Faux bois

I like Friday’s. This time last week I was still in Sydney about to give my seminar, book sign afterwards, run to a fab restaurant in Potts Point for a super quick lunch with some friends and then whizz to the airport for that long journey home. Bonkers but true.

In the seminar and in the book I talk about paint, and just how transformative it is. Infact ( and apologises I say this a thousand times a day)  paint is the single most transformative thing you can do to a space and it’s the cheapest.

So this morning I wanted to talk to you about paint effects, once so popular in the 90’s anyone remember all that dragging and sponging and who knows what else. These days, with tastes changing they have come on somewhat to a whole other level so  think marbling, verdigris, faux leather, trompe l’oeil and faux bois. I wanted to spend five mins talking about faux bois, Faux bois (from the French word false wood) refers to the artistic imitation of wood grain in various media, most commonly paint but apparently it was first crafted by the inventor of concrete in around 1875 – Joseph Monier. History lesson over and despite it being around since the late 19th century it’s suddenly everywhere. On products, on walls and I’m loving it. I saw it when I flew to the States to photograph some amazing spaces for my book. Shauna Alterio and Stephen Loidolt whose space is below have  used this technique in their loft which they are renting. The result is so cool!

To do it yourself you will need two contrasting paint colours from the same family, (see image below) and a wood-graining tool. You paint the light colour first, wait for it to dry; thin the darker colour with 3 to 1 water to paint ratio and drag the graining tool through the wet paint. Vary the direction of the tool to up the decorative interest. Genius no? Beautiful for walls, cabinets anything really. More techniques in the book, but this one I’m am thinking of incorporating into my rather boring bathroom to up the style ratings.

Photography Graham Atkins Hughes

Photography Graham Atkins Hughes

Have a lovely weekend x



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8 thoughts on “Faux bois

  1. Hi Abigail, thanks for this tip. One (probably stupid) question: After the lighter paint coat has dried, do you then paint over with the diluted darker colour and THEN drag the graining tool through it, or do you dab the graining tool in the diluted paint and then apply to the dried lighter-paint coat? Sorry, does that make sense? Never heard of this technique before but am interested in livening up a dark corner shelf wall unit. Thanks.

  2. hi abi do you love your shutters? are there any negatives to having them and would you ever consider changing them to something that would give a little more privacy especially during the day as I guess it’s all or nothing with the victorian type? would so appreciate any advice as not sure i want curtains, blinds or plantation shutters and our little street is a bit too busy. thanks so much x

    • I have shutters on the lower two floors of my house but funnily enough rarely close them as they block out all the light. The choice is so personal but if you want the light to come in you might have to go for some kind of blind although on a shoot yonks ago one home owner had pad tracing paper over her windows which strangely enough look fab as the light still came in but you couldn’t see out or in!

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