Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Recession Faux Finish of the Month!

Easy on the Pocketbook Faux Finishes:  I wanted to start this segment that hopefully will become a permanent fixture on this blog. Everyone is concerned with saving money these days - and how to keep more of it and how to spend less on decorating your home. In terms of decorative painting, one of the best budget-friendly faux finishes is - without a doubt - a glaze. What exactly is a glaze?  It's a "carefully controlled transparent film of color superimposed on opaque color," according to the first queen of decorative painting - Isabelle O'Neill.  In other words, over a painted surface you then apply a thin veil of color (usually paint that's been diluted with a glaze mixture - or, as in how we do it...a glaze mixture that's been colored with a blend of full strength tints).  With a glaze you can transform a wall or just about anything in a subtle or very dramatic way - all depending on the colors and strengths of the glazes used.

It's a staple in every professional faux finisher's repertoire. It had fallen "out of favor" for a while for a variety of reasons. One cause of its slide in popularity was because many homeowners and designers thought of it as "sponge painting," the ubiquitous (and ugly) faux finish of the 1980s that found its way on to a lot of walls. This type of "glaze" was all about the tool - and having the impression of the tool be seen - front and center. Today's softly, blended glaze finish is all about subtle depth and ever-so-slight texture - which just lends interest, beauty and atmosphere to a space.

This is a stried glaze that we did in a living room at the Legends in Melville NY.
It adds a subtle sophistication to a room.

A strie is a glaze that's manipulated with a soft brush in a vertical, as above, or horizontal manner.  You can strie walls, furniture, moldings - the list is endless.  The finish adds more of a formal look to a room - but when done with a thicker glaze or texture, it can be more casual.

Many different plasters usurped the glaze's predominance in residential homes as well. The popularity (but still very misunderstood) of Venetian Plasters and Tuscan textures stole the spotlight for quite a while on the decorative painting scene. But as Wall Street and real estate faltered and wallets were squeezed, homeowners and designers alike turned to simpler - yet beautiful - finishes on walls and furnishings. 

My walls will be on TV: Here I am, on left, will my client Diana Bonelli after doing a pearlized 
glaze finish in her kitchen. We added stencilled florals on the soffit for visual  interest. These walls
will be seen on TV soon - Diana is a fantastic, professional dog trainer and is currently
filming a reality show about her work.

A light taupe base with pearl glaze in a living room/dining room that we did in Nassau County
How Do You Know the Difference Between a Beautiful Glaze and a Blobby, DIY Glazed Finish.

Most of my clients know that I have been on a soapbox about this - but I have to let the world know that there is a world of difference in glazes - just as there are differences in a Hugo and a Jaguar.  Some glaze products dry up too quickly and, in the wrong, untrained hands, this results in lap lines, dark lines (or very light lines) at the ceiling and baseboard lines. We only use professional, to-the-trade products that give you a beautiful and soft finish. There also a big difference in proficiencies in who applies the glaze. House painters who say they do faux finishes - and who are not trained properly - will give you the 80s blobby finish that went out years ago.  So - when you do intend to hire a faux finisher to do some magic on your walls - ask to see their portfolio - in photos and actual samples. You will be better able to judge if they are a true professional after seeing some proof of their work!

My company will soon be teaching Professional Faux Finishing Techniques in our Huntington NY Studio.  So, stay tuned to this blog for our teaching schedule!

Friday, September 18, 2009

More Ideas for Bedrooms

Gaining Inspiration: Anyone who knows me well has seen my "Inspiration" file (or rather files and files and files) of rooms and ideas that I love and want to emulate. I have been decorating a lot of bedrooms lately, so I thought I'd share a few more ideas from my "file."

I love either using large scale stencils or vinyl decals (for those who'd rather a non permanent design) to decorate a bedroom - especially a young girl or teen's room. Be on the lookout for these vinyl appliques at HomeGoods etc - because you can pick them for a song! They lend personality and energy to a room quickly and easily. 

I created artwork from appliques for this bedroom. The Eiffel Tower I found at HomeGoods for $10 and the wording I ordered from a signmaker for $20.   I then faux finished the 3 canvas panels &
Voila!  Art! Photo by moi

We applied a black chandelier decal to this room in a home that we staged for sale.  The home sold in 3 weeks.  The new owners wanted to keep the design - as is!  Photo by moi

Now for Something Completely Different: This is the same bedroom as the first picture in this post - only the wall is done with horizontal metallic stripes. When stripes are done horizontally - it makes the room feel wider...more expansive and it also creates a sense of calm in the room (much like the serenity you feel when looking at the horizon line where the sea meets the sky.

Photos: Ideal Home

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Colorful & Contemporary Teenager's Bedroom

Add a Burst of Color on an Accent Wall in an All White Room: We did this beautiful accent wall with another artist - Marty from Classic Faux Studios. You don't have to add color to all four walls when you're re-doing a room - in fact, that would have been overpowering in this space. I'm happy to say that...

So...Accent Walls Are Back!

This lively design, derived from the artist Damian Herst, gives the room a more contemporary feel and some much-needed color and energy. It took some prep time to figure out the right size, number and colors of the circles - but the entire wall was done in one day. We used a one-time-use stencil in order to do the design quickly and accurately.
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