The Zillow website has been a go-to site for people looking to buy a home or for those who are just curious about what their home might be worth. Their “zestimates” supposedly use complex formulas to tell the value of your home. From what I’ve seen they have such a big “fudge factor” they’re practically useless.
Now Zillow is getting into the home improvement market. They have a new section called “Diggs” what will let you look at remodeling projects and see “estimates” of what they cost.
They supposedly have a complex formula to adjust for local price differences. When I checked it out the location said “Kansas”. Now Kansas isn’t one of the biggest states, but I think prices are higher in Kansas City than they are in Goodland. One other thing I noticed is that if you filter by “budget” projects the labor cost is lower. I’m wondering if that means you’re going to use someone less skilled than for the “upscale” projects. The labor shouldn’t vary much between two project of similar size. “Economy” grade materials still take the same work on install as the “luxury” materials.
They’ve also created a “Pintrest-esque” feature where you can save pictures of projects you like to show your designer or contractor.
If you’re looking at Zillow “Diggs” before you do a project in the Kansas City metro, realize these prices are ESTIMATES. And if you’re wanting a change in your kitchen give us a call. Our cabinet restyling might be a cost effective way to give you a new look. Refinishing cabinets can also be done as part of rearranging your kitchen. We’re doing a lot of “new meets old” projects where some of the cabinets are new and we make everything match in the end.
We traveled a short drive from Kansas City to Leavenworth to help our clients by refinishing cabinets on their kitchen island that was showing signs of wear. They had ask their builder to do a distressed and glazed finish on the cabinets of their kitchen island. The builder had the painters spray the trim paint–an off-white color–and then gave the homeowners some sandpaper and said they could distress it however they wanted. When they finished the painters sprayed a clear gloss over it all.
After living with these cabinets for a few years they felt there was something not quite the way they had hoped for. They called us to see what we could do. Brenda looked at the distressing and pointed out that the areas that were sanded through were places that wouldn’t wear naturally. Usually old pieces of furniture show wear on the edges, not in the middle of the panel. When we work on refinishing cabinets we are careful to distress places that will look like natural wear. Brenda suggested one option we could take is that we distress more of the cabinets and then glaze them to push back some of the starkness of the white.
As we looked more closely at the places the existing finish had broken down we told them the way we work when refinishing cabinets is to start over with new primer and base coats. They agreed and they decided to go for a cleaner look and we decided to paint them and glaze them without any distress. Here is a picture of the before and after.
“Distressing” by builder doesn’t look natural
We painted and glazed the island.
Part of our decision to start fresh is that the existing finish was an oil-based paint and clear coat. It had yellowed considerably in the five or so years and we knew it would continue to yellow as time went by. We prepped it and primed it with white shellac before using water based acrylic paint and glaze. Our topcoat is a water based poly floor finish. It works great when we’re refinishing cabinets and has proven to be ultra-durable.
We spent a lot of time on the road driving from Kansas City to Bethany, MO for a series of faux finish projects. Our clients bought a piece of land that had an abandoned house on it. Rather than tear it down, they decided to restore it to reflect the period in which it was build, but with modern functionality. When they finished it is now listed on the Missouri historical register. They also rebuilt the barn which had burned down.
A view of the house and barn.
Because the house was filled with small rooms, as was the style back then, they decided to take part of the barn and make it look like an old west saloon. This would provide a space big enough to have family and friends gather and socialize. We were initially called on to make the tin ceiling and walls look old.
Aging the tin ceiling
Plastering the walls
Our clients asked us if we could age and distress the new cedar beams and trim.
Then they asked if we could do a faux finish on the floor.
Brenda working on faux floor tiles.
Faux floor tiles
Here is how it all came together.
Finished ceiling and beams with mounted animal heads.
This island and hutch were the same color as the rest of the kitchen cabinets. We made them stand out by painting them black and distressing them. We finished them off with a top coat of wax. Our clients were very pleased with the result.
Kansas City has fared better in this down economy than other places. But that doesn’t mean we’re unaffected by what happens nationally. The downturn in the economy has affected us all. A lot of faux finish artists have gone out of business. And companies that sold us products have gone by the wayside.
So one of our challenges as faux finish artists is to stay on top of all the changes in our industry. Some of the products we used to love and use regularly are no longer available. And our most recent challenge is in the paint we buy. “Paint & primer” in one is the new marketing strategy some paint companies are using. I think it is a ploy to hide the fact that they’ve changed the formula and the paint doesn’t work like it used to.
Now if you are just painting walls, the new paint will cover and give you the color you want. But for us as faux finish artists, the paint is just the first step. It’s the canvas we use to work on. And when the paint companies reformulate we know it immediately. So the brand we’ve used for years and used to swear by is now causing us to have to modify our techniques and add other products to make it work like it used to.
One of the problems paint companies are facing is the rising price of titanium dioxide: the stuff that makes the paint color cover what’s underneath. Here is a chart showing the price of titanium dioxide over the last few years.
As a result of the increase in price, companies are switching to white clay. Clay is absorbent. So when we put glaze on top of it, it acts like a sponge and sucks it into the paint.
The first time this happened to us we were able to adapt–that’s what artists do–and still get the look we were after. But in order to achieve the end results, we had to work a whole lot harder.
So we are on the hunt for a paint that will allow us to give us the results we’re after without a frantic scramble to “fix” the paint that doesn’t work like it used to.
We’ve heard rumors the Behr may go back to the original formula because they’ve had complaints. They will probably do what Coca Cola did and keep the new and roll out “classic”.
No matter what, we’ll keep adapting and searching for the highest quality products to give our clients great results.
Written on November 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm, by Eric Deeter
I realized that I neglected to show the plastering and glazing we did at the end of Phase 1 of our private saloon project in Bethany, MO.
We painted the drywall a dark brown. Then Brenda plastered over it with a texture product called “Sandstone”. She left some holes in the coverage to let the dark brown base peek through. Then she glazed the plaster to “age” it. Here is a video of her glazing the biggest wall. This work is demanding because once she starts a wall she can’t stop until she gets to the other corner.
Again we made the trek from Kansas City to Bethany to do Phase 2 of our faux finish on the private saloon. The new cedar beams were impressive because of their size, but they looked new–because they were. Our task was to age and distress them. Brenda had several ideas, including using vinegar that had steel wool dissolved in it. In the end we used regular faux finish techniques–tools to distress the wood and glazes to age it.
The other part of this phase was to work on the “outhouse” floor. In the other corner of the barn, opposite the saloon, is the bathroom. It’s designed to resemble an old stone outhouse. The wash basin will be an old wash tub on a stand. I haven’t seen what the toilet will be, but I’m going to guess that it will look old as well. Our clients wanted something different than plain concrete. Brenda used an overlay technique to make it look like limestone.
I think the clients like it because they’ve decided on us doing the same treatment on the main floor of the saloon. We will be going back for Phase 3 & 4 before this project is finished.
A designer called us in to help with a project in Bethany, MO–about an hour & a half north of Kansas City. Our clients rebuilt a large barn that had burned down. The rebuilt it the same size, but added modern upgrades such as a heated concrete floor.
In one corner of the barn they are dedicating a 24′ x 30′ room to be their own private saloon. They found a bar from an old saloon in Wyoming and are designing their space using it as the inspiration.
Our part in the process is to take the new tin ceiling
and make it look rusted.
Our client told us that the tin ceiling is not a reproduction. The company is located in Missouri and has never gone out of business. They are still manufacturing the same ceilings they did a century ago.
We had to spray the tin with a clear sealer. The manufacturer says that the metal has to be coated with either a clear sealer or primed and painted–to keep it from rusting. We did think it kind of ironic that our first step was to keep it from rusting before we did a faux rust finish. We used clear shellac for our sealer. It’s less of a hassle for cleanup and we knew it would yellow less than an oil-base sealer.
The clients love the results. Here’s a short video of the work so far.
We are going to plaster the walls and perhaps distress some mirrors for this project. More updates to come.
Last week Brenda created several samples of back splash faux finishes for our client in Overland Park. She worked hard to strike a balance that will be bold enough to give a “pop” without being too much.
We did a faux finish on the cabinets for our client last spring. We painted and glazed over the worn out pickled white finish. On the inside of the built-in hutch we did an accent color with a bronze paint. As we did the cabinets, Brenda mentioned to them that we could do a faux finish on their back splash.
Their counter tops were covered with a granite overlay, and the tile back splash ran down behind the granite overlay. Removal would have been difficult and tricky to do without causing damage to the granite overlay. Our faux finish treatment was a good option for them.
Brenda primed the tile & taped off the grout lines. The faux finish included accent tiles in the same color as she used in the inside of the hutch.
The result of the final faux finish is a great change from the stark white tile that was there before. Our clients love the look.
Written on December 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm, by Eric Deeter