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Marble Faux Finish on Slate Fire Surround

This marble faux finish painting project was in the dining room of private house in Thurlstone, near Sheffield. The house had many original features including this Victorian slate fireplace. The fireplace had been painted and re-painted over the years but originally it was decorated with painted marble effect, something that was very popular in Victorian times.

Having seen one of the previous fireplaces I had painted, the clients loved the idea of painting theirs in similar green, grey colours whilst adding a contrast colour for the panels. After masking everything off and cleaning and sanding the fireplace once more, I applied a specialist high adhesion primer, followed by another oil-based primer and two coats of black oil eggshell. This gave me the perfect non-porous base I need to create my marble paint effects. The clients had spent hours cleaning and sanding off all the many layers of paint ready for me to do some final preparation and then the faux finish painting.

As you can see from the pictures, there were quite a few stages involved, with the main body of the surround and the panels being done separately. The panels were done in a different colour and with a slightly different ‘tighter’ marble effect which not only made them more of a feature but also complimented the colours in the wallpaper.

I have spent over 20 years honing my faux marbling technique and concentrate just as much on the background as the veining. Most real marble doesn’t just have a flat background, it has patterns, a myriad of colours and above all else, depth. The way in which I paint marble to build up transparent layers of colour, creating a pattern of shapes and textures that have depth and look as real as possible. Once the background is created, only then do I add the veining; an important part of the effect but not the only thing that characterises real marble.

With the marble effect completed, I applied two coats of oil-based varnish, which would give the surround ample protection once the fireplace was in use. Finally, I added some silver line detailing to frame each of the panels and brushed silver paint over the embossed ‘makers name’ on the central panel. The whole project took nearly two weeks to complete, with all the various stages and drying times required, but it was well worth the commute. I love painting faux marble and the clients were really happy with the results.

Based in Yorkshire, Lee works as a faux finish painter throughout the UK and is within easy reach for faux marble painting projects in Harrogate, Leeds, York, Wetherby, Otley, Ilkley, Ripon, Skipton, Wakefield, Halifax, Doncaster, Pontefract and all the surrounding areas.

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