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!