from burning sage twigs.
It was not hard to mention that I felt a sense of "Destiny" with this house and would really get a kick out of participating in the making of a true home for this wonderful family. My dignity is easily overcome by the scent of 3,000 square feet of materials being sold.
There is to be another meeting tomorrow with Ms. Client, her contractor and Mr. Client, who is out of town working to pay for all this. I have given them until Monday close of business to accept or decline my special, sage-intoxicated price offer. I Googled his name so I am sure that if they want this they can afford it, I am not wasting my time.
If the deal does not go through, I will have learned a new (to me) tradition. I am currently wondering how much I can charge per room if I start my own Sageing business. Or maybe I'll start a fashion for Elephant-Dunging. I know where to go to get my supplies and I already have some pictures of myself with a very Spiritual Pachyderm named Butch that will be perfect for my ad-campaign.