July 27th, 2012
This week’s installment of our Stencil Star™ series features the incredible works of Arizona-based husband and wife team, Anna & Scott Sadler of Surface Refinements. They use Modello Designs vinyl wall stencils and patterns in ever-creative and ways for many unique surfaces, such as mirrors and ceilings and also within their decorative paint finishes. Their love of design and patterns enable them to incorporate stencils in most all of their projects.
Anna & Scott Sadler
ABOUT SURFACE REFINEMENTS
Anna’s art business operated under different names for over 20 years, and had been based at times in Montreal, Naples (Florida) and Monte Carlo. She spent 5 years in the South of France and owned two art galleries in Monaco. She spent a summer in Tuscany studying fresco painting and took a watercolor and illustration class in St Paul de Vence, France with Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara Bach. The former Beatle and his actress wife were clients, as was Prince Albert of Monaco and several Formula One race car drivers. Then, talk about opposites attracting! Scott was a police officer in Toronto and personal trainer in Montreal. Anna was an accomplished artist who gave little thought to fitness. They met, fell in love and became successful business partners. Anna got interested in fitness and nutrition, and alternately, Scott in her growing business.
Now, the Scottsdale, AZ residents and native Canadians are a couple in every sense of the word. Surface Refinements specialize in hand applied finishes, encompassing every surface in a home, from walls, ceilings, mirrors and some furniture. Each project they undertake is a team effort. Gypsies at heart, they have enjoyed living in many destinations, having a transportable business that has afforded them many opportunities to explore the world. Their vision is what drives them to undertake what might be considered the impossible, and it is that vision realized that is so rewarding to them — the magic is when tape is pulled and the vinyl, the plastic and the furniture gets placed back in the room. Today, they are two individuals successful as one in a partnership that encompasses both their business and personal lives.
(above) A Modello Carpets & Panels vinyl stencil (Chateau CC118) is applied here over a chocolate and cream base along with several colors of leafing and tamise flakes.
How do Modello Designs vinyl stencils enhance your business?
Modello decorative stencil patterns enhance our creative business by giving us the ability to create old world craftsmanship with a modern application. We always approach every new project as an opportunity to enhance the spaces with the use of a Modello. Every surface from the walls to ceilings and mirrors are opportunities to create stunning visual and complex depths of pattern and color, with the use of leafing, plasters, glass beads, glitter and foils. The beauty of Modello masking adhesives is the ability to achieve these results without the need to spend months of time creating them.
Antique mirror and patterned surfaces are a specialty for Anne and Scott. (above) The mirror was aged and then patterned with a Modello Ancient Motifs stencil (AncMot312). It was the finishing touch to a Chicago penthouse foyer. The entire project had a Greek theme to it and the pattern set the tone perfectly upon exiting from the elevator entry. (below) The first image is a bath mirror with a Modello Ornamental Pattern (OrnPan186) which customized for the niche shape. The second is a customized ornamental panel stencil from the Modello Hearst Collection (OrnPan 108). “Melanie Royals was instrumental in tweaking that pattern to work for the space. We used gold leafing and shellacs, and aged the mirrors to give a more antique and masculine feel,” Anna shares. “The client was ecstatic!”
What are your favorite surfaces to work and design Stencils for?
Well, our necks may not agree, but our favorite surface has to be ceilings. We are fortunate to work in homes that have some pretty outstanding architectural surfaces just begging to be showcased and enhanced with pattern. Ceilings are definitely a focal point and are ideal places to apply a design, setting the stage for spectacular dramatic effects that compliment the rest of the interior. If I can slide in our second favorite surface, it would be mirrors. We are so enjoying the creativity involved with applying pattern to mirrors. They have become our canvas of choice! It’s a fascinating process where we are able to take brand new mirror, and by using the antiquing solution to the reverse side of the mirror, we are able to create the look of old tarnished antique mirror. Further enhanced by pattern, every piece is truly unique in the creative partnership we have between Mother Nature and ourselves!
(above) The large dome was done with a designer foil in a copper green gloss, with the double borders done with a combination of celestial leafing for one of the borders and a three-color metallic finish for the other. Both are Modello Ornamental Border vinyl stencil patterns (OrnBor101 and OrnBor154). (below) The dome ceiling was an Old World plaster technique using various Faux Effects products, and then the team at Modello designed a custom Modello Ornamental Motif pattern (OrnMot176) for the insets.
What is your top Stenciling tip?
Number one rule with us is measure, measure, measure! One can never be too accurate and we triple check ourselves to be absolutely certain we are bang on with our measurements that are submitted to the design team at Modello Designs. One tip that has been helpful in the numerous odd shaped ceilings and domes we do, is to use tape to measure around the perimeter for the border. We run the tape around the circular border, then remove the tape, lay it on the ground, and measure the tape. Works perfectly every time!
(above) The beautiful groin ceiling was done with a custom 4-color plaster treatment over a coppery-gold designer foil. The pattern was customized and based on a Modello Architectural Center stencil (AchCen206).
Another tip we use when working on groin ceilings or niches, is to make a template out of Kraft paper or lighter weight Rosin paper, in addition to all our measuring, and send that along to the Modello team. We also like to order a paper plot of the design on more complex groin ceilings, to get a good visual prior to finalizing the Modello order in vinyl. If there is any tweaking or adjustments to be done, it’s WELL worth taking the time to double check with that paper plot at a fraction of the cost of the Modello vinyl stencil.
(above) This dining room stunner was created with a Modello Carpets & Panels vinyl stencil (ChavallCC105) which is perfect for ceilings, too!
Anna and Scott are so creative with patterns and designs on any surface — it’s no wonder their artistry is exemplary! We have profiled some of their more unique projects before as well. Do be sure to keep up with them on their Facebook page, Surface Refinements. Many thanks to them both for their enthusiasm and design savvy with our Modello vinyl stencil patterns and innovative finishes!
July 19th, 2012
This week’s installment of our Stencil Star™ series has us traveling virtually to Arizona to see the incredible works of Carmen Benoit of Carmen Illustrates. She uses Royal Design Studio wall stencils and patterns in creative and unique ways for her murals, decorative paint finishes and her fine art pieces. Her love of stencil patterns and rich colors stem from her experience as a textile designer, love of design and travels.
(above, below) A close-up and full shot of an entryway. A Modello Eastern Center design (EasCen135) was selected for the base of the lighting fixture and done first. Then there was glazing followed by hand painting in highlights and shadowing on the stencil design. Carmen shares, “This was the first Modello vinyl stencil I ever used and I have been hooked ever since! Its ease of application offered many more possibilities over the tracing paper method I was using before.”
ABOUT CARMEN ILLUSTRATES
Her first stop was to achieve a degree in Fine Arts from ASU. After graduating, she created textile art for the clothing industry, working for an Indian company and later for a resort wear line. Exciting as the textile industry proved to be, the direction was not fulfilling enough not where she ultimately wanted to apply her talents.
In 1998, she decided to create her own business, Carmen Illustrates, to apply her talents toward the home decor market and commercial properties. She has since painted murals and created artwork for clients all over the country. “From the beginning, it has always been about establishing sound technique––drummed into my head every time I dipped the brush…perfect the circle, push the negative space, achieve greater balance. I still remember my art instructors barking orders as they circled my canvas, arms folded. But in a unique way, it established the foundation of my work ethic. Art was a discipline and I needed to understand that,” she explains. “I love to travel and study wall finishing techniques all over the world. I enjoy life with my “official fan club” – my husband Edwin, and our two cocker spaniels, Bianca and Enzo,” Carmen says. “There is no greater reward then seeing people achieve a better quality of life through an enriched environment. I have incorporated Modello Design stencils to help enhance my environments. These products have proven to be a time saver and add a new dimension to my service offering.”
(above, below) Close-up and full shot. A plain particle board island was given a face lift in a kitchen as opposed to getting all new cabinetry. Plasters were used to create the embossed look of leather with the help of the Allover Arabesque Moroccan stencil in the central panels. The corner quadrants were created with an Indian block print. The raised seaming was done and copper tacks pounded in. On a side note, have to say that the Modello weeding tool that is included in every order came in quite handy for first creating the holes where the tacks would go!
(below) An elegant pattern in between the beams was desired so the Modello Marquetry vinyl stencil (MarqALL102) was made into a custom mylar stencil but slightly altered so that every other space was left open. (The client was concerned it might get too busy.) The ceiling inserts were done on canvas in the studio and then later installed. To this day I love the pattern and my next vision for it involves an outside umbrella!
What draws you to Stenciling?
Stenciling has become another tool just like a new brush or specialty paint. I love the ability to create dimensional effects as well as layering looks. It also is a very cost effective way to transfer a design without using the traditional tracing paper method to create a template and then to elaborate on. I am learning new applications everyday and love how I can pattern a wall, pillow, drapes or an outdoor umbrella in no time. I find the possibilities are endless…
What would be your dream Stenciling project?
Teaming up with an incredible group of talented artisans to work an exotic location like Morocco. The Peacock Pavilions Moroccan painting trips come to mind…or in a church in San Miguel del Allende (perhaps stenciling some beams with incredible patterns of color)…or being ask to collaborate on an Anthropologie retail space to enhance their environmental design. All would be perfectly fine with me!
A master bedroom had two niches that required a little bling and definition. The solution? Modello Designs Turkish Emblems stencils, a metallic foil treatment and French upholstery tacking to frame it off.
What is/are your top Stenciling tips?
If there were any helpful tips I could offer based on my experience it would be to keep the stencil moist while working. Also make certain to keep it clean. I have noticed that especially when working with dimensional plasters that there is a build up of material as you work. Wiping over it with a damp rag as you work helps keep your lines clean (no seepage) through the pattern and less clean up in the long run.
(above) “My latest ceiling was a rotunda in a dinette area. Once again the Modello design team accommodated my request of taking an Eastern Border vinyl stencil pattern (EasBor314) and adapting it into a mylar stencil. The finish techniques involve metallic paints and foils as well as glazing and Venetian plaster,” Carmen explains. For the center, she used a Modello Easter Center stencil (EasCen136) and after the Modello’s removal, hand painted details were applied. Tacks were added as a finishing touch. You can spy the embossed leather island in the background.
It’s been such a pleasure sharing Carmen’s stencil and Modello pattern work with you! I am also really enjoying learning more about the backgrounds of our artists through this Stencil Star series! Her talent, education and textile design background really show through in her attention to detail and quality of her work, don’t you think? To see more of Carmen’s talents do check out her website, Carmen Illustrates, and follow her projects on her Facebook fan page.
July 12th, 2012
In this weeks installment of our weekly Stencil Star™ series, we feature the hottest restaurant designer in D.C., Maggie O’Neill of O’Neill Studios. She and her team of artists create some of the most innovate decorative painting finishes incorporating Royal Design Studio wall stencils and patterns in her creative, contemporary projects. She also weaves in fresh color combinations and stencil designs in her fine art pieces. I first met Maggie when she came on our 3rd Peacock Painting adventure to Marrakech: The Tent Trip! I can tell you that she is even more fun than she looks!!!
ABOUT O’NEILL STUDIOS
Maggie O’Neill is a Washington, DC based fine artist and the Creative Director of O’Neill Studios, the decorative painting company she founded in 2001. Maggie attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA and pursued a Masters Degree of Fine Art at the University of Georgia, enrolling in their Cortona, Italy program. “In Italy, I was moved by the rich art history of the Renaissance and the integration of commissioned fine art during this period,” she says. Maggie focused on drawing and painting (concentrating on portraiture) and the decorative arts, with her studies also including Fresco painting.
After Italy, Maggie continued to travel, eventually living and working in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, where she completed her first commercial exterior mural. “It was at this point that I fell in love with the creation of utilitarian and public artwork that the surrounding community could enjoy.”
Returning to DC, she decided to continue working in the vein of commissioned artistry and opened O’Neill Studios in 2001. In the time since, Maggie has built O’Neill Studios into one of the most well-respected decorative finishing companies in the Washington area. The team’s productions can be seen in some of the city’s most notable private residences, embassies, churches, restaurants and commercial spaces.
A custom Modello vinyl stencil design on a restaurant ceiling.
How do you determine which pattern will work for your project?
There is never just one determining factor of why or what pattern I will propose to a client. Sometimes we have an inspiration paper or fabric to work from and the project becomes about replicating the same properties; scale, color, etc. I typically think about the following three features of the space to select patterns and stencils that will work: Style, Scale and Palette. What is the style of the space? Does it require something stylized with a high level of impact or something more delicate and understated? What is the existing palette working in the space? Do we need to introduce more color or keep it a neutral pattern to create a backdrop for other features or artwork? What features in the room allow us to play with the scale of the pattern?
I think to have a stencil custom-made to scale for your space is the smartest thing anyone can do when introducing allover pattern. You may love a pattern on a sample fabric or even an item of clothing but it’s not right for your ceiling or the back of your bookshelves. Any of these things can direct you to the right stencil and technique. I highly recommend doing some research into the style or look you are trying to achieve before purchasing. Also, cutting out shapes to the scale of what your thinking and understanding where they will repeat and run off, measuring the space to understand where it will start and stop is also helpful.
Please share your top Stenciling tip with us.
My favorite technique is a bit messier then the average application. I enjoy seeing the interruption of one color and the introduction of another. I also prefer to see a bit of depth in the application. For this reason my favorite technique is a drop shadow or a “pulled silk” effect. This is at least a two layer stencil technique. The first layer of glaze or paint is a bit slippery so that it has a longer open time and transparency. Immediately after you stencil, you use your brush like a strie brush and pull through the pattern lightly. Pulling one direction is important. I prefer to use gravity and pull down. The second layer is the same stencil (cleaned off of course) and place the stencil about 1/8- 1/4 of inch above where you originally set the first layer. Using a lighter more opaque color is helpful to achieve a raised appearance. This creates the look of hand worked fabric or pulled silk or ikat look.
Maggie also enjoys creating fine art pieces and incorporating stencils within. Here, the Intricate Zelij wall stencil from the Allover Moroccan Stencil Collection supports the supports and enhances the beautiful central figure.
How does stenciling enhance your creative business?
My business is ALL about how creative I can be for my client and how can I work with what they already have. Turning something totally ordinary to something extraordinary has been the cornerstone to my business. Initially, stencils gave me the ability to offer high impact results with relatively quick turnaround and affordable prices. However, stencils have pushed open new creative doors for me as an artist and designer. I experiment with more techniques and applications that include 3D elements and unconventional methods . I am constantly looking to wallpaper and textiles for inspiration and take note of the techniques used to create nuances in each design.
Maggie working with our one of our Modello Ornamental Center patterns (OrnCen162) in a more traditional space.
Stencils are tools this are just as important as the paint itself, allowing me to explore new methods. I now examine every space and surface with a different perspective and understanding of how to embellish or apply pattern. I realize that you don’t need to stencil everything BUT YOU CAN! The creative options stencils have introduced have overflowed in to my own fine artwork and now end up in most of my paintings. Stencils have been a juggernaut for my creative business and have opened the doors of my portfolio to include fabric for window treatments and table runners, wrapping paper, furniture makeovers, and even clothing.
At the Irish Whiskey Lounge, Maggie mixes both Modello vinyl stencils and traditional mylar stencils to incorporate multiple patterns, textures and typography to create an unforgettable stairway. Pictured is our Endless Circles Lattice, the Moroccan Arches and Chez Ali stencils — all from the Moroccan Stencil Collection.
Maggie is a creative visionary who designs incredible, contemporary spaces. Do yourself a favor (and be prepared to spend some time!) by browsing both her sites, O’Neill Studios and Maggie O’Neill Fine Art. For a more personal look, follow Maggie and her painting team via her two Facebook pages, O’Neill Studios and Maggie O’Neill Fine Art as well.
July 5th, 2012
In this weeks installment of our weekly Stencil Star™ series we feature designer and artist Rachael Goddard of Paint/Design/Décor. Based in Los Angeles, she frequently designs her client’s homes from the ground up and easily incorporates her love of pattern and color, using our wall stencils and patterns in many of her design and decorative painting projects.
Rachael Goddard and son
ABOUT RACHAEL GODDARD
Rachael Goddard is a California-based interior designer and artist who specializes in all aspects of design from space planning, color consulting, wall stenciling and exterior design to residential remodels and new construction. After studying design at the prestigious Parsons design school and Cal State Northridge, Rachael landed her first design job at the age of 24 acting as the project manager for a multi-million dollar commercial development. She fell in love with all aspects of the design, especially working with architects, creating furniture plans and office layouts, and overseeing the construction of the build. This was the beginning of a love affair with the design process. Years later, her first new construction residential project was nominated for a design award.
Although Rachael is anchored in design, it is her love for fine art that, for several years, had Rachael spending nights and weekends working as a fine artist and faux finisher. She was commissioned to do large-scale restaurant chains and luxury real estate development sample homes in addition to her beloved residential projects. In 2002, all of these elements came together when her company Paint/Design/Décor was born. Now Rachael provides a full service design firm addressing every element of home design from start to finish.
Rachael’s work has been featured on several design shows. Though she has been asked to be on-camera, she has chosen to stay out of the limelight, preferring to enjoy her quiet life with her two children and husband at home in Los Angeles.
Rachael often uses Royal Design Studio wall stencils to enhance a client’s home in classic patterns and colors. In the above hallway, the Moorish Trellis allover wall stencil is striking and incredibly elegant in metallic over black. Below, a more muted palette creates a warm and luxury-rustic feel with the Large Fabric Damask. For this project, she did the wall stencil first and built the room around it while adding the panel molding and custom-made chairs later.
How do you determine which pattern will work for your project?
I determine which pattern to use by imagining every stencil pattern in that space and selecting the one that works the best in my mind. I can only liken it to the movie “Inception”- Some people like myself have this gift where we can visualize everything in our minds. I picture exactly what that room will look like and thus, through process of elimination determine what would be too large of a print, too small, too busy, too intricate. I realize that many people can’t visualize, so I often use Photoshop as a tool to communicate how the wall stencil will work in the room. I find that doing a virtual mock up of the room for my clients is just invaluable.
After the project is done, everyone is always so relieved, surprised and excited. I’m always like, “Yep, it’s exactly how I pictured it to be…”. My enthusiasm comes earlier in the project when I see it for the first time in my mind, which is probably how I convince them to do it in the first place. I’m like that with all of the elements of design: designing floor plans, bookshelves, kitchens, closets, sofas… In the beginning I am super pumped up during the creative process when everyone else is nervous and scared. For me, it’s like you are all dressed up and alone at a party, excited, dressed up waiting for someone to show up…then by the time everyone gets there, you are bloated from eating too many appetizers, the buzz from the champagne has worn off, the spanx are feeling a little snug and you are thinking about comfy pj’s and what you want to watch when you get into bed!
Above, the Feathered Damask stencil from the Allover Damask Stencil Collection looks amazing, crisp and perfectly nestled within the design of the room. “I designed the whole bathroom around this wall stencil, from the plank of wood to the bowl and faucet. It was an amazing transformation form the dingy, horrible and depressing little space to the cool, modern and bright space it is now,” Rachael explains.
What draws you to Wall Stenciling?
I am drawn to stenciling because I get the look of a hand-painted wallpaper without the excessive price tag and commitment. With my stencils I can achieve the look of wallpaper but I have the freedom to use the paint colors I have implemented throughout the rest of the house, so that everything culminates in that one space and joins together in the stencil pattern. I also love the freedom that comes with using wall stencils versus a wallpaper…like the option to change a room on a whim.
Children’s rooms are a particular joy for Rachael. In the images above, she used various wall pattern stencils to create a collage of color and patterns within panels in her son’s room. Below, she brings wonderful stencil patterns to a “pretty-in-pink” girl’s room.
It’s good to keep in mind that an allover stencil doesn’t have to be used in the traditional way. For instance, Rachael used individual elements of the Florentine Damask pattern to create a wonderful accent focal wall for the girl’s room above. In the alternate, she used the Fortuny Damask design in an allover wall pattern in the nursery below, stopping just below the crown molding. Wall stencils are incredible versatile because you can stencil as much or a little as you want!
What would be your “dream” stencil project?
My dream stencil project is anything inside my own house. I don’t have to worry about anyone else liking it- I don’t have anyone worried it isn’t going to work and having to convince them it’s going to be amazing. I can pick a concept that is totally outside the box. I get to sit up at night after the kids go to bed and put on some music, get out the roller and some artist brushes and just do it. I often get caught up in doing the main part of my design business, which is more interior design and architectural planning, but when I go to a client’s house with my small brushes to do the technical work and I’m on that ladder with my painting clothes on, it just feels like home to me. It’s like a two hour massage, I’m so relaxed afterwards. Except when I do ceilings, then I need a two hour massage!! Ha!
The Pro Delicate Floral Stencil adds a bit of romance to an office (above). The Pro size is very useful when a large space will receive an allover wall stencil treatment — it is sized with more stencil repeats to allow for a faster painting process.
We are super thrilled to share Rachel’s stencil work with you today!To see more of Rachael’s incredible work, please visit her unique website for her company, Paint/Design/Décor where she has created a lovely, inspiring flipbook for you to easily view her inspiring design skills. Her skill, creativity and professionalism serve to elevate the art of stenciling. We are SO appreciative of her sharing her innovate and creative ways to use stencils to design contemporary, modern spaces!