Artisan of the Month – B. Juliana Leo
The Faux Chateau
Juliana Leo got her first taste of faux finishing three years ago while at a home show in Houston, Texas. She was speaking with two women about the work they were doing with faux finishing and she was intrigued. Ms. Leo reminisces “I asked them if they would hire me to do their grunt work…taping, cleaning, etc. Several weeks later, they hired me, and since they were short-handed, they showed me how to do some textured work on clients’ walls, and I was good at it!” After this experience working with other finishers, she decided to take some classes on her own to hone her skills. She immediately saw the potential for a viable business, and she was hooked.
Six months after she completed her first classes she moved to Virginia. She says the Richmond area is a very mixed market. There are some who seem like they have never heard of faux finishing and then some that know everything. This further fueled her desire to obtain more knowledge for herself and to educate her customers. Six months after moving to Virginia she traveled to Maryland to take more classes. Once she finished that round of classes, she sought out employment in her new area of residence. She explains “eventually, I had to start my own business because of the lack of faux finishing companies in the area. Everyone was too small to hire me, so I had no other recourse but to get myself started.” After only one year in Virginia she began her business, The Faux Chateau, in April of 2008.
Leo loves to work with texturing techniques. Her second job as a faux finisher was for a couple that owns a log home. She added the texture of raised pinecones and pine needles to the walls, and the clients loved it and say they will have her back to do more in the future. The latest addition to her texture repertoire is working with waxes. She loves to experiment on her own walls to get a feeling for the products that she is working with. Her theory is that “knowledge leads to creativity.” She enjoys making techniques her own by manipulating the products that she uses and tweaking techniques to fit the job. Her favorite job ever was a home that she worked on in Houston. She says of the job “her house was over the top in ideas! She had giant diamonds in one room, and seven foot tall zebra stripes in another. The clincher was assisting another artist with painting roses in her foyer.” The beautiful roses Juliana worked on are pictured along with this article. She also enjoys working with different concepts and figuring out different approaches. Her philosophy is “Just keep moving…even when you don’t exactly know what to expect next. Sort of like, when you can’t run, then walk, and if you can’t walk, then crawl, but above all else…just keep moving forward. Eventually you’ll figure it out.” It’s this perseverance and creativity that keeps her clients so happy. Her work has also brought her the recognition of professional organizations. At present she is focusing on creating relationships with local interior design chapters and organizations. She has recently been invited to serve on the board of communications for IFDA (International Furnishings and Design Association).
Juliana’s favorite products within Kathy’s offerings are her waxes. She says of the variety of what is offered on fauxbykathy.com “not too many folks offer the product lines that she does, and I think there is a lot to be said for what she offers.” She learned of the waxes recently when she completed the “You Got Waxed” course through Learn Faux Now, and says that through this course, Kathy “opened a whole new area for me to explore.” She was impressed by the value and convenience of completing the course in her own time. She says of Kathy’s online courses “it’s a great way to explore new products and ideas. I think her ideas are fabulous, and I hope that she will continue this effort.” Juliana hopes to take more courses from Kathy in the next year to continue expanding her knowledge base and portfolio.
B. Juliana Leo can be reached at 804-536-9999 or by email at Juliana@thefauxchateau.com. For more information you may also visit her website www.thefauxchateau.com.