The Antique Mirror class last week (see Mirror, Mirror) was a lot of fun and a great success. As it is always best to learn from you mistakes-this was another good learning experience and I think we have got the best approach to applying pattern with mirror patination DOWN. Just like everything else in decorative painting there are an infinite number of ways to interpret this artform and I’m looking forward to discovering all of them. What I haven’t quite figured out is a good way to PHOTOGRAPH mirrors, but here are some class pieces-


A round tabletop with a rusted iron architectural inlay,


a reverse gilded border,


some small class samples, and


my favorite! This is actually the “back” of the mirror on the front. The electroplated surface takes on these fabulous tones with the patination so we waxed it for protection and used a stria technique with shellac on the other side. We will be scheduling some more mirror classes once we get in our new building!

June 18th, 2007

D Hooper Design Works

More great customer work with Modello decorative masking patterns! These are from a talented long-time customer, Dorothy Hooper of D Hooper Design Works. Dorothy’s stencil and faux work is featured quite extensively in our customer Showcase and it’s always great to get more photos!

Modello Foyer in Progress

It makes me a little nervous just imagining being THAT high!

Modello Foyer Final

Dorothy used plaster and glazes to create this custom look.

Modello Foyer detail

Her customer wanted the look of a faded Persian carpet. Great job, Dorothy!

June 14th, 2007

Ode to Evelyn

I was going through some old, old porfolios the other day that have photos of work that I did when I first started “my business” in the mid-80′s. Really dating myself here! I thought it might be fun to share some things that I did with one of my first and definitely my most influential client: Evely Tasch.

Stencils Evelyn 4

Evelyn and her husband had just retired to San Diego from Connecticut. She had been a highly popular and well-known ID in the 60′s and 70′s, working quite a bit designing showrooms on  Madison Ave. and for people with last names like Rockefellor. She was a quite a character. You know the type, clipping coupons in her old bathrobe in a room filled with priceless antiques and heirlooms.

Stencils Evelyn 3

What a design style though! I have never met anyone that loved to layer patterns and motifs more than Evelyn. Were it not for meeting her, I might have stuck with boring stenciling applications forever.

Stencils Evelyn 2

In her second house I worked in she painted the real adobe walls out in white and upholstered pink gingham fabric with embroidered trim between the green painted beams on the 25′ high ceiling. Of course I had to stencil gingham everywhere and she was really not happy with the place until every surface had some amazing and fanciful decoration applied to it.


Stencils Evelyn 1

It was the kind of house you just had to “be” in to appreciate the full effect, which I loved! I think if you are going to commit to pattern you need to go no holds barred. Evelyn WAS committed. I so appreciate the opportunity to have experienced that.

June 12th, 2007

Anthropologie Envy

Speaking of new websites. Anthropologie’s is all freshly hatched and, as usual, a feast for the eyes. I love that every page is different yet equally stylish, features beautiful photography and colors, and the watercolor look with decorative pattern is giving me some great decorative finish ideas!


Did you know that they employ a team of artists at each location who get to brainstorm on those unique and fabulous surface finishes and “sets” that they are famous for? Who wouldn’t want that dream job??


I have a wedding to go to this weekend so will be heading over to my local store for some fancy duds and more design inspiration.

June 11th, 2007

Royal Redesign

Stencils Royal Design

In the ever changing world of web design, last year’s site are already looking a little “retro”. So you can imagine how far behind the times we are with our current Royal Design Studio site that is coming up on birthday number 6! Our product drop down lists don’t even function with IE7 (thanks Microsoft!) so the question now is not “if”, but “how soon?!” We are still working diligently on it, and hope to be re-launching in about a month, but thought I would share the initial page comps. We are working with a really good company based here in San Diego called Digaworks.


You can’t see the nice flash that will be going on, but can get the idea of the direction we are going in. Selling stencils has always been kind of an uphill battle for artistic legitimacy and you are constantly fighting the “ducks and geese” stereotypes that are tenaciously hanging on from the 80′s. My goal is to reintroduce stenciling in a way that is fresh and sexy (as in the marketing term), much like Amy Butler has done for sewing. Wish me luck!



Pantone has recently released a beautious little inspiration book and set of swatches called Pantone View: Inspiration for interiors 2008.


I just devour beautiful colors like I do good food or wine and even seem to think of it in gastronomic terms. For instance, these new colors to me are highly fresh and tasty….


…deliciously satisfying….yummy, rich and filling. My compliments to the chef!