Fabulous Faux

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Men laying new hardwood flooring

Detailed faux painting transformed this room into a veritable log cabin.

You dont have to move to Europe to have a fabulous dining room view of the Mediterranean, and you certainly dont have to take out a second mortgage to get marble walls in your foyer. With a couple cans of paint, youll find that faux finishes are a surefire way to give the rooms of your home the views and texture you want without the cost and hassle.

Walls with a really good faux finish give a room more texture, movement, color and depth, says Carrie Borgman, artist at Gloss Style, LLC. Usually what happens is that once a client gets a faux finish in one room, they want to do it in more rooms. You just dont get that with plain walls.

Plain walls also dont give you the feeling youre being transported to a faraway place, says Knott Gardens Kaye Hughes. Murals and trompe loeil (French for something that tricks the eye) are becoming more popular right now among people who like to travel or those who want to see something that makes their toes curl and their eyes light up, Hughes says.

“On a piece of furniture, that might mean having a painting of a glove thats coming out of the top drawer of a dresser, Hughes says. Or it could mean having a wall mural of the Eiffel Tower in Paris that has a shadow of a person looking at it. Things like that are a reminder to people of their favorite places and also serve as an opening to an outside world.

These finishes can also transport people to a bygone era. Susie Goldenberg of Roswell-based Paintin the Town Faux turned a ho-hum foyer into a medieval castle just by painting faux stone blocks all over the wall. The result: A room that perfectly showcased the customers knights armor. Goldenberg also added depth to a dining room ceiling by painting a faux dome on it and added character to a kitchen with a wall mural of hanging fish and garlic.

Other finishes merely give walls, furniture and cabinetry the appearance of texture and depth. Borgman says popular finishes include Venetian plaster (which looks old and flawed), stucco, leather-like or suede-like finishes, oil and acrylic glazes, artificial aging on trim and furniture, faux stone and subtle metallics.

Vibrant colors such as cobalt blue, saffron yellow and Tabasco are also making their way into finishes, Hughes says.

The rich earth tones and herringbone patterns of this faux finish add depth and texture to the dining room.

Faux finishes can be tricky, however. Thats why artists meet with a customer to determine the best look for a given room. Theyll look at all the colors, details and furnishings then get a sense of what sorts of things a client likes and dislikes before coming up with a design that works well. Chrissie Thead of Christinas Interior Finishes says shell make a sample board of a finish for her clients so they can see it will match with the rest of the room.

There can be surprises, Thead says. You can paint an entire wall, then find out that the colors arent right. With this method, you can change things before the paint even touches the wall.

Prices for faux finishes vary, depending on the size of a room, the labor (fyi, youll pay more to paint those clouds on the ceiling) and detail involved. For example, Hughes says one room could cost $500 and another could cost $3,000.

Some people think they cant afford it, but they find thats not the case when they sit down with someone who is willing to listen to your needs and work within a budget, Hughes says.

Of course, its always cheaper to do it yourself. Goldenberg says she sells a full line of Faux Effects brand finishing solutions at her store, such as brushes, finishing tools, cheesecloth, stencils, trowels, wood graining tools and anything else a customer would need to create a faux finish. Outside of the services and products it sells, Goldenbergs store also offers 15 to 20 classes for anyone interested in learning the techniques themselves.

Certain techniques are easy to do, provided you have the right tools and products, Goldenberg says. But its easiest to learn how to do them in a hands-on class rather than trying to do it yourself.


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