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30 Designer Secrets in 30 Days - Diane Burn On Painted Finishes

April 19, 2017




Posted October 31, 2010·Magazine






I have always made great use of painted finishes in my design work, whether it be glazed walls to achieve age and patina or my technique I call "pouncing," in which I combine three colors and literally pounce them in motion on the walls—again to give the illusion of old aged walls. I like to use frescoes, murals, borders, trompe l'oeil (creating the illusion that something is actually real on the wall, as in bookshelves with books and accessories, arched entrances, a frieze on the wall, any object of desire). I also love grisaille—using gray shadowing to give perspective.

I think the use of painted finishes creates atmosphere and brings warmth, feeling and magic to rooms. It just takes paint and an artist with the ability to achieve the desired look.

I also augment with moldings. The most boring rooms are just flat white paint! I always use color on the walls, although I typically use pale palettes, especially terra-cottas, ochers and greens, always with whites and varying shades of umbers, siennas and grays. It is a mélange of colors mixed into one, but applied as separate individual colors, as in a strié wall with green, white and ocher.

It is all about illusion—to create high ceilings, for example, or add humor to a room. Once I had an artist create a Florentine-inspired faux-marbre-inlaid floor and had her paint a spilled wine glass and napkin right on it as though they had fallen.

It is the magic world of painted finishes that is my high card.

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