In this client’s home there are two pillars that flank an arched entrance way that separates the dining room from the main hall. The pillars are decorative metal coverings for load bearing posts in a mostly open concept home. At 8′ tall, they go floor to ceiling, about 3″ away from neighbouring walls and are roughly 12″ in diameter, with a 15″ cap and base.
The pillars started out stark white – not a bad look, considering all the white trim in the home, but the home owner wanted a softer, more interesting look. To achieve the impression of marble applied several layers and painting techniques.
Layer one was a beige a couple shades darker than the champagne beige of the rest of the walls. It was brushed on loosely with lots of sloppy brush marks.
For step two I used the same beige, but then randomly sponged coffee brown into the wet paint, sometimes blending with the sponge, sometimes dragging my brush through the darker colour to soften and lighten it. The home owner loved the look at this stage ten though for marble, it was incomplete. We’ll be filling some architectural panels in her bedroom with this texture at t a later date.
Step three was to lighten the pillars again, using the lighter wall colour of the room. I mixed it half and half with glaze, brushed it over the the darker beiges then pressed sheets of plastic over it, making sure there lots of wrinkles for and interesting large crackle texture where portions of the dark showed through the broken colour layer.
Initially I intended to leave the cap and bace of the pillars bright white to coordinate with the rest of the home’s baseboards and crown moulding, but the home owner vetoed that idea. She wanted them to look like they were made of marble top to bottom. The client is always right.
When you are on the main floor, you can’t see it, but there’s an awkward 2″ space at the top and the bottom of the pillars. Applying the texture to these gaps would have made a terrible mess of the floor and ceiling. Painting them white wouldn’t feel comfortable because the gaps were so much smaller than the surrounding white details of the room. I opted to paint them dark coffee brown, a colour I picked up from some of the rooms furniture. The dark bands look great when coming down the main stair case or coming up from the basement. Eventually someone would have noticed the ragged edges and pointed out the pointed out the mess. That would have been embarrassing!
Step four was to decorate the rough mess with marble / granite like details. For a bit of glam I sprayed mirror silver spray paint into a baggy out side on the street (I wouldn’t want to smell up the client’s home with aerosol. Using a goose feather, I dragged veins over the the pillars, not too many but constantly all around. Using a toothbrush I flicked a fine random mist over the pillars. When you are right close to the pillars you can see the tiny dots of paint but it doesn’t look like in-your-face silver. It was a bit of a gamble going for silver bling on a conservative light beige. It was worth it. The home owners has a lot of sparkle in her home, including a 3′ round / 3′ high crystal chandelier that casts shimmering soft light on the pillars. I also used the toothbrush to flick a coffee brown mist of tiny dots over the pillars to balance the shine with a stone feel. Finally, back to the feather – I dragged white marble veins over the pillars close to and occasionally overlapping the sliver veins resulting in a more natural look with more depth.
Finally, a layer of diamond hard, gloss clear coat for a protection, easy cleaning and to make it look more like polished marble.