Faux Finishing the Facade

Ta-da!!  A paint finish has been approved for the facade!  We have decided to proceed with a distressed look with an off-white as the main color.  The secondary colors will be a mossy green and a burnt sienna red.  First applied is the the red, second the green, and third the off-white.  The red and green paints are in a matte sheen because the flatter the color, the easier the next coat of paint will stick.  Have you ever wondered why primer is in a flat matte sheen?  There is your answer.  The off-white is in a semi-gloss because the glossier the paint, the more durable it is.  Glossy paints also have more depth and are easily cleanable.  I rarely use a hi-gloss in my designs.  There are some projects in which a hi-gloss paint would be appropriate (some furniture can look very beautiful in a hi-gloss paint).  I find that it has a very plastic appearance and with mill work I like to stick with a semi-gloss.  With a semi-gloss you get the durability and washability without the plastic look.

Once all the paints are applied I use a combination of sanding (by hand with 180 grit as well as with an orbital sander) and denatured alcohol on a cotton rag to rub back the top coat of paint and reveal the paints underneath.  (CAUTION!!!  Make sure to wear proper chemical resistant gloves and goggles when handling denatured alcohol.  Please make sure to fully understand how to safely use and discard of the above chemical before handling.)  This will give the appearance of wear and tear as though the facade was original to the building.  When utilizing this technique make sure to distress the paint the heaviest where it would naturally wear,  high points, corners, and areas that would be touched often (for example: around doorknobs, locks and close to the floor).  Also make sure to distress in an uneven manner.  The more inconsistent the finish, the more natural it will appear.

After the distressing is finished I will mix together an acrylic burnt sienna and raw umber together with a glaze and apply it using a paint brush and roller and will use a damp rag to manipulate the surface.  This custom glaze will give the paint an even older appearance as well as more depth.

Below is the approved sample leaning against the primed facade.
Tomorrow the painting begins......check back soon for the finished results!


Elevation 2

Below is the elevation rendering and updated plan for the wall with the kitchen and bar.  The bar will be fitted with a Carrera marble which will extend to the kitchen serving window.  The base of the bar and kitchen wall will be made of wood, chicken wire glass.  The wood will be painted and distressed.  The cabinets and cubbies at the top of the kitchen wall will display and store wines, decorative glasses and olive oils.  Below the cubbies is a swinging gate allowing access to the staircase and kitchen.  A track will be placed above the bar fitted with hooks that will allow for the display of cured meats and cheeses.  A shelving system behind the bar will hold breads and wines.

Design and Psychology

This week the old facade was replaced giving the space a much needed face lift.  Where as before the face of the building looked very cold and commercial, now it reads as a very welcoming space.  Since the new facade has been erected, people have started to stop and ask "when will the restaurant be open".  People are very sensitive to the atmospherics of a space which is the basis for environmental psychology.  Environmental psychology is based on a stimulus-organism-response (SOR) perspective (Mehrabian and Russell, 1974). Stimuli from the environment give rise to primary emotional responses in people. These primary emotional responses then give rise to behavioral responses.  Behavioral responses are classified as either approach or avoidance.  And obviously the goal is to design a facade that will welcome.  By adding the casement and awning windows along the full length of the facade I believe we have succeeded in turning this facade into an inviting space.  Next week we will be choosing a color for the exterior millwork.  Maybe a blue-green?



The restaurant will be designed to appear as if it has been there for 100 years.  I will be applying decorative paint techniques that give an aged appearance to all architectural elements and furniture in the space.  For the walls I have proposed a very soft creamy tone on tone technique that is applied in a way to resemble an aged plaster (sample on left).  The ceiling will be painted using the same technique but in a lighter value.  Both surfaces are finished with a tinted varnish which adds the aged appearance.  The floor will be stained in a Jacobean color (sample in middle).  This is one of my favorite stain colors because of its neutrality.  Its hue and value compliment most colors.  The furniture will be distressed in variations of the sample on the right utilizing blues, greens and off whites finished with a tinted varnish.

History of the Oven

As promised I have taken a photo of the coal-fired masonry oven located in the basement of Verde restaurant.  The oven dates back to 1910 and was originally used to cook pizza which sold for 25 cents a pie.  After the pizza restaurant was closed the oven was walled up and hidden for decades until recently when it was discovered during renovations.  The picture of the oven is deceiving.  Although the opening may seem small, the interior of the oven is enormous fitting dozens of pizzas at one time.  Coal burning ovens can reach temperatures as high as 960 degrees cooking pizzas in three minutes.  The hotter the oven the more moisture it draws out leaving a perfectly crisp pizza with a slight smokey flavor.  As stated in a previous posting, coal burning ovens are now illegal to build in New York City, however if it is an already existing structure it can still be used which makes this oven an amazing find.


Preliminary Designs

Charlie Verde, the owner of the soon to be Verde Restaurant, would like to create a space indicative of an old traditional Sicilian kitchen that has seen many generations of gatherings and cooking.  Below are my preliminary designs of the restaurant.

A bench will run alongside the brick wall with distressed tables and mismatched antique chairs.  On the brick wall will be hung vintage black and white family photos and chandeliers will be hung over the dining tables.

On the accent wall I am proposing an antiqued plaster decorative paint finish with an Italian Renaissance painting in an antiqued frame and sconces on either side.  The ceiling will also be an antiqued finish utilizing two different cream colors and a tinted varnish and the floor will be stained a very dark brown.

The bar and kitchen facade will be constructed of painted and distressed wood, carrera marble counter top and seeded chicken wire glass.  Details of the bar area will come soon.....



There is a very limited budget for the construction and design of the restaurant so we are being as crafty as possible to keep the spending down to a minimum.  Today Charlie and I visited a building that was in the process of being gutted.  Everything in that house dated back to the late 1800's so we salvaged as much as we could from it.  Solid wood doors, decorative millwork, window weights, a stone fireplace with cast iron cover, exterior iron fence and even a fig tree outside (score!).  We are still trying for the front door pictured below.  This would be the perfect entry door for the restaurant.