There are some words that defy a first-read pronunciation. Then there are words that defy multiple-read pronunciations. Tszuj is surely one of those words. The Urban Dictionary tells us that it means 'To tweak, fluff, primp, improve, make fabulous'. Laura de Barra, the Gaff Goddess herself, told Ray D’Arcy that she sees it as:
"A little spruce, a little easy spruce. Just imagine if someone was to tszuj your hair – it would just be a nice, fun little shake through of the hair that makes it look even better."
When Ray tells her that he doesn’t have any hair, it could have meant an awkward silence, but Laura is not at all perturbed, suggesting a nice wig that can then, presumably, be tszuj-d. Laura’s written her second book, following on from the very successful Gaff Goddess in 2020. Where Gaff Goddess focused on how to maintain and repair everyday items in the home, with emphasis on She-IY, the new book, Décor Galore, is more concerned with how to revamp your home on any budget. And, as it happens, the new tome emerged from a chapter of Gaff Goddess:
"There was a little chapter in that called Décor Galore all about how to aesthetically add to your home without spending a lot of money, especially if you were a renter or had, let’s say, you weren’t doing a full refurb, like a budget like that and small changes. And that got loads of really positive feedback, like people really wanted to hear more. And that’s how Décor Galore was born."
In Gaff Goddess Laura introduced us to the concept of She-IY and in Décor Galore, she takes her own approach to home improvement and brings her own terminology with her, from Min to Tszuj to Overhaul.
"In Décor Galore, I take you on a tour of the home and first of all, in every room we look at the zones. They’re just areas of use. Most people don’t have a single room that’s dedicated to a single use anymore, we tend to do lots of things in different rooms. And then also you’ve got routes that you walk through."
The consideration of routes through a given room takes in, for example, potential obstacles and the type of carpet needed. Pitstops are natural areas where people pause or stop along routes, such as cook hooks or the bowl that has all the stuff in it.
"It’s about getting your pitstops right so that they don’t become pile-ups. And basically, it’s just a really clever and practical way that I start designing any space, but I hand it over to you because everyone is different in their home."
It all makes perfect sense so far. But what about the Min, the Tszuj and the Overhaul?
"It’s kind of budget-based, but also, just because you’re renting, doesn’t mean you have a tiny budget and just because you own your home doesn’t mean you can have a massive budget and do loads of reno work."
It all ends with Laura ensuring that her After is so much better than her Before. And that’s a pretty good result, isn’t it?
You can hear Ray’s full chat with Laura – including the answer to the age-old question of what the difference is between a sofa and a couch – by going here.
Décor Galore: The Essential Guide to Styling Your Home by Laura De Barra is published by Transworld Ireland.