Almost forever, I have wanted a kitchen with brick accents. When the stars aligned themselves so that I could remodel, I found myself at that juncture where I needed to go shopping for the tile to do the backsplash. I went into the showroom, thinking something marblish, to match my countertop, and then I saw it: my brick was installed on their floor. I told the salesman that I wanted the brick. It wasn’t a cheap choice, but I didn’t have a large surface to cover. It shouldn’t cost me much. Before I could think twice, I had ordered the brick and paid for it.

The next day, I showed some less daring friends the brick that I had chosen for my kitchen, and they were appalled. Brick? Not white subway tile? Everyone is using white subway tile now. Not you? Doubt surged through me, and I sped back to the showroom to change my order, but the bricks were on their way. No canceling now. The designer who had helped me came up to speak to me, and I asked her: “Should I have gotten white subway tile for my kitchen? Please, tell me the truth. I can use the brick somewhere else.”

She responded: “You’re kidding, aren’t you? I’ve told everyone about your brick kitchen.”

I had told her of my plans to remove the sheetrock from the breakfast room ceiling and to allow the exposed rafters to show. [Quite honestly, that was a gutsy move, too–one that also caused the nay-sayers to shutter].


The designer told me that my brick and exposed rafters plan had made her want to remodel, too. At my urging, she reluctantly showed me the subway tile. It was 4 times cheaper than the brick, and for very little money, I could have bought enough subway tile for my kitchen, but the designer said: “White subway tile is sterile. Your brick is warm. You just don’t seem like a sterile person to me.”

She was right. Very little about me is like everyone else. Why would I choose the same thing as everyone else to decorate my house?

My builder only speaks Spanish, and I only speak English. When I  showed him the brick, he shook his head and frowned.  I managed to glean the meaning of “Not happy.” from his disapproving words. But halfway into the installation, my builder had changed his mind.

“Bonita,” he said.

I tried to express my thoughts to him.  I wanted to tell him that my brick made me feel cozy. I looked up the translation and showed him the word:


“Ah, si, Acogedor.”

When I am painting and when I am writing, I consider it a great day when something visceral within myself takes over and essentially completes my project for me. This gentle urging is intuition. It is the hand that guides my brush, as I paint. And it is my writer’s voice. The intuition is the spark that helped Michelangelo release his sculptures from a piece of rock.


I am accustomed to listening to the urges that guide me as I create, but when I began remodeling my kitchen, I found myself doubting my choices.

Once again, I am reminded: “Learn to Trust Yourself.”

©Jacki Kellum August 23, 2017