Posts tagged ‘remodel’

Art in Construction


Looking up through a matte white plaster spiral staircase: 1″ thick plaster over wire mesh and steel armature. Design by Richard Meier Architects, created by Art In Construction

Art in Construction is a Brooklyn-based company that had its start in the 80’s replacing old-fashioned 3/4″ thick plaster walls, ceilings, and ornament.

Recently completed cementitious

Cementitious “Artisan Plaster” Bathroom Floor (cream color) and Shower Walls (board formed cement grey)


A sink that cantilevers through an exterior glass wall with an AIC cement plaster finish; Leven Betts Architects, Eric Glasser Contractor

Since then, they have expanded into a specialty artisan construction firm, specializing in unique plaster-based finishes and objects which include, but are not limited to, interior wall and ceiling surfaces, cement plaster flooring, cement staircases, shower wall and floor surfaces.

“We also produce three-dimensional cast pigmented cementitious objects – furnishings, tables, sinks, tubs, counter tops,” says owner Stephen Balser. “Additionally, we produce a steady flow of in situ sculpture and art installations as envisioned and directed by the artists who conceive them.”

Architects, designers, and general contractors are drawn to the company based on their long-range success and longevity of their work with the types of finishes they create.

San Francisco Public Library project - Sample of partially plastered Dewey Decimal Cards for permanenet art installation by Ann Hamilton that Art In Construction installed with her

San Francisco Public Library project: sample of partially plastered Dewey Decimal Cards for permanent art installation by Ann Hamilton that Art In Construction installed.

The process begins by fostering dialogue, either by showing the client samples and photos of completed work, or by reviewing photographs, samples, or locations provided by the client. The goal is to get a clear picture of the performance, color, finish and appearance required for the project.


Art In Construction shop, Brooklyn NY

Site visits are conducted, samples are produced, and full-scale mock-ups are created and submitted upon which the final installation is begun.


Deep Eggplant Bathroom; Clodagh Design

“Clients can expect to interact with artisans who are fully and truly passionate about their craft,” adds Balser. “They will end up with something they can be quite proud of.”


Balser was inspired by a trip to Italy in 1984 and began experimenting with pigments and traditional lime putty plaster. As well as its’ durability, longevity and low maintenance, lime plaster is environmentally friendly.

“It gives off zero VOCs,” says Balser. “It has no off-gassing chemicals and has mold resistant attributes. It is non toxic, non-allergenic and while curing, it absorbs carbon dioxide much like a tree, increasing optimal indoor air quality.”AICpink

The materials they use are not much different from thousands of years ago. They are comprised primarily of mixtures of slaked lime, fine sands, pulverized marbles and quartz, powdered earth pigments, metallic oxides, gypsum and water. The custom mixtures are trowel applied and polished by their skilled artisans.


And what about color?

AICgreen“Color has a profound effect on how surfaces are conceived,” says Balser. “For example, concrete grey-colored surfaces are typically experienced as concrete, whereas leathery-type browns are naturally experienced more like leather or wood, and super-saturated colors are experienced more like polished jewel stones.”

AICClay   “Basically we read or respond to surfaces based on our preconceived ideas of materials as they relate to color, texture and density,” adds Balser.

“Also quality of light is astoundingly influential on how colors are perceived and experienced. One can create rooms with totally different ‘feels’ using the same colored surface but varying light sources. Lighting can never be ignored.”

NYC apartment; Clodagh Design, photography by Daniel Aubry

NYC apartment; Clodagh Design, photography by Daniel Aubry

When asked what his favorite color is, Balser replied, “As a youngster, I would have automatically said blue, but at this point I have no favorites; they all have their place depending on mood or need. I think I get the most thrill when I see two colors reacting in a visual harmony – like cobalt blue and ivory white, or maroon and cream beige, or an electric blue and cocoa brown.”


Cement “Artisan Plaster” floor and textured “Artisan Plaster” chimney breast. Design by James D’Auria.

Blending Art in Construction with modern touches and design elements is a collaborative process between artisan, designer, client and architect. Adds Balser, “we just do our best to make their ideas succeed as envisioned or better!”

Owner Stephen Balser

Owner Stephen Balser

For more information, you can visit, call 718-222-3874 or email For more pictures or to follow, visit Art In Construction’s Facebook Page.


October 1, 2015 at 4:57 am Leave a comment

Craftsman Detail = Simplicity, Quality and Passion

semihandmade tileJohn McDonald is the owner of Semihandmade which is an innovative company that makes one-of-a-kind doors for IKEA kitchens, bathroom, closets and media cabinets. Modwalls spoke with John about how he started the company and the best way to incorporate craftsman touches in your remodel.

“I had been in LA for about 13 years working freelance in the film biz doing writing and production (mainly waiting tables).  At 34, I started buying old furniture, refinishing it and selling at swap meets. Then I moved on to making custom furniture and cabinetry.”

John transitioned to making doors from IKEA cabinets about five years ago and because of the demand, his company expanded to include 30 employees. The concept is simple and brilliant. You want that IKEA kitchen but not so crazy about the doors that come with the cabinets? What do you do? Simple:

“You don’t have to buy them,” says John. “All you do is just buy the boxes and hardware and we’ll make the amazing fronts, panels and tops so you get a really custom look for less.”

Rex Rox Lunar SemiHandmadeJohn’s philosophy when it comes to design is to keep it as simple and clean as possible. “I can’t stand precious and overly thought-out.” He’s passionate and opinionated about what he does, which has made his company a success within the industry and a favorite among clients.

“I always make it a point to seek out other companies I like. Modwalls makes a clean  tile product that is really well-made with great colors and excellent customer service. We’ve used their tiles at different design shows to compliment our booths. We also recommend their stuff to clients we think it will appeal to. Some of their new stuff is really amazing!”

So what do you do if you want to incorporate craftsman touches but you’re on a budget?

“The key is trying to have a few nice things you’ll hopefully have for a long time, then building around that.  The fact that IKEA is our platform says all you need to know about us. They’ve got a great system, really solid bones, and they are genius to let people compliment things as they like.”

Teal Agate semihandmadeSo whether it’s colorful ceramic tile or semi-handmade zebrawood cabinets, pick a product you love, a company you believe in, and have fun. Anything else?

“Remodeling is a marathon. Be prepared for that!”

Have a Modwalls’ design question? Ask and we will answer!


December 19, 2014 at 9:49 am Leave a comment

Before and After Bathroom Remodel with Modwalls Tile

Grace Chon recently shared her bathroom redo on Instagram. We love “Before & After” photos; especially when our tile is part of the After!
Shown: Lush blue  glass subway tile in 1×4 Vapor.
Repost from @thegracechon via @igrepost_app, it’s free! Use the @igrepost_app to save, repost Instagram pics and videos, Here’s another before and after, this time of the bathroom. These were shot in the same spot, same time of day! We had a skylight added in because the bathroom used to be such a cave. I do NOT recommend doing a bathroom renovation when you’re 9months pregnant. 😝 #renovation #bathroom #midcenturymodern #rejuvenation #casadechon

November 7, 2014 at 4:14 pm Leave a comment

Introducing American Made Textured Glass Subway Tile CRAVE


Introducing American Made Textured Glass Subway Tile CRAVE

Modwalls_Crave Oasis Glossy_Alt 1

CRAVE – color Oasis

Modwalls_Crave Colors

Modwalls© all NEW American Made Texture Glass Subway Tile is CRAVE.

Available in 7 stunning colors, this CRAVE Collection features 3″x8″ glass subway tile with a glamorously textured surface.  Ideal for any wall application including kitchen backsplash tile, bathroom tile, fireplace tile, feature wall tile, and pool tile.  CRAVE tiles can be in stalled in a stacked or offset pattern.  Would be dynamic as a solid tile installation or feel free to mix and match with other CRAVE colors.

Contact us at for samples.

Modwalls® invites you to discover our own brands of colorful modern tile and experience delightful customer service. Buy online or call us toll free at 877-439-9734. 

We look forward to doing business with you!

December 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm Leave a comment

Making a real SPLASH!!! Kitchen Before & After via

Great article by featuring our very own Clayhaus for modwalls® 2″x 8″ Splash Subway Tile.  See the amazing transformation below or view the original article here.

Kitchen Before & After:  A 1970s Kitchen Gets aJaw Dropping Overhaul


When we saw photos of Kitchn reader Sarah Galender Meyer’s Bay Area kitchen renovation, we were stunned! This small, dark 1970s kitchen (“horrid,” as Sarah said) underwent a complete gut remodel, which included knocking down a wall between the kitchen and dining room and adding French doors to bring in more light. See what the kitchen looks like now:


We love it! So pretty. Here’s what Sarah says about the renovation:

We did a gut remodel of a horrid 70’s small and dark kitchen in our 1906 house. We knocked down the wall between the kitchen and dining room. All new everything including enlarging the windows and adding french doors to the dining room to bring more light in. We also gutted the attached pantry that served many purposes – back door entry, bathroom, laundry room, and pantry storage.

We did a significant amount of structural work to remove the wall between the dining room and kitchen, which involved an engineer, and we gutted the attached pantry that included a small bathroom.
Cabinets – Executive Cabinetry (semi-custom)
Countertop – Cambria (white), and Walnut for the peninsula
Appliances – Kitchenaid
Pendants – Schoolhouse Electric
Sink – Kohler
Faucet – Hansgrohe

I really love everything about the new kitchen. The tile, the wood countertop, the sink, the faucet, and the built-ins might be my favorites, though. Also, I love the French doors that went in on the dining room side. It really opened up the space and let in so much more light.


Thanks so much for sharing, Sarah!

(Image credits: Sarah Galender Meyer)

Modwalls is “Making Tile Modern” with fresh and colorful collections inspired by mid century architecture and design.

If interested, please check out our online tile showroom at We stock in Northern California and ship throughout North America. Samples available.  Discounts to the trade. 

December 9, 2013 at 2:48 pm Leave a comment

“A (Back) Splash of Bright Color” – Modwalls in Cooking Light Magazine

We absolutely LOVE it when our tiles get published!!  It’s truly an honor that we cherish very much here at modwalls and being featured in Cooking Light‘s October 2013 issue is no exception.

We are so proud that our American made, Clayhaus for modwalls ceramic tile collection has inspired people across the Country to create their own backsplash blends using any of our 24 colors.  The collection first started with the seven colors shown beautifully in this Cooking Light article.  When the line was first developed, our Co-Founder and Creative Director, Rebecca Lonergan’s goal was to expand on modwalls’ product line with a modern, fun, always colorful, handmade, and domestically made ceramic tile product.  Collaborating with Clayhaus Ceramics was the perfect partnership to make it all happen!

“I wanted to add an American made ceramic collection to our product line-up.  When the folks at Clayhaus contacted us about a collaboration it was a great fit!  Our Mid-Century aesthetics matched perfectly and they allowed us to create exclusive glaze colors to meet the needs of our existing customer base. We are their only stocking distributor and we have a growing number of colors in 2×8 and now stretched hex tiles in stock for immediate delivery.  The sales and press that this collection has received is testament to how well our collaboration is working.”

Cooking Light Cover

Cooking LightCooking Light 001

Cooking Light 002

Tile featured in this article:

Clayhaus for modwalls 2″x 8″ Ceramic Subway Tile in Milk, Cookie, Brine, Zest, Wheatgrass, Splash, and Licorice Matte.

Shop other American Made tile here.

Modwalls is “Making Tile Modern” with fresh and colorful collections inspired by mid century architecture and design.

If interested, please check out our online tile showroom at We stock in Northern California and ship throughout North America. Samples available.  Discounts to the trade. 

October 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm Leave a comment

We love it when our tile gets noticed!

The entire crew here at modwalls tile company loves it when we get a kind word from our customers or a bit of notice in a fabulous magazine.

Right now there are two great publications giving us a little shout out.

We love Dwell magazine and have been loyal advertisers ever since they gave us a mention in their new products section during our early days,  several years ago.  Our Lush Poppy glass subway tile is shown in the TILE section of Dwell’s Spring 2013 special issue “Renovate Today!”.   We are honored to be included among some great tile manufacturers.



Though we didn’t make it to Neocon this year, fortunately our  CorkDotz cork mosaic tile was chosen to be featured in the Materials Pavilion there.  In addition it got a mention in the “Neocon issue” of  Interiors & Sources Magazine interiorssourcesmag

For more information on modwalls tile and all of our unique and colorful collections go to:

Buy online 24/7.  Samples with free shipping and discounts to the trade.

June 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm Leave a comment

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Rebecca Lonergan

Founder and Creative Director of, a designer of modern tile with an online showroom at Modwalls are colorful tile designs with a uniquely modern sensibility in a wide range of materials.

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