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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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What is a Semi-Private Class?

Faux By Kathy Semi-Private class samples and color chartHave you ever wondered what artisan’s are saying about Kathy Carroll’s Semi-Private Class? Well wonder no further, all is revealed right here along with detailed information from Kathy herself.

Before the artisans arrive for the first day of class, planning begins. Kathy explains, “The class and those who are in it are all hand picked to ensure they are qualified. The Semi-Private Class gives you maximum one-on-one instruction with exactly what you need for your portfolio.” Throughout the class Kathy instills and emphasizes the importance of being excited and inspired. “In this class we will not be spending time taking notes like in a class room. In this class there were five states represented. It is customized to your state, your environment and what you can sell. You will leave this class with professional connections you can rely on.”

Semi-Private Decorative Finish Class held at the Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes Students create 6 decorative finish sample boards to add to their decorative portfolios

Artisans are contacted to see what they wish to accomplish. “When the class is booked, we go through and determine what they want to learn and what holes they find in their portfolio. At that point usually more samples are picked than can be produced in time, so we vote as a group which ones we will do,” Kathy says.

In an interview, several artisans from the class commented on their opinion of Kathy’s Semi-Private Class:

Decorative Artisan Ruth Giovannetti of Giovanetti Decorative Finishes Lubbock, Texas

Colleen Drew of Drew Art in Milwaukee, Wisconsin had this to say, “I loved it. It was a great experience to learn about new products that I didn’t know existed and layers that I didn’t know could happen. We only had six people, it was fast paced and there was not a lot of waiting around. There was a ton of samples with several steps. I liked that.”


Decorative Artisan Ronda Elesh Venece Garden Design Lake Forest IllinoisRonda Elesh, located in Lake Forest, Illinois said, “Don’t take this class if you don’t want to work hard and learn more information than you can cram into your brain in three days. Don’t take this class if you can’t handle a fast pace and lots of good discussion between other professionals in the field. Kathy does her best to include as much information regarding new products and new techniques as she can into the class. This makes the class very exciting, busy and tiring! You will walk away from this class starting to use new tools and techniques that you thought you would never use or weren’t interested in. Kathy has a way of showing you how these things can help you make your job easier and create fabulous results. You will walk out of the class with enough recipes and sample boards to keep you busy for at least a month. This was my third class with Kathy and each time I walked away invigorated, excited and with a renewed sense of wonder about how to use all the various products and tools. Kathy really does give you your money’s worth.” Ronda can be reached at 847.209.6123.

Semi-Private Decorative Finish Class held at the Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes Students create 6 decorative finish sample boards to add to their decorative portfolios

Kasey Snodgrass of Murals, Etc., located in Lubbock, Texas, said, “It was very good and lots of fun. We got a lot done in a short amount of time. She was professional with us, answered any question you could imagine and we ended up with great samples.”

Decorative Artisan Melissa Loutos Bella Muri Decorative Finishes Barrington, IllinoisMelissa Loutos of Bella Muri Decorative Finishes located in Barrington, Illinois, said, “I was really happy with it. I had previously taken one other class of Kathy’s through IDAL. She moves very quickly and gets a lot done in a short amount of time. In this class, I felt like I learned a lot more. There were different finishes and products. We touched on cabinets, old-world finishes and the business end as well. I got the most out of this class.”

Ruth Giovannetti of Giovannetti Decorative Finishes, said, “It was very good. Kasey Snodgrass and I had taken a class of Kathy’s before and she has always been so very helpful. She tailored it to some of our needs and wishes. It seemed so special. It was a fast class. We wanted to have as many boards as we could do and we accomplished that.” Ruth Giovannetti or Giovannetti Decorative Finishes can be reached at 806.789.1537.

Decorative Artisan Kasey Snodgrass Lubbock, TexasKathy has a vast amount of products that she stocks and has readily available for her artisans. Her knowledge is just as impressive and she generously shares it. When a new product comes in she spends an insurmountable amount of time in her studio playing with and testing it so that she is able to work with it in a classroom setting as well as sell it to the best of her ability. In this particular class Kathy lists the products that were used, “We used Golden Proceed, Modern Masters, Blue Pearl, Smooth Rock, MIXOL, Liberon Wax, Gilt Cream, foils, Stencils from Bellissimo and Wallovers, Dimensions Plasters, Crystal Brush from Meoded.” As seen, the ability to come up with some exciting combinations were clearly at hand. Kathy created some unique boards specifically for the class. “In preparation, I spent many days developing new looks and ways to develop the materials to show interior designers and clients. The cork was one and the Crystal Brush was another.” For the class, Kathy focused on three layers. “I try to give them the best look with the least amount of layers for profitability,” Kathy explained.

When asked what their impression was of the products and sample boards, here are a few of the responses:

Decorative Artisan Colleen Drew Drew Art Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53207Kasey Snodgrass said, “The products I really enjoyed were Smooth Rock ST500, Crystal Brush, Paint IT! by FBK and Stain IT! by FBK as well as the new cork that we have not done before. I love Kathy. I’m always encouraged to buy from her. She’s so helpful.”

Ronda Elesh commented on the sample boards, “I think Kathy’s ability to teach advanced techniques allows you to create a look or effect in three steps rather than in ten. As a professional it saves time and you still have the ability to achieve a look in appearance to ten steps.”

Colleen Drew responded to profitability, “It’s nice to know what to expect in between each layer. Three layers is less labor and less product than seven or eight. It’s more bang for your buck.”

Ruth Giovannetti commented on the sample boards, “There are some of the trainers that do five and six passes and then you are not making any money. If you are in a place that is conservative and they just want the final product and you can get there in two or three steps rather than six… We came away with beautiful boards. I liked it better. Kathy finds different products and she test them. She introduces you to a lot more than other instructors will do.”

Focusing on bringing new inspiration to their portfolios, Kathy also includes a round table discussion in hopes of generating ideas to gain new clients and jump start business. The focus is on business, questions and concerns. It is meant to generate new ideas between peers.

Here is what was said:

Decorative Artisan Darrell Mendiola Watermark Painting Tonkawa, Oklahoma 74653Kasey Snodgrass said this about the round table discussion, “We talked about keeping your business going, getting new ideas and generating new clients.”

Melissa Loutos said, “It’s good to hear about what other people do and different ways they approach things. Sometimes we get insecure about asking a question or maybe we are the only ones doing something a certain way. It helps to hear what’s going on.”

The Semi-Private Class is an incredible way to add new designs, inspiration and life to your portfolio that may result in imminent sales. Introduction or re-introduction to fabulous products will take place and exciting designs and recipes will be explored. Professional relationships will be gained that could very well prove to be invaluable. The Semi-Private Class is more than just a class; it’s an investment in your business.

Stain IT! by FBK is Now Available

Before & After
Stain It!  Kitchen Cabinet Doors restained by using simple staining process by FBK Stain It!

Imagination is the only limitation with Stain IT! by FBK. This product has a wide range of versatility as it can be used on any surface. It can be tinted to any color or metallic of your choice. Only one or two coats are needed and if a longer drying time is desired, glaze may be added. Simply apply with a brush, roller, rag or a trowel. Stain IT! by FBK is an alternative to Faux Effects® and Aqua Finishing Solutions Stain & Seal™. It is sold in 16 ounces, quarts and gallons. Call today and place your order. We look forward to hearing from you.

> Click here to purchase Stain It!

Introducing Kathy’s Pin It Page

Stepping into the visual world of Kathy’s Pin It Page valuable tools will be laid open in graphic splendor. “We are going to offer step-by-step instructions so that you will be able to update your portfolio in your studio and hopefully inspire you to use and do different things with different products,” Kathy says. With easy instructions, recipes and clear visuals, each Pin It Page can be added to your own personal repertoire for future reference. To start it off, Kathy will begin with the Finish of the Month. Enjoy the many benefits of Kathy’s Pin It Page!

FBK Pinterest Page  Step-by-step decorative arts and finishes techniques

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

Quick Inspirations

Septembers 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!

Click Here to purchase Quick Inspirations >

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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