Faux Design Studio
by Rosemary Camozzi
, and you’ll feel like you’re in someone’s living room — someone who knows a really good faux painter, that is.
Take one of the school’s week-long Designer Walls classes, and you’ll be ready to tackle the creative, profitable world of faux finishing on our own.
Faux Design Studio, located near Chicago in Elmhurst, Ill., is owned by Sheri Zeman and Jacek Prowinski. The business partners opened their school a year ago in a 3,800-square-foot building that they renovated to include open space, archways and examples of many faux finishing techniques.
Faux Design’s classes average six to 10 students, so there is plenty of one-on-one instruction. Zeman says she is not afraid to share the special techniques she has developed over the years with students who might eventually become her competitors.
“I share everything,” she says. “There are plenty of walls to go around.”
Faux Design Studio is a Faux Effects distributor, and all classes are taught with Faux Effects Professional Line and Aqua Finishing Solutions products.
The three-day “Foundations in Faux” class is designed for painters new to faux finishes. The class teaches wall prep, glazing techniques, some textures, and how to use the tools.
If you’ve already learned the basics but want to know more, the week-long “Designer Walls” class is designed for professionals who want to move to a more sophisticated level. This class teaches methods for creating old-world finishes (such as frescoes and lime wash), artistic finishes (such as marbleizing and clouds), textured finishes (such as venetian plaster and marmorino), crackles (from fine-line to eggshell), and contemporary finishes such as iridescents and metallics. Also taught are multi-layer techniques, reactive finishes and more.
The Designer Walls class also offers advice on running a successful business, including dealing with clients, building a portfolio, preparing samples and insurance requirements.
Many who have completed the week-long course come back for a two-day class in “Advanced Textures” or a seminar on “Paper Finishing.”
Prowinski, especially proficient in wood graining, marbleizing and gold-leafing, offers private lessons taught in either English or Polish, his native language. Some of the group classes are also offered in Polish as well, which makes them popular with Chicago’s large Polish community.
Faux finishing is an art that takes years to master, but Zeman has some advice for those who want to get into the business:
• “Never give up,” she tells her students when they leave her class feeling intimidated by the vastness of what they have just learned.
• “Start small.” Gain experience by painting the houses of your family and friends. Just charge them for materials. They will be thrilled and you will gain much needed experience.
• “Stay with it. If it is your passion, you will be successful.”
Contact Faux Design Studio at (630) 832-1951 or visit the Faux Design Studio Web site.