Lingo: A Patterned Dish Story

Don't you love the English language?

I've written before about my devotion to reruns of high-art TV like America's Next Top Model. I have recently discovered Canadian home style icon Sarah Richardson and her "design sidekick," Tommy Smythe. You can watch reruns of Sarah's House at this link.

I find the show immensely entertaining, even beyond its content. Sarah and Tommy are funny. The show isn't a competition, so the half-hours don't include catfight scenes. Clients, tradespeople, and others on the show don't always agree, but they remain respectful and get a job done. They also work in the "real world," with actual concrete items (which I talked about briefly in relation to my summer, here).

Plus, the language!

All specialists use language in specific ways. Scientists, politicians, MBAs, therapists, lawyers -- and yes, artists, writers, and designers. My sister often emails phrases from clothing design shows, like Project Runway: "I'm giving her a sleeve," for example. (As Tim Gunn responded, "Just one?")

But rarely do they have this much fun. Sarah, after thwarted in the purchase of a patterned fabric, once decided to look for a wallpaper that "tells the same story." The patterned dish story was in the context of a dining room that, to Tommy, already had a lot of pattern: "I'm all for a patterned dish story, but by the time we get to the table, might we not need a bit of a rest?" 

And "story" isn't their only interesting use of language. Sarah and Tommy also talk about creating "vignettes" and "moments." And in response to Tommy's concerned about the the china pattern, Sarah showed him how placing the patterned china on a "biscuit-coloured" plate created a restful and beautiful border. I would have called it "white" or possibly "cream" but okay, "biscuit" it is. 

Oh, just go watch a few episodes. It's fun! Just as language should be.

And P.S.: what lingo would my characters use, given their experience and special knowledge?