February 18th, 2009

Cherry Blossom Closet

This might be a good time to share with you the closet doors that go with Skylar’s lace floor. This project ALMOST didn’t happen, and I’m so glad that it did because it’s SO FREAKIN CUTE IMHO! Maryam had sent me this super inspiration photo as a starting point.

Modello Inspiration

I apologize for NOT KNOWING the source, but think it is just very cool. It looks like puffy fabric shapes that have been applied to the wall. The morning before I actually left for Morocco I had just actually determined that I had run completely out of time to get another project designed and cut and there was no way that this was going to happen. Then, I started feeling JUST HORRIBLY GUILTY that Skylar wouldn’t get her closet done and her brother WOULD. You can imagine the potential for heartbreak there, I’m sure.

Modello Door Design

So, that afternoon I quickly designed (as in about 10 minutes) this random cherry blossom pattern pulling the simpler flower shapes out of the lace pattern. With the help of Heidi and our great production department here we got it set up and cut in time to stuff in my suitcase.

Modello Cherry Blossom Pattern

The design stretches across two closet doors which open in the middle. (shown here in the hallway where they were expertly painted by Cynthia)

Modello Cherry Blossom Pattern

I had purchased some packages of little round mirrors and gave Maryam the assignment of placing a few here and there. Aren’t they sweet?

New Modello Patterns

We are adding many of the designs that we did in Marrakech both to the Modello Designs website as Decorative Masking Patterns (one-time-use, vinyl stencils) and also turning many into reusable mylar stencils for the Royal Design Studio website. Yes, we are busy little bees here……

February 16th, 2009

Amazing Lace, How Sweet

Still reliving Marrakech, our loveliest project was stenciling a large custom lace pattern on a little sweetheart’s floor. Maryam wrote a beautiful post about her daughter here, and we were lucky to get an assist from darling Skylar herself.

Lace Stencil

She was very patient, meticulous, and quite proud-as well she should be!

Lace Stencil

The lace was simply done with grey concrete paint over a white base….

Lace Stencil

…and the large pattern was completed using two different sections. The stencil is NOW available through our Royal Design Studio website here. I so enjoyed working out this lace pattern that I am anxious to do more. Imagine how inspired I feel to have come back across a website for artist Cal Lane that I archived months ago that features gorgeous lace patterns used quite unexpectedly. As in….

Cal Lane

Wheelbarrows and shovels….

Cal Lane


Cal Lane

…oil drums…

Cal Lane

…and car parts.

This work is reminiscent of that from the Designed in Dust post and Cal also plays off that idea in some of her installation work. These patterns here are all plasma-cut from steel objects with the idea of creating “desirable oppositions”. From the artist’s statement

I like to work as a visual devil’s advocate, using contradiction as a vehicle for finding my way to an empathetic image, an image of opposition that creates a balance – as well as a clash – by comparing and contrasting ideas and materials.This manifested in a series of “Industrial Doilies”, pulling together industrial and domestic life as well as relationships of strong and delicate, masculine and feminine, practical and frivolity, ornament and function. There is also a secondary relationship being explored here, of lace used in religious ceremonies as in weddings, christenings and funerals.

This work truly blows me away. Let there be lace!

Updated 2/27/09
Skylar’s Lace is an international sensation (thanks to Maryam’s gorgeous photos and insane popularity). How cool that is it featured on Design*Sponge, de (coeur) acao, ZSOFI berendez!, Wide Open Spaces and More Ways to Waste Time. I don’t even know what language some of these are in but I’m grateful!

February 14th, 2009

Three Minute Romance

It’s NOT what you think! In celebration of Valentines Day, Eric and I are going to revisit our romantic roots tonight-on the dance floor. You see, we were two lonely tango dancers whose paths (and legs) crossed almost exactly 7 years ago at a social milonga. Tango dancing is often described as a “three minute romance”, as most songs are about that long and you get to get up close and personal with someone you may or may not know (or want to) in a perfectly innocent setting with no strings attached. Most of the time, you share two or three dances, say thank you, and then politely “move on”. In our case, when the “tall, cute guy” asked me to dance, we stayed together on the dance floor for about 15 songs. After a polite break, we did it again! I knew right away that he was THE ONE. I still do. Happy Valentines Day!

Tango Dancing
Tango Dancing
Tango Dancing

and, yes, I want that skinny body back!

February 13th, 2009

Umbria on my mind

I’m keeping my traveling shoes ready by the door and my travel cosmetic bag stocked with miniscule amounts of shampoo and body lotion. Why? Another Italy trip is on the horizon with my bud Gary Lord. You may recall our last trip (October 2007) where we took a group to Florence to paint at the San Bartolo studio of Alison Wooley? Well, the Corsini family, who own the lovely Fattoria di Maiano where we stayed just outside Florence also have extensive properties throughout Italy. At one point in history, you could walk from Florence to Rome and never leave their property! These are the kinds of ancestors I WISH I had, but instead will have to experience their real estate holdings vicariously through staying and painting at some of them. Actually, the Contessa is an amazingly beautiful, down-to-earth, hard working woman who we were all quite taken with.


This trip, we will be traveling to the heart of Umbria for the first ten days of May 2009 to live, learn and work at the Castello di Casigliano. It is in a lovely, more rural setting amongst wheat and sunflower fields and surrounded by quaint, classic Italian hill towns.

Italy Castle Painting Trip

Our main project will be to transform the banquet room that has been newly built along side the ancient castle with some plastering, stenciling and handpainting.

Florence Art

The amazingly talented Alison will be joining us and providing the artwork for the pilasters. Shown above are two of her proposals that have been submitted to the owners. Aren’t they lovely?? We will also be teaching some fabulous new finishes there that are being developed exclusively for our group of 20. There are just a few openings left. Would you like to join us? Please find all the details on our upcoming Umbria trip here. Musings on our last trip here.

February 11th, 2009

Patterns of Lovely Light

I have SO many favorite things about Marrakech, but one of my favoratists is the amazing punched metal lanterns and the lacy patterns that they cast like metal stencils on the beautifully polished tadelakt walls.

Morocco lanterns

 Morocco lanterns

Morocco lanterns

Morocco lanterns

Morocco lanterns

Morocco lanterns

Morocco lanterns

Aren’t these just to die for?! I think that I must do some stencil patterns to achieve this look!

Photographed by Vicki Shultz at magical Le Tanjia. At night, of course…..

February 7th, 2009

Henna Party

I never shared the stair riser project that our first group did at Peacock Pavilions last May. My bad! This first set of “themed” risers is what inspired the most recent round. Those, in turn, were inspired by this blog post, where Maryam saw something that I designed here at our studio with all different stained border patterns.


The stairs we did in May were actually seen in this photo from Maryam’s blog, but they were covered with all our tired bodies, so here is the big reveal…..




and here….


and here. The theme was henna patterns, and I had TOO MUCH fun reworking classic henna designs into the borders for these stairs. We worked them in a simple color palette of three colors chosen to coordinate with the marble stair treads. These designs were stenciled directly on the painted plaster risers….


under very adverse working conditions…..


so to prime ourselves for the project we had a fun little henna party. The henna has long since faded, but the memories are still lovely. Good times!

February 3rd, 2009

Go Forth and Multiply

It’s amazing how a little design idea can snowball into something bigger, especially in one’s own head. Maryam had suggested a stair riser project similar to the one that we did last May in the 3 bedroom quest house (which I will share next…..). “If you could just do three different patterns and we could alternate them it would be great”, she said. I think she knows me too well by now! Of course three patterns simply wouldn’t do, as I told you here.

Moroccan Stencils Royal Design

How about 22 patterns, one unique for each stair riser? Well….OK! So, the paint-covered, used stencils piled up….

Moroccan Stencils Royal Design

…..as the ladies (here Heather and Margaret) took their time stenciling by a roaring fire to make sure that each was perfect….

Moroccan Stencils Royal Design

….and they are….

Moroccan Stencils Royal Design

….filling up a large dining table and waiting for Chris to CAREFULLY install them on the wooden staircase he has built.

Cottage Living Stair Risers

I imagine that they will look something like this photo from Cottage Living, which shows black and white patterns done on riser with tile. Most of these stencil patterns will be available shortly through Royal Design Studio (some in larger scales), and they will be equally lovely done in the classic bright tile colors of Morocco.

February 2nd, 2009

Help! I’ve been sucked in!



So, I’ve been sucked into the facebook vortex and I can’t get out. All this social networking is beginning to feel like a social disease or just another addiction…..Would you like to join and be my friend so we can stay in touch 24/7 and then some??? LOL, kidding aside, it IS kind of fun. Here, precious…….