A Design Story: Dewald Farms

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Phase two for the top layer of concrete - after "weeding" the stencil.

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 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!

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  • Kim Smith