What a great day! We met up with friend and Lincoln Cottage senior preservationist, Jeff Larry, to talk about our experience while hand painting the faux bois woodgraining for the preservation of Lincoln Cottage. He’s writing a story about all the different groups that worked on this home that are family owned businesses. Billet Collins is part of an elite group! Check out the Lincoln Cottage Newsletter via their website, here.
We got to come back and take a peek at our faux bois finish on the doors and trim. Can’t you just imagine President Lincoln walking up these stairs?
Billet Collins was called in to help with the renovation of Lincoln Cottage about 10 years ago. Originally much of the home had decorative painting on it. We worked with the National Trust for Historic Preservation who found that the woodwork had a whimsical fantasy faux bois finish. In the time of Lincoln’s Cottage in the 1800’s it was a common technique to paint wood with an exaggerated woodgrain of more elegant woods like quarter sawn oak.
We pulled out a few of the tools we used in this photo. See that interesting looking brayer? It’s actually a check graining roller. You hold a wet brush against the wheels with one hand as you roll it over the woodgrain with the other, usually as a second or third step in the woodgraining process. It’s perfect for oak.
A cute photo of Amy and Barbara standing in front of one of the doors. Barbara is holding a softening brush (a little worse for wear) made from badger hair. [About Billet Collins]
A few more photos of the doors and trim. We used oil based products for this job for a little historical character. Many years ago we took a woodgraining course in Clitheroe England with famed wood grain artist, Bill Holgate. We usually go back to oil products when we paint a faux bois as a small tribute to him.
The Difference Between Faux Bois and Trompe L’oeil
Maybe you’ve noticed that I use faux bois and woodgrain interchangeably here. Faux bois is French for “false wood” and means pretty much the same thing. Just sounds a little prettier! Jeff asked me what the difference is between faux bois and trompe l’oeil.
Trompe L’oeil (according to Websters Dictionary)
1: a style of painting in which objects are depicted with photographically realistic detail; also: the use of similar technique in interior decorating
2: a trompe l’oeil painting or effect
3: something that misleads or deceives the senses : illusionWebster’s Dictionary
Faux Bois (not in Websters)
Faux is French for imitation, and Bois is French for wood.
So, similar idea. Faux bois is more specific to wood however.
Jeff Larry, Senior Preservationist
Here’s senior preservationist, Jeff Larry. He’s a great writer. Here is a quote from his newsletter. He’s writing about the different companies that worked on Lincoln Cottage that are family owned businesses:
“We hold on to all of these people because they have proven time and again their commitment to quality and passion for their work. They acknowledge that connection to the past and embrace the intangible thing that spans the generations. As I spoke with each of them something else became clear. This was not just another job. They truly appreciate the opportunity to have contributed to the Cottage’s restoration and ongoing preservation. They get what we do here. And so, it could be said, we hold onto these people because they hold onto us.”Jeff Larry, Historic Preservationist, President Lincoln’s Cottage
More About President Lincoln’s Cottage
Outside shot of Lincoln Cottage on an overcast day. Worth the visit! Their big fundraiser is in May, Bourbon and Bluegrass. Lincoln Cottage is located at 140 Rock Creek Church Road NW, Washington DC 20011. Go to their website for more information. http://www.lincolncottage.org/