December 9th, 2006

Art under foot

I love designing patterns and finished for floors. Ceilings too! Floors and ceiling are generally an area where you can make a much bigger design statement than walls, with GRAND designs and more combinations of pattern and color. Walls get curtains and photos and pictures and tall furniture, etc. placed in front of them and sometimes need to take a back seat.

Floors and ceilings are definitely more physically challenging to paint and decorate, which is why I said I love DESIGNING for them! LOL. Our current office/studio has a lot of decorative floor treatments that I will miss looking at when we move. I think my favorite though is the Kimono floor that was created a couple of years ago. (I’ve had this Kimono obsession going for awhile, I guess)


The application was a combination of acid and Modello Dye Stains on a Colormaker overlayment. I first graphed out the area and then penciled in the swirls and shapes. This was then translated into a vector file in Adobe Illustrator so the colors could be played with and blocked in and the various patterns moved in and out and around to see what looked good. I love computers-most days! To do the saw cuts that separate the different sections, I had the Illustrator line drawing paper plotted on large sheets of paper that were taped together on the floor and then cut through with a 4″ diamond blade affixed to a grinder. It was a little intimidating at first, but not really that hard. Then the different areas were treated to different color and pattern applications. I think it’s a great look for a commercial space! There are more photos of floors and floor designs in the Floor Show gallery. I should have a lot of fun designing the floor spaces for the new building: Elaborate carpets, large graphics, etc. I am even thinking about the possibilities of painted cork!


5 Responses to “Art under foot”

  1. Lucinda R. Henry Says:


    Have you taught classes or produced a video with large scale stenciling like this amazing floor that you did above? I’d purchase a DVD as I don’t have much money to travel for classes right now. Although, I did hear that Lorie Wolff has contacted you about traveling to the PacNW to teach some SALI chapter members. Either way, one day I will meet you in person.

    This floor is breath-taking.

    Also, do you have any tips or tricks on selling ceiling designs to clients? I try all the time but have very little success, and most of our ceilings in Oregon are knockdown.

    Thanks Melanie!

  2. Melanie Says:


    Thank you! With everything that is going on in my businesses I have had to really limit my travel teaching, but 2007 MAY be the year I do a concrete or floor-themed DVD. Whether you are doing a project on a large or small scale the same technique and design principles apply, although you are working on a much larger canvas that is viewed from a different POV.

    Knockdown ceilings are sympton of cheap construction practices and general lack of quality and craftsmanship in new construction. You will need to seek out a different level of clientele-seriously! You need to find customers that have older homes or those that can afford better quality construction.

    Besides that, the best way to “sell” any type of custom architectural treatment is to show as many inspiring visual examples of it as you can. You have probably noticed that your customers choose from what you show them rather that an idea that they already have in their head. Collect and assemble photos of the kind of jobs that YOU WANT to do and present them as possibilities to your clients.

  3. decor8 Holly Says:

    Wow. I am ‘floored’. Gorgeous. Would you be interested in writing a post for decor8 on this topic – showing some photos of the floors you’ve painted? I love this and think that readers would enjoy it as well.


  4. Melanie Says:


    Girl-you are my design blog herione! I so appreciate you posting here and the invitation to post on your blog. I will be emailing you to follow up.

    Thanks so much,

  5. Cork Flooring Says:

    Painted cork actually is becoming popular in the US slowly, I’ve seen some nice designs at the Chicago Art Expo last year.