Staff Spotlight: Rudi, Artist & Master Stainer


The whole Barbara Butler Artist, Builder team contributes to the finished goal of a beautiful new treehouse or play structure. This week we’re taking a closer look at the role of our Artist and Master Stainer, Rudi Verhoeven. For over 11 years, Rudi’s talents have beautified our playhouses. Here he is in his own words:

My background is in fine arts. Before I moved to California and started working for BBAB I had many years of experience producing paintings, etchings and other art work. I was living in New Mexico at that time and had numerous exhibitions in galleries and  museums throughout the Southwest, including Santa Fe and Los Angeles. My main source of income, however, was Sign Painting. My experience as a skilled craftsman became one of the reasons that I was hired by BBAB for the staining/colorist position.


rudi - stainerI am in charge of producing the 59 different colors of stain that we formulate and produce ourselves using high-quality pigments, natural Tung oil and a few other ingredients. In addition we can make any custom color that a client may prefer.  These strong and saturated colors,  required for Barbara Butler’s signature style and appearance, are not available anywhere else. Any commercially produced stain does not come close to competing with our handmade pigment/Tung oil product.

Rudi-3Applying stains on all the parts of the play structures is done the rest of the time. I always strive to coax the most beautiful result from each piece of wood. I bring out the natural grain with the transparent, yet deep, saturated colors. These are some of the things that give our creations their unique character.


Biking is my favorite mode of transportation. Born and raised in the Netherlands I have had “biking” legs from an early age and I like to keep it that way. I use my commute from Palo Alto to BBAB’s shop in South San Francisco to get my work out in, biking either part or all of the distance. It keeps me fit and healthy. I find that biking is also very positive for one’s disposition.

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