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Deft Glass – Custom Finishes Up the Ante

Posted by : schoolhouse | On : March 25, 2014

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I’m in the process of wrapping up the largest project of 2014 – to date; faux finished 13 rooms, hand painted a myriad of furniture pieces, created custom works on glass and a Skimstone decorative concrete floor. Feeling truly blessed to have devoted over 3 months worth of time, labor and love to creating non-stop for a lovely grand patron. I’ll tell you more about the slew of faux painted rooms, fun furniture finishes, and how I transformed an entrance vestibule tile floor via Skimstone decorative concrete to look like a ‘slab of antique leather…’ a little later. All that work is a whole other story! For now, I thought it would be fun to share the creative process of our deft custom glass treatments.

Backdrop; the dining room walls were finished to look like hand-wrought wallpaper by stenciling a Moroccan trellis motif in metallic Sage Green over eggshell Navajo White. This fun visual layer was set to stage a splendid spread of MacKenzie-Childs furniture, ceramic and glass serving ware.

Stenciling Modern Masters Metallic Sage Green over eggshell Benjamin Moore Navajo White; Custom Dining Room Finish. Took 4 days to complete, as I averaged 1 wall per day production time.

Custom Dining Room Finish. Took 4 days to complete, as I averaged 1 wall per day production time.

Hand carved and upholstered thistle chairs looked dashing saddled up to four sculptural thistle pedestal bases for the dining room table. In comparison, the large piece of custom cut glass intended for the table top looked blasé. The large glass facet was in need of ‘something’ to make it more interesting – to carry it’s weight with the layering and layering of visual eye-candy surrounding it.

Custom Glass Finish for Suzanne's Music Room Featuring Ornamental Metallic Foil Grillwork.

Custom Glass Finish for Suzanne’s Music Room Featuring Ornamental Metallic Foil Grillwork.

My client recalled how much she loved the series of custom glass panels I created years ago for her music room entertainment center, and inquired if I could render a similar effect to snazz up the glass table top. For that project I combined etched glass backing with ornamental metallic foil on the face-side to create a grillwork effect – which was a catchy look for cabinet install. Considering the scenario of how a dining room table top would be used and cleaned frequently, I advised we tweak the finish application for the glass treatment to make it extremely durable and long lasting. This assignment was a last minute add-on prior to a big photo shoot – I had less than 24 hrs to execute a clever solution. I opted to create a faux reverse gilded and etched look by working from the back (or underside of the glass), which would leave the top clear and smooth for regular use. Lusterstone, an architectural coating with superb bonding properties and a subtle shimmery glow, was the medium I had on hand and considered ideal to create the desired effect. Brown Suede Lusterstone, when stenciled through my Royal Design Studio Endless Vine template, read coppery gold from the reverse or top side of the glass.

Carte Blanche Glass - Working from the underside, as the top side was bevelled, I positioned the Endless Vine template to begin the creative process.

Carte Blanche Glass – Working from the underside, as the top side was bevelled, I positioned the Endless Vine template to begin the creative process.

Prior to applying the Lusterstone vine ornament, I chinked a dappling of metallic silver paint through the stencil to add a subtle and varied glint of interest.

Dappled Modern Masters Metallic Silver, then stenciled Faux Effects Brown Suede Lusterstone to the underside of the glass.

When the ornament dried, I stippled the entire back with a couple layers of Queen Anne’s Lace Lusterstone to mimic an etched, creamy white translucence. ‘Hot off the press’…as soon as the paint dried the heavy, large glass top was carefully placed upon the thistle pedestal bases.

"Seriously Lady?!" the look on Pelligra movers faces when I pleaded that they "be careful" transporting the glass from a garage workspace

The “Seriously Lady?!” look on Pelligra Movers faces when I pleaded that they “be careful” transporting the glass from a garage workspace…I gathered they knew what they were doing.

After winding through several rooms, the glass table top makes its way the Dining Room thistle pedestal bases created by my alma mater, MacKenzie-Childs Ltd. My first job out of college, I served as their Quality Control Mgr. & Company Archivist from 1993-1999.

After winding through several rooms, the glass table top makes its way to be placed on the thistle pedestal bases created by my alma mater, MacKenzie-Childs Ltd. My first job out of college, I served as their Quality Control Mgr. & Company Archivist from 1993-1999. Brings me great joy to have many clients who collect the ware.

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A quick wipe with Windex to clean the top, and I passed the plate to my friend Sasha Lancia, current head of the MacKenzie-Childs Visuals Department. Sasha, who we were lucky to have assisting us with arrangements to prep for the photo shoot, set a beautiful table placement. Everything was orchestrated in the nick of time as the photographer, whose clients include the New York Yankees, was en route from New York City.

The end result was exactly as we had hoped for & envisioned.  This deft custom glass finish tied everything together beautifully, compared to the effect (or lack thereof) the clear glass would have had.

The end result was exactly as we had hoped for & envisioned. This custom glass finish tied everything together beautifully, compared to the effect (or lack thereof) of clear glass!

The relatively simple, 3-step technique resulted in a stunning and unique finish.

Victoria & Richard MacKenzie-Childs were my mentors fresh out of college. I cherished the time I worked for them, full of fond memories and invaluable experiences. It brings me great joy to see my work juxtaposed with their design creations...an eternal source of inspiration and delight.

Victoria & Richard MacKenzie-Childs were my mentors early on my career path.  Cherished the time I worked for them, full of fond memories and invaluable experiences. It brings me great joy to see my work juxtaposed with their design creations…an eternal source of inspiration and delight.

In the midst of this decorating flurry, I worked simultaneously on a series of 8 glass paneled doors from 4 large, ornate armoires with a distressed black heirloom paint finish…again layering interest and accents to complement the visually rich decor.

A cozy nook to play chess in the entrance foyer...with rich Cobalt Blue Lusterstone walls I had finished via trowel.

A cozy nook to play chess in the entrance foyer…with rich Cobalt Blue Lusterstone walls which I faux finished via trowel.

The armoires are massive. I love the ornate carved octagonal fretwork, which frame the tall glass panels. The client wished to make the interior, as seen through the glass, a tad more intimate. She bounced the idea of accentuating the center panels and leaving the surround clear. Again, one of my favorite Royal Design Studio stencils came into play – the Micah furniture stencil fit perfectly.  The Royal Design Stencil collection is one of my regular ‘go-to’ sources when I’m in need of beautiful ornament templates. Created by my longtime friend, Melanie Royals, a renown leader in the decorative arts industry whom I studied Master Methods with in San Diego, California.

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Working from the reverse, or interior side, I stenciled the ornament with Brown Suede Lusterstone. To accommodate a back-lit interior, I opted for silky smooth Krylon Frosted Glass spray to create the effect of an etched facet within the fretwork.

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The foyer, where the armoires stand sentry, is adjacent to the dining room. Thus the custom glass treatments are in view of each other, and relate well.

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I’m still whittling away at the to-do list with my trowel and artist’s brushes. We’re in ‘all hands on deck’ mode at the moment. I’m truly thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate with talented comrades, which varies from project to project…

Sacha Lancia, with her knack for visuals, displays, and accessory placement...

Sasha Lancia, with her knack for visuals, displays, and accessory placement…

David Cortese, expert at window treatment installations...

David Cortese, expert at window treatment installations…

Neil Chowdhury, with an eye for photography, is an ace at artwork placement...

Neil Chowdhury, with an eye for photography, is an ace at artwork placement…

Will share more details and inspiring images from current projects the next time I have a ‘wee hours of the morning’ quiet opportunity to write…

“Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through and be silent.” – Rumi

With great joy,
Heather

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