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Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes
504 East St. Charles Rd,
Carol Stream, IL 60188
Toll Free: 800-797-4305
Phone: 630-653-2400
FAX: 630-653-4671
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Paint IT! or Stain IT! refinishing furniture, you can paint it or stain it.
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Faux By Kathy provides cutting edge ideas and techniques

Kathy is many things to the artisans she works with. She is a mentor, a go-to-person, and a friend. Her studio and online store carries a vast supply of high quality products along with the invaluable knowledge she brings to the table.

Kathy provides cutting edge ideas and techniques. She instructs highly sellable boards that are accomplished in an astonishingly small amount of layers to maximize profit margins. When a new product comes in she plays with it until she knows the ins and outs. That way she can properly instruct or answer any question that may come her way when an artisan is in her studio or on the job. When she sees a need that is out there, but may not be on the market, she does what she can to see that need met.

Kathy introduced glass beads to the industry; here is what she has to say:

I want to thank & express my gratitude to the help that Kathy Carroll has given me, on a small project that I was having some difficulty with. Kathy Carroll overnited the samples for me they were here by 9.30 this morning, she has called me twice, to explain in great detail on how to use the products. Thank you Kathy, for your extraordinary service , help and

by Rima Bechara

“Golden had this product called Glass Bead Gel on the artist side. I had no idea how I got my hands on it. I found it back in my private stash and started playing with it.

“I called Laurie Wilson at Golden and said look at all the things I’m doing with this product. She said I had set Golden on a whole new path with glass beads. They began carrying extra rough, rough, and gel. The Glass Bead Gel is under the Golden Artists line while the other two are under the Proceed line.“

“For five years I’ve tried to do a solid glass bead finish and I never could accomplish it. It did not work out the way I wanted. Last November is when it finally gelled. I was able to put it all together to do a solid glass bead wall. Now I have my own mixture called Bella Specialty Beads.“

“My next hurdle was adding glitter to the Bella Specialty Beads. It took five years to create and it’s a spectacular finish!”

Creating in her studio to provide product, instruction, and knowledge transfer is just part of what Kathy does. She is always moving forward, seeing what else is out there, and what else she can offer her fellow artisans.

What is the purpose of your travels and how do they benefit your business?

“My mantra has been if you don’t invest in yourself who is going to invest in you? I have to follow that. Every year, as much as I can, I invest in going places. I learn techniques and products so I can continue to be one of the leaders in this industry. That way I can help the artisans in this community be leaders as well.”

Everything she does is for the community of artisans. When leads for new jobs come in she passes those on to who would be a good fit. Kathy’s studio at Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes is looked at as an extension of each artisan’s business, where they feel comfortable bringing their clients and designers.

Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes offers classes that teach interior and exterior, from floor to ceiling. Classes vary from group, semi-private, to private. They are highly focuses to gear up and get inspired. It’s a great opportunity to network with fellow artisans, increase your profit margin with high quality sellable samples, and learn new techniques or products.

In addition to classes, Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes carries a sought after spray booth that can be rented with or without the gun. Perfect to complete kitchens. Custom tinting is another service offered.

When asked about custom tinting, Kathy said:

“Kathy is friendly and goes out of her way to be helpful. She’s very creative. She’s innovative in her combination of products, textures, and options in the industry. Kathy’s finishes are among the most saleable finishes in my portfolio. I sold one of her finishes within two days of finishing her class. The sample board went straight from her class to the client. They said, ‘yes, we love it,’ and that right there paid for the class.”

-- Heidi Cinker

“We started about seven years ago and this segment of our business has grown tremendously. We match as close as possible to the color, whether in plasters, stains, or glazes to a custom color at a minimal cost. There are some places that charge as much as $50 to match a color. We charge $17.50..”

“We only charge that if a color has not been made before in that medium. Our file for custom tint has become so large. On a weekly basis we average fifteen custom tints..”

“We do this to help the artisan so they don’t have to spend the time to make their color. We make it and ship it to them. That way they can go straight to the job. If they have made a color and want us to match it, just send us something that represents the color. We also break paint down to sample size.”

When asked about the shipping, here is what Kathy said:

"We have a calculated dollar amount of freight that’s charged and posted on the website. It is not by weight. When you ship it is by weight. If someone buys something and it’s higher in dollar

Collen Drew of Colleen Drew or Drew Art Inc. “I’ve gone to IDAL and I take classes with Kathy Carroll. I took a class, “You Got Waxed,” about five or six years ago. I then went back and took the Professional Update class as I found I used wax a lot. Kathy is a great resource. She has so much knowledge about different products and how they work together if you want to achieve a certain look and what works the fastest. You are not shooting in the dark, on your own.”

-- Collen Drew of Colleen Drew or Drew Art Inc.

value, like $300, and it only weighs four or five pounds, we will always charge the lower amount in shipping. If the shipping exceeds the amount on the chart we do not go back and ask for more money. Either way, the artisan comes out on top.”

"When an order is placed, we strive to ship it out that same business day. We let them know instantly if we are short on something. Our goal is to keep them on schedule, not hold them up.”

Her products are well stocked and continue to grow. She carries a larger supply of Modern Masters than the local suppliers. DesignCrete will now be offered by Kathy’s store. She says, “It is a new product we are taking on. It has finally provided us with the missing link to the epoxy finishes: Final Coat.”

Faux by Kathy is an excellent resource for products, tips, upcoming classes, and a platform for artisans. Each month an artisan is featured as the Artisan of the Month. The article highlights their career with picture that showcases their exceptional work. She also features the Preferred Artisan. Both give Google a path to find.

Whether you live out of state or local, access to Kathy is wonderful. For those that live out of state, she is accessible through her 800 number provided on her website, Faux by Kathy. Many find her through the Internet and come across her vast Internet store and gallery. Not only does she span her local area with her knowledge and willingness to help those who reach out to her, but those out of state as well.

When asked about her accessibility, here is what she had to say:

Melissa Loutos Decorative Artisan of Bella Muri Decorative Finishes“Kathy has been great to me, at a time when I needed some inspiration the most, she brought me in and helped me freshen up my portfolio. With the finishes she showed me, I immediately landed two jobs and was back in action.”

-- Melissa Loutos of Bella Muri Decorative Finishes

“When we close the studio at 4pm that does not mean that these people are unable to get a hold of me. I transfer the office phone to my cell phone in case there are any questions late in the evening, early in the morning, or over the weekend. I am nonstop 24/7 on call.”

With Kathy, her artisans are first and foremost. She goes above and beyond in terms of providing time, knowledge, and exceptional products. Browse her Internet store, call and ask about a semi-private or private class, or order product today.

Faux by Kathy Quick Inspirtations, Quick creative, and simple finishes to improve Decorative Arts portfolio
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Quick Inspirations

Quick Inspirations

January Sample Pack
Keep your portfolio up to date with high quality boards sent right to your door each month!  Each Quick Inspirations sample pack includes a 9 x 10 sample with a recipe for the finish as well as three 3 x 3 color waves.  What an amazing addition to your portfolio without the demands on your time!

Try our sample pack for only $27.50.  For the most cost effective savings order a 12 month supply at only $260 and receive a new Quick Inspirations sample pack delivered to your door each month.  Call now, we look forward to hearing from you!

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Would You Like to Be Artisan of the Month?Faux By Kathy Decorative Artisan of the Month

Have you ever wanted to be featured as an Artisan of the Month on our website?  Now’s your chance!  All you have to do to be considered is contact our office.  If you are selected, you will need to be available for a 30 to 45 minute phone interview and provide us with at least 10 pictures of your work, and a picture of yourself to be featured with your article. 

The increased visibility alone is worth it!  What have you got to lose?  Contact us today!

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