I spoke too soon when I said I had quickly found the base color for painting all the white woodwork in my living room and dining room to look like wood — aka faux bois painting. Getting the custom color base right took Denise — a genius decorative painter — A DAY AND A HALF. Even though she is a pro. Or: Because she is a pro!

Denise arrived Tuesday morning.

She started working with my samples and with formulations to get a glaze that looked just right.

I started cleaning all the woodwork.

I made two or three more runs to the hardware store for more basecoat paint samples.

Many sample paint+glaze combo strips — then, half-board samples — and then, full board samples…

The work continued into Wednesday. While she waited for paint samples to dry, Denise taped the floors and put down paper to protective paper. 

…And finally, at about 3 p.m., she/we had a clear and decisive PERFECT winner. 

The color combo on the top half of the board at the far right was the winner — it looks FABULOUS — a terrific match to the existing stained woodwork elsewhere in the room. In this photo, though, we just have two coats of the base coat on. Glazing, finessing, and clear top coat yet to come.
D & me a-thrifting a few years ago.

We started painting late Wednesday afternoon. It’s now 6:30 p.m. Thursday night, as I am writing this story. One hour ago, we finished the first coat of the living room wainscoting and bookcases — but not the windows and not the ceiling beams with their millions of 1″ x 1″ dentils that are going to be “some therapy,” to put it kindly, to paint.

Friday: We’re aiming to get the second coat up. Then, Denise will go home for the long weekend… I’ll try to get going on the dining room wainscoting over the weekend… and she’ll come back next week and start glazing. Then: Onto the ceiling beams.

This whole project is going to be a boatload of work — super process-oriented, infinite patience required. Not for the faint of heart — or pocketbook, if you are paying for help (to be clear: Yes, Denise is a friend, but you can bet I am still paying her!)  It will be one of the most epic things I’ve ever done — but I am already 110% sure it is going to be an amazing transformation. So thrilling!

And: I love me my Denise. We are having So Much Fun!

  1. Sam R says:

    The original builders of my 1954 ranch used this treatment on almost all of the original wood trim – which started as custom-milled raw oak, and oak-veneered interior doors. Why they went to the effort of a faux wood finish on top of nicely-grained oak is something of a mystery, and it means I have to learn something new to repair damaged and missing pieces.

  2. Hannah Morgan says:

    My childhood home, which was built between 1908-1910 (Transitional Queen Anne? With a definite Craftsman dormer/attic add-on) had faux bois paint treatment on all the window moldings (which were obviously more Victorian-y) to match the later-built staircase. I remember when my parents renovated in the 1980s, my mom pointed out how cool the paint job was, but was resigned to just painting over the whole thing in cream since faux bois is a true artform. I wouldn’t expect ANYTHING less than my favorite inspiration/unwitting enabler Pam Kueber, to tackle and perfect such an endeavor 🙂 love your kind of crazy, and the fact you generously share it with other crazy and lovable strangers.

  3. Brian says:

    I grained the sheetrock walls in my dining room and all the woodwork ( window frames, baseboards) to match, also the switch covers and outlet covers, to resemble oak. Base was Benjamin Moore
    1100, if I remember correctly, with a brown glaze that was combed and manipulated. Panel “mouldings” were made with a darker basecoat. Turned out great. My Dad walked in and asked me where I got the “paneling”, fooled him! Oh, I put 2 coats of satin water based poly on top, still looks great many years later.

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