Doug Childers/Homes Correspondent
Kitchen renovations are among the most common home improvement projects. Painting cabinets with a gloss lacquer finish is not. Avery Sefcik, a Richmond-based interior designer, just finished doing it in his own kitchen, and he’s the first to admit it’s a challenge.
“It’s tricky,” he said.
The process is slow, to begin with. Sefcik began the extensive remodeling of the kitchen in the Fan District home he owns with his partner, Andrew Finnan, in November, and a team of painters were still putting the finishing touches on the red lacquer cabinets in the pantry. eating butler in early June.
Moreover, it is an acquired skill.
“You need to have a light touch and not press the brush too hard against the surface,” Sefcik said. “The paint should almost melt from the brush.”
Then there is the weather.
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“Humidity can slow paint drying and give the finish a texture that resembles alligator scales,” Sefcik said. “If that happens, you have to sand it down and repaint it.”
This happened when the Sefcik team painted the walls and ceiling of their dining room in a stunning peacock blue lacquer finish a few summers ago. A three-week project ended up taking three months.
Even when the process goes well, historic homes like Sefcik and Finnan’s – theirs was built in 1908 – require extensive prep work to ensure the plastered wall or ceiling is as flat as possible to get that mirror shine.
The added hassle is worth it, though.
“It’s a great ending,” Sefcik said. “We love to entertain, and when we turn on the chandelier in the dining room, the walls and ceiling glisten like a swimming pool.”
Sefcik and Finnan bought the house in 2014, the same year Sefcik started Avery Frank Designs, a full-service interior design firm. Since then, he has treated the home as an experiment, of sorts, sometimes pursuing ideas that his clients might find too difficult on a practical or aesthetic level.
“If I have to make a mistake, I want it to be here and not in a client’s house,” he said with a laugh.
The house is also a showroom: if your designer can do it and make it look so good, why shouldn’t you follow his example?
A client decided to hang custom Gracie wallpaper in his dining room after seeing pictures of it in Sefcik’s second living room, for example. And several clients have incorporated lacquer-painted walls into their designs after seeing it in Sefcik’s home.
Sefcik does not limit its experiments to wall treatments. He furnished the home with an eclectic mix of vintage and bespoke pieces, with a strong focus on European designers and artists. The Art Deco style is also well represented in a variety of lighting fixtures.
Some of the rooms – like the piano in the front living room, a gift from Sefcik’s mother – are permanent installations. Others turn, while Sefcik discovers new pieces. It’s an ongoing process, and Sefcik said he wasn’t particularly interested in seeing the “finished” house.
“I like to constantly try new colors, new fabrics and new furniture, so it will always be necessary to adjust,” said Sefcik. “However, after the kitchen, then the main bathroom, most things will be pretty minor tweaks here and there.”
Throughout the renovations, tweaks and tweaks, Sefcik has focused on rich colors and sophisticated, high quality finishes and furnishings. And that’s something he also encourages with his clients.
“I’m not afraid of a rich or dark color,” he said. “I tell customers, ‘When you travel or see a beautiful hotel online, why would not you want your house to look like this? Why make it blend into everyone else’s when you can make it rich and unique? »
Editor’s Note: This is the first episode of an occasional series, “Interior Designers at Home”.