Gina Smith, with Jeff Bell, of FauxFection—Surprise, Arizona has been in the decorative finishes industry for over 12 years after Gina decided to make the switch to the decorative business from a professional dog groomer. It was bittersweet, as she loved owning her own business for 18 years and making canines fresh, clean and happy! But it was time for a change…
In the late 1980s and early 90s, the decorative “faux” industry was starting a great revival in the US. This art form has been around for over 5,000 years and she wanted to jump on the bandwagon! Faux finishing had become extremely popular in home environments, with high-end homes leading the trend. Gina trained under Wanda Timmons from Designer Finishes (Faux Effects® retailer) in Warrensburg, Illinois for three years and learned the beauty and contrast of handcrafted wall finishes. “My training was an essential part of who I am today. I have taken classes from the top instructors of our industry, including Donna Phelps of Sarasota School of Architectural & Faux—Sarasota, Florida and also from Gary Lord of Prismatic Painting—Cincinnati, Ohio, who is world renowned and has written many books, and I am glad to call him my ‘Lord.’” In addition, Barb Skivington of Faux Works—High Point, North Carolina opened her eyes to the world of refinishing furniture and cabinets. “I also teamed up with Georgia King of King Decorating—Monticello, Illinois; she has been in the field for over 40 years and taught me many things from hanging fabrics to hanging wallpaper, but I would rather take the paper down and do a faux finish any day!”
With her growing experience and expertise, it was time for Gina to make a move out on her own. Packing up her things with her fiancé, Jeff Bell, they decided to hit the road and move back to her hometown of Surprise, Arizona to build their own faux and decorative finishing business. “I am now servicing Arizona, because this is where I was born and raised. Got to love the desert!” says Gina. Jeff’s experience of over 30 years as a contractor complements Gina’s finishing talents. It’s a great match personally and professionally. FauxFection has the talent to recreate natural elements, including stone, marble and texture using a variety of Faux Effects® products. They also do straight painting. “We have a large portfolio that will drive designers and dreamers crazy!” explains Gina. “We have finishes that blow the non-Faux Effects® people out of their minds! I love Faux Effects®! We are junkies. We don’t use anything else to create our finishes.”
One of their favorite projects is the Scottsdale home of Billy Peetz, a rancher from Colorado. It has been an ongoing project over the past two years for Gina and Jeff. Billy wanted his vacation residence to look and feel like his/a castle with colors of the Rockies to remind him of his ranch home. He realized that FauxFection also saw his vision and without a doubt, gave Gina and Jeff full reign to make his Arizona home what it is today. “If you can dream it, I can create it! Creating something out of nothing is my specialty,” says Gina, who creates finishes specific to her clients’ styles. “Whether it’s a beautiful Venetian plaster or a simple glaze, we will work with you to make your dreams come to life. Combining Faux Effects® products with the right color choices, I can create anything you can imagine.”
To achieve a unified flow from room to room, many of the walls were treated with a custom finish that became the collective tone of the Arizona castle. The halls and dining room walls were based in a custom SetCoat® color tinted with White, Dark Brown and Golden Sienna FauxCreme Color™. An overglaze of FXThinner™ and Dark Brown FauxCreme Color™ was then applied and activated with denatured alcohol to create a dramatic, yet soft, neutral appearance.
Keeping continuity, the same custom SetCoat® color was used in a guest room, followed by a smooth troweled coat of AquaWax™ and also creating edges with the side of the trowel for a slight texture. From here, AquaCreme™ with Dark Brown and Burnt Sienna FauxCreme Color™ mixtures were applied by chip brush and smoothed out with rubber squeegee.
Since metallic finishes are currently on trend, an additional guest room was treated with black, gold and silver tones. Black Sharkskin™ was used for the base, over which Designer Foil FX™ in gold and silver were applied. To blend the finish, SuperHide Metallic™ Silver was then brushed on with a chip brush for added movement.
Gina and Jeff love using Faux Effects®’ tried and true PlasterTex® and SandStone™ since they are both very versatile and can be used in many design trends. In the master bedroom and third guest bedroom, a base of Off White SetCoat® was first applied, followed by troweled on coats of PlasterTex® and SandStone™. Two glazes were then used, one using FauxCreme® Clear and Dark Brown FauxCreme Color™ and the second mixture tinted with Champagne Mist LusterStone® to give a slight sparkle to the casually elegant finish.
An additional guest bath received a vertical, multi-color treatment; also a very popular designer finish for accent walls. Dark Brown SharkSkin™ was used for the base. Charred Gold, Charred Olive and Frosted Denim LusterStone® were added to Luna™, Faux Effects’® reflective pattern product. These three separate mixtures were applied vertically, and then blended for a soft metallic effect. Just stunning!
Again utilizing Luna™, Gina created a fantastic finish for the fireplace by tinting it with Pale Gold and Rich Gold SuperHide Metallic™. She first applied Dark Brown SharkSkin™ to create the natural resist needed to enhance the movement of Luna™, forming decorative patterns as it is brushed out across the surface. A truly one-of-a-kind finish that is a highlight to the home.
The kitchen and dining room received the same wall treatments for an uninterrupted finish. Applying two coats of Off White SetCoat® ensured a well-sealed base for the next step. Charred Gold LusterStone® and Metallic Bronze Palette Deco™ were troweled on along with Venetian Gem® Tint Base tinted with a small amount of Off White SetCoat®, leaving open areas to create texture and desired movement. A glaze mixture of Natural Cherry Stain & Seal™ and Dark Brown FauxColor™ was then applied for the final touch to complete the stunning desert abode.
FauxFection’s vision utilizing the home’s natural light, dramatic architecture, view and desert setting, along with the choice of Faux Effects® neutral colored and sparkle products makes this Scottsdale castle truly “sparkle!” Gina and Jeff are most definitely a dynamic duo…No wonder why their services are constantly in high demand with raving reviews, and that they have never looked back on their move “back home!”
DECORATIVE ART BY: GINA SMITH & JEFF BELL
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: MASTER DIGITAL
WRITTEN BY: SANDRA TAYLOR
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