Faux tortoise shell paper panels in The Carlyle by Sylvie Bilger of Metamorfaux. Photography by Natalie Choy
Today we shine a light on the fascinating art of faux finishes and a few of our partner artisans who create them. Faux finishes are decorative paint techniques that are painted in such a way that mimics materials such as stone, parchment, and wood. It is an art form that requires considerable skill and an understanding of how paints interact with each other as well as with light in order to capture the desired appearance. Artisans often use glazes and a variety of brushes, tools, and techniques on a surface to imitate the texture and depth of the intended material. Some of the more well-known finishes are faux bois—also known as wood graining as it mimics the look of wood—and faux marbre, which imitates marble. Virtually any natural material can be simulated and the results can be quite convincing. Sometimes the desired outcome is to create a finish that goes beyond the look of a natural material or to “play-up” the technique and the fact that it is a faux finish. There are several reasons to incorporate faux finishes into a space: depending on the material, the decision might be a matter of logistics surrounding the installation such as weight and size, expense, or issues sourcing rare types of wood such as bird’s eye maple. It could also be a desire to take some liberties and add your own alterations to nature’s designs. Regardless of the "why," faux finishes bring depth and intrigue to projects of all kinds, transforming an otherwise plain surface into the highlight of a room. Keep reading to learn more about our faux finish experts.
Hand-painted faux parchment walls for Alyssa Kapito by Sylvie Bilger of Metamorfaux with SuperStrata.
Photography by Nick Glimenakis
What David Faust can create with a combination of paint, brushes, tools, and his level of skill and talent is exceptional. After many years of study and dedicated practice, his decorative painting, faux finishes, and murals truly showcase his breadth of experience. He can replicate the look of textures and materials such as marble, antiqued leather, linen, and various types of wood. These works of art are further enhanced by his trompe l’oeil techniques as well as his mastery of light.
1. Strié faux paint finish by David Faust in the library of a historic Brooklyn Heights home.
2. David Faust created this decorative faux bois finish on the wainscoting as well as around the fireplace and French doors.
1. Faux marbre baseboard along with gilded wall trim by David Faust.
2. David Faust painted a stippled finish to mimic the appearance of leather on the walls of this hallway.
Specializing in faux finishes, Sylvie Bilger has over thirty years of decorative painting experience. Her work can be seen in places such as the Château de Versailles where she spent two years creating faux marble and stone finishes throughout the palace, as well as in The Carlyle in New York City where her hand-painted faux tortoise shell paper was installed square by square. Sylvie enjoys incorporating geometric patterns into her work, which can be seen in her wallpaper concept designs and a recent project where she created a faux malachite hexagon floor in collaboration with Ceara Donnelley Ltd. Co. and SuperStrata. Whether it be mimicking the more subtle textures of parchment and wood or going for bold patterns with vivid colors, her faux works of art are sure to elevate a space.
1. Faux marbre wainscoting hand painted in the Salle les Campagnes Militaires at Versailles by Silvie Bilger with a team under Gilles Dupuis. Photo shared by Sylvie, taken by her friend and renowned photographer Robert Polidori.
2. Flamed faux mahogany sample on paper by Sylvie Bilger of Metamorfaux while studying at the Van der Kelen Logelain school of decorative painting in Brussels.
1. Faux malachite hexagon painted floor pattern for Ceara Donnelley Ltd. Co. by Sylvie Bilger of Metamorfaux with SuperStrata. Photography by Laura Wheatley.
2. Faux parchment wall detail hand-painted for Alyssa Kapito by Sylvie Bilger of Metamorfaux with SuperStrata. Photography by Nick Glimenakis.