How To: Communicating with Your Contractor

So, you have a project in mind… and you REALLY don’t want to “do-it-yourself”…

So, you have this wall (or furniture piece or room or outside space) that you aren’t sure what to do with… and you don’t have a clue where to start…

So, you want the perfect solution to this design dilemma…

All of these scenarios find you needing help from a professional. Does the idea of hiring a contractor frighten you? Cause your heart to quicken just a bit and send your thoughts into a spiral? Give you heart burn or a headache?… NEVER FEAR! Here is some advice on finding a contractor to help you through the process in a professional and comfortable way. If you do your homework upfront, the journey should be an enjoyable one.

Custom Countertop Finishes Collage

1. Request to see a portfolio. This can consist of actual samples and/or photos of finished work. The size of the portfolio will vary depending on the experience of the artisan. While a hefty portfolio is always a good sign don’t let that be your only guide. Take close look at the finished work in the portfolio – is there attention to detail? This is VERY important! Make certain to ask for client references as well. Some questions to ask previous clients include: Was the artist dependable, responsible, considerate of their property, clean? Was the project on budget and completed in a timely manner? Would they hire the artist again? See if the artist has done any finishes or surfaces in commercial atmosphere so you can visit the place and see some work for yourself.

paint on the plate to promote the mixing of colors.

2. Ask about training. Decorative Artists abound but experience and attention to detail are quality traits you don’t want to compromise on. Ask about the training and experience the artist has accrued. If they profess to be “certified” verify where they received this certification and what the requirements were. You want to ensure the artisan you are hiring has knowledge in product chemistry, adhesion, surface preparation, and color theory.

3. Request proof of Insurance and Licensing. The last thing you need is a problem with damage during a custom installation that the artist is incapable of repairing for you.


4. Always see a sample and approve before the job begins. This step brings you peace of mind – believe me, both you and the Artist. I will often have my clients sign off on the sample board to verify we are all on the same page. A sample should be the finish and color theme you want to see in your space. If the sample is off, request another one. You may end up paying for multiple samples, but the end result will be what you had in mind. More communication with your contractor is ALWAYS better than wondering or assuming.  Also keep in mind, a 2′ x 2′ sample board will vary slightly from the wall finish. This is to be expected because some finishes are difficult to portray on such a small area or need to be scaled to fit the space or piece in your home. If you’ve gone through the steps mentioned above there should be a level of trust in the artist. You can know minimal variation will be acceptable AND that the artist will balance and complete the finish to your standards.

Master Suite at a recording studio

5. Don’t sweat the process once the job has begun. It may sound cliche, but many of these finishes aren’t pretty before they are done. I have had more than one job where the client is horrified at the middle stage. Thankfully we have gone through this process and they know the end result will match the sample and the vision we have worked through together.

Hopefully this will help you the next time you need to hire a decorative artisan. We at Artworks take pride in our custom finishes. From start to finish our clients are kept informed, valued, and respected. Bring us your design dilemma… we’re experienced and ready! For more examples of the work we’ve completed visit our website or studio!


2013: The Year in Review

My oh my! We have had a very big year! Here are some of the highlights!

We hosted First Saturday demo days with topics ranging from Re-Styling your Home to hands on Chalk Paint® Color book creation.

We shared the day to day progress on our Show Booth transformation on our facebook page! That was fun. We gave our customers, clients, colleagues and friends a glimpse into our every day work life.

a day in the life photo collage at Artworks Spokane

Like us on facebook to see what we’re up to throughout the year.

Shortly after our first show we participated in a competition in another Home Show – The White Room Challenge.

Artworks White Room Kitchen

And here is our finished product!

We kept ourselves incredibly busy with custom jobs. We beautified floors – inside and out, showers, TONS of kitchen cabinets and countertops, pool surrounds, walls, furniture, and much much more!

Some pics of a few of our jobs… just a small sampling:

Fireplace update by Artworks Spokane new pulpit embellished by Artworks Spokane

Back Patio, acid stained concrete by Artworks Spokane

the back patio – acid stained concrete!

Front walk way - acid stained concrete by Artworks Spokane

Front walk way – acid stained concrete

In September we went REALLY BIG and opened a second location in Coeur d’Alene, ID! Oh wow! This was a lot of work and sooooooo much fun!

more inventory coming into the Artworks Coeur d'Alene store

A little messier this time – and everything has been moved at least 4 times EACH!

Shortly after that we hosted a National Training Class for Chalk Paint® decorative paint. We love throwing a party, hosting, entertaining, and sharing our love of creating!

National Stockist Training with Barb Skivington 2013 at Artworks Spokane.Throw in classes, consultations, questions, playing around with Chalk Paint®, meetings, social media posts, newsletters, advertising, and a good dose of laughter and you have our year in review. We are a family around here! Thank you for such a fabulous, monumental year! We’re looking forward to another one with even more growth!

As always your comments, shares, likes, and feedback are encouraged. Cheers!

Studio 8 happenings: Hosting Fun!

Welcome to Artworks Spokane

We welcomed 36 Chalk Paint® stockists last week for National Training with Barb Skivington.

Ya know that after party glow? We’ve been living in it for the past week – remembering favorite moments, recounting fantastic sample board designs, and relishing the blessing of new friendships! November 6th and 7th we were honored to have Barb Skivington and 36 Chalk Paint® stockists for a National Training Seminar. If you don’t know or haven’t figured out… we LOVE throwing a party. And when Chalk Paint®, sample boards, food, and fellow artists are going to be creating together… well, we consider that a party! This week came on the coattails of our Grand Opening celebration at Artworks Coeur d’Alene the weekend prior. If you don’t know or haven’t figured out, we love a challenge as well! And can I just say, we pulled it off! Studio 8 received a major overhaul and redesign – that’s for another blog… this time I want to talk about my stockist friends and the fun we had with Barb! What a phenomenal trainer/teacher! Her infectious laugh and light spirit made everyone comfortable and at ease.

Barb Skivington teaches Chalk Paint® stocists.

Barb made the classroom portion of the training fun and interesting.

The training began with a review of our standards as stockists. We had several classroom sessions and each one was packed with technique review, product information, common challenges as stockists, and business savvy.

Class time with Barb Skivington

What a beautiful group of ladies. They came from Arizona, Calgary, AL, California, Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington.

We had our work room set up to accommodate these gals.

Our classroom and custom job finishing area - all clean for the training.A

This room is THIS clean about twice a year. Don’t misunderstand – we strive for this clean, but with custom jobs and show booth construction… it just doesn’t happen. We LOVE it when it looks like this.

Neatly stacked sample boards and Chalk Paint® cans standing at attention.

Supplies were laid out and ready for use. (The cans are so clean.)

After a time in the “class room” everyone headed back to get started doing what they do best – PAINTING!! These ladies were just chomping at the bit to get started mixing color, slapping paint brushes around and trying something new!

Final instruction is given to the National Stockists before diving into the Chalk Paint®.

Final instruction is given before turning everyone loose!

paint on the plate to promote the mixing of colors.

Promoting the mixing of colors… this was FUN!

The board you see in the picture above is a Bohemian sample. Encouraged to mix new colors and hues then paint fun patterns outside “the box”, everyone was tapping their well of creativity.

Wednesday night we took all our new friends to see our NEW Coeur d’Alene store. Artworks Coeur d’Alene was buzzing with artists for a moment and then it was off to dinner. What a fun filled day!

a field trip to the Coeur d'Alene store in the Riverstone Village gave our guests some evening activities.

Barb and Peggy pause for a snapshot. Our store is decked out for fall and ready to inspire!

By day two our workshop looked a little more like normal. Check out the supply table:

Chalk Paint® cans looking more "normal" after use.

Those little cans all lined up and ready for use… They are serving the front lines of creativity right there! Those are battle wounds worn proudly! They look exhausted!

Not only was the supply table looking a bit worn, but every place that could house a drying sample board was doing just that! Everywhere you turned surfaces were being used. I was able to get some shots of those Bohemian boards – but I’ll let each stockist share their own. 🙂

sample boards finding a safe place to dry.

These samples are safe under a work table. There are more on the shelves, propped against the legs of tables and supply bins, and the chosen few rest atop the table in plain sight.

It was a fun-filled two days. Not a down moment for boredom. We were so thrilled to open our studio and host our fellow stockists and Barb. But what’s a get together without a family picture? Being women we understood the importance of recording this gathering…

National Stockist Training with Barb Skivington 2013 at Artworks Spokane.We also understand the importance of our work….

Bohemian style sample boards

Some are peeking through… cheaters. 😉

Thank you to all the stockists that made this meeting a priority, purchased your plane ticket, booked your hotel room, and graced us with your presence. It was a wonderful time and we hope to be able to host you all again soon.

Until then…

Please feel free to leave a comment, share our post, follow our blog, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, link to us on linkedin… We’ll continue to share what inspires us, what transpires in the Studio and on the job, and what fuels our fire!

Studio 8 Happenings: A NEW STORE!!

We are so excited to announce a new adventure! We’re opening a location in Coeur d’Alene, ID. At the heart of Main Street in Riverstone Village you will find Artworks Coeur d’Alene. This location is going to feature mainly Chalk Paint® and Annie Sloan’s entire line of products as well as gift items, home decor, furniture, and more! We want to keep you posted as we go through this fast month of set up so here are the first shots from our new location… a blank slate if you will.

Riverstone Village

The view of Riverstone Village. Our shop is right behind the tan SUV.

We’re ordering a sign, painting everything we can find, dreaming dreams, and drafting plans! The floor and walls will be painted with Chalk Paint® as well as the vast majority of furniture and displays. Here’s a shot of the bare-bones beginning. The floor has been prepped for painting.

bare bones beginning

Just waiting for all that cool decor and inventory!

The new store’s logo will have the same look and feel as our current “mother ship” in Spokane Valley.

Artworks Coeur d'Alene sign

“New” logo

Stay tuned for more as we spend LOTS of time there in the next couple weeks. You can also check our facebook page for updates on how things are going.