March 30th, 2007

The walls they are a changin


About 7 or 8 years ago I redid this tiny little bedroom in my home into my home office. It had to be really nice as it was going to be photographed for a book by BHG along with other rooms in the house. See Enriching the Ranch. I’ve loved it immensely but it’s time for a change!

My idea is to make the walls look as if they were created from a patchwork of Japanese Kimonos and I REALLY need to get this done before I completely tire of this theme. I’ve gotten so far as to get the furniture out of the room and have laid out one wall treatment.


Each “patch” in the room will be totally unique and a little artwork unto itself. I will be using metallic leaf, paints and plasters to give it all a nice soft shimmer. The Lights and Lovely post on the Art of Living blog shows some possible light fixtures to hang from the ceiling I may make look like a shoji screen. I am still debating if I want to put the art directly on the walls or apply it to canvas or paper and wallpaper paste it up there. Either way, it will be quite the little project!  I think that I will create a little book to sell detailing how to do the finishes. Stay tuned!

March 28th, 2007

Puttin on the Kimono

Each year for the last 13 years I have been priviliged to teach a class or two at the annual Stencil Artisans’s League Convention. Well, it’s that time of year again! The Convention Brochure is finally posted and ready for download at the SALI website. This year, I’m offering an all day class that features Kimono-Inspired Wall Finishes. We will be using traditional stencils and Modello Decorative Masking Patterns, along with metallic plasters and paint, gilding and mica powders to create surface treatments like those shown below.


This years convention will be held July 17-21 in San Francisco (yeah!) and features a wide range of classes from some of the most talented decorative artists in this or any country. Get your class requests in ASAP for the best chance of getting in the classes you want. Many will fill up quickly!

If even just for a day trip (or two), it’s worth it to come and just walk the floor of the Expo to see all of the latest and greatest that the decorative finishing industry has to offer. Both Royal Design Studio and Modello Designs will be there with bells on showing off some new designs and eye candy! You enjoy shopping you say? See the Art of Living blog for just one of many great stores to check out while in SF.

March 24th, 2007

Floral Carpet Steps

gazebo steps.jpg

Here is a collection of photos to show the steps involved for the gazebo project. It actually only took 2.5 days. As much as I hate to cover any of it up, I’m off this weekend to shop for patio furniture!

This past weekend I tackled another patch of concrete with SkimStone and Modellos and I am simply THRILLED with the results. It was two long days of hard work up and down off the ground, but one of the most satisfying things I think I have done. About a year ago I purchased this really unique gazebo from Lane Venture.


THIS will be the summer we engage in some romatic alfresco dining. Now that the “floor” is done all that is left is to pick the colors for the cushions and drapes! Oh-and I really want to paint something on the panels now. Might as well just take it over the top! Here is a detail. I LOVE the colors in the flowers.


March 20th, 2007

Progress, So to Speak

I haven’t talked about the NEW BUILDING we are buying for awhile because, well, things have been moving at a frustratingly slow pace. Here is a photo of me meeting with a contractor just after they had tilted up the walls around Christmastime.


Here it is three months later and they still haven’t completed the shell so I can close and the “fun” stuff can begin.


Things have gone pretty much as expected for these things. The original architect suddenly up and moved to Seattle to be with his girlfriend (imagine sound of balls dropping) and the local head of the development co. that is building the business park has been shown the exit door (more balls dropping). He was the guy who kept insisting that my building was on the “fast track”, which obvoiusly has never been the case. After getting all the paperwork in order for the bank to close last week, the new powers that be are saying they won’t be done with the shell for another month.

OK, I’m done whining. The good thing about all this is it gives me more time to change my mind repeatedly about the wonderful ways I am going to paint and decorate the 12 or so different rooms/spaces that will be waiting as pristing blank canvases. A recent night spent tossing and turning with wheels spinning has resulted in some fabulous ideas I can’t wait to share!

March 15th, 2007

Wood you, could you

I generally write an article for each quarterly issue of The Faux Finisher magazine. The one I submitted last week (and due out beg. of April) was on wood design treatments. I am planning on having a couple of wood floors installed at the new building to do some crazy cool stuff on, but not ready to reveal that yet. :) Here are a couple of photos that I used in the article.


The one on the left was done by my good friend Gary Lord in HIS new studio, Prismatic Painting. I have loved this design setup since we created it and was thrilled to see someone attack it. I had envisioned it for a coffered ceiling, but think it is fabulous on the floor as well. The photo on the right was done by a customer, Joan Kingsbury and I love the simple elegance of the geometric pattern.


This one is a sample I did for another coffered ceiling panel idea. These were all done with water-based wood stains and it is almost ridiculously easy when using Modello patterns. Look for the article, it has a step by step lesson!

March 12th, 2007

All in a days work

Welll OK, slightly more than a day. I did the first two skim coats on Saturday, but the remainder of the project was done on a beautful, sunny Sunday. With the radio and suncreen on, I was able to use my trusty color guide to complete this round pad on my back patio, using a Modello design, OrnCen155 in three pieces. I am really enjoying the new, expanded color collection that they have come out with, particularly the Sante Fe Pottery color that wend down first. This photo collection roughly shows the steps.


After a long day spent troweling on one’s hands and knees I highly recommend enjoying a refreshing beverage as you pick out the last pieces of the masking pattern.


Tonight, I’ll be applying a toning layer, using our Modello Dye Stains in Fawn to calm it all down and bring all the colors together. I’ll post the final “beauty shot” later!

March 9th, 2007

Project Fire Ring

It’s going to be a beautiful weekend here in San Diego. That is NOT highly unusual. Just ask any San Diegan what the number 1 reason they choose to live here is. What IS unusual is that I will be tearing myself away from the keyboards and getting down to some serious troweling on my back patio. There is a project awaiting: An eight foot diameter circle of plain concrete inside stamped flagstone. I can’t wait to improve the view from my living room with this-


This is a rough color setup I did in Illustrator to give myself a guide for the application which will be done with SkimStone and one of our Modello masking patterns.. I’m sure I’ll end up winging it anyway! We’ll find out how well it turned out next week. BTW if you never hear of this again, you can come to your own conclusions.

March 8th, 2007

Enriching the Ranch

About 8 or 9 years ago I had multiple rooms in my home photographed for a book that Better Homes & Gardens put out on stenciling. It was very exciting and gave me the opportunity and incentive the get the rooms “done”. They gave me a whole section entitled “Enriching the Ranch”, as I live in one of those quintessentially boring American contributions to the world of architecture. I was just looking at the book the other day for the first time in a long time and it prompted me to get off my butt and post a new series of gallery photos Around the House. It’s a little nostalgic for me as some of the rooms have been redone a couple of times and I am trying to work up the resolve to do it all again! Some pages from the book, which actually has some pretty nice applications throughout.


Book Cover.jpgI know I am biased, but do you think that they might have sold a few more books off the rack at Home Depot had they chosen something other than giant carrots and cabbages to grace the cover?! The book is out of print now, but there are lots of people selling it used on Amazon. Forget the cover, it’s definitely worth the price of a latte to have it on your shelf.

March 7th, 2007

Visiting Livias Villa

Absolutely one of the many wonders of the decorative painting world, and should be be on anyone’s “must see!” list anytime you have the fortune to get to Rome is the National Museum of Rome. It’s completely confusing when you read about it in the guidebooks as it is actually housed in three different locations. My friend and I went to all three before we found the Holy Grail at the Palazzo Massimo location across from Termini Station.  Amazing mosaics and the beautiful frescoes from the Domus Livia, Domus Farnesina and the Villa of Nero at Nettuna.


I had lost my camera by the time I arrived in Rome last year, but I found some other nice people’s photos on Flickr. I’ll be travelling with my son to Rome and Florence Italy in a few weeks and I CAN’T WAIT to see these again in person!!!