Artfully designed, built to deceive

Special to The Times

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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