Wall-covering is art form for Morath

KAPA‘A — If you are looking for the most-colorful garage, look no further than Princeville.

Toni Morath has been studying faux-finish techniques for the past 25 years, and, recently, decided to take her skills on the road — literally.

A small red trailer parked in the loading zone of Otsuka’s Furniture & Appliances in Kapa‘a was the only indication that something was taking place inside the store.

Morath and Jason Nann were quietly working on applying primer to one of the store’s walls, in preparation for the final phases of their faux-designer finish.

“It’s all about creating an environment,” Morath said. “People can select the furniture, and we work around their choices to create an ambiance that works together to make a difference in their life.” That brought them to Otsuka’s, where Morath, who does business as “The Picky Painter,” has a catalog displaying her wide array of techniques readily available for interested people to thumb through.

Her 25 years of learning more about a craft that started as a hobby took her to seminars and classes, and to doing a lot of reading.

“And the result of all that is the making of the most-colorful garage,” she laughed as she explained how she would get motivated to try some of the techniques she had just learned.

To further emphasize her commitment to the craft, Morath set out to become licensed in faux finishes, a process that taught her to have a lot of respect for anyone who is certified and operates under licenses.

“I admire all contractors. I know what is involved to get to where they’re at,” she said.

In addition to her specialized faux finishes, Morath adds, “We do basic solid colors, too. You need a good base, and we do that, too.

“It’s all about color-matching,” Morath said. “You need a good eye to create the environment, and part of the service The Picky Painter offers is to make everything work.” This preciseness led her to the name of her business.

The process starts with a home visit, to see how all the different elements come together.

A design plan is created as the first step.

Morath said that, in addition to how she pulled together all the elements that individual customers liked, she can expand on her catalog offerings with actual environments that owners would open doors to.

“Custom always costs more,” Morath said. “But, our prices are moderate, and if you’re doing nurseries, I love babies, so they get the best prices.” Spread out over the expanse of furniture at Otsuka’s, Morath, within the period of a week, has already created several faux-finish pockets where shoppers can see and feel the intermingling of furniture elements with walls.

Many of the faux finishes offered by Morath include textures that add to the overall effect. Her offering spans more than two dozen styles, from aging and antiquing to a complicated raw-silk application that utilizes actual silk threads in the process.

On Tuesday, Morath and Nann were in the process of applying primer to the freshlytextured wall. “Jason is my right hand,” Morath said. “I couldn’t do half of the things I do without his help.” As Morath used a sponge to “soften” the edges on the new texture, Nann followed with a roller and brush to apply the primer, in preparation for the final color and effects.

“There’re all kinds of things in the trailer that we use for the effects,” Morath said. “People can do it themselves, but most people don’t realize how much is involved in the process.

“The whole idea is to enhance and enrich the lifestyle of the whole room,” Morath said. “It’s a dramatic change for the investment.” For more information, people can visit Otsuka’s to see Morath’s catalog, or call her at 826-7569.

Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.

com.

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