Faux Finishing is NOT dead
What do you think of when you hear the word “FAUX?”
Most people we talk to are offput by the idea of faux finishing in 2018. For some, faux brings up horrific flashbacks of your friends “fauxing” their living room with a sponge and some white washed glaze. For others it reminds them of that stuffy brown “Tuscan Old World” style that your elderly neighbors just had to flaunt at the block party every year. Yuck.
What if we told you that “faux” in today’s interior designs are alive and well if you know where to look?
There’s no denying that our roots go deep into the gaudy hell that some call “Tuscan,” but time and style has changed, and so have we. Faux finishing has shaped our attention to detail, our process management, and ultimately reinforces the idea that anything that we dream in design can be achieved.
Since being in this business we have had plenty of people say “Oh, faux? My sister used to do that. Isn’t it called rag painting or something?” or “I don’t like faux, its so gothic looking.” Then we get to showing them samples and they say “That’s faux?! It looks like _____!” (Insert something like leather, wood, marble, stone, fabric, etc.) Unfortunately many people associate the term faux with ragging or sponging which are in fact obsolete techniques that are no longer used to create more complex finishes. They are unaware of the magic that can be achieved by a master faux finisher with simple tools like trowels, fine brushes, and an extensive product knowledge.
Good faux finishing should be absolutely undetectable. Unless you have a trained eye (and sometimes hand) to discern the surface, most people walk right by without a second thought. Almost as if the finish only enhances the good design that was achieved in the room to begin with.
Today’s “faux” is simply a reincarnation of ancient methods, with the help of better tools, chemistry, and product consistency. If we look at the term “faux,” it translates from French meaning “false.” These techniques started as a form of replicating materials such as marble, wood, and other natural surfaces with paint; but in our age has come to encompass many other decorative finishes for walls, furniture, cabinets, countertops, floors, and other surfaces. Faux finishing has been used for millennia, from cave paintings to ancient Egypt but what we generally think of as faux finishing in the decorative arts began with plaster finishes in Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago.
Old finishes don’t die; they simply get updated with materials, color schemes, or chemistry. One of the newest (or shall we say resurfacing) trends in wall applications is wallpaper. Yes, you just read WALLPAPER. There are literally millions beautiful colors, patterns, textures, and sheens. Most of our applications can be seen in the form of textured anaglyptic wallpaper, which is applied and then painted with metallic paints or glazed to enhance the textures. Most of the anaglyptic wallpaper we apply has positive acoustical properties which help to dampen and disperse sound in home theatres, bars, and restaurants.
Glazes can transform an otherwise boring drywall and molding ceiling into a mahogany masterpiece. A builder’s grade white fireplace mantle can be painted to look like carved marble. Grandma’s buffet can be updated to the 21st century. Want a stone looking fireplace but can’t stand the idea of tile? Trowel it in real granite. Want to tie together two disparate rooms? A perfect artistic finish will make the entire house feel different.
Part of being an artist is to show people how art can enhance their every day lives and environment. Faux is just one way of achieving that goal. It is not simply ragging or sponge painting either. It’s a way to bring interest, or subtlety, or impact, or all of the above to your environment that you will love for years.
An art that has been cherished since ancient times would be hardpressed to die after such a long and important run in architectural history. Just as trends change, so do techniques.
Faux isn’t dead, its transforming.