Tag Archives: faux

Faux Fireplace

October 24, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Like an e-book without pages or a tweet without wings, a modern fireplace doesn’t need flames to be among the hottest of home trends. That’s exactly what Angie Hall, a busy mother of four, created for the dining room of her spacious, yet cozy West Omaha home.

She says that after the initial phase of installing the fireplace mantel and surround, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do next. “Sometimes, I don’t always know how I’m going to get to what I want,” she explains, “so I just kind of leave it.”

Hall’s ability to let projects brew, and her taste for “otherness,” blend together in revealing a unique style of rustic-meets-slightly-Victorian.

The last thing she wants is for her house to look like she ordered it directly out of a catalog. “I like interesting things that are not in everybody else’s house,” she says.

No stranger to home projects, Hall is an outside sales rep for Lumbermen’s, a hearth and home store. She began her career at The Fireplace Center in Lincoln, a store owned by her mother, Maureen Sutton. But Hall attests that anyone can do this project, “as long as you are not afraid to get some tools out.”

20130930_bs_5003

First, the mantel had to be trimmed because it was too tall for the room. She then hired a contractor for the difficult task of mounting the mantel.

To give the gypsum mantel and surround the look of limestone, Hall coated them with metallic paint and wiped over that with a black glaze, “to give it a dirty look,” says the woman who honed her painting skills at the Kelly S. King Academy of Faux Painting and Decorative Finishing in Omaha.

When she came upon a trendy glass tile at Menard’s, she knew it was perfect. “I loved the colors.” And the tile’s unconventional placement? “I thought it would be cool to run it vertical because I don’t like doing things they way they are supposed to be done,” she says with a mischievous laugh.

The most challenging part for Hall was figuring out how to cut the tiles for the arch. That’s when her mother’s flair for home design came in handy. “We both like projects, so we just jump right in and get it done,” says Sutton. The two crafted a template, and practiced using a tile saw on some cheap ceramic tile Hall had laying around.

Short two pieces of tile, Hall returned to Menard’s, where she also found a solution for the hearth—the white tile that resembles brick. “I originally was going to put an antique mirror there.”

20130930_bs_5011

The cast iron relief in a fleur-de-lis design was a gift from Sutton found while antiquing. Hall highlighted it with some metallic paints. “I jazzed it up a little. I didn’t like it plain.”

Combining savvy in antiques, a frugal sensibility, and a little bit of elbow grease, Hall achieved the perfect look.

“I like finding things that need a little love that I can make my own,” she adds.

Total time spent was about eight hours. Costs will vary, depending on materials selected. Tile can range from as little as $30 to the-sky’s-the-limit for this fun project.

Tile Trends: Faux wood is for real.

There’s a big difference between fake and faux. Fake is meant to deceive, whereas faux is meant as homage. And one of the hottest trends in faux finishes and materials right now is faux wood tile—a ceramic that combines the rich, textured finishes and warmth of real wood with the durability, functionality, and design flexibility of tile.

The strong trend toward faux wood tile is due to its contemporary, sophisticated look and durability. Because it’s water-resistant, you can use it in parts of the home where real wood would be impractical, like in bathrooms and mudrooms.

What interior designers and homeowners love about faux wood tile is the abundance of available finishes, from natural, earthy tones to colors that most would never dream of staining in hardwoods, like washed-out whites and light grays. These lighter colors have become increasingly popular in more contemporary homes and boutique hotels, especially those with open, light-filled spaces that bring out the tile’s visual wood-
grain texture.

This year you’ll see many rooms with faux wood tile and be stunned by how amazing it looks. Just because faux wood tile looks like a million bucks, it doesn’t mean that it will cost you a fortune. In fact, the price per square foot is a mere fraction of what you’ll pay for real hardwoods, a point that has undoubtedly added to its appeal and rise in popularity.

Just don’t dare call it fake.

To learn more about tile trends, visit TileShop.com, or pop into The Tile Shop’s retail store at 12951 West Center Rd. And don’t forget to check out the Tile Shop’s free How-to-Tile classes every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Pam Mertz’s Copper-Penny Ceiling

February 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Pam Mertz expresses her creative side through home decorating. She enjoys watching DIY Network and HGTV, perusing home interiors magazines looking for projects, and decorating her Papillion home of 10 years. And she’s also not afraid of a design challenge.

“I definitely like tackling a project,” she says. “I’m not intimidated by them. I think I have a gift for decorating…I can walk into a room and picture how a space will look if I do this or that with some end tables or paint on the walls. But I admit I’m more of a big-picture person…not as good with the accesssories.”

When a tour through some Street of Dreams homes led Mertz to a fascination with faux finishes on the walls, she put her mind to learning how to do several painting techniques.

“A girlfriend taught me some skills…rag rolling, feathering…and I had a knack for making it look professional. I did it in my home, then I started doing it for friends.”

During some time off work (she works full-time as a UPS driver), she took a week-long class learning about plasters, glazes, and other materials and techniques for wall and ceiling treatments from local decorator Kelly King. The class was not cheap. “It was $1,500, but I figured if I could learn to do it myself, it would save money in hiring a professional,” Mertz says.

Detailing of the copper-penny ceiling.

Detailing of the copper-penny ceiling.

The first project she tackled was her dining room ceiling. It was not an easy undertaking. The process took nearly 30 hours over two weekends and involved plastering cheesecloth to the ceiling in various shapes, then pulling it off, sanding it until smooth, adding a glaze, painting it a copper-penny color, then trolling on a topcoat to fill in the cracks.

“I learned the plaster technique on a paint sample board standing up on-end,” she says, “so doing this on the ceiling, over my head, was much harder. When I was done I looked like I had cake batter all over me, and I thought I’d have permanent neck damage.”

Still, Mertz says the ordeal was well worth the effort. “It turned out beautiful. A lot of that has to do with the products I used (which she special-ordered online), but [they] make a huge difference.” She recommends the Blue Pearl metallic and pearlescent paint line.

Since then, Mertz has gone on to apply textured finishes and faux paint to walls and ceilings in many other rooms—“I used a metallic copper in my kitchen, a paint technique in the master bedroom, a suede finish in another…[The finishes] give the rooms a depth and warmth I love.”

While Mertz gets a lot of requests from friends to do their homes, she admits she doesn’t have much time. “I may take up more projects when I retire, which I hope to do in less than three years.”

She admits faux finishing is not a home project for just any do-it-yourselfer.

“If you are not a patient person or detailed person, it’s not for you,” she warns. “You have to be willing to do it just so or it won’t turn out the proper way.

“And you can do too much. There are ways to do techniques more subtly.”