July 30, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

In the studio, artist Nic Roewert dwells in a world where particular attention is paid to line, form, texture, and color. Those same attributes come into play with this clever DIY project, a faux brick facing for his kitchen island in the West Omaha home he shares with his fiancé, Brandi McDonald, and their infant son, Asher.

And it’s all constructed of simple pieces of 1 by 4 pine.

“I love taking a material like steel and turning it into something organic,” says the artist known for his sculptural wall art and furniture, “and I wanted to see if I could have that organic feel translate into this project. I was going for a bit of a ‘70s retro feel,” he adds, “but I didn’t want to take it too far. I didn’t want it to look like something straight out of an episode of The Brady Bunch.”

Here’s what you’ll need to duplicate the look of his faux brick façade:

  • 1 by 4 pine
  • Two colors of stain (Roewert chose classic gray and walnut)
  • An angle grinder with a soft metal flap disc
  • Sandpaper or an electric sander

And here’s how he did it:

  • Using the angle grinder with a soft metal flap disc, bevel the outer, forward-facing edges of the pine.
  • Cut each board into 7-inch sections
  • Bevel the remaining forward-facing edges created in the process of cutting the wood.
  • Apply the stain that you want to be the surface’s primary color and then sand down to expose the grain. Avoid staining the beveled edges. We’ll see why in a moment.
  • Apply the secondary stain and repeat the sanding process.
  • Apply the primary stain one more time and sand back accordingly.
  • Affix the bricks to the drywall with construction adhesive.

The multiple stains and sandings, Roewert says, are the key to creating a natural, variegated look, one where the wood grain really pops. Sanding the beveled edges to remove almost all of the stain creates the illusion of grout. Not happy with the color? Just sand away and start again.

Roewert was so pleased with the results that he now sells his creation by the brick-foot online in the stain combination of the customer’s choice.

“I really like how the brick take on a different personality based on lighting or the time of day,” he says, “but the main idea is just to have fun with creativity.”

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