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Fe..Fi..Faux Finishing!

You are sitting in the car during a rainstorm, patiently waiting for your son to emerge from his friend's house, where he just spent the night. Knowing that he doesn't have an umbrella with him [does Jack even own one?!]. you resist honking the horn for the third time. Maybe his friend Tommy's mother is hunting for one to lend him.

Finally, the front door swings open, and you can barely make out, through the pelting torrent, the shape of your son standing there. He's waving his arm; obviously gesturing for you to come into the house. You've got to be kidding me, you groan out loud. then plunge into the buckets-full of rain [without an umbrella, of course.]

Standing in the Anderson's foyer, a puddle quickly forms at your feet, and you thank Mrs. Anderson for the towel. So what is it?, you ask Jack, making a concerted effort to sound composed and fatherly. As he's walking up the stairs to the second floor, Jack reminds you how much he loves the look of Tommy's bedroom; and as you enter the room, you humbly agree. The walls have this sort of three-dimensional translucency, and you feel that you are on a dock in a very clear lake gazing into the rippling water,

How did you do this? you ask Tommy's mother without taking your eyes off the walls. She admits that they didn't "do" anything except show the painter a favorite painting that they wanted him to imitate. She returns momentarily with the painting, and you are struck at how artfully the painter, that they hired, transferred the imagery onto Tommy's walls.

That's about when Jack begins pleading with you [as he is irritatingly prone to do] to have his bedroom look the same. Feeling the pressure, you ask Tommy's mother who did the work for them. Larry and his guys from Perennial Painters. I just love those guys, she adds. And Tommy even says that he likes hanging around with them when they are painting,,they're funny and explain what and why they are doing what they do. You, of course, know the Perennial Painters; as a matter of fact, they did a stellar job painting the exterior of your house a couple of summers ago.

As you are driving home, you can't stop thinking about those stunning walls. You imagine the windshield wipers to be brushes painting the glass as they splash the rain water back and forth. You've never considered yourself to be the artistic sort; but, hey, it's never too late,,,right? Jack extends his hand for a high-five as you announce to him that you are going to make his room look just like Tommy's. You tell Jack that this Saturday morning he can help you move the furniture in his room away from the walls; you assure him that later that night you'll move everything back once the walls are finished.

Googling "faux finishes" is like taking a trip to the art museum. You are amazed at all the techniques and the unique effects that you are discovering. There's crackle and damask: color washing and antiquing; marbelizing and wood graining; fresco and frottage...wait a minute! The picture next to the description of "frottage" looks unmistakably similar to Tommy's wall. You found it! And the instructions couldn't be simpler; paint the walls with a "base" coat, and then rapidly apply the glaze with the tool of your choice. By "tool" they suggest fabric or paper. Wow..this is going to be fun!

Although your wife didn't necessarily bestow her blessings upon you, she, at least, didn't try to dissuade you from pursuing this latest calling to be a "wall artist". And so, it's off to the paint store you rush, heart pounding and images flooding your brain of you as a young Renaissance painter embarking on a brilliant career.. The gal at the counter sets you up with all the paint and glaze that you will need; but looks a you warily when you tell her that you decided to use old underwear to apply the glaze. Why waste perfectly good rags, right?

Saturday arrives. Jack eagerly helps move the furniture; and then you tell him to get some old bed sheets from his mother that you will use as drop cloths. When your wife reminds you that the sheets are really thin and that the carpet in Jack's room is only a couple of months old, you need to assuage her fears. I won't spill, honey, you boast. And then proceed to shoo everyone out of the room, so that you can concentrate on the task at hand, and get the artistic juices flowing.

In no time, you have the walls painted with the lavender base coat; and then mix the paint and glaze together, just like the instructions tell you to do. Then you dip an old pair of your under pants into the glaze container and start rubbing it against the wall. Even though you are being careful near the ceiling, your gyrations cause the under pants to smudge it. O, well,,,I can paint the ceiling after I'm done: but as you stretch to reach a bare spot near the corner, the ladder teeters and you helplessly watch the container of glaze slowly slide off the ladder's shelf. Your desperate swipe at the airborne container causes it to ricochet off the adjacent wall, spewing its contents onto windows and curtains, before crashing violently upon the 'unnecessary' sheet, where the remainder of the glaze puddles before disappearing.

When your wife enters the room, she finds you sitting on the edge of the bed with your head in your hands. She walks around you to the far side of the room where the clump of glaze is oozing slimy rivulets of green down the wall and onto the base board. She spots the stained sheet, and muffles a groan. "Do you want me to call Perennial Painters, honey, and see if they have any time on their schedule to finish this?"

"Please. And ask Larry if he knows any good carpet cleaners."

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