Friday, January 06, 2017


It's amazing but true: it's possible to create a house where about a third or a fourth of the elements are fake. By that I mean fake landscaping...including fake trees, grass and hedges..., fake porch, fake fireplace, fake gables and dormers, fake windows, fake bookshelves, fake floors and ceilings, fake name it. 

This practice is so common now that what I have to say about it will hardly raise an eyebrow in some quarters, but it still surprises me, so I'll talk about it here.  

I started thinking about this when I researched stone fireplaces on the net. I found the ads for fakes almost outnumbered the ads for real ones.

Geez, those fake fireplaces (above) looked so real. I'll bet even the wooden mantle is fake. Some fake rocks are cut veneers of genuine rock...some are cardboard and plaster.

That's because real stone walls require a skilled stone mason. Real stone walls...with potato-shaped stones... are made of irregular- shaped rocks and are supported by nothing but gravity. The mortar's there just to keep the weather and bugs out. It requires someone with a good eye to make a wall like that.

To build it a mason will bring in three times more rocks than he'll actually use, because filling in each new spot requires just the right shape to fit. Even that will have to be chipped with a pick axe to get a snug fit.

The best stones usually have a relatively flat side and that allows the mason to make roughly linear rows. They have a flat side because they were probably sheared off something bigger by earth quakes or erosion. If the mason can't find a flat enough stone he'll throw in a man-made brick.

Believe it or not, few people ever notice.

But faux fireplaces are just the beginning. There's faux ceiling beams, faux floors, faux dormers, faux eaves, faux gables, faux windows....wait a minute, I need some pictures here.

Here's (above) a 5 meter high faux fig tree with silk leaves. The price? I don't know about this particular tree but things like this generally go for anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 depending on wether or not they're used to disguise phone towers. 

Here's a faux aluminum balcony, but if that's too pricey then get a plastic one instead. Just don't lean on it.

Here's the cheapest faux dormer I could find (no, it's not mine). When it's finished it won't connect to a real bedroom or attic, or contain a real window.

Last but not least, here's (above) a fake bookshelf. Appalling, eh? But maybe not.  After I saw the next picture below I almost warmed to the idea...well, sort of.

And here's (above) the reason...putting a fake bookshelf on an ordinary bedroom door turns that room into...A SECRET ROOM! Yeah!  Something right out of the 30s horror films!


Stephen Worth said...

Did you notice the fake fireplace covered over with a kitchen counter in the cozy kitchen photo in your last post?

nodnarB said...

How about those random faux drawers in kitchens!? Those things drive me crazy.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Nodnar: Faux drawers? Yikes! I haven't noticed that. I have noticed that what appears to be two small drawers can sometimes turn out to be one big one.

Steve: I don't see it. I'll take another look later on.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Steve: Okay, I see the stove hood now. It's to the left of the door. I wonder if it's a real. It seems too flat ever to have been a functional chimney.

kurtwil said...

In our neighborhood, many of hour houses have fake dormers, including two dormers fitted with sealed windows. Light entering the windows goes nowhere save bouncing around inside the dormer, and there is no way to clean their insides!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Kurt: Yikes! I never thought about the impossibilty of cleaning them!