Greg Herling of Herl's Bath & Tile Solutions transforms lackluster places into amazing spaces
The earmarks of Greg Herling’s accomplishments and success in life were evident early on. At a time when most boys his age were mounting desperate backyard campaigns against worldwide tyranny with their G.I. Joe figures, the eventual founder of Herl’s Bath & Tile Solutions was mounting campaigns of entrepreneurship by cutting grass, waxing cars and picking produce at a local farm. In fact, his mom, Sally Herling, reports that in a turn reminiscent of Peanuts’ Lucy Van Pelt and her five-cent psychiatric-advice startup, he’d even built a stand in his front yard where he sold his dad’s old baseball caps. He was 10.
“Those early days were a little strange,” said Sally from Greg’s 5,500 sq. ft. facility in Salisbury’s Winterplace Park, which he acquired in 2008. “When he first started in business, Greg’s ‘office’ was actually the back of my car, which I’d used to drive him to his appointments because he was too young for a driver’s license. The looks on the faces of those early clients were priceless, seeing someone who may have been younger than their own children on the doorstep, but after the initial shock, everyone was actually very nice and supportive.”
Greg did well from the start not just because of his talent and hard work but also because there were few if any in the area who were skilled at that kind of work. Soon he was doing warranty repairs for manufacturers such as Kohler, American Standard and Jacuzzi as well as for wholesalers, contractors and homeowners. In 2001, Sally finally said good-bye to a rewarding 46-year career at Shore Distributors and went to work for Greg exclusively, though she no longer has to worry about donating her own car to the cause, as her son — commonly known as “Herl” — now has a 13-vehicle fleet to handle that.
Greg got the moniker “Herl” from his friends in Holland more than 20 years ago, back when he was playing soccer for TeamUSA. During those youthful glory days, Herl played in three Cup matches and got to tour countries like Denmark, Holland, Germany and Scotland. The former midfielder said he still keeps in touch with those teammates.
But as proficient as Greg was at sports, he’s apparently even more so at his job, which is why customers old and new keep asking him to do more of it.
“With increasing frequency I’m hearing my customers and others talking about their desire for one-stop home solutions and craftsmanship, but they only want someone with a proven track record, someone they feel they can trust,” offered Greg, “so I began to expand my service roster in response to that demand.
“To be honest,” he continued, “it would have been easier to just focus on what got me here, like tiling and repair, reglazing and installation of acrylic and fiberglass fixtures, but I feel the way to build and maintain long-term relationships is to do great work and to be there when people need you.”
Herl’s classic work ethic and diverse craftsmanship were on particularly prominent display at one customer’s house in Bethany Beach, where he converted their 3.5-bathroom home into one that has 5.5 baths, one for every guest room. He began by decking them out in opulent Vallelunga porcelain tile under granite countertops with rich solid-wood cabinetry for all. Faucets and other water fixtures are from Moen’s Brantford line but were custom-selected by Herl for each guest bath based on its individual motif.
For the master bath, he went with Imperial White tumbled stone for the flooring with more granite countertops and solid-wood cabinetry but used beautiful Signature Hardware fixtures in the vanity area. The lighting fixtures, meanwhile, come compliments of Norvell and were also done by Greg and his crew.
In the kitchen, granite countertops rest upon white Showplace solid-wood cabinets, meticulously accented with white porcelain subway-style backsplashes. Definitely note the flooring for the entire first level, which is hand-scraped hickory of varying-sized planks — and Herl’s did all of it.
Another Herl’s tour de force was performed in Ocean City recently, for the Wingfield family’s spectacular master-suite bath. First, Greg laid a velvet-smooth 12”x 24” polished porcelain floor in Blanc Linen to ignite the Eurospa-style concept before installing the white whirlpool tub from Okapi’s Maax Collection.
Glass plays a prominent part in this scintillating showplace, not only with the 3/8” glass panel that separates the tub and shower but also the back wall, which is composed entirely of 3/4” x 3/4” Opal Satin Bay Glass by Chimera. The shower floor tile is Porcelanosa’s Lake Stone Blanco, while all door wood is solid oak, featuring frosted-glass light panels. Frosted glass was also used as countertops for the cabinetry, which was provided by Ideal Group. Moen’s elegant 90 Degree Series supplies the room’s graceful fixtures.
Not only did Greg go so far as to install a custom closet of his own creation, the glinting metallic flecks that radiate from all corners of this ethereal space tell you that even the grout in the Wingfield’s master bath is a work of art.
“This was one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever worked on,” beamed Greg. “Not only were [the Wingfields] a joy to work with, they totally let us cut loose to be really creative with this project. I’m very pleased with the results.”
In addition to full kitchen and bathroom remodeling and tile jobs of any size great or small, Herl’s is on-call for tub-to-shower conversions, carpet and tile cleaning, as well as acrylic installation and fiberglass refinishing and repair.
HERL'S BATH & TILE SOLUTIONS
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