Category Archives: The Formal Living Area

Bronzing A Fireplace Mantel and A Brass Doors Insert

These  two pair well together –

A mantel, base painted Caromal Colours Textured Basecoat Peppercorn


over that, a blend of metallic bronzes



topped off with Black Glaze


topped off with a little sparkle


Love this color for mantels – would look good in any room, don’t you think?


Oops! Almost forgot –  want to see the before?  See that crazy shrimp colored

F A U X marbled thing

tucked behind that gorgeous buffet?


Oh geez, louise…..


Way better.


This next one –   we’ve all seen one of these before right?


They are worthy of updating, after all,  replacing isn’t that easy – most are custom fit.   I painted these for a client, and will say they would have been easier to paint hung.    Clean the surface well, tape off the glass, and then brush /roll one coat of Reclaim Licorice (black)


Let it dry, fine sand with a 400 grit, to remove any imperfections, and apply one more coat


Again, feel the surface for any imperfections –  light sand with a fine grit paper to remove.     Apply a metallic, brushing on thin coats until fully covered.



A black glaze, over the dried metallic finish, adds depth.


Lastly,  once the finish is good and dry, apply several coats of a hard topcoat for protection.  I used Minwax Wipe On Poly, Satin (oil based)


You could refinish yours with an eight ounce licorice, an eight ounce metallic blend,  an eight ounce black glaze,  a can of poly, and a brush.  About seventy-five bucks to replace the doors yourself.   And you’d even have some left to do a few other things laying around the house 🙂

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Sharing The Three Layer Versiplast Process…

Linda from South Africa commented on a recent Versiplast  plaster post

I’m all the way from South Africa and am in the process of making sample boards for a client on a plaster that I think is similar to Versiplast. Would you mind sharing the 3 layer process. I enjoy your blog thanks for sharing.

Hi Linda from South Africa!   I like to use the Versiplast this way –  First layer I trowel on the plaster,  100% coverage. When dry I lightly sand any crusty,crunchy areas to knock it down (prevents chatter on next layer).   The second troweled layer is pretty much a 100% coverage, except here and there I leave little open areas/pits etc.

When the 2nd layer dries I light sand with a sand block –  it gives the final finish a nice soft feel.

Then I chip brush on the glazes (this one I’m using 3 colors) randomly, working in about 3ft sections, kindof like this below-

and then with stipple and chip brushes I work the colors into the plaster-

then wipe it back with dry rags, in areas that I want less-

This was onsite, glazing the big wall –

Use a good glaze – I love Faux Effects Aquacreme,  keep a wet edge and don’t overlap your sections when you’re coloring –

Take the time (I like to use a small chip brush) to blend your sections-

My glazing helper – applying the color ahead of me so I can keep moving… this big wall took us 6  hours to glaze-

Getting there –

Hope this helps!

Versiplastered Great Room With Woodgrain On Top

For the last two weeks I’ve been busy applying a three layer plaster finish in a two story Great Room.   It’s Versiplast plaster – one of my favorites for a soft textural durable wall finish –

When I started plastering the walls,  trimmers arrived to create decorative column tops for the wall of windows.    The client wasn’t sure about painting them white – they considered staining them to match the fireplace, but parts of the columns were made out of mdf.   I went home that night trying to see how close i could get a sample to their fireplace color using faux wood grain techniques –

I taped the sample wood grain up to the windows, where the columns will be mounted.  The color was perfect!

The client base painted the columns – a custom mix of Setcoat Chamois and Setcoat Camel,  then I started the graining process by flogging them with Stain and Seal American Walnut-

They are already looking awesome, I can’t wait to see them after I do the final layer of S&S Antique Mahogany.    A shout out to Cait Whitson, who came to America several years ago and taught wood graining and marbling to a group of us –  those skills have come in handy more times than I can count,  THANK YOU!

I can’t wait to see the room completed…  I thought I’d be finished by Friday –  today I started glazing the near 800 sf  of walls and realized, even with a helper tomorrow, I don’t think I’ll get it all done.    Rats.  My body is achin’, but the end is near!

Thank God tomorrow is Friday!

It’s All In The Architectural Detailing… Decorative Trim

One of my favorite clients transformed their living room. This was the beginning,  when they removed the builder grade fireplace and started fresh-

I had no idea what it was going to become, only that this pile of detailed trim pieces, from Pearlworks Inc, was going to somehow be incorporated –

Their fabulous trim craftsman, starting from scratch,  unveiled the plan-

It took  awhile to decide finishes-

Many neck breaking hours later-

Almost there –

Looking back on these photos, I’ve forgotten how much work was involved in this room, but it remains one of my favorites-

I delivered these samples, yesterday, to the same client –

They are almost done finishing their lower level.  The trimwork is mouthwatering.  There is more Pearlworks in the design – a really pretty ceiling niche.   I’d like to incorporate some foil in the finish, but I need to play it all out first.  If you can believe, all 4 glazed samples above are on non-white basecoats.  We are trying to find a nice, soft off-white color to spray all the trim – that will also work if certain areas are glazed.     I can’t wait to see how this space plays out!