What the Pros Know Faux Bois on Capella Kincheloe Interior Design Phoenix

1. Kevin O'Brien Woodgrain Jacquard 2. Global Views Faux Bois Dining Table 3. Martha Stewart Layered Faux Bois Area Rug 4. Duralee Chun in Charcoal 5. Ross Sveback Dinnerware 6. Oly Studio Faux Bois Floor Lamp

PRONOUNCE: foe bwah

WHAT: In French, faux bois, literally mean false wood.  Items can be made to look like wood as in the lamp and table above or could be printed with a wood grain pattern.

HISTORY:  Not too long ago, a French gardener by the name of Joseph Monier created something called ferrocement or reinforced concrete.  Using concrete, sand and metal rods Monier could construct a relatively strong structure with layers of concrete that were much thinner than the usual at the time.  In 1875 Monier made the first bridge out of reinforced concrete and sculpted that concrete to look like…you guessed it: wood!  But it wouldn't be proper to mention faux bois without also mentioning trompe l'oeil, which is the art of creating an optical illusion and making a two-dimensional object appear that it has three and is real.  Trompe l'oeil means "to fool the eye" in French and has been around for centuries.  I would speculate at some point someone decided to paint an object so that it appeared to be wood, but was in fact, not wood, long before Monier crafted his concrete.  So while the term faux bois can refer to both the printing and sculpting of something to make it look like wood the techniques have different origins.

USES:  Faux bois is widely used now for textiles and wallpaper -- things that can be printed, rather than the sculpted materials from which it originated.  Faux bois can be used to give depth to a two-dimensional surface and can act in place of an animal print.  It's a hint at nature and not as trendy as say, chevron.

This is part of a series I contributed to La Dolce Vita, don't miss my latest installment and previous posts: Chintz & Cloisonné.

How would you most likely use faux bois?  Wallpaper, furniture, an entire sofa?


what the pros know cloisonne on capella kincheloe interior design phoenix

1.Ruby Lane  2.Elite Auction 3.Elite Auction 4. Met Museum 5. Elite Auction

Pronounce Cloy-son-ne

What: Intricate metalwork filled with different colored enamel.

History: Leave it to the ancient people of what is now Egypt, Syria & Turkey to create such beautiful and intricate works of art.  First thin wires or strips of metal are adhered to the metal vessel (lamp, bowl, bead, bracelet, etc) creating compartments.  These compartments are then filled in with different colored enamel and occasionally gems, stone, or glass.  This art eventually spread to China and Europe.

To be true cloisonné, the technique must be as described above and not painted on (Canton enamel) or in which the vessel has recesses made that are filled in with enamel (champlevé enamel).  As cloisons translates to compartments in French.

The price of a cloisonné piece can vary greatly and depends on the metal used for the body and the detail, size, and age of the piece.

What the Pros Know: As you can see from the images below, cloisonné can fit in a wide range of styles and decor.  Cloisonné will add a ton of color, but still gives a nod to the traditional arts.   A single lamp or bowl can make a nice impact in a room and fits in many different styles from modern to traditional and everywhere in between.

  • Hillary Thomas photo by Patrick Cline
  • Cloisonne lamp on side table photo by Rikki Snyder
  • Cloisonne lamp on side table Home of Frederic Fekkai featured in Elle Decor Oct 2010 photo by William Abranowicz
  • cloisonné bowl on table decoration by Michael Smith photo by Francois Halard
*This post originally appeared on La Dolce Vita Blog, I am continuing my contributor series there today by delving into the tree of life.  Check it out. 


I am thrilled to be a part of the new La Dolce Vita contributor team.  About every six weeks you'll see me over there talking about a single design element that helps create a room.  I'll talk about the history and how to incorporate it into your home right now. In my first post I spoke about Cloisonne, the intricate enamelwork.  Today's post is all about Chintz.  Click here to read the full post.  I'd love to hear your comments!  You can view the complete series here: Design by the Details

Design by the Details Cloisonne by Capella Kincheloe Design by the Details chintz by Capella Kincheloe Interior Design