Outdoor Landscape Inspires Faux Concrete Streams, Rocks and Sand

Artist Kathy van Gogh of Fake It transformed an award-winning landscape architect's home to reflect life at the beach
By Khara Dizmon, Concrete Network Managing Editor

p>Kathy van Gogh of Fake It in British Columbia, Canada recently sent in pictures of an interior floor job she completed. "My client wanted their floor to reflect the location of their new house-one block from the beach," she said. The client shared his vision with her but ultimately left the design and artwork up to her. He never specified an exact color, just the feeling he wanted. "He said he wanted his home to look like Anthony and Cleopatra at the beach," she said.

While deciding on the design for the floor, Kathy examined various trinkets the client left to inspire her, including sea shells and items in old copper color and blue colors. She also examined the various colors and belongings in the home. There were huge paintings of Cleopatra and landscapes of old Rome, along with dark wood furniture with bamboo.


The client is an award-winning landscape designer whose home landscape consisted of large granite and slabs of rock. Kathy recreated this feeling on the floor by creating fault lines to look like large slabs of stone. She tore roof paper in jagged lines, a technique she learned from Victor at Colormaker Floors, and laid it on the floor to create three fault lines to look like three hunks of stone.

The client wanted his hallway to look like a stream pouring into the ocean, so Kathy created this look by using a modified technique she picked up from Gaye Goodman's videos. Laying long pieces of plastic into wet stain on the floor, Kathy was able to create ripples in the stream. She also took the client to the beach one day to collect sand which she used as a resist against the edges of the stream to create the look of sand against the edge of the water.

Another one of Kathy's techniques is to always spray the stains she uses, and she never dilutes stain. Instead she puts water on the floor in various amounts to achieve different looks. Sometimes she sprinkles only bits of water so when she sprays the stain, it adheres immediately to the area. Other times she will flood a floor with water and spray the stain into the water to create a watery, stream-like look.

Texture and Color

Terry at Futuristic Designs put down the overlayment on the project. When troweling, Kathy made a special request that he trowel the overlay in wavy-like motions in the hallway to create a sand ripple effect, "rather than troweling in the typical 'windshield-wiper' motion," she explained. Troweling in this way created sand ripples and then Kathy was able to come back along and trowel in the shape of scallops. This left a unique, raised texture in the floor that greatly contributed to the overall design.

While creating texture, Kathy adopted the habit of wearing grocery bags around her feet while working around the stain. Many times footprints can be made accidentally in the wet stain and can leave an impression. Wearing the bags ensures that any impressions made will look like texture and ultimately, like part of the work.

Kathy uses only Colormaker products. For this project she used Patina Etch Acid stains in the following colors: Azul, Blue Copper, Amber and Sumatra.

So was she able to capture the feeling of 'Anthony and Cleopatra at the beach'? The client happily thinks so! Recently, he told her there's not a day that goes by that he isn't thrilled with his stained concrete floor.

Fake It
Kathy van Gogh

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