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A Sampler of Faux Finish Techniques

While Grandma’s quilts showed off a sample of her pretty bits of fabric and her skill with many different fancy needle stitches – imagine what she could have done with a pot of glaze and a sponge. That’s right. As artistic and skilled as Grandma was she probably would be right at home with faux finish paints, too.

There are so many options available to today’s homeowner when it comes to choosing alternatives to traditional flat paint. There’s absolutely no reason to hang onto that boring tried-and-true white (or taupe, taupe, taupe) painted in every room throughout your home.

Explore the alternatives. Look in magazines for rooms that appeal to you. Architectural Digest, Southern Accents, Veranda and others all regularly feature homes that have faux finishes on everything from walls to furniture. Designers love to change the feel of a space with color and textures, painted faux finishes are an easy first step in that direction. You can do the same thing, too.

Faux finishes can be applied to almost any surface. From walls, ceilings, cabinetry in the kitchen and bath, floors, to all types of solid furniture as well. Styles of finishes can be extremely simple and subtle, to way, way over-the-top fantasy finishes, depending on your personal taste and pocketbook.

For your walls, here’s something to think about -- a faux wall finish can provide a striking and seamless alternative to wallpaper. Seamless. No peeling or splitting. Just a beautiful hand-painted unique finish individually crafted for you alone.

A skilled faux finish artist can create a look just for you that the wallpaper manufacturers would love to copy and mass-market. Some of the more popular looks for walls include:

• Color washes – ragged, bushed, sponged single glazes over solid paint, the work-horse of faux finishes
• Multiple glazes – layered over solid paint, provides great depth
• Faux leather looks – terrific in a study
• Faux suede – stipple glaze over solid paint
• Stencil over-all patterns – antique damask or simple borders
• Venetian plasters – lustrous beautiful plasters
• Tuscan old-world plasters – troweled on plaster, chipped, cracked and aged to perfection
• Faux stone effects – limestone, fieldstone, slate, cut and fitted patterns
• Faux brick looks
• Faux wood – faux bois, antiqued, distressed, burled, bamboo
• Faux metal – brilliant metallic glazes, antique iron, verdigris
• Tissue paper – textured paper, paint and glaze
• Stripes – glazed or just painted, always classy

On columns, trim, doors, crown molding, fireplaces and art niches there are a number of cool faux finishes that can enhance the architecture of any room. Classic looks feature:

• Marble – from travertine to Rojo Viejo, the choices are wide open
• Granite – mimic your countertops
• Fantasy stones, such as lapis and malachite
• Gilding – any metal leafing, gold, silver, copper
• Strie – fine dragging of colored glaze over a solid paint

Antique or distressed faux finishes are wonderful choices on cabinetry and furniture. Adding a few worn edges and some crackled paint to those dated, tired kitchen cabinets can give them a fresh new “old” look. Think Provence.

It’s easy to expand your options. Change your mind about what’s acceptable for your sweet home space. Play a little with something fresh and new. Remember, changing the dynamics of your home is easy with the assistance of a skilled and experienced faux finish artist.

Always go to a pro who has a track record and samples and customers who love to tell you about the artist’s work that was created just for them. Then let him create a special room just for you.

He can guide you to faux finishes and colors that will be appropriate to your style, your furnishings, and your pocketbook. Consult with a trained professional artist and get the best look for your home today.

Oh. And keep in mind, if you are tired of that old chest-of-drawers and thinking about tossing it out, maybe all it needs a good old-fashioned antiquing. A dab of glaze here, another dab there. Just right.

Grandma would approve, no doubt.

About the Author: Jay Dorman is the owner of Greystone Artisans, a decorative painting and faux finishing company. This Houston-based company has been in business for eight years and has worked in many of the finest homes locally and in other cities in Texas. This team of talented artists is available for travel to locations outside of Texas, too!

Consultations are available upon request and are at no cost. Hundreds of samples including cabinetry finishes and wall finishes of all types can be seen at our showroom. The showroom, which houses our workroom as well, is open by appointment. Please visit us on the web at:

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