Dino Fauci's The Power of Paint

Transforming Your Environment with Color and Specialty Finishes

Do you want to change your environment but have been procrastinating due to fear? Fear of not knowing where to start? Thinking you need to completely remodel? Want to avoid the cost and inconvenience? Are you uncertain how to pick colors and finishes? Need some help? My forthcoming book “The Power of Paint” will help eliminate the reasons that may be preventing you from taking the steps necessary to transform your space. Learn to choose colors, specialty finishes and how to best use them. Understand your architecture, lighting and ways to build upon the positives in your home. This book is not only about color and design… it’s about you!  You will able to get your copy from  amazon.com starting August 1, 2010!


Finishing Fireplace Surrounds

Do you have a fireplace surround or mantle that is… well, just there? Is it because you’re not sure what to do with it? Many just leave it because they feel it’s much to costly to replace it, or maybe do not know what options are available. I have written what you can do about stone or brick fireplace surrounds in an article below.

Wood, concrete and pre-cast plaster is common materials used for surrounds. In the above photos, a tile and wood combination are used. I found the stained finish to be rather lifeless and lacking character. I felt the tile was to bright and also lacking interest. The architecture of the home is old world and these finishes missed the mark in my opinion. I felt a stain/paint combination would work best for the décor. To save on cost, I worked directly on the existing finishes. I made up a darker clear acrylic urethane and applied two coats on the mantle and trim molding. This darkened the finish making it look like a dark stain finish. I primed and painted the body. I them applied an aging wash to add a sense of time to the piece. Now it has much more interest than before.

The tile is a pours stone which accepted an acrylic wash. The wash made reducing acrylic paint with water. My goal was to just lose the Newness and look more Old World. This was very easy to do and as the picture demonstrates… a dramatic transformation.

Another material is Concrete or Pre-Cast Plaster. These can be stained or painted to any type of material that is authentic. What I mean is if your surround is very ornate, chances are it would not be made from granite because this material is very hard and difficult to carve. It would most likely be a softer stone like Limestone. When choosing a finish for your surround, be authentic to the design and also to your décor. Will a Brecca marble really go with you architecture and furnishings? I too often see finishes that do not complement the space. This in my opinion this produces tension in your environment rather than creating harmony.

The surround above is a pre-cast plaster. I was previously painted white. I liked the clean look of white but wanted to make it look authentic as well as add texture. I chose a soft limestone finish. This finish is subtle. It has a “feel” about it rather than a visual statement. I feel this type of finish adds to the space on a subliminal level – meaning it’s felt rather than seen – at least at first. You may notice it later but it doesn’t demand your attention.

So you want attention? Well, here is an example. My client is fond of the Chrysler Building in New York. He commissioned me to paint a canvas of the building to hang over the fireplace. I suggested painting the concrete faux white granite.

My client then came up with the idea of painting a portion of the building onto the fireplace to minimize the look of the opening. The thought was to notice the painting rather than the square black hole in the wall. I hired a friend of my Danny Montes to paint the canvas in his shop and I did the rest on site. We hung the canvas and painted the remaining onto the fireplace. It worked. It’s a bit different, but it works for this space.

For more ideas and specialty finishes, please visit my website at:  http://dinofauci.com

Faux Painted Mosaic Tiles, Aged & Distressed Door and Utilizing Space Effectively

On one of my projects we are transforming what was a modern home, into a European/Traditional home. Just off the kitchen and next to the dining room is a powder room. Leading into the powder room was a small vestibule with lower and upper cabinets on one side. I wasn’t happy with the location of the room being so close to the kitchen and dinning room. The vestibule was not adding value to the home and was actually a poor use of space. Another unfavorable aspect was this room was facing the main staircase. So as you are walking downstairs, you are looking straight into the powder room.

The vestibule had a wide opening with no door or frame. Since moving the powder room was not an option, I decided to place the passage door on the opposite side of the room. Now you would enter the powder room from the very long entryway. This will offer more privacy and eliminate the room being next to the food and dining area.

I came up with using the vestibule area as a bar/wine room. My clients like to entertain and there was no other logical place to have such a room. I wanted this room to be a show piece. It needed to be something special. I wanted to step into this room and have the feeling of stepping back in time. To start, I wanted the door to be an artifact in and of it self. We had a custom arched door and frame made. I also searched for and found antique glass. This glass contains very small imperfections, which adds to the authenticity of the old door. I then carefully distressed the door and frame and applied an aging finish. The door now looks old while retaining a definite sense of elegance.

The interior of the room is small so to create volume we raised the ceiling. Do to the structural limitations; the ceiling was not going to be even on all sides. This posed some finish challenges. I decided I would apply a faux aging effect or possibly a European plaster and then age that. While I was finishing the cabinetry, my clients were on vacation. They called from a restaurant where the ceiling was faux finished with large mosaic tiles. This restaurant was once a Masonic Bath House. They asked if I could do something similar in the new wine room. Of course my answer was YES!

Before we installed the cabinetry, we selected the tile colors from a painting my client is fond of. I wanted to create a particular design but unfortunately due to the small size and uneven shape of the ceiling this wasn’t going to work well. I decided to create a darker medallion at the top surrounding the lighting fixture, and then gradate the colors into a random pattern. As the faux tiles moved closer to the cabinet counter top, I then introduced the same pattern used for the medallion. This created movement while adding strength to the base. Once I was finished, I aged the tiles and grout area to create the illusion of authentic tiles. Everyone that sees this room believes the tiles are real.

The lighting also needed to play into the theme of an old world wine room. We found a low wattage fixture that looks like a candle holder. It doesn’t give off much light so we installed a LED light strip on top of the cabinets. Now we can create a beautiful glow in the room simulating what may be created by a real candle.

The room is equipped with a small wine refrigerator, wine racks and open cabinets with glass shelving. It really is a little jewel. At night this room creates a relaxing experience. As you walk by the room and see the faux tiles with the lighting fixture, you feel like you could be in another place an time. This room adds character while still being in harmony with the overall design. The space was utilized in a way that added beauty and functional value to the home.

For additional information please visit my website at  http://dinofauci.com

To Wallpaper or Not To Wallpaper ?

About thirty years ago I learned how to hang residential wallpaper, fabrics and commercial vinyl wall coverings. I understood the value in commercial applications but always struggled with wallpaper in homes because of all the negative aspects that came along with it. Some of the obvious negatives are visible seams, bubbles, peeling, repairing damaged areas, and the worst is when it comes time to redecorate and you need to remove the wallpaper. This is almost always a difficult and messy job. Many times people try to avoid this by painting over it. I don’t recommend doing this because it creates more problems that it solves.

Aside from these problems, I found many of the patterns to be overstated, or they did not create harmony for the space. I appreciate creating a theme or time period, but aside from that type of application, I often felt many of the patterns to be a distraction rather than adding value. Adding VALUE is a requirement of any design element. Some of the components that make up value in my world are Authenticity (design in context with architecture and other fixtures), Harmony (create balance and compliment rather than distract), Economics ( if cost is a major factor and a poor finish is the result, try something else) and finally, positives should ALWAYS outweigh the negatives.

Years ago I learned the art of decorative painting. It quickly became clear to me that I could offer my clients the “look” of wallpaper, while eliminating all of the negative aspects. When a client called me to install wallpaper, I would suggest a decorative finish, or to recreate the wallpaper they liked using paint. Painting the finish gave us control of color and design while eliminating all of the other difficulties.

So before you decide to use wallpaper, think about a painted finish instead. A painted finish will not only offer a wide range of options, it will be easier to maintain and when it’s time to redecorate…just paint over it.

For more ideas on wall finishes, color and design, please visit my website at: http://dinofauci.com

Painting Your Floors!

Have you ever considered painting your floors? While this may not be for everyone, it certainly can solve many design challenges. Wood floors that can not withstand another sanding can be painted to get more life out of them. Some may cringe at the thought, but if done well, painted wood floors can look very elegant. The most common color to paint a wood floor is black, or charcoal. Various designs painted on top of the solid color, adds specific charm. Depending on your architecture and furnishings, this could be a great option.

What if you have concrete floors? In this case the sky is the limit. You can paint your floors to resemble virtually any type of material. I had a project where the entire space was finished with concrete floors. In the main living area I created a modeled finish to hide patches and other blemishes. See the photos above.

In one of the bedrooms my client wanted Spanish Pavers. The challenge of using real pavers would pose an elevation problem since the entire space was the same level of concrete. I suggested painting the pavers onto the concrete. This way the level of the floor would not be changed. They loved the idea. Everyone that has seen the floor believes it is real.

If you desire marble, this can be achieved as well. I once finished an entire bathroom by faux painting Yellow Sienna Marble on the ceiling, walls, doors and floor.

Concrete floors can be painted to look like wood planking, marble, granite, tile, what ever you can think of and have the capacity to do. If properly prepared, and finished with high-quality top coats, these finishes can last for years with minimal maintenance.

For more ideas on floors and other finishes, please visit my website at: http://dinofauci.com

Keeping it – Real

Keeping it real. This has been a popular saying in recent years. To some this is just a casual quote. In my business it’s a necessity. I believe in authentic and honest design. What does this mean? Regardless of the environment I am creating (fantasy or reality) the design and the finishes have to be authentic. I want the viewer to feel the space rather than see the space. I feel my work is at its best when it goes unnoticed. What? You may be thinking. It’s true. If you view my work and don’t see it, you have accepted it as authentic. You believe it to be honest and you won’t question it. Sure, there are times when I want something to stand out, but I am referring to the overall design.

Here is one example. A few years ago I was hired to paint boulders, tree logs, stumps, and even dirt at Heritage Park in Cerritos. These elements were created from steel and plaster for safety, design control and practical reasons.  Quite often you will see faux rock and not even notice them. Most likely because they are a stand alone item; meaning nothing “real” near by to compare them with. This was not the case with Heritage Park. My work would be sitting right next to the real thing. During the project, the general contractor commented that I was being too picky (I hear that a lot!), and that people will not notice the level of detail I had created. EXCATELY I told him. It’s when they DO notice is when I have failed. The high level of detail is what makes my work authentic. If I had used only an acid stain (which is commonly used) it would be obvious these elements were not real. I had a fixed price contract so they were truly benefiting from my commitment to authenticity.

After the project was completed, I went back to take some pictures. A couple standing next to me; ask what I was taking pictures of? I pointed to my work and said; the real rocks next to the faux rocks. They asked me which rocks were faux?  Even after I pointed out the fake rocks; they couldn’t believe it. My work was confirmed as being authentic. Yes!  So my point to all of this is when you are going to create a finish, or an environment, concentrate on Keeping it – Real.

For additional information on authentic finishes, please visit my website at: http://dinofauci.com

Painting Chairs

Black Chair Before and After BlogDo you have chairs that you’ve grown tired of?  Maybe you like the style but the color or finish is not harmonious with your new decor?  Thinking of getting new?  Before going to that expense, consider transforming what you have. Giving these pieces new life is not as difficult as you might imagine. If the thought of stripping off the old finish has you stuck in your tracks, there is an alternative…paint them. I am certainly not suggesting using a spray can from the hardware store. That almost always looks horrible. I am suggesting being a little more creative with your finish. Think of  using multiple colors, glazes; hand painted or stenciled designs, or there is a wide selection of acrylic metallic paints which really produce amazing results. You may be thinking this will not work for you because you want a stained finish. You can do that too!

Chair & Sample

I once had to match a chair to a desk that was made from burl wood; which you can see in the photo above.  Because the surface area is generally small, your finish does not have to be perfect. You can achieve remarkable results by learning some basic faux wood-grain techniques. You can also save money by shopping stores that sell “unfinished” furniture. In doing so, you can apply any finish you like right from the beginning. Quite often it’s difficult to find just the right color. Paint allows you the freedom do to just about anything you can imagine. Don’t be afraid. Research books and magazines for ideas and get started. You will be happy you did. Trust me.

For more ideas and information on color and specialty finishes, please visit my website at: http://dinofauci.com and be sure to follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/dinofauci and on facebook at http://facebook.com/dinofauci

Dino Fauci

Painting Your Brick Fireplace

Karl's Painted BrickDo you have a brick fireplace? Did you or someone else paint it white, or some other color? Maybe you just don’t like the color of your bricks? Do you think you are stuck with this finish? Do you think you will have to sandblast the paint off , or use chemical removers? All which will damage the bricks and still leave paint behind in the pours of the surface. Well, think again. I have just the solution to restore your bricks back to their original condition, or any condition you desire. How? Paint them. With just a few colors, a small brush and a 3” roller, you can paint realistic bricks. The bricks above were painted using acrylics found in an art supply store. This is not my preference but it was all that was available in the town where this fireplace is located. The good news is, this was painted over five years ago using Artist’s acrylics and it still looks the same. If you look at the hearth, you will see that I incorporated the color of those bricks into the palette. This created a relationship with the hearth while making the composition complete and more realistic.

For additional information on painting bricks and also color and finish design, or to schedule an appointment for your personal color and finish consultation, please visit my website at: www.dinofauci.com

Dino Fauci

Transforming Your Kitchen (without starting over)

Mel's Kitchen B & A 2 Blog

Mel's Kitchen B & A 1 Blog

The cabinets in the above picture are an example of using existing cabinet boxes and configuration. I wanted the cabinets to like pieces of furniture so I designed the wall sections between the cabinets to look like columns. This element changed the existing contemporary design into a European Country design. We changed the doors and drawers and added new moldings.  I painted the details an accent color and then added a soft overall patina to create age. Only one area was rebuilt to install a larger television. I used BeadBoard for the backing.  This created authenticity and supported the “furniture” appearance. We did not change the flooring or the appliances. These cabinets were completely transformed for much less that rebuilding them.

Have you been putting off remodeling your kitchen because of the major expense? Do you think you need to remove everything and start over? Is the thought of making dinner using a microwave in the family room and doing dishes in the bathtub for the next 4 to 6 weeks holding you back? Hold on, I have some ideas that may provide some relief.

Aside from the expense, there are so many things other to consider. The dust, the noise, the strange people in your house everyday, all of this can make even the most adventurous homeowner weak in the knees. It doesn’t have to be that bad. And, it doesn’t have to be that expensive. Unless you are planning on living in your home for a very long time, changing the overall configuration, or your kitchen is so neglected, there’s no other option other than taking everything out and starting over, there are a number of options available that will save you time, money, and keep your “down time” to a minimum.

One of the most expensive items to replace in a kitchen is what I believe to be the focal point; the cabinets. Some may say it’s the commercial grade oversized range but I disagree. The cabinets are the crown jewel of any kitchen. If the cabinets are amazing, everything else is secondary. So even if you need to wait on other items such as countertops, flooring and appliances, you should definitely make your cabinets a show piece. It’s easier than you might think!

Unless you are going to change the overall “layout” (design), and depending on the type of type of material your cabinets are made from, you can transform your existing cabinets in a number of ways.  The amount of possibilities with what you can do with your cabinets is only limited by your imagination. You will be amazed at the dramatic transformation you can make by only improving the finish of your cabinets

Most cabinets are finished three different ways. 1) Stained with either an oil stain (penetrating) or lacquer stain (non-penetrating). And top-coated with either a clear lacquer or clear oil base varnish. 2) Painted with a one of the following coatings; lacquer, aliphatic urethane, oil base, or water base enamels. 3) Some type of laminate material (Most laminates should not be painted).

It’s important to know that you can replace all of your cabinet doors and drawer faces for close to the cost of striping off the existing finish. In doing this, you not only eliminate the horrible task of removing a coating and quite possibly being left with an inferior surface to work with, you also have the liberty of choosing a completely different style. As demonstrated in the above photos.  The only down side to this option is if you have a stained finish, and want to keep a stained finish, you will need to strip the body and face frames. The good news, this is the easiest area to remove the finish as doors and drawers are very difficult and time consuming. The bad news, no bad news, this is really a great option is a stained finish is desired.

Aged cabinet blog

Working with Stained Cabinets: I am frequently asked; “Can I paint my cabinets that have a stained finish?”  The answer is, yes, providing you follow the proper preparation procedures. The cabinets above were previously stained. I properly prepared the surface, primed, painted and aged. Incorporating  the existing finish into my design.

When painting over a previously stained finish, the surface should be thoroughly cleaned by removing any grease and grime with TSP or other cleaners. Once the surface is clean, scuff the entire surface using 150 or 180 grit Silicon Oxide sand paper. This type of sand paper is commonly gray and is designed for sanding “coatings,” as apposed to “Garnett” which is a an orange/tan color and works best with unfinished wood. Make sure to dust and wipe the surface clean. You are now ready to apply the primer. Note: If your cabinets are made of Oak, Ash or another type of deep-grained wood, the grain will always show through the paint unless you first apply some type of grain filler. The one that I prefer is a “Brushing Putty” made by “Fine Paints of Europe.” This is a very thick alkyd primer. Approximately five times the filling ability than that of a standard primer. For more information, visit:  http://www.finepaintsofeurope.com/brushing_putty.aspx Once your surface is prepared properly, you are free to apply any type of painted finish you like.

Another choice is to remove the existing stained finish and apply a different stain color. If this is your choice, I strongly recommend replacing the doors and drawer faces. Removing the stain finish from the body and face frames can be done with chemical strippers, hand scrapers and power sanders. (Note: when sanding the cabinet body sections, these are generally made from a veneer, which is very thin, if sanded excessively, you could easily sand through the thin surface exposing the backing material). Once all the finish is removed, fill any holes and scratches with the appropriate wood filler. Make sure the surface is dust free and you are ready to start staining. There are basically two options for material choices, I say basically because there are others but these are generally used by professionals. These are lacquer stains, pastes and waxes. For most consumers’ oil base stain and water base stains are easily available. Which one should you use is a personal choice. I have used both with great results. Water base stains offer great qualities such as low odor, and easy clean-up. They are a little more difficult to work with because they dry fast. This can result in overlapping (creating blotchy areas). I feel the color is not a rich as oil stain. Oil stains are easier to work with and have a richer luster. However the odor is not very pleasing and you will need adequate ventilation.  You’ll need to clean-up with mineral spirits.  If your cabinets were previously stained with an oil stain, I recommend re-staining with an oil stain. If a lacquer was previously used, you can use oil or water. The reason for this is lacquer stains do not penetrate the grain, they just lay on top of the surface, whereas oil stains penetrate into the grain. With lacquer, the grain is not affected by the previous finish. The condition between your previously lacquered surface and the new wood (assuming new doors and drawers are to be used), will be closer than that of the previously oil stained surface.  If you purchased new doors and drawers, apply the stain to the existing cabinet first. This will give you a true color sample. Use the backside of a drawer to test the color on the new wood. Sometime a color adjustment is needed to match the old to the new. This is usually not a problem, although, I always follow this method because it’s the safest way to start. You don’t want to stain everything, then realize after you’re finished the color is slightly off. Finish off your cabinets with a low-luster high-quality clear-coat.

Armoire copy

If refinishing is something you rather not tackle, you can try an “over-glaze.”  To do this you simply prepare the surface as if you were going to apply another coat of varnish. That’s exactly what you will be doing. Only this varnish will be colored. This is something that will require some level of skill. But the purpose of this is to provide you with options. In the picture above, the Armoire was previously finished with a “whitewash.”  Must have been from the 80’s! My client me asked to match it to their new bedroom furniture; which I did. I saved my client the trouble and expense of stripping this piece by applying an over-glaze. This was finished in place and only took a day and a half  to complete. Stripping and refinishing would have taken approximately four days. Even up close the finish looks as if it was stained. This can also be done to kitchen cabinets or any other piece.

Yorba Linda Bar 1

Another example of an over-glaze is the above cabinets. I was turning this area into an Irish Pub and need to darken the existing cabinetry, wainscot and moldings. Once again, this over-glaze saved my client thousands of dollars on refinishing expense.

Yorba Linda Kitchen Hood

In the photo above, we repainted the cabinets  and then applied an aging glaze. I wanted to give the hood something different. There were some bronze pieces in the room so I decided to use a bronze metallic on the large molding. I then applied a polishing effect to create a more realistic appearance. This finish added additional character and elegance to the space.

If your cabinets are painted, you first need to determine what type of coating was used, then apply the appropriate primer. To easily make this determination, start by using a piece of 180 grit silicon oxide sand paper. (Note: Aliphatic Urethane (2-component) Coatings are typically high-gloss and has an appearance similar to an appliance coating. This coating is difficult to sand. If your sandpaper seems ineffective, chances are you have a aliphatic urethane coating. A special solvent based high stick primer will be required). Otherwise, if after sanding with minimal effort, the existing coating begins to create a soft powder, you most likely have an oil based coating. And if after light sanding, you do not get much dust and you see small pieces of paint on your sandpaper, chance are your coating is water based. If the cabinets are covered with a laminate material, you will see discoloration at the edges. This material tends to look like formic. It doesn’t sand well and is commonly used on flat panel doors. Some of these can be painted although I don’t recommend it. Always test an inconspicuous area for proper adhesion first.

For additional information about color and finish design, or to schedule an appointment for your personal color and finish consultation, please visit my website at: www.dinofauci.com

Dino Fauci

Which Designer is Right for You?

Color design, faux limestone fireplace and faux travertine arches Above Color Design and Finish by Dino Fauci

Are you familiar with the phrase, “You can’t buy taste?”  A person can have the highest level of education, and or the largest bank account and yet, have “zero” in the “taste’ or “style” department. You know the people I’m referring too. Their sense of style is screaming for the fashion police. Unfortunately they just don’t see it. And they may never see it. So, how is this applicable to an article about finding which type of designer is right for you? Two reasons; the first being education (doesn’t mean you have what it takes), and the second is, possessing an innate ability (having the ability to see it).

Almost all designers have some form of education. It can be from a university, an accredited design school, vocational program or even self-taught (that’s still an education). This is where they learn color theory, lighting, design history, building materials, fixtures, fabrics and architectural styles. They also learn practical methods of space planning and representing their ideas through design boards or models.  All of this is wonderful except; one very important component is missing. Something that’s not available in any book or institution. It’s called “Natural” or “Innate Ability.”  If the designer does not have the “innate” ability to design, all the education in the world will not make them an original designer. They can become good “copycat” designer. But the chances of them becoming an “original” designer, is rather slim. What do I mean? They will learn a particular “style” or a “series” of styles and copy them, duplicate over and over. They will define this practice as “Their Style.”  I hear interior designers say quite often, “well, this is my style.” Really? Duplicating something over and over or following what is Trendy is a personal style? Hmmm…That’s magnificent; just as long as your style matches their style. I have seen this situation so many times in my career. I’ll walk into a home or establishment that has been finished by a designer and my first thought is; who lives here? There is nothing about the design that represents either the owners or the architecture. I see a mesh of fixtures, furnishing and color that may work with each other but it says nothing about the owner or the space. It’s been my experience that this is the work of a designer with only “learned” ability. They work from the view point of theory; “this will go with that, and so on and so forth.” The space almost always lacks personality, charm, character and most importantly…authenticity. So in the end, the space represents the designer or trend; not the client or the architecture.

If you are hiring a designer, chances are you not sure how to go about decorating on your own. Many times you will be lead down a path that the designer feels comfortable with. You will end up with something that represents them and not you. You may like it; but it says nothing about you. If your only goal is to make your space look better than what you currently have for the sake of a new design; you might be happy with this type of designer. If you want something more personal, you may want to look a little deeper into the designer pool. How can you tell the difference? What should you look for? Here are a few cases to help substantiate my opinion. I was watching a Designers’ Challenge program on television. The difference from the one “true” designer over the “learned” designers was crystal clear. I could see it in her enthusiasm, approach and also in her final designs. The decisions of the “true” or “innate” designer were coming from “within,” not only from what she had learned in school. She has certainly developed her own style but she was able to use it in a variety of situations that made the spaces feel natural and authentic. While her style may not be for everyone, she’s a true artist. The other designers worked with more of a systematic approach. Their designs looked stiff and very contrived. The designer with natural ability didn’t win the competition but in my opinion she was the only “original” designer on the show. In my forthcoming book currently titled, “The Painted Surface,” I make a statement, “You either see color or you don’t.” You can learn color and design; but it doesn’t make you a designer. This may sound like I am derogating educated only designers; I’m not. I am merely pointing out their differences.  Here is another example. Years ago I went to music school in Los Angeles. I chose this particular school because of its reputation and curriculum. This school offered an accelerated program which provided a complete musical education. I studied harmony, theory, ear training, sight reading, song writing and improvisation along with my various drumming and percussion studies. At the end of my schooling, I acquired the same level of musical knowledge as I would have received from a four year university. Does this education make me a good musician? No! How about a more creative musician? No! It made me an “educated” musician, certainly not a better or more creative one. In fact, I actually feel it originally hampered my creativity. Why? One would think after gaining all this knowledge I would have a plethora of tools to expand upon my art. While this was true in “theory,” it was far from the truth in reality. Why? Because in the beginning, I let my new knowledge suppressed my creativity. What once came freely from my soul (heart) was now being questioned by my head. My education was now getting in my way. All too often in life, our heads get in the way of what we know in our hearts to be true. Ok, this maybe a little deep but it’s true for me. When I listen to some of my earlier recordings, I can hear the difference. While my skill level was in need of growth, my creativity level was quite impressive. I was very much self-taught at that point. My mind was open and out of the way of my heart. I struggled with this as I would over think my playing, rather than listen and trust my instincts. The trick I found is learning how to blend the two qualities together. This principle applies to design as well. I will give you one more example and use music once again to explain. Why music? I truly believe music, interior design and color design are closely related. How? It’s about connection.  Music is a composition and so is design. A song or melody needs to connect with you. Your space also needs to connect in the same way. You identify with a song because you feel the song identifies with you. You may have not thought about it in this way but I believe it to be true. You will feel best in your space, when you feel the space has a connection with you. To achieve this, requires a designer with the ability to listen, go beyond standard principles and create a design that expresses your personality. In most cases, this will require a designer with an innate ability. I have played with many great musicians over the years. Most of them can not write a good original song to save their life. Does this discredit their musical ability? No! Does it mean they are not good musicians? No! It only means they are not good song writers. They may know everything there is to know about music, but if they do not have that special quality inside to create original music, it’s not going to happen. No amount of education will provide this gift to them. There is a chance if they dig deep within themselves they could find it, but again, it certainly will not come from any other source. These people usually make incredible studio musicians, orchestra members, backup band players or they’ll play in a “cover” band; also known as a “copy” band. These bands copy songs by well known artists. This is not to say they can’t write a song, but let’s face it, to write a hit song requires something special. I believe this example also applies to every other profession, art or talent. It’s what makes us all different. An education is not a guarantee you’ll be creative. Sometimes an education isn’t even required. Sir James Paul McCartney is one of the most successful song writers in history. And I believe he did not have a degree in music. What Paul has, along with his writing partner John Lennon, is an innate gift. If what they have was available in school, we all could be just like them.  Maybe you’ve heard this before; “What do you call a medical student that graduated at the bottom of the class? …Doctor.”  A designer may have gone to a prestigious school and carry the credentials from various design organizations, but don’t stop there. You will need to look deeper. In reality, a designer that relies solely on the “theory” of design can only offer what they’ve learned to create a design. It will be created from their head and not their heart; generally not a combination of the two. This style however can work for many situations. Just as a “cover” band is appropriate for some events, an original band is for others. Different audience, have different needs.

When designing a space, I look at the roll of the designer, as a song writer. Their job is to write a personalized song specifically for you. The question is; can they? Do they have the innate ability to create an original song (design) that will best represent you and your space?  Many times, I am able to transform and personalize a space by using only color and specialty finishes. I spend time learning about my client and what’s important to them. I can then utilize and reorganize much of what’s already there. In most cases a complete remodel is not necessary to achieve dramatic results. The ability to listen, visualize, and be sensitive to all the aspect of who you are, along with understanding the space, is necessary to create a truly personalized design.

You either have it or you don’t. You either see color or you don’t. You either hear your client or you don’t. You understand the space or you don’t. If you are considering using an interior designer or color and finish designer to create your space (write your song), there are a few things I recommend you do first. Take some time to truly understand what is important to you. What do you connect with? What makes you happy? What are your design goals? What is your budget? The more introspection you do, the better equipped you are to communicate your desires with a designer. It will also help you during your interview to recognize an original artist from a copy artist.  My point here isn’t to say one is better than the other because both have something valuable to offer. It’s important for you to understand the difference. So you can choose wisely the one that best suits your needs. If you completely understand your goals, and your designer, if your designer understands you, and your goals, the chances for success are far greater.

For additional information about color and finish design, or to schedule an appointment for you personal color and finish consultation, please visit my website at: www.dinofauci.com

Dino Fauci