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.


Custom Fun: A mish mash of stuff…

OK – ya know what? We’re just like most of you. Sometimes we forget to take “Before” pictures… or we forget to send them to me – the blogger/graphic designer. But, it’s ok. Today, I’m going to show you a mish mash of stuff we’ve been up to. All of these projects have been completed by our muralist and faux finisher, Peggy Best. She’s awesome! Take a look at what she’s been up to the past three weeks.

Remember the restoration project we blogged about a few weeks ago (the one with all the smoke damage and Peggy on the high, high, high scaffold)? This is a photo of one of the bathroom vanities she glazed. Isn’t the architecture GORGEOUS?!

Custom bathroom vanitiesThis mural was done in one of the bedrooms in an adult group home.

mural of flowers in bedroomThis client wanted a faux niche above this fine furniture. I love how the bricks fade out… she’s talented I tell you!

faux niche That same client wanted Peggy to transform this beautiful armoire. Love the unexpected color inside.

chalk paint® armoireHere we had a painted fire place surround. The clients wanted it a bit softer. She glazed each brick – looks totally natural!

colored rock fireplaceThis is a custom painting. The “before” of this picture can be seen in any art store that carries blank canvases. 😉

custom paintingAnd this is what it looks like above her mantle! AMAZING!

custom painting installedAnd finally, she helped these homeowners make their surround “blemish free”… can you find the speakers?

hidden speakersHow’s that for a mish mash?

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.

Custom Fun: Historic Restoration

Our Peggy has been working out of the studio for what seems like EVER! She’s been deep in a project restoring an historic home. Take a look at this beauty built in the early 1900’s.

exterior of the home

This home has three stories AND a basement. It consists of four bedrooms, maids quarters (complete with separate stairway for “the help”), a sitting room off of the master bedroom, and a ballroom. There is a grand entrance, circular dining room, and breakfast room. These people knew what they were doing when they built this beautiful home so long ago.

So, what brings Artworks to such a lovely home as this? Fire. They experienced a very slow burning electrical fire that mainly caused lots of smoke damage. In fact the fire was such a low smolder no water was needed to extinguish it – however IT WAS HOT! The paint was melting off the walls and the combination of that and smoke damage caused the wall to look like a sepia toned mural of the mountains. The homeowners are so fortunate to have caught it in time. A home like this is a true treasure!

To restore it to it’s original glory Peggy has been working with Marcea Seimears, the lead designer. There are notebooks dedicated to each floor categorized by room. Peggy has been working on the main entry (over 14,000 square feet of walls), all the doors (20), all the woodwork, and the stair risers. She is also glazing in the dining room.

peggy up high

Comfortable with heights… good thing!

the finished stairway

The finished stairway.

doors galore

Over 20 doors coming off the entry way.

radiator cover

Customized radiator coverings with decorative relief.

Peggy is also glazing the circular dining room. These walls get a bit of a different finish – a strie in the light antiqued glaze.

circular dining room

The columns have decorative relief embellishments.

Once all of this is finished she will move on to a mural in the entry powder room as well as glazing the cabinetry for most of the bathrooms.

We’ll keep you posted as this project ensues.

Custom Fun: Cabinet Updates

Cabinets… the most popular interior custom job we have right now. Currently we have five on the leader board and more in the works!

Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint is allowing people to see the cost advantage to updating your existing cabinets rather than tearing them out and replacing with new. In most cases our clients spend a quarter of what it would cost to start over! That’s significant in this economy. It is good stewardship, green, and opens limitless possibilities for design and color options.

We thought it would be fun to share some before and after photos of our kitchen projects.

paris grey - old white combo kitchen

These cabinets received a custom color – a combination of Paris Grey and Old White. They also have clear wax followed by dark wax for that subtle antique effect.

kitchen upgrade - painted cabinets, new concrete countertops, updated hardware

You can see the awesome transformation in this kitchen. A pass through was created. The island has a new poured and polished concrete countertop. The cabinets got crown molding and a coat of Old White. Updated hardware gives the modern feel the homeowners were after. We also did a concrete overlay on the outlying countertops with a coordinating concrete overlay back splash.

detail of Old White kitchen

A close up of the Old White cabinets, hardware upgrade, concrete countertop (overlay), and back splash.

new red cabinets

Yep… She went RED!! A total update with Emperor’s Silk and minimal distressing. The hardware simply received a coat of paint.

close up of red cabinets

A close up of the red cabinets.

Oak cabinets with a Graphite blend

Another set of Oak cabinets with a facelift of a custom Graphite blend.

Graphite blend cabinets

Close up detail of the custom Graphite blend – with light distressing.

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 the 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!

Here’s a “peek” at some of the upcoming kitchens we have in the works:

  • Burgundy base cabinets with Grey uppers
  • Black door and drawer fronts with a combination French Linen and Pure White base
  • Custom Green base with Color Wash uppers

Some fun stuff coming up! We’ll be sure to feature our future kitchens as well! Until then… what could you do in your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room?

A Design Story: Dewald Farms

Sometimes our custom jobs take much, much longer to realize completion than we ever intended. Such is the case with the Dewald Farms foyer embellishment.

Rob and Susan Dewald came to us through their designer, Marcea Seimears, in August of 2011. Building a new farm home on their existing site, they wanted to embellish and personalize the foyer to represent the legacy of farming the Dewald family name has provided. Owning and farming the 1,000’s of acres since 1889 is something to be proud of for sure! With brand new construction the opportunity was perfect!

The design process began with determining what product would be best for the area. Being a farm house there will be heavy duty boots, high traffic, possible dogs, and lots of cleaning. The surrounding area would be slate tiles so we needed to be able to color match the product. Also to consider, the floor would have radiant heat throughout. Simultaneously we began computer line art concepts.

Dewald Farms design

The final design – options that preceded this included different wheat bundles, fonts, tile size, etc.

It was decided cement would be the best option for the area and desired outcome. Since our concrete would need to cure and be protected for at least a week after finishing we recommended being the last ones in before the home is finished – or as close to that as possible.

The tile layer did a fabulous job laying the slate tiles all around our 5 ft medallion area. The circle he left for us to work in was absolutely perfect! Upon arriving, this week – almost 2 years later, we sealed the under layer of concrete with a hydro-barrier membrane, taped and protected the slate tile surrounding the circle, and poured 2 thick layers of concrete to build up the depth on Day 1.

filling the 5ft circle

Beginning bright and early on Day 2 we put one last layer of concrete over the entire surface. Once dry we applied our one-time-use stencil made to size from our computer rendering of the design.

applying the stencil

This concrete dries within hours of troweling.

We then applied our final layer of concrete in two steps. The first was the center circle, which would have hand carved wheat stalks in the center.

filling the center circle with concrete

Being careful not to push the concrete past the “grout line” so as to avoid uneven application.

With a blown up print of the Dewalds’ favorite sheath of wheat we waited moments until the concrete was set up enough to make an impression of the wheat and not flow back together.

wheat impression

Talk about a one time use “stencil”

Once the tracing was complete we removed the paper and went back over the shape, embellishing areas that should be shaded and given more detail, as well as making it deeper.

embellishing the tracing

carve, brush, carve, blow, carve, brush, scrape, blow… repeat until finished.

Before applying the outside layer of concrete we colored the wheat. Then pulled the areas of the stencil that needed “weeding” and began troweling our final layer… it’s probably 4:00pm at this point… LONG day!

our stencil prior to the second layer

Phase two for the top layer of concrete – after “weeding” the stencil.

final pour with push pin markers for each element of the design

We used push pins to mark the beginning of each letter – so we weren’t digging holes in the fresh concrete searching for a letter.

Not long after this final trowel we began pulling the stencil for the inside circle and the outer border of tiles. This left the circle with the words “Dewald Farms Est 1889” as an island unto itself for coloring. We colored this portion a darker grey and then pulled the letters. Once those were pulled we filled in the words with a rust color to accent the rust in the surrounding slate tiles.

the finished product

The final product. A beautiful accent to a gorgeous foyer in a new farm house.

It was a joy to pull tape and seal that medallion around 8:00pm. We loaded up the car and headed back to Spokane.

Seeing a project from beginning to end is very fulfilling. We wish the Dewald’s a happy house warming and a bountiful harvest this year!

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!!

A Design Story: Basement Overhaul

When Tom and Peggy Best decided it was time to upgrade their basement they knew they  needed a direction. Both thought they wanted the typical “Northwest Woods” theme: bears, moose, pine trees… that cabin feel. But they also wanted the basement to be more light and open – lighter colors, not so heavy (as basements tend to be with their lack of natural light). Peggy finally found her inspiration!

shelf inspiration

This whicker shelving unit, previously used for display at Macy’s, is one of Peggy’s favorite pieces. It has the tropical/garden feel both she and Tom enjoy. And just like that we have a theme… tropical. Because this is a basement it can tend to be cold and dreary most of the year. A tropical look would camouflage this tendency because it has both warm and vibrant colors.

Here’s what they started with…

Before - basement undone

lots of exposed “goodies” – washer/dryer, furnace, water heater… and no access to the beautiful backyard.

First they enlarged the window and added french doors for access to the backyard.

French doors

French doors and a larger window allow more natural light.

Because this wall was now looking out to the lower patio, Peggy gave it the same feel as an old garden wall. She used Aqua Stone and washed it with greens and browns to give it the aged feel she was going for.

To cover the “goodies” shown in the first photo, Peggy and Tom had the utilities reconfigured and installed french doors. Because Peggy is a muralist she saw an empty canvas! She painted a tropical garden mural on the french doors and a smaller faux niche on masonite board to cover the electrical panel. Plants, flowers, and birds seen in her own backyard were incorporated into the mural.

french door murals

Our talented muralist matched the floor color to give the mural more depth and dimension.

monkey planter

Monkeys are seen throughout the space in subtle ways, here in this mural covering the electrical panel and in the fabric covering the cushions on the whicker furniture.

The floor had it’s own dilemma. The ceiling is low (7′-6″) and the floor was uneven due to a wall they had removed. To keep things affordable, durable, and easy to clean, Peggy went with SkimStone decorative concrete overlay. It was going to be easy and fast (Peggy could do it herself). They were going to have an area rug – so the coldness of the cement wasn’t a concern, and she could choose a color that would appear warmer and brighter. She chose a combination of morocco sand and butterscotch. The result fits beautifully in their theme.

Moving on to the ceiling – Since they were already concerned with the height of the ceiling Peggy thought it would be a good idea to give it some faux height. She painted it a soft blue/grey and added some wispy clouds for dimension. They wanted to give the illusion of an outdoor cabana and thought bamboo beams would be the perfect touch. After pricing real bamboo it was apparent that was going to be an expensive addition. Being the creative problem solvers they are, they found plastic tubing used for exterior plumbing and cut them in half vertically. After adhering them to the ceiling Peggy painted them to look like bamboo.

sky and bamboo beams

Faux bamboo ceiling beams complete the look.

To cover a steel support beam and furnace ductwork Peggy’s muralist techniques came to the rescue. In the photo above it looks like they have a whicker beam – nope! It’s faux finished drywall to look like whicker!! So talented I tell you!!

red plaster

The whicker furniture doubles as outdoor furniture during the summer on the lower patio.

For a pop of color, Tom really likes red and wanted it somewhere in the room. Peggy used a venetian plaster with metallic waxes to antique it a bit. The brick was multi-colored red and black brick. For ease they painted it a neutral color. Everything was trimmed in white, which Peggy believes make spaces look bigger. Top it off with some tropical decor, just a little here and there, and you have a warm tropical retreat – no matter the time of year.