It took a crash and a broken femur for Brian Hill to found Circles & Squares, his interior design company. Hill, an avid cyclist, crashed at the Air Force Cycling Classic in Washington, D.C., in June 2015, and spent five days in the hospital and another two months on crutches. He had spent most of his adult life working in the tile industry, and in the week leading up to the accident, had begun taking steps to create his own tile design company. “It just became more and more apparent that it was time to do my own thing,” he says. That crash was the final push he needed.
Brian began working in the tile industry in 2002 as store manager at The Tile Shop in Chicago. In subsequent years, he moved on to work for wholesale importer Universal Granite & Marble, and then for mosaic manufacturer Terra Verre. His work exposed him to everything from sourcing to sales: he created dealer networks in the United States and also visited quarries and factories in Mexico, Peru, Egypt, Portugal, and Turkey. When he wasn’t traveling, Hill lived in Chicago and Miami where he soaked up cutting-edge design trends.
Clayhaus Ceramics, one of Hill’s suppliers, is a Portland, Oregon, studio specializing in handcrafted, made- to-order tile with a wide palette of colors and shapes.
Today, Hill’s Circles & Squares studio—located in a refurbished pool house on his Paris Mountain property—captures the essence of his aesthetic. He installed reclaimed barn rafters as flooring, a door from the ’30s, and hand-cut Calcutta gold Italian marble to floor the small but elegant bathroom. The finished product: a studio he loves with a mixture of “some modern, some old, and some new.”
From this space, Hill wants to “give designers the tools to be able to do great things.” For Circles & Squares, he has selected tiles that reflect local tastes as well as national design trends. The network he created over years of working with the tile industry worldwide comes in handy here: “Nine times out of ten, if it’s fashion-forward, I can pick up the phone and call the manufacturer. That manufacturer might be in Morocco or Italy or China, but sometimes it’s worth bringing that product in,” Hill says.
Brian Hill can draw upon his industry-wide connections for sourcing unique, design-oriented tiles.
Ultimately, Brian wants to push the design market to grow with the city he calls home, and with his involvement in the Main + Stone development and the revitalization of some of Greenville’s old warehouse spaces, he’s certainly in a position to influence that growth. “Maybe five years from now, Greenville will have its own look.”