January 30th, 2009

Art Deco Mural After Rateau

I’m back and ready to share some more Marrakech experiences from our recent painting project at Peacock Pavilions.

I want to share my absolute favorite project from the trip-and I loved creating them all! This was my favorite not only because the “inspiration” was so divine, but it allowed me to stretch my artistic muscles a bit. You see, I spend WAY to much time focusing on my computer keyboard and business matters these days in favor of actually doing the artistic design work that got me brought me to this point in my life. I hope to find more balance between the two this year!!

Rateau Art Deco Screen

Armand Albert Rateau is the artist who created this amazing paneled screen for Jean Lanvin. Rateau is the decorating force behind Lanvin’s famous Paris apartment in rue Barbey-de-Jouy, which has been now partially conserved in the Paris Museum of Decorative Arts. I will be making a beeline for that place the next time I am lucky enough to visit Paris for sure!

Modello Mural in Morocco

The space is a headboard wall of one of the guest rooms, approximately 12.5′ wide by 11.5′ high. The artwork above shows the computer mockup of the design that was created by using a combination of Modello Decorative Masking Patterns and reusable mylar stencils (for the scattered flowers and stars). While I did borrow a couple of the leaf motif shapes from the original, the majority of the mural was created afresh to personalize it to Peacock Pavilions while attempting to maintain the Art Deco feel of the original.

Marrakech Modello Mural

A deep decorative dado was added to unify the wall and to also provide a painted decorative headboard to the beds, which will need to be positioned both as single twin beds and a double bed, depending on guest’s needs. Here, Margaret and Pam are laying out the initial panels that anchor the mural.


The Modello masking portion of the mural was divided into sections that easily fit together, following a key. We found that we had to complete each section at a time quickly, as a cold, damp, outward facing wall was repelling the adhesive. It rained quite a bit on the days we were working. We actually came back after lunch one day to find a piece lying crumpled on the floor. EEEEK!!

Marrakech Modello Mural

Above, Rebecca and Vicki are wrestling to remove the Transfer Tape while keeping pattern on the wall while the deer (and me) watched expectantly. These ladies were soooo patient and calm-skills needed by every decorative painter as “challenges” are inherent to most projects it seems! The olive tree was included, of course, because Peacock Pavilions sits in the middle of a beautiful olive grove!

Marrakech Modello Mural

The finishing touches were applied with stencils. Here, Cynthia is following the graphic to apply some of the random flowers and stars with stencils. You may be wondering how this beautiful gold effect was achieved. I toyed with the idea of using either metallic paint or real composition gold leaf, but opted instead to use one of my favorite quick and easy methods for creating a gilded effect: We combined Mica Powders at a ratio of 1:1 with Aquacreme (a scumble-type glaze medium) to create a thick, opaque, glimmering stencil “gel”. It dries fairly quickly when applied with a dry brush method, so you can layer quickly for dense coverage-even over black. We used 3 different colors, randomly applied, to achieve a somewhat “tarnished”, aged look.

Marrakech Modello Mural

It makes quite a lovely backdrop for a group photo, I think! Our hard working, hard shopping Peacock Painters this time were: (back row) Pam Grace, Margaret von Kaenel, Cynthia Davis, Barbara Rasmussen, Robin Johnston, Heather Bruno Sears, Melanie Royals, and (front row) Rebecca Hotop, Vicki Schultz, and Gwen Ware.

Marrakech Modello Mural

Maryam and me….

Marrakech Modello Mural

……the full view…..

Marrakech Modello Mural

…and a detail. Can you imagine how fun it will be to sleep under the watchful eye of these friendly creatures? I can’t wait to see how Maryam beautifully decorates this room, but I know it will be stunning. Individual patterns and motifs avalable soon through Modello Designs!

49 Responses to “Art Deco Mural After Rateau”

  1. Regina Says:

    OK. I seriously can’t even breathe because that is just SO beautiful. Wow, Melanie. I love the little red bird and accents as well. Kudos to the team! I’m grateful you were given such a tremendous gift of creativity…and I’ll be looking out for those new offerings!

  2. Laini Taylor Says:

    Wow, this is gorgeous, Melanie! I’ve been anxiously watching Maryam’s blog to see what you created this time — this is stunning! I’m still drooling over your trip and all the shopping. Hope you’ll post more details (like, what did you BUY???) so we can live vicariously :-)

  3. Susan Allemand Says:

    Absolutely Stunning, Inspiring and Gorgeous!
    Great job to all!
    Melanie~ you have inspired so many of us in this field, your imagination, creativity and passion~ keeps us all going!
    You Rock Sista!

  4. grace wieber Says:


    Glad to know that you are all home safe and sound. An astonishing
    accomplishment. Thanks for your drive and dedication. Your efforts for all of us are greatly appreciated. Sooooooo excited, can’t wait for the new series. :)

  5. Melanie Says:

    The addition of the little red bird was Maryam’s idea. That girl has no end to her talents! I would LOVE to take pics of my goodies, but SOB! my camera has suddenly decided to NOT turn on. Thanks Susan!!

  6. Karen Jorgenson Says:

    Awesome job girls. Stunning and totally unique. Thanks for bringing my Vicki home safe and sound.

  7. GinaWolfrum Says:

    Beautiful, beautiful… I’m a huge fan of black and this is absolutely stunning. Glad you’re home safe and sound.

  8. Liberty Post Editor Says:

    I’m feeling sick to my stomach. This is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen. Sick to my stomach in a very, very, very, wonderful way….more like butterflies. You are all so, so talented. This Canadian gal is truly inspired this morning. Maryam must have butterflies too! I have goosebumps. Wow.

  9. Elizabeth Says:

    I’m stunned and delighted to see such amazing work.
    I’ll be seeing it in person pretty soon.

  10. Gem Says:

    This is breathtaking. Wow. Just…wow.

  11. kay* Says:

    wow. i’m speechless. this is beyond beautiful.

  12. Paris Parfait Says:

    Absolutely stunning work! Maryam is very lucky to have you creating these amazing designs for her!

  13. Stephanie Says:

    Exquisite in every way. And the single tiny red bird is PERFECT. So beautiful… sigh!

  14. gillian Says:

    What an accomplishment, I don’t know how you guys do it. Here via Maryam to tell you that your work is so pretty, and so genius. I am loving that wall. Congratulations!

  15. Lee Says:

    I think all the superlatives have been used, so thud, thud, thud the echo of my heart in that non-breathing space. Everyone can be proud of this work for the rest of their lives. It is a masterpiece. Wow.

  16. Kelley @inDdecor Says:

    That is absolutely stunning-very inspirational!

  17. cindy Says:

    WOW!! That’s amazing, great job guys.Now can you teach me and I can be on the travelling team! ;o)

  18. Melanie Says:

    Oooh! So much lovely company coming to visit my quiet little corner of the blogosphere! (not to be confused with Blagoland, which is somewhere in Illinois ;-0 )

    Thank you one and all for the lovely comments and kinds words.

  19. Joni Webb Says:

    This is so gorgeous~ unbelievably so!

    can you email me? I want to talk to you about a project, hopefully!!!]


  20. karen Says:

    a truly stunning wall!

  21. Yoli Says:

    I AM STUNNED! You guys are amazing, this is drop dead gorgeous, magical, lyrical, there are not enough adjectives.

  22. Winna Says:

    I don’t know what more original thing to say…it is just breathtaking, that sounds like such an understatement. Snow-capped mountains are breathtaking, a lovely bride in white lace is breathtaking… this is…no, no word for it.

    I’m going over to Maryam’s later in the spring, and cannot wait to see it.

  23. Kathy O Says:

    Stunning… I will dream of sleeping in this room someday. I would love to learn how to
    do this type of art work!

  24. Emily P. Says:

    Melanie, This wall is stunningly beautiful. It simply takes my breath away. The 3 shades of gold is a stroke of brillance. I’d love to have a screen like this with a background of dark chocolate. The entire saga of Maryam’s Peacock Pavilions and the fabulous work of your team there is like something out of a fairytale. I feel privileged just to be able to read about it. I hope one day to see it in person.

  25. Marianna Maver Says:

    wow, wow, wow! Thank you Melanie!! What a great gift you’ve given Maryam!!! And those of us who are following her story of the guesthouse in the olive grove. This wall is georgeous!!!!!!

  26. Raea Jean Leinster Says:

    thanks for sharing with us your political views… as if THAT was relevant…

  27. Melanie Says:

    ?!?!?!?!??! (edited) :)

  28. Maryam in Marrakech Says:

    Wow, Raea, I am sorry that that is how you chose to respond to Melanie’s blog post. This is her personal blog and she can write whatever she likes — there is no reason to be unkind.

  29. Brittany Says:

    Wow, stunning… im totally inspired to trying something similar when i buy my next home. I am going to Marrakech in May for my b-day and will be visiting peacock pavillions to meet Maryam, i cant wait to see it in person.

  30. lydee Says:

    Oh! It is so beautiful, so very beautiful. and perfect for maryam and peacock pavillions.

  31. Robin Says:

    You and your troupe sooo ROCK!! I’m looking forward to the patterns! I like your gold recipe too-thank you for that! WOW!!!!

  32. Renate Says:

    This wall is really absolutely indescribably beautiful. I bet Jean Lanvin would have rather had you design his screen. It is just so, so, so amazing… Mariam is one very lucky woman to know you and to now own this mural…

  33. le petit cabinet de curiosites Says:

    BRAVO !!! Bravo !! Bravo .
    This wall looks fantastic , you are such an artist and I love your source of inspiration !
    This is B.E.A.U.T.Y

  34. Petra :-) Says:

    this wall so beautiful, I can´t describe it in words…:-) it is looking like the fairy tale of the peacock pavillions, like a wonderful dream at night…but it´s true :-)
    It was a pleasure for me to meet all of you lovely Ladies a few weeks ago, too :-)

  35. Mimi Lenox Says:

    Gorgeous. I’m so glad I came over from Maryam’s blog to see the finished product. It is breathtaking.

  36. Stencil Helen Says:

    Hi Melanie, this is fab, fab, fab! I have some tear sheets of the Lanvin appt, have you seen the gorgeous blue and white room? Did you send the picture to Stencil Talk for their current feature? If not DO. Brilliant work all of you, it was great to see people that I knew in the photographs too!

  37. Dee Says:

    Phenomenal project!!! I’m truly blown away. With the main wall like that, what color/s do you paint the other 3? I hope that you’ll give us an update when the room’s complete.

  38. Lucinda Says:

    Stunning, stunning stunning. Beyond that I’m at a loss for words.

  39. Vesper de Vil Says:

    This is ABSOLUTELY incredible work!

  40. Lynne Rutter Says:

    what an eye-catching design and a perfect application of it to that space. it’s thrilling! brava!

  41. Aimee Says:

    Wow, your work is simply gorgeous. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I would be a fan, but I am. I’m sure Maryam’s guests will be amazed. Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos. I hope you enjoyed your trip to Marrakech, which is one of my favorite cities.

  42. Minalucia Says:

    Thank you for sharing and the “how to” images. I can only dream of such hand work! How lovely. A dream.

  43. Diane Says:

    I came across your post from the Royal Design site because I was searching for Moroccan designs. When will these patterns be available on Modello? They would be perfect for my project.

  44. Designamour » Blog Archive » An Unrestrained Hand Says:

    [...] Masking Patterns have been used before in hotel projects: The Grand Del Mar near San Diego, Peocock Pavilions in Marrakech, and the Lesic Dimitri Palace in Croatia. But that is just scratching the surface! My [...]

  45. Shower Enclosures Says:

    Took me ages to find this post, this time I’ll bookmark it.

  46. weeds season 5 Says:

    beautiful artwork!! I love the flower theme to your blog!

  47. Designamour » Blog Archive » Modello Mural on decor8 Says:

    [...] over there this coming October for a weeklong  focus on decorating and successful blogging. I blogged about the creation of this dramatic, black and gold mural after Peacock Painting trip there in January [...]

  48. Sherry Rateau Busch Says:

    Your mural is absolutely breathtaking!! Armand Albert Rateau is my cousin several times removed of course and I love seeing his work.

  49. Jill Says:

    Amazing…linking to you.