Design by Dana Goodman from the Southern Living Show House, Nashville, TN
The faux finish industry had become tainted by the do it yourself painters and all the straight painting companies who claimed to also be faux finishers. There is a definite separation between the professional faux finishers and the rest. I just needed to craft the right message and deliver it to the right audience and this was my chance. I was taking it.
So here are the highlights of my presentation, I also used a ton of pictures to illustrate my key points.
“Style Trends in decorative painting”
One of my strategies was to use the term “decorative painting” in place of “faux finish” to subliminally move the designers away from the negative implications of the term “faux finish”. If this picture is what you think of when you think about a “faux finish” you are going to be pleasantly surprised by what I am going to show you.
Read More of this article at bella-tucker.com
Classical Expert Melanie Kershner – Owner of Beaux-Artes Gives Her Cannot Live Withouts
I stumbled across Classical Addiction, a blog which talks about the decadence of classical architecture and interior design, and I found myself pleasantly surprised, so I saved a link to it on my desktop for my one day off. Like a new book that you flip though quickly and find that ALL of it’s contents are interesting, you hide it away for a special day that you can spend some time and really enjoy the newfound information, or in this case old secrets to the trade. Neoclassicism flourished during the mid-18th to the end of the 19th century and Baroque which proceeded it began during the beginning of the 18th century. If you truly love this period of furniture history, then you will likely enjoy reading Melanie Kershner’s blog Classical Addiction as much as I did.
It is not too often that I find a blog so narrowed in on a focused time period and yet also tells you the secrets of how to create the look for yourself. I emailed Classical Addiction not knowing that I would come to know Melanie Kershner, who is extremely nice, and is the face behind the blog and owner of Beaux-Artes, a classic design company which specializes in decorative ornamentation. They also supply unique wall panels which can be used on walls and ceilings. All of their products are cast from historic ornamentation and contain decorative elements that you can use to really dress up your home. The wall panels are available in over 30 different faux finishes, so you don’t even have to worry about spending hours struggling with delicate painting techniques.
I had a chance to ask Melanie a Few Questions:
Q- Meranda- Melanie, Tell me a little bit about your design background:
A- Melanie– I have always been in the arts. I attended the International Institute of Interior Design in Washington, D.C. and started my own design firm, Exclusively Yours. Design projects requiring specific art led to the development of my fine art skills through independent study and targeted classes at the Corcoran School of Art for airbrush and fine art. These two 10 foot murals (below) were done for Prudential Securities to provide a solution to wall space above the cubicles for brokers.
Today I am able to utilize all my skills with the company my husband, and our son and I began in 2002, Beaux-Artes. We design and manufacture classical solutions for modern intrusions such as HVAC vents, recessed lighting and classical wall panels using historical ornament for our masters. I am designing a collection of hand-painted canvas panels which can be used with our wall panels.In addition to our products we also continue to offer design, decorative and fine art painting and carpentry services. There is nothing we love more than creating classical interiors showcasing the best in art and design.
Q- Meranda What inspired you to use ornamentation in your architectural design?
A- Melanie–I love the combination of designing an interior as well as providing art when appropriate. In another project a client restored a claw foot tub and needed new claw feet so I undertook sculpting a new master out of wax. That led to my sculpting phase and the beginning of my respect for ornamentation and classical design. I even got into making jewelry sculpting with polymer clay settings for semi precious stones which I sold to Nordstroms’ for awhile. That would eventually lead to incorporating gemstones with ornament such as I did on this fireplace and in this ceiling corner. The rose quartz gemstones are actually strategically placed to cover the screws used to attach it to the ceiling. One of my favorite things is a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Having studied the airbrush for my fine art, I began working with HVLP equipment to incorporate nature’s ultimate light show into murals and on ceilings along with classical ornamentation.
Q: Meranda- Tell me how you got into ornamentation for architectural decoration:
Q: Meranda- Melanie, you are certainly a woman to be admired. I am asounded with your talent to paint of being able to create faux marble, and some of the century-old faux paint effects which take years of practice. Could you tell me more about the picture with the coral and peach faux marble? (above) How did you achieve that overall look? Also, could you expand on the custom molding? Do you have any general tips from your experience in this area?
A- Melanie- About the picture that showed the faux marble panels below our architectural wall panels. The molding was all purchased from either Home Depot or Lowe’s. We try to keep that simple and inexpensive. I do not do any of the carpentry work since my husband and son do all that work. They used MDF to create the raised stiles around the panels and then framed the boxes they cut into the MDF with a decorative molding. The molding on the ceiling is plaster which we ordered from Decorators Supply. We install our plaster with Dap adhesive caulk. We use Dap to install our wall panels as well. The nice thing about the wall panels is you don’t have to deal with mitering the corners because the molding fits behind the decorative corner. So they are very easy to install. I have a lot of my work posted on my Heavenly Homes Design Website.
Q: Meranda- From your experience, what are some of the tools of the trade that you could not live without?
When I marblelize I can’t live without a rubber squeegee. I use it to remove paint to reveal the undercolor for creating veins. Very quick way to get lots of great veins. And, Miracle Sponges. Just a compressed cellulose sponge that I use for all kinds of faux finishes.
I also cannot live without my Badger airbrush. This is a craft airbrush but I love it. Much easier to clean and use with heavier paints than a finer more expensive air brush.
Q: Meranda-What do you find particularly inspiring?
A- Melanie- People are so inspiring. Love to hear about everything people are capable of whether it is overcoming great adversity or figuring out how to create a bigger telescope than the Hubble. Amazing people.
Q: Meranda–Anything you want to accomplish this next year?
A- Melanie- Want this to be my best year yet. Happier, healthier and wealthier. I also want to go on a vacation with my husband. We are talking about a trip to London to see some famous homes. One night in the fabulous Cliveden. That would be fantastic.
Q: Meranda-Working with your husband, how do you keep your family in balance…. Any tips?
A- Melanie- Family businesses can be tricky. My husband is easy going, and consistently optimistic. We have been together 31 years now and we know each other very well. Paying attention to the best in each other and ignoring the rest has been what makes it work for us. The same is true with our son. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and I do my best when I focus on what I like. Sounds easy but when you have stuff go wrong it is a challenge to ignore what is. That is the best advice I give myself. Forget about what you don’t like and eventually it goes away. What you pay attention to persists.
Q-Meranda-Every person wants to skip through the millions of books of copycat books on design to find one manual that includes the best of everything. Every once in a while we each stumble upon one or two of these reference guides. Which ones are on your permanent shelf?
A- Melanie- For faux finishing “The Art of Faux – The Complete Sourcebook of Decorative Painted Finishes by Pierre Finkelstein and Professional Painted Finishes by Ina Brosseau Marx. Another great source of instruction is the organization, International Decorative Artisans League. They have chapters all over the country and have an annual convention which is all about decorative painting classes. This year my son and I have applied to teach a class on using ornament. However, they usually focus on painting ornament. So we shall see if there is any interest in using the real thing. My most recent new book that I love is Historic Houses of Paris.
Q- Meranda- We both have The Art of Faux listed our must have books!! What are you enjoying right now?
A- Melanie- What I am enjoying right now: I have just started a new painting. Since I am so busy during the week with our company, I am only working on it on the weekend. I am very interested in metaphysics, quantum physics and thoughts about the universe. Currently reading Stephen Hawkings book “Grand Design”. Love Hubble images, so I am combining all of the above as my subject. Title “Pillars of Creation” which actually is the name of the image from the Eagle nebulae. We shall see how it turns out!
Q- Meranda- What are some things you would like to learn someday:
A- Melanie- 1. Anything related to technology. There is so much going on and I want to understand how to use it. Like how to create fabulous Fractals. If I can do that then create fabric out of it.
2. Make a catalogue for our company on a DVD.
3. Be able to guild and paint on mirror – Verre Eglomise
Q- Meranda- What are some things you are working on this week:
1. Sending out a brochure to ASID members
2. Redesigning several website pages to add new products
3. Learning how to use a new video camera to make a how-to video and edit the movie.
I had so much fun getting to know Melanie. As you can see she is tremendously talented. Do check out her websites for your next up and coming architectural projects!