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Artfully designed, built to deceive

Artfully designed, built to deceive
Get the look of a New Orleans balcony delivered to your doorstep with a half-round scrollwork foot-wiper. Wrought iron? Wrong. Made from lightweight, heavy-wearing rubber, the easy-clean, rustproof Kensington mat, $49, is welcome anywhere. www.smithandhawken.com, (800) 940-1170.
Even in the best of homes, things are not always as they seem. When it comes to design and decoration, however, faux can be a friend. What you may sacrifice in authenticity, you are likely to gain in practicality and cost.

The French have long called this two-dimensional parlor trick trompe l'oeil. In Southern California, with its indoor-outdoor lifestyle, the idea of transforming one material into a household object that looks like it's made of something more precious is just plain clever — and as Hollywood as a 3-D movie.
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