By Diana Marszalek Associated Press
Phoebe Taylor’s 20-year-old suburban Atlanta ranch house started out plain and “builder grade.”
A professional decorator, she transformed it with faux wood beams, decorative molding and a gold-spun paint job that looked like “soft marble.”
Her vision: “what our dream house would have been if we had gone out and bought it.”
It’s called “going faux”: turning homes into something they basically are not through prefab architectural embellishments and eye-tricking wall finishes.
Enthusiasts say there’s no reason for even the most budget-conscious among us to live a cookie-cutter existence.
“My house was not an expensive house. But even the million dollar houses don’t have this kind of detail,” Taylor said.
Other faux features to consider include ceiling decals that look like parts of elaborate chandeliers, cabinetry embellishments and painted wainscoting.
“I have seen some trailer homes that have more personality to them thanks to paint, sweat equity, buying some lumber and their owners using their creativity,” said Lee Gamble, a Steamboat Springs, Colo.-based designer and painter who specializes in faux finishes.
The Internet is a DIY decorator’s best friend, she said, offering inspiration and sources for adding architectural and decorative elements to a home.
Next is paint, which Gamble calls “the cheapest way to improve your house,” and it’s about more than just giving the walls new color.
Paint can be used to create illusions of architectural elements: For example, you can use blocks of color on walls to create the look of molding, or three variations of one color for a three-dimensional look, an old technique called trompe l’oeil.
Paint can make high ceilings look lower — extend the ceiling’s color to a lower point on the wall — or give them more height by going dark.
Using different colors on the top and bottom halves of a wall can create the look of wainscot, Gamble said.
Ornamental appliques that adhere to anything from cabinets, walls, mantels and molding, to furniture and picture frames add ready-made detail without breaking the bank, she said.
The manufacturer Fypon makes synthetic ceiling beams and medallions and decorative millwork that are lighter and more manageable than real wood, Gamble said.
Taylor said in redoing her master bath she added molding and wood panels to the walls, and framed the bathtub using new material with decorative embellishments.