Inspiration Is Everywhere

The only social media platform I could have been described as an "early adopter" of is Pinterest. It's basically how my brain works: I can remember what a thing looks like, I can describe it to you in detail, but that doesn't mean I can tell you what it's called or where I saw it. Pinterest allows me to save the image and later be able to find the thing. 

Obviously I have (many) boards of ideas for the flat. Originally this was my inspiration for the tiling in the bathroom. The tiles are simple and cheap (150x150mm glazed tiles start at £5 a square meter), but the layout and grout colour makes for a stylish finish.

Then I saw a blog post by 70percentpure set in London's branch of ACE Hotel and I loved the effect, but two types of tiles will be more expensive and I had made my plan. The plan is good, I thought. Stick to the plan.

Image by Stephanie Duval,  70percentpure

Image by Stephanie Duval, 70percentpure

Then last week I went to Orinoco at the Bullingdon Community Centre in Oxford. 

Some years ago Oxford County Council stopped taking half used cans of paint at the dump. For good reason; keeping chemical stuffed paint our of the ground so it doesn't leech into the water supply is a sound idea. But then the residents of Oxfordshire had nowhere to dispose of their unwanted paint. 

(I was about to tag the last statement #firstworldproblems, and that is completely true, and actually exactly the crux that I will get to. Bear with me here.) 

So Orinoco was founded as a paint exchange. They receive partially used cans of paint, and anybody can come an help themselves for free! Or a suggested donation of 75p a litre. 75p a litre! And you're using a resource that would otherwise go to waste, and therefore reducing the resource and energy that would otherwise go into creating more paint. 


Orinoco has expanded to encompass any DIY leftovers. It's like a scrap yard for small stuff to make things with. I'm kind of a little bit in heaven here! 

And they have tiles. Of all sorts of shapes and sizes, usually small amounts. And it made me see a way that the ACE Hotel bathroom was accessible for me. Even better, it's a lower impact way of achieving a stylish finish than my original plan. But putting together tiles from several different ranges is always fiddly, and will affect the ability to get a good finish. Did I want to get myself involved in that? 

And the thing that swung it for me? A report on the missing Malaysian Airways plane. No seriously, I'm not trying to be in any way flippant about this. 

They report was saying how it's very difficult to find the debris of the aircraft because the sea is so full of other kinds of rubbish and it all collects together with the currents. That rubbish comes from things that fall overboard from container ships bringing us our lovely consumer goods; or it's falling into the sea from the land because we produce so much rubbish we can't keep it in one place. They're looking for the airplane in a rubbish dump. 

That is the first world problem. We (the First World) are creating that problem. And maybe it's dumb to think that reusing a few tiles will help, but I think that the thing we fail to appreciate is the cumulative impact that tiny changes will have, if we all make them, and if we all make them daily. And so I'm starting with two boxes of discarded tiles.