Custom Fun: SkimStone bathroom

We have had the recent pleasure of helping a client with a “new build” bathroom. Our portion of the project was the floor and shower surround. The client chose SkimStone Decorative Concrete for these two surfaces. The bathroom will be a modern space and clean lines and sleek pieces.

first coat skimstone on a bathroom floorAfter two coats of bonding primer we installed the first coat of SkimStone using the color Storm. The floor finish will be seamless between the bathroom and walk-in shower. The hole in the center of the floor is for a free standing modern soaker tub. We can’t wait to post pictures of the finished product!

Skimstone decorative concrete on the shower floor and walls

A glimpse into the shower area.

The second coat of the floor was a skip trowel finish for movement and texture. We used Oystershell for this coat.

Finished bathroom floor with two color SkimStone decorative concrete application.

Just a touch of shine once the floor is finished with a seal coat. Now it’s ready for the rest of the bathroom to take shape.

The shower walls received a stenciled border in a tone on tone color palette for an understated element of interest.

A wave stencil adds interest to the cement walls.

Waves add interest to the cement walls.

The homeowner wanted a bench at the end of the shower.

The shower bench spans the full depth of the shower.

The bench was initially a corner seat, but upon further reflection the homeowner determined a full length bench would be more beneficial.

The bathroom has several windows. The main area has a big picture window by the location of the soaker tub. The shower has three windows to bring natural light to the area.

Skimstone shower surround

The shower head is flanked with two “windows” to the main bathroom area allowing light from the picture window above the tub to spill into the shower.

In a matter of days the floor and shower surround were finished! Look for pictures of the finished room in a future blog. We wouldn’t miss the opportunity to showcase such a modern room.

We welcome your comments, shares, and follows.

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Custom Fun: Best Western Pool Surround

When we speak of concrete work, “the guys”, custom jobs, and pool surrounds we aren’t generally referring to indoor pools. This time… we are. The Best Western Hotel in Ritzville needed some repair work done to their indoor pool. We waited for a “slower” season to tackle the project so we could ensure the installation was a success.

The pool surround had areas of discoloration and sealer delaminating. The guys tested the previous sealers with different chemicals to see what it would take to strip the surround. Those sealers were TOUGH. Nothing would break down the finish! So they sealed the room with plastic and tape got busy grinding the entire surround. The pool and spa had been drained to avoid making a huge mess in the water and giving the application a proper chance to cure thoroughly.

The grinding took all the previous layers of sealer and enough of the overlay off to start fresh. Our new finish was a system by Elite Crete called Quartz Broadcast Overlay. The finish has tooth and looks 1,000 times better than the failing system used before!

Artworks Spokane broadcast quartz overlay finish on the Ritzville Best Western Indoor Pool Surround.

A two tone design was chosen to highlight the lip of the pool.

Empty spa with new overlay finish on surround

Empty spa – removed any temptation for the boys to “take a break”…

Care was taken to ensure the joints and drains were taped and protected during the process!

The newly installed and completely cured concrete overlay was sealed with a very durable 2 part epoxy. Several layers were applied to ensure complete seal and create an even sheen.

Sealing the pool surround with a 2 part epoxy

The finished pool room at Ritzville Best Western Hotel.

The finished pool room with the sun shining in.

Now the pool is ready for another busy season of guests making memories while away from home – splashing, playing, lounging, and soaking. Please feel free to leave your comments. We love hearing from our followers.

Artworks Spokane

Now with the launch of a second location in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we thought it necessary to explain the differences between the purpose of the two locations.

Artworks Spokane building facade

Artworks Spokane’s Studio in Spokane Valley, WA. Prepare to be Inspired

Since 1994 Artworks Spokane has been developing into a decorative arts authority here in Spokane, Washington. Nancy has been known and recognized nationally for her teaching abilities, knowledge, and technique. Along with classes in Faux, Concrete, and Plasters, Artworks Spokane specializes in custom contracting. In 2010 we opened the doors to our Marietta studio, Studio 8, with the sole purpose of having a location where finishes are displayed, clients can meet around a design table and discuss options, classes can be held with plenty of room and inspiration, and supplies can be purchased for do-it-yourself projects.

custom work by Artworks Spokane

From Left to Right: Plaster wall finish with Aspen Tree relief; Custom built wine rack buffet; Covered sun porch concrete overlay floor; Decorative Concrete overlay countertop

Artworks Spokane focuses on the Contracting side of a very creative business. “Transforming Ordinary Surfaces into Works of Art” is our tagline and it is what we pride ourselves on doing. Just about any surface that stands still long enough can be transformed into something beautiful! Walls, Floors, Countertops, Showers, Ceilings, Cabinetry, Furniture, Driveways, Patios and more, are just a few of the surfaces we specialize in transforming. We also hold classes in the studio. These classes range in skill level from beginner to the contractor seeking new certifications. The showroom has been finished with many of the techniques we offer and holds thousands of samples available by our highly qualified and trained team of artisans. We still sell Chalk Paint® and we carry many other sundries needed to get your job done, as well as the products to the classes we teach.

A few of our favorite things at the Coeur d'Alene store

CdA specializes in Chalk Paint®, hand painted furniture, pottery and glass, teas and florals.

Now, what is different about Coeur d’Alene? Artworks Coeur d’Alene is an extension of Artworks Spokane. This location is a boutique featuring hand painted furniture, home decor, and Chalk Paint®. Artworks Cd’A is a retail driven location. Both stores carry the tagline “transforming ordinary surfaces into works of art”. In our Coeur d’Alene store this is found in everything we have for purchase. The hand painted furniture has been transformed to breathe new life and begin a second phase. We only choose the highest quality pieces to invest time in. As for the home decor and gifts? Each item entering our store has gone through a rigorous examination as to whether it falls under the tagline’s standards. Hand crafted jewelry, unique candles, pottery and glass, dinnerware and teas are just a few of the beautiful, high quality items you will find in our one-of-a-kind home decor boutique.

I hope this helps you in understanding the difference between the two locations. While both carry Chalk Paint® and feature our custom work, Spokane is designed to focus on the custom contracting side, and Coeur d’Alene is designed to cater to the retail end. We love beautiful things. We are passionate about transforming ordinary surfaces into works of art. And we support those who do!

Please feel free to leave a comment and share our blog. We love our clients, customers, and friends!

How To: 5 Affordable Ways to Update Your Kitchen

It happens… eventually. We can’t help it. Most kitchens will need updating at some point or another. Just the mention of updating your kitchen can bring dollar signs to your mind and a rapid heartbeat to your chest. Unless “unlimited funds” is something you can claim, most of us find ourselves looking for an affordable way to keep our homes up-to-date.  Whether you are wanting to stay on top of the trends or get your home ready for resale, there are affordable ways to keep it current. Realtors say the two areas people look at first are kitchens and bathrooms. Sounds like the best place to start!

We want to share five affordable ways to update your kitchen, the hub of the home.

ONE: Refinish Your Cabinets

Oak cabinets with a Graphite blend

Oak cabinets with a facelift of a custom Graphite blend.

Repainting your cabinets may seem like a huge undertaking, but you save 1/2 – 2/3 what you would spend on replacing your cabinets! Older cabinets are also generally made with real wood and not pressed board. As long as your cabinets are in good shape, a facelift will often suffice for an update. Not to mention, painted cabinets are the “hot” trend right now. When Artworks does a custom kitchen finish we use only the highest quality paints for durability. These products are specifically designed for cabinets and furniture as opposed to general wall paint, therefore they are light-fast and non-fading.

The finishes available to you are almost limitless. Between color, technique, and cabinet style – no two jobs are alike! We have transformed golden oak cabinets to cherry with water based stains that do not require sanding. We have added texture to create dimension and detail, transforming ordinary, plain cabinets into unique pieces of art. We can transfer images (even your own photographs) onto the surface, then stain or glaze to truly customize your cabinet doors.  There are options that include metallic foils, paints, glazes, waxes, and plasters. From french country to ultra modern, there is a solution that is just right for you. Your cabinets can be the focal point to a perfectly stunning kitchen for a fraction of the cost of new cabinetry.

Our studio is full of cabinet and furniture finish samples. Let us help you figure out the product best suited for your desired finish.

Old White and Provence kitchen cabinets

These cabinets got some extra love! Old White covers the Golden Oak and Provence was used to embellish the detail of the doors. The PERFECT hardware was found and installed to complete the look. Although you can’t see it – the island was done in contrasting fashion. The base is Provence.

awesome glass hardware for updated cabinets

I told you! This hardware was practically MADE for these cabinets. Sometimes the perfect find seems almost custom!

TWO: Resurface Your Countertops

There are so many options for your countertop. You may find yourself overwhelmed with all the choices, lingo, and cost comparisons. Laminate, Granite, Tile, Silestone, Corian, Marble, Man-Made Composite countertops, Concrete – each one has it’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s purpose and attraction. We have done our research to guarantee we know the benefits and limitations of each one. Our specialty is with concrete overlays. We offer the following concrete options:

SkimStone™ – a hybridized Portland cement that is troweled directly onto your surface. This product is very thin and can go over old or new substrates when properly prepared.

SkimStone countertops

SkimStone Countertops: This product goes over tile, laminate, concrete, corian, new substrate, etc.

DesignerTops™ – highly engineered concrete overlays for incredible bonding to both existing and newly fabricated countertop and vanity surfaces.

Granicrete Countertops

DesignerTops countertops have options other overlays cannot provide – glass pieces, stone, mica flecks, etc. embedded into the surface.

Formed Concrete – Using concrete specifically designed for “poured in place” fabrication, these countertops are constructed on-site, making for a seamless countertop.

Poured in place concrete countertops

“Poured in place” concrete countertops offer a contemporary look with seamless installation.

In order to keep from writing a novel about the differences of each surface (including the surfaces you are more familiar with) I will compare just one aspect of each of these surface options: color/artistic freedoms – the ability to control/manipulate color.

Granite: No – color and grain can differ from sample, it is best to choose at the stone yard.

Ceramic Tile: Sort of – it comes in many colors and patterns. As for artistic pattern – many things can be embellished and customized. There is also the possibility of mosaic.

Solid Surfacing: Sort of – it also comes in many colors and styles, including those that mimic concrete and stone. Stone finishes can look more uniform than natural.

Laminate: Sort of – this also comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

Now for the products we specialize in:

SkimStone™: Yes – this product can mimic venetian plaster and stone looks, endless patterns, textures, stenciled or hand-painted designs – the possibilities are endless. With 90 standard color and shade options we can create custom colors by layering colors and tints.

DesignerTops™: Yes – the design possibilities are unlimited! Unlike Granite your color options are endless enabling you to customize your countertop to the surrounding room – not the other way around! You can also have more depth, texture, and movement with the addition of glass pieces, rocks, mineral flakes, etc. Achieve a very high end look without the cost!

Formed Concrete: Sort of – The artistic limitations with this are bound by forms, stamps and product base color. There is a white mix and a grey mix, both of which can be dyed or textured.

With a concrete overlay you can go right over your existing countertop, as long as your countertops are secure and not falling apart. Decorative Concrete Overlays are a very affordable solution to updating your counter. The options can look like concrete, granite, marble, stone, etc. The formed concrete countertops require more prep in removing the existing counter and building a form onsite. For more information on each of the products listed above, download our comparison sheet.

And as with the cabinet samples, we have hundreds of concrete countertop samples to view in our studio. We also pride ourselves on custom sample boards before we begin your job.

Don’t be overwhelmed or settle for what you think are your only options. We are happy to walk you through the design process and give you a countertop you’ll cherish (or be proud to put on the market).

THREE: Restore Your Floor

epoxy floor done by Artworks Spokane

Imagination is the only limitation when it comes to your kitchen floor.

Your floor is another surface that can make or break your room. There are limitless possibilities for restoring your floor: tile, hard wood, linoleum, laminate… we offer several options that are quite affordable AND unique: concrete overlays, acid finishing, marquetry staining, concrete polishing, epoxy coatings, and paint.

Concrete Overlays: These floors are seamless, custom, and quite contemporary. The product can go over radiant heat and many existing floors. We use two products when finishing a floor with concrete – SkimStone™ and Elitecrete™. The color and stenciling options for SkimStone™ are limitless. Elitecrete offers more texture and a different approach for coloring.

Concrete Overlay Floors by Artworks Spokane

Concrete overlays can be neutral or focal – they can cause the floor to “disappear” or POP.

Acid Finishing: This technique is done to an existing concrete floor or over a new concrete overlay. The concrete can be troweled with texture or smoothly to give you the look you are going for.

Acid Floors done by Artworks Spokane

Acid stained floors have subtle movement and are one of a kind.

Marquetry Staining: Marquetry: (n) Inlaid work made from small pieces of variously colored wood or other materials.

This technique is a great way to take a new or existing hard wood floor and make it a focal point. With stencils and wood stains this process can make your hard wood floor look as though it has marquetry patterns and embellishments at a fraction of the cost!

Marquetry staining done by Artworks Spokane

Marquetry can be done on wood and cork.

Concrete Polishing and/or Dye Stains: This is another option for existing concrete floors. Most people don’t realize when concrete is polished it brings out the beauty of the aggregate and the unique features in each pour. The finished product is honed and compacted to such a high degree it is virtually stain resistant and maintenance free. The look is modern and clean.

Polished concrete done by Artworks Spokane

Polished concrete has a beautiful sheen – adds the feel of quality. The color from the dye stains in this yogurt shop gives character and charm.

Epoxy Coatings: This technique is pictured in the beginning of the kitchen section (the checkerboard floor). Epoxy coatings are extremely durable, seamless, and have a myriad of design options! There are additives that can be added to the epoxy to give it shimmer and texture. Colors are swirled together or solid. Patterns can be implemented as well as designs, typically done underneath the layer of epoxy. The end result is a smooth glossy finish.

Collage of Epoxy Coating floors done by Artworks Spokane

Epoxy Coatings bring interest and depth.

Chalk Paint®: This option for flooring has gotten a bad rap. If done improperly it can be devastating to have it wear off so quickly however, when done correctly and with the proper sealers the result is fantastic and it doesn’t get much more affordable. If your floor is in good shape, you just want a change, you can paint a new design. Chalk Paint®, Annie Sloan’s paint adheres to most surfaces without priming or sanding! Imagine your favorite image as one large graphic on your kitchen floor, or a border with solid colors. This option opens endless possibilities.

Chalk Paint® floor cloth done by Artworks Spokane.

A floor painted with Chalk Paint®. Sealed with three coats of Lacquer for durability. This floor cloth has weathered three Home Shows.

FOUR: How to Select Quality Products and Training

“I’ll just run to Home Depot/Lowe’s/Ace and get myself some stuff to do this.” Avoid the temptation! The products we use are specifically designed for superb performance and quality finishing. Run to Artworks. We can educate you on the products. We also offer workshops to train you how to finish most all of these surfaces. With so many products available to you it is easy to become confused and overwhelmed. We often have customers that come to us after something has gone wrong – discoloration, delamination, failure to cure, undesirable end color or result. We listen intently and guide each one in a direction that will provide them the results they desire! Sometimes we are handed the job to correct, but often our clients love doing it themselves and simply need some direction and knowledge. If you are getting ready to start a project and want to make sure your techniques and products are best for the desired end result, feel free to stop in. One of our artisans will be happy to hear your game plan and make any suggestions as for product.

FIVE: Why use Artworks Spokane

Why should you hire Artworks to complete the job? There are so many reasons! Let me count the ways!

1) We are artists first, contractors second.

2) We love color and design.

3) We notice texture, fashion, trends, and color theory.

4) We pay attention to details, balance, and flow.

5) We think outside the box.

6) We love a challenge.

7) We thrive on transforming ordinary surfaces into works of art.

8) And finally, we crave this work. It is our passion and drive to make your vision a reality.

Most of us don’t want to take the time to invest in an update ourselves. And when we do tackle something of this nature we definitely don’t want to waste our time doing it over or repairing mistakes. The time it takes me to chop an onion is much greater than a trained chef (and it isn’t uniform – how do they do that so quickly AND keep all their fingers in tact, anyway?). The same goes for anything, really. When you are trained and practiced at your craft or passion, it comes quickly, efficiently, and with ease. Will it cost you more to have someone come and do the work for you (any work)? Probably, yes… most of the time, yes. Will you be thrilled with the end result? We guarantee it! We know what we’re doing and do it quickly, correctly, and beautifully.

What is your return on investment? Your time. Your peace of mind. Your satisfaction. We understand the chemistry of our products – what to mix and what to avoid mixing. When you hire Artworks Spokane you can be sure we will take the time to make your vision a reality. Leave it to the pros. You won’t be sorry.

Artworks Artisans

Artworks Team of Artisans will make your vision a reality.

A Design Story: Show Booth 2013

It’s time to reveal our Show Booth for 2013! This has been a fun process! We’ve recorded photos each day as our booth comes together and posted them to our facebook page but saved the debut “all-in-one” overview for our blog! Taking the surfaces from last year’s booth we have transformed them from an eclectic combination of rooms to a “Modern Vintage” unified “home”.

Here is what we started out with…

Kitchen and Patio from our 2012 booth

Bath and Foyer of our 2012 booth

We try to balance our booth design with what’s trending and what will impress our clients.  So this year we chose a Modern Vintage theme. Refurbishing old pieces and thrift store shopping has become very popular in this economy. We are also seeing a turn in the trends toward glitz, shine and luxurious surfaces and textiles (while this trend has been around awhile all over the rest of the country… we think Spokane is finally ready for it). So we combined the two! We’ve taken old pieces and given them new life with paint, accessories, and bling. We chose a modern color scheme of White/Pearl, Silver, Black/Graphite, Red, and Mustard.

We will begin with our patio…

show booth patio

The exterior wall remained the same. It was such a hit last year and the finish is perfect for the Northwest. The “patio” floor has been refinished in grey tones. There are four different textures. The island consists of vertical concrete carved to mimic stones and a poured concrete countertop. The outdoor fireplace also has vertical concrete carved stones as well as a stamped concrete “log” mantel. That baby is HEAVY!

And now on to the Master Bedroom (formerly the kitchen)…

show booth master bedroom

All the furniture in this space received some kind of new finish. The bed frame was painted black. The armoire was finished with a combination of foils, Chalk Paint®, and crackle size, and the silver shelf above the bed started out as a wooden box. Decorative molding was added to the outside edges to create the frame and the entire piece painted in metallic paint. The bedding consists of Annie Sloan decorator fabrics and various other textiles for variation and depth. The bench at the foot of the bed was a $10.00 yard sale find – with nasty mustard velour. Naturally we couldn’t have that! So, out came more of the Charcoal Pastorale Toile. We recovered that bad boy and used black buttons… painted the frame black and PRESTO – the perfect piece for our “bedroom”. The floor was finished with SkimStone Decorative concrete to mimic marble tiles and a decorative border was added to define the space.

show booth master walls

Our bedroom has a ceiling so we could display options for a surface most people don’t consider. We embellished it with a stencil design to enhance the chandelier – a $12.00 thrift store find, which was painted and gussied up with pearls and jewels. The walls are finished with Lusterstone, an acrylic plaster. There is a linen plaster finish in silver on two walls and black and red Lusterstone on the fireplace wall. The red Lusterstone around the fireplace also received a stencil design to mimic “flames” done with Silver gilding wax.

On to the Master Bath (formerly the bath and foyer)…

show booth master bath

To start we covered the existing floor with an epoxy reflector topcoat. The color was made with a combination of gunmetal and titanium. Then sparkles were added to bring in the bling! The bathroom features etched glass on the shower “door”, poured vertical concrete walls with an embedded finish to give the appearance of 1″ tiles. The “tiles” are actually grooves going different directions that catch the light and give the appearance of different sheens. So the two back walls of the shower are seamless poured concrete. The fittings for the AWESOME shower fixture were measured before the pour.

show booth master bath walls

The walls bring their own dimension to the room. The red wall is simply paint with flowers in silver leaf. The “pearl” wall at the end of the vanity is an acrylic plaster with metallic waxes for added depth. And finally, the black wall is the same finish as the master bedroom, black Lusterstone. The vanity was an old buffet that we painted with Chalk Paint® and then waxed using the silver gilding wax. And the top… OH PLEASE!! The top was just a plain ol’ buffet top made of wood… that wasn’t good enough for our vanity – so we used a decorative concrete overlay and made it look like Carrera marble.

And finally – this year we expanded our booth by 10′ x 20′ on the back side. This is to accommodate the popularity of Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan. Here is the kitchen…

show booth kitchen layout

This area is where we will be giving hands on demonstrations with Chalk Paint®. That AWESOME cerused oak table top (that my daughters thought looked like zebra) is where the demos will take place. All of our cabinets are the 80’s golden oak refinished with Chalk Paint! The countertop on the Arles cabinets is a SkimStone decorative concrete overlay in Industrial Gray as is the countertop on the Graphite and Arles cabinet island – that one in Butterscotch. The hardware was spray painted – some in silver and some in oiled bronze. Talk about TRANSFORMATION!!!

show booth kitchen cabinets

chalk paint floor

And how could I forget the floor?!!? This floor is a remnant piece of linoleum turned over and painted with Chalk Paint®. The border has stripes of all the colors and each color name is painted with it’s color… does that make sense? So much fun! It was sealed with Annie Sloan Lacquer and has held up in our retail space as well as our fall show in 2012.

What a JOB! We’ve been hustling around here for the past four weeks finishing this booth. I’m sure it will pay off. The finished product is spectacular. But don’t take our word for it… come see us at the show or before hand in our studio. This week is open house week and our booth won’t be set up in studio again this year! So don’t delay!! We want as many people to see this as possible! Come get a sneak peek!!