Faux painting perfection! | Get Out
For three decades, California-born Bill Hoppe transformed the homes of celebrities, movie stars, and other residents of Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties into works of art. With his creative talents with a brush and loads of artistic licenses with clients with adequate bank accounts, Hoppe’s faux-finish art can still be found in homes and businesses across Southern California.
79-year-old Hoppe started his career as a house painter in his father’s business early after returning to Southern California after serving in the Navy in the mid-1960s. “We did that first. We painted houses, ”says Hoppe. “My brother Howard joined us and we did well, but I realized we can do more creative things.”
In 1973 the Hoppe brothers went into business for themselves and at this point their professional development took a creative turn when they began to incorporate art painting techniques into their work.
He describes faux painting or “faux finishing” as decorative paintwork that reproduces the appearance of materials such as marble, wood or stone.
“I can also recreate leather and tiles with grout if you want,” says Hoppe.
The brothers experimented with different colors, different materials, and different techniques to give their finished paintings an authentic look.
“We’re both basically self-taught and would end up teaching others who worked for us,” he says. “Today the company also specializes in art painting lessons and classes.”
As the brother’s company expanded and their reputation as a fake lacquer painter grew, Hoppe said homeowners with very large, expensive homes began to request their services.
“I oversaw the project to paint Sylvester Stallone’s Beverly Hills home,” Hoppe recalls. “It took about 14 months to complete and he wanted it to look like something out of the old world of Italy. In addition to the 8,000 square meter house, we also painted statues and many other decorations. “
During their careers, the brothers painted Diana Ross’s house, two houses for former basketball star Kobe Bryant, a house of an ex-wife of Motown’s Berry Gordy, and painted artificial marble in parts of the J. Paul Getty Museum.
“Berry bought his ex a house that was once owned by Red Skelton and we painted it how she wanted it,” says Bill. “Another 45,000-square-foot house that we worked on was done in the French style and we painted the ceiling with 22-carat gold leaf. We also used 24-karat gold leaf paint on ceilings in ballrooms and in massive houses that looked like palaces when we were done. “
After retiring and passing the business on to younger family members, including his son Mike, Hoppe has lived in Quail Creek with his wife Nancy since 2002. Over the years he has transformed his Robson house into a palace of his own using acrylic paints.
“The walls were plain, but that was a great place to start painting,” he says.
Starting with the home’s guest casita, Hoppe used a product called LusterStone for six weeks to give the walls a reflective stone-like finish. He covered the ceiling with white textured wallpaper before painting it with copper and bronze paints, giving it a vintage look.
In the home’s guest bathroom, Hoppe used a gold foil that he crumpled and then attached to the ceiling to give it a golden bronze and black look with a shiny sheen.
There is no room in the couple’s house that has not been decorated with Hoppe’s brush. A guest room has a painted faux sky finish that is highlighted with painted faux wood grain.
“Every room has its own surface,” says Nancy. “The great room has an artificial stone fireplace and a hand-painted southwestern design. There is an archway in the hallway that is painted like stone, imitating a wooden ceiling and wooden beams. “
The entrance to her home is decorated with artificial herringbone bricks, all hand-painted by Hoppe. The front door is accented with gold leaf paint, which gives it a rich, inviting look.
“I used a stencil to create the bricks, but the bricks and grout are all hand painted,” he says. “I also hand-painted the murals on the front walls that lead into the house.”
His last project was the 560 square meter rear patio ceiling, which took a year to complete.
“The entire house has been in the works over the years, but the biggest project by far is the patio ceiling with around 1,000 hand-painted tiles,” says Nancy.
Hoppe stood on a ladder painting the ceiling and ended up wearing braces to support his neck while he worked.
“After eight hours of painting, my neck needed something to hold it in,” he says. “It’s actually three different ceilings with all of the steps it took to make it look like tile, but it’s colorful and when I start a project I can’t stop until it’s done.”