Pretend Trends = Yes + No
I remember helping a friend to paint faux marble veins on her countertops with a feather. It was the days where decorating shows were obsessed with Venetian plaster, and we all wanted to create colorful Italian walls in our new 1990’s homes; when spackling on random texture was closely rivaled by the irresistible impulse to dab painted sea sponges onto the nearest empty wall. Honestly, we must have all been suffering from bad eyesight, because I think Venetian plaster should stay in Venice, and that sponge painting is far more fun in the bathtub.
Trends are like fashion; some create wonderful memories, and others are truly cringe-worthy, but they all seem like such a great idea at the time.
My least favorite trend is the bad pretend trend; when we want something in our home, and not only does it not suit us and our house, but we opt for the inexpensive version that really looks like the inexpensive version. If we’re going faux (I think I just like saying that) then it should look (and feel) close to what it is supposed to be, or, if it is a glaring imposter (and just begs to be prodded, poked or scraped with a curious fingernail) decorate with it discreetly, and place it in a spot where it doesn’t scream that it is pretending to be something that it isn’t.
I will be the first one to admit that I have linoleum tiles in my kitchen that look like they are slate, but they’re not. Do I love them? No, but the original was white, sprinkled with tiny pink and blue flowers that matched the white wallpaper that also had tiny pink and blue flowers. One of them had to go, and as much as I yearned for slate, or a gorgeous, aged brick, my tendency to drop things and my need for warm toes in the morning, made me choose the faux slate instead. Fortunately, my kitchen is the size of a large postage stamp, so if you are in it you are probably covering most of the floor anyway, and you wouldn’t notice what you were standing on.
One place where I couldn’t do the imitation thing was on my front porch. Again, it is a small space, and I was advised to get it made out of this great new composite material that looks like wood but lasts forever. As my house is basically built out of glue, hope and plywood, I was a little unsure about using such a modern product on it, but I was open minded, and was happy to look at it when the contractor brought over the sample.
From a distance (ie. my neighbor’s living room) if you squinted, it looked exactly like wood, but up close it looked too new and plastic-like for my house. Being something that I would walk by every day, I knew it would bother me; I wanted the reassuring tap of wood, and to be able to screw in a cup hook for my hanging baskets wherever I wanted to. It was a very good imposter, but I could still tell the difference. The contractor did a wonderful job, and the paint has held up for more years than I could have hoped, but it was truly a design choice to go with the real wood, not a practical one.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I think, that when it comes to most things authenticity usually looks (and feels) better…
Photograph from: www.plentyofcolour.com
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