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"As Luck Would Have It" - Early November 2008 Update

Working on Canvas SJM Rice Ceiling SJM This month I was lucky enough to get a nice writeup in South Jersey Magazine.  I tell my friends the propaganda will be difficult to live up to.  They included these two photos in the layout and on the continuation you may read it for yourself.  Thanks to Barbara Omert and Nancy Rice for offering to be interviewed by Lorraine Gennaro and speaking well of me.

Also this fall, David Stimmel of the Stimmel Design Group, Inc., of Ambler, PA, included my name in an article of KITCHENS magazine.  I include below two pages (scanned) from the article about the kitchen in question where I grained doors and windows to match the cherry cabinets. (My work is not shown, however.)

As Luck Would Have It
…From the pages of South Jersey Magazine…

Exquisite painting and faux finishing by a Wenonah artist grace many of the area’s most luxurious homes.

Muralist Hugh Luck’s name epitomizes the respect, prestige and quality commonly ascribed to luxury brands such as Rolls Royce and Tiffany. Want proof? The next time your are searching for a million dollar-plus mansion in one of South Jersey’s omnipresent neighborhoods, don’t be surprised if the realtor underscores an accoutrement and mentions the interior’s murals by Luck.

As far back as ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece, people of means hired skilled artisans to beautify their abodes. Harkening back to times of yore, trends have come full circle, as they so often do.

KITCHENS Magazine 1 "Now it’s become more fashionable to have highly detailed ornamental aesthetics in a house. People stay at home more and they want to have beautiful things around them," Hugh Luck, a decorative painter and owner of Pine Street Studios Inc., in Wenonah, said. The artist paints everything from ceilings to murals, and even furniture in the realistic manner and trompe l’oeil. "Trompe l’oeil is French for ‘trick of the eye’. You’re painting something that appears to be there that isn’t really there. It can be anything from a beam to a bookcase."

Luck also specializes in architectural faux finishes like wood graining, marbling and gilding with training he received at the Finishing School formerly in Great Neck, N.Y., under the original faux finish master Ina Brousseau Marx.

Word of mouth accounts for about half of his business, with referrals from interior designers and contractors comprising the remainder. The bulk of his clients are in Moorestown, Haddonfield, Voorhees, Manhattan, the Hamptons, Long Island and Pennsylvania.

Two decades ago, Luck did all the faux finishing and sky ceilings at The Mansion on Main Street in Voorhees. He, along with designer Arnie Liguori, is presently embellishing the eight-pillared, terraced, Southern Georgian Colonial Moorestown home of Ed and Barbara Omert. Last month, he completed a dreamy faux conservatory in their master bedroom, where a tray ceiling features arched molding with antiqued 23 kt. gold leaves in the upper part of the crown molding.

With its blue sky, clouds, birds, butterflies, flowers and vines, the effect is a spectacular sky view. "How I describe it to most people is Hugh made it look so beautiful it’s like waking up every morning to a sunlit sky," Barbara said. The Omerts had one rather unusual request for Luck, and that was to incorporate their two late Westies, Bentley and Mary. Luck gave the latter angel wings—as if the beloved pet was ascending to the heavens, and the former is full-size and perched over a balcony. For the couple that breeds and raises Westies, it was very important to pay homage to the two canines that had passed on. Currently, Luck is finishing two floral still life canvas murals with urns for the Omerts’ two-level foyer with grand winding staircase and chandelier. "They’re going to look like two windows looking outside," Barbara said.

KITCHENS Magazine 2 After the holidays, the painter will commence work on the dining room ceiling, which will incorporate that room’s cherub motif.

Aside from aesthetically pleasing, Luck’s decorative painting often solves design problems—like those in the Wenonah Victorian of Jack and Nancy Rice. The couple wanted something that would cover up water damage to the drywall ceiling in their great room—a common space connecting their kitchen, dining and family room—so the artist came up with a coffered beam ceiling. "That ceiling was stained and clear coated once prior to installation by the fabricator David Ramsay Cabinetmakers of Moorestown," Luck said. "My vision for that project was to use translucent paints over the real wood grain and allow the natural wood texture to underlie and enrich the painted designs."

Each end of the beams features a coat of arms on a shield, taken from various 18th century sources and antiques. Shields over several entryways to the room bear the British Rice coat of arms.

"Oh, it’s fabulous," Nancy gushed. "We love it, especially the uniqueness. We’re not going to walk into some other house and find the same thing. It also warmed up the room and made it so much more cozy."

Working in the home since 1991, Luck also did the English garden powder room, Victorian vestibule and Victorian parlor. The vestibule features a turn-of-the-20th-century chandelier set in a ceiling medallion with small cream-colored jewels that are the only exception to the sepia tone throughout.

"For some reason, the vestibule reminds me of an old Jules Verne film," Luck said.

Tucked underneath a stairwell is the windowless powder room, with baseboards and wood floors painted to resemble marble. A trompe l’oeil Tudor leaded window makes the space look larger and creates something that is not there. The back of the door was antiqued, and bundles of dried flowers were painted. "I just wanted it to feel like you were in a garden, and it does," Nancy said. In true Victorian style, the parlor welcomes with burgundy, mauve and pink hues. "We moved into a brand new Victorian and we wanted to make it look old, so we went antiquing," Nancy said. An interior designer recommended Luck to help with some faux finishing. "He has such a good eye for things. I am super pleased with Hugh. I would let him do anything!" she added.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 5 Issue 8 (November, 2008).
Author: Lorraine Gennaro

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