A funny thing happened on the way home from the grocery store, says Troy Lemon, president of Cornerstone Decorative Concrete in Holland, Michigan. It all started when he and his son, Josh, stumbled upon an art studio in their own tiny village of Fennville. Lemon couldn’t believe he hadn’t noticed it before. But then again, he travels extensively for work, he says, and doesn’t often get the chance to enjoy a leisurely visit.
He was amazed by the quality of the local art displayed at Fernwood 1891, owned by local potter Dawn Soltysiak and her physician husband, Rob. “While talking with my now-friend, Jim, who was throwing clay on a wheel while manning the studio, I found out there was a plan to open a coffeehouse in an adjoining space since the former tenant left.”
Lemon, who professes he’s a people-lover, says he and Jim were talking about concrete, another thing dear to his heart, and the next thing he knows he was sketching a concept on how he could use color to draw people from the entry of the coffeehouse through an opening in the dividing wall and into the art studio next door.
“I am often passionate about my ideas and between that and the fact I’m also an artisan, I was drawn in quickly,” he says. The next day he met with the owners, showed them a color palette and described what he wanted to do, which involved metallics and epoxy, a combination that holds up well to foot traffic. “They got really excited about the concept,” he says, and gave him free rein. “I love when people do that.”
The project moved very fast, as the carpet glue had already been ground off the floor in prep for paint. Within a week, Lemon was doing the floor, assisted by his son, Josh, and Lemon’s friend Ryan Van Horn, whom he met at the most recent Concrete Decor Show. “He flew out from California to get some experience working with metallics,” Lemon says. “He did a really good job. When you do a floor like this, it’s at a very fast pace. You need someone to mix, measure and weigh products and bring them to you quickly. Timing is essential.”
Together they knocked out a 1,300-square-foot floor in three days using EZChem Inc.’s Metallic Pearl pigments and Key Resin’s #511 epoxy in black as a primer under a clear #511 epoxy. “The best part, as always, was making new friends and making art while discovering the wealth of talent in people around me. My sincerest thanks to Rob and Dawn for trusting my vision and providing a canvas,” Lemon says.