Our roundup includes techniques and products for preserving, renovating, and restoring. For the latest trends and products, visit the Traditional Building show, held in New Orleans from October 17 to 20. ' Rita Catinella Orrell

Keeping the art of plaster relief alive and well in California

Originally from Swindon, England, plaster relief artist Steve Selos served a formal four-year apprenticeship in the United Kingdom and honed his craft on European textural ceiling projects. He later moved to Germany, where he worked for the cladding, coating, and restoration-systems manufacturer Sto Corp. on the development of an attachment system for its EIFS products. Selos emigrated to the United States in the early 1980s and currently runs his company, Selos Creative Finishes, out of Alta Loma, California.

Focused on creating high-end plaster artwork for walls and ceilings, the artist currently spends about three quarters of his time on residential work and the remainder on commercial projects, such as private offices, churches, and restaurants. Selos combines sculpture, design, and painting on both traditional and contemporary surfaces, and his repertoire of techniques includes bas-relief, Venetian plaster, and trompe-l’oeil. He has copyrighted a number of his more unusual techniques, and like other artists, signs his work. Over the years, he has developed a devoted client base, and nearly 70 percent of his work is for repeat clients.

While in Europe, Selos worked on historic renovation, including molding repair, but his focus has shifted to new-build and general renovation. “My approach to the renovation of things is that it’s invisible,” explains Selos, who sometimes collaborates with paint experts in order to help create a seamless extension of the existing finishes.

Selos’s low-key approach extends to how he works with his clients; he describes himself as a tool for the builder or architect.

“I’m just an applicator of the client’s wishes—until they ask me what I think I can get out of the architecture using natural light, or traffic patterns, or architectural features, and then I highlight or calm down whatever is there.” To do so, Selos incorporates long, sweeping arches or strong straight lines to achieve the impact or emotion he is trying to evoke. For a grand entryway for a private residence (“one of the pinnacles of my career”), he used a range of techniques, including carving, trompe-l’oeil, and gold leaf. “I wanted to draw everything I could into the grandness of the architecture.” Selos Creative Finishes, Alta Loma, Calif.


Helping to keep the light on

Jeld-Wen has selected two landmark lighthouse projects as part of this year’s Reliable Lighthouse Restoration Initiative: Thomas Point Shoal on Chesapeake Bay and Wind Point Lighthouse on Lake Michigan. For the Thomas Point Shoal (above right), Jeld-Wen will replace eight windows and two entry doors. To preserve the lighthouse’s architectural integrity, primed Custom Wood Windows (above left) with the AuraLast wood process will be installed and then painted. Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors, Klamath Falls, Ore. www.jeld-wen.com


Wait a second … the student union was once what?

Functioning as a Denver brewery from 1866 to 1966, the Auraria Higher Education Center’s Tivoli Student Union building also served as a mall before becoming a student union in 1994. As part of a $20 million makeover, more than 180 window units were replaced with custom, energy-efficient, historically stylized windows from Kolbe. The window-replacement process was challenging since virtually all of the openings varied in dimension and several different window profiles, brick facings, and mortar types needed to be matched. Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co., Wausua, Wis.