Knouffs make things look like something they aren’t

One of the Knouffs’ recent projects was a remodel for the “Wish Room” of the Colorado chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Courtesy photo

By Doc Watson
Special to the Herald Times

MEEKER | When most of us hear the term “artist,” we immediately think of someone who draws or paints pictures, but Tim and Sandra Knouff are definitely a different kind of artist. They are experts in the field of “decorative paint and faux finishing,” terms that describe decorative paint finishes that replicate the appearance of materials such as marble, wood or stone.
This is all about “making something look like something it isn’t,” Sandra said. One example is taking old furniture and making it look totally different. “An artist doesn’t see things the way they are; they see them the way they can be,” Tim added.
Faux finishing—faux is French for false and means imitation or artificial—is actually nothing new. It can be traced as far back as cave painting and the tombs of Egypt. While it has remained popular through the ages, it saw a major revival in the late 1980s and early 1990s as wallpaper began to fall out of fashion.
Using either plaster or glaze techniques, for example, faux marbling is used to make walls and furniture look like real marble.
Tim further complements all this with his prop building talents. With a background as a set builder for both the film industry and commercials, he can visualize and build just about anything that’s needed.
For one commercial, for example, he built a saguaro cactus. For another, he fashioned a “boulder” to hide the hydraulic system needed to control a special effects bridge over a stream. He worked extensively, in fact, in the Moab-Monument Valley area, where many movies and commercials have been shot.
One of their bigger projects as a team was for the Colorado chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, whose mission statement reads: “We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.”
The foundation commissioned the Knouffs to remodel their “Wish Room,” where each child makes their wish known. They redid the walls, built a special throne for the child, pillars, a tree in the middle of a table, and other faux structures.
While Meeker is not an ideal place for the more high end work the Knouffs do, they still hope to get work here and surrounding areas through advertising and by word-of-mouth. They both are also licensed and insured professional painters so they can take on any job.