Mark Nordgren

Mark Nordgren founded Bella Faux Finishes in 2005. The inspiration came from a vacation in Las Vegas. I saw an incredible finish on one of the walls and asked what it was; they said it was Venetian Plaster. I fell in love with this effect. When we got home, I spent a few weeks researching Venetian Plaster and the various Faux Finish Vendors that offer their own version of Venetian plaster. Ordered some Venetian plaster and finished our dining room. I had some disappointment in the final effect. So I began searching the web and discovered the real Italian Plasters from Verona, Italy. I attended the School of Italian Plaster in Atlanta and have been amazed at the drama the Italian Finishes can bring to a project.

Bella Faux Finishes is located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and is the Midwest leader in the application of the historic Italian Plasters from Verona, Italy. We specialize in Italian Venetian Plaster and the dramatic Italian Finishes. We also specialize in American Clay Plasters, Armourcoat Polished Plasters and New Faux Finishes.

A passionate student of the methodology of creating "The Wow Effect". Our design goal is to create “The Wow Effect” on every project. Mark is the author of a variety of articles on Interior Design and Home Building.

Is there such a thing as too much togetherness?

I think it depends upon the chemistry of the family. We have a funny group, somebody is always doing or saying something crazy to get a laugh, so projects are always fun. One mistake I learned early on, is to avoid scheduling projects too close together. It’s so easy to say yes to every project that comes your way. The Italian Plasters are a physical application and burn out can set in pretty fast. So our family goal is to schedule 8 – 10 weeks off every year to refresh and reflect.

Relationship & Number of years working together?

My wife Kathleen, with sons David and Michael, has been involved in our business since 2005. My oldest son Jason is a talented Chef living in Eugene, Oregon.

How did you start working together?

From the beginning, everyone in our family loved the idea of sharing the Italian Plasters. My first project was a Master Bedroom, applying Italian Venetian Plaster. I taught my sons how to burnish behind me. From there they enjoyed learning the techniques and also the satisfaction you receive when you create “The Wow Effect” on a project.

What kind of business do you have and what are the roles each of you have in it?

At Bella Faux Finishes, we specialize in the application of Italian Venetian Plaster and the Italian Finishes, imported from Verona, Italy. We also offer a variety of other Interior Design services.

Mark’s role is to create the magic and buzz with new samples of finishes, social and business networking, new client presentations, author of a variety of articles and a new book “How to Create the Wow Effect in you Home or Business”, web design and Artisan applying the Italian Finishes on projects.

Kathleen, my wife, is involved in our marketing plan, guards our cash flow and helps with presentations.

David, my middle son, is an Artisan and co-owner working full time. David shares in presentations, creating new finishes, marketing ideas and is also co-author of our new book.

Michael, my youngest son, is an Artisan and markets my articles. He is now a freshman in College at SDSU in Brookings, South Dakota, majoring in a career in the medical field – Physical Therapy. Our shoulders may need him full time down the road.

What are some of the rewards and challenges of working together?

Business is such a great teacher. Understanding the clients design goals of the project. We have some finishes that are perfect for a small area, but can be overwhelming in a large room. Sometimes you have to talk a client out of a finish, when a rich paint color is the perfect effect. Our goal on a project is to create “The Wow Effect”. Decorative Finishes are like the seasoning in a great meal; sometimes less will create... more drama.

Do you have any advice for other families/marriages who may want to work together?

You must have the same Passion and Belief in the Long-term Success of your business plan. All opinions have value and need to be considered. Build a great website with lots of information and large photos of your best Art. Guard your cash and choose your advertising options carefully. Two great books on marketing are “Brandsformation” by Chuck Mefford and “Inbound Marketing” by Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah. Finally get out the door with your best samples, fire up your passion and share your amazing story with everyone you meet.
What is a great moment you can remember sharing together?

We love our iPods on projects. It is always funny when someone encounters trouble. One time the ear buds fell in the plaster, another time I clipped one off with a trowel. But the worst experience is when your battery goes dead right away on a project, “You’ll say, Hey guys what do you want to talk about?” and... nobody wants to talk to you. Pretty funny!

The worst moment?

Early years, I bid a new construction, large 2-story walkout home, all the painting and Italian Finishes in 6 rooms. I soon realized I was way over my heard for our young company. I found someone to take my paint bid; we then had fun layering the Italian Finishes.

Below are two of Mark's articles that have been published around the world:

"The 7 Interior Design Mistakes"

"The 7 Home Building Mistakes"

 Facebook /Mark Nordgren or Twitter/Italianfinishes

Our Design Goal... "Every Home Deserves a Room, that Quietly Whispers... Wow!"


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