Home Made

Thinking about a remodel? Tired of your circa-1985 kitchen? Want to jazz up your walls or have the house all your friends are talking about? We’ve consulted the experts, tracked down the craftspeople, crunched the numbers, and shared our own DIY stories. Ready, set, renovate.

April 2012

The Faux Finisher

Jen Hunt: artist/president, Icing Studios

Walking into a room with a signature wall or ceiling created by Jen Hunt is a bit like stepping into another world. Her artistic specialties as a decorative painter and faux finisher can transform a ho-hum room into a visual masterpiece. Hunt’s repertoire includes surface finishes (for walls, floors, ceilings, and doors) such as European-inspired plasterwork; soft patina glazes for that chic “distressed” look; artist-rendered wood grain and marble; and trompe l’oeil murals (paintings that create the illusion of a 3D space that isn’t really there). Her work can be as elaborate as a textured ceiling-mural or as simple as crown molding. “I really enjoy paradoxical projects,” Hunt says, “in which the designer or homeowner demands a very specific feel, and yet they don’t know what that is. Or when a wall must capture the vibrant color palette seen in accents without competing with the surrounding elements.”

Hunt’s faux-finishing experience stretches back 14 years. Before that, she put her graphic design background to use in the advertising field—but quickly realized it wasn’t a good fit. “I struggled to perform in a creative industry that required me to sit at the same desk, in the same building, and park in the same parking spot,” she says. “I was drawn to the physical challenge of climbing ladders and scaffolding.”

Hunt began muraling and was eventually drawn to Denver for its mix of high-end residential clients and unstuffy vibe; she opened Icing Studios in 2006. Her unique skills have even snagged her a celebrity client or two: Four years ago, she was hired by Siegfried and Roy’s Denver-based interior designer to work on their mansion in Las Vegas. She covered an entire wall in faux ostrich finish and placed a silver leaf design with patina glaze on an octagonal chapel ceiling.

Over the top? Perhaps. But Hunt hasn’t let her practical side escape her. “If I know a client is going to sell a home, I’ll have a conversation and ask, ‘Do you really want to do your dining room in red?’ ”

Typical client: Hunt works mostly in homes worth more than $1 million, in areas such as Cherry Hills, Bonnie Brae, and Castle Pines.

Price range: Varies by square footage for faux finishing and by scope for muraling.

More info: icingstudios.com