Gold Leaf Onlay Adds the Perfect Touch to Beautiful Living Space
We recently received some amazing photos from Jeff S of Georgia. Jeff purchased one of Osborne’s Swirl Large Appliques in Soft Maple (Part #7323). Jeff decided to add gold leafing to the onlay to create the perfect addition to the room he has designed. Let’s allow Jeff to tell us about this fascinating project:
“I live in a two-story condo that was carved out of a large Midtown Atlanta house built around 1912. Due to the configuration caused by the division of the house into condos, my unit feels a bit like a townhome — considerably deeper than it is wide. At the same time, it has a very Southern feel, with high ceilings, crown moldings, fireplaces, and a deep front porch. For this reason, I think it has a bit of a New Orleans feeling at the outset.
Building on the feeling already present in the architecture of the space, I painted the walls red and put up heavy draperies, wrought iron and crystal chandeliers, as well a series of gold framed mirrors. However, there was an area above the front French doors that was quite vacant in comparison to the rest of the front room. I had the idea to put a gilded overdoor carving in that area, but French antique overdoors cost thousands of dollars, so using one of those was out of the question. After considering and rejecting a lot of options (resin, plaster castings, etc.), I found your website and decided that the large scroll onlay might work well for this purpose. At 2/3 the width of the total doorframe, the size seemed about right. (It is said that ornaments like this need some “breathing space.”) The design felt like the right choice too, plausibly French-influenced, but not in an overwrought way. I also thought the oak leaf motif also paired well with a large oak tree just outside the front door.
The gold leafing process itself took a couple of evenings. I decided to use the real thing (23k) and apply it the traditional way. This means using a coat of red primer, followed by an application of a thin coating of adhesive. When the adhesive becomes tacky, the gold leaf, which comes in three-inch squares, is applied piece by piece. The leaf is very delicate, and it inevitably breaks, leaving places where reapplication is required. Then, upon drying, the loose overlapping pieces are brushed away (called “burnishing”) leaving a smooth golden surface. Nothing looks quite like the luster of real gold leaf, and it does not need any protective coating when used indoors.
Though the look of gold leaf is not to everyone’s taste or appropriate for every interior style, I think it is just the perfect touch here, and I’m delighted that I finally found the right carving to use for this project. Being able to say that it was hand carved from maple is much nicer than having something that came from a mold or bought at the local hardware store.”
Thank you for sharing Jeff! Enjoy the beautiful room!