Jennifer Allwood has the magic touch and with it she is helping “pretty-up” houses all over the Northland, including the one she shares with her husband Jason and their three children, Noah, Easton and Ava.
Allwood has owned The Magic Brush, Inc., her faux-finishing company for 11 years now, but she didn’t always see painting as her future career. Allwood was inspired to decorate her own home after visiting the Home Show at Bartle Hall and decided to sign up for a weekend faux finishing class. She was soon smitten with the potential of painting for a living.“
I told my husband, ‘I know I’m getting my computer degree next month…but I think I want to start a painting company,’” Allwood says. “Thank goodness I have the most loyal, amazing husband ever because he said OK.”
Each room in Allwood’s large Northland home is brimming with examples of faux finishings offered by the Magic Brush team. Allwood’s experience in faux finishing new construction homes has allowed her to find potential in stark white walls, and her strategies for updating existing houses can be found throughout her own home.
The entryway into the Allwood home is warm and inviting and echoes the feeling of a model home decorated to the nines. The main floor is bathed in dark, rich tones and textures.
“The finish that is in my kitchen and living room is one of my favorites. It is a sandstone and PlasterTex product, and that’s by a company called Faux Effects. And one of the reasons I selected this is because it has ground up walnut shells in it, it’s extremely durable,” Allwood says.
With three children under the age of 10, and with the family looking to adopt a fourth, the Tuscan inspired walls can never be too durable. The same long-lasting character can be found in the kitchen cabinets, which, despite being finished eight years ago, continue to hold up to constant wear and tear.
The walls of the formal dining space sport a harlequin diamond pattern made of torn paper faux finished with Lusterstone and separated by tacks. The technique mirrors an aged tufted leather chair.
“These are upholstery tacks like what you would see in a chair and they hide all the corners,” Allwood says, “and [the diamonds are] literally just paper sacks.”
Allwood doesn’t limit her creative touch to her walls; she also enjoys rehabbing garage sale furniture. One of which, a tall cabinet, now wears a crackle finish.
“I love making things pretty, I really do, I love feeling good in my house and so I love helping others to feel good in their homes,” Allwood says. Part of making herself and her customers happy is making their spaces personal. Her main floor bath reflects this with a Venetian plaster imprinted with a variety of leaves.
“We gather real leaves…and some of these leaves are special, this is a plant off of my grandfather’s funeral arrangement, these are out of a cousin’s back yard,” Allwood explained. “We press these in while the plaster is wet and then peel them off and glaze everything.”
The special touches don’t stop there; the ceiling of the Allwood’s master suite is adorned with a bronzed tissue paper finish, that’s right, tissue paper. “I’m so impressed that there are people that think of things like that, I learned how to do this at school,” Allwood says, “but somebody actually thought about it. I think those people are geniuses.”
Just down the hall the three smallest Allwoods aren’t left out. In fact, the fantasy pink getaway that is Ava’s room has even been featured in Kansas City Home and Gardens magazine.
And like many others, Allwood is ready to switch things up again in many of the rooms in her home. So where does she get ideas? “I love to look at magazines and walk through the Parade of Homes and get other ideas,” Allwood says. “Seeing what’s out there in new construction really kind of sets the tone for what other people are going to be doing in their homes.”
If you’re ready to perk up your walls, cabinets or that special piece of furniture, Allwood and her team offer many options, including a color consultation, as well as all the techniques Allwood uses in her own home.
Allwood blogs about current projects she and her team are working on, as well as things happening in her own life. The blog gives future customers the opportunity to not only see examples of the work done by the Magic Brush, but get to know Allwood as well.
“My business really centers around pictures and textures. It’s a very visual business and most of my clients are very visual people. They perhaps don’t know exactly what they want their house to look like, but they can look at my website and say ‘I like that.’” NL
To see examples of Allwood’s work visit TheMagicBrushInc.com or check out her blog at TheMagicBrushInc.Blogspot.com.