October 30th, 2009

Halloween Treat

It’s Halloweentime at Modello Designs and I always like to share our little group of Modello team members.


We had 4 people that couldn’t attend this year  due to illness, school, or vacation, but those who were there put forth a solid effort to win our annual costume contest…


….Melanie acted out her recent fondness for 80′s hair bands..


…Eric had a teachable moment…


…Lauren pretended to be “catty”..


….Jerome was a shy, giggling geisha…


….Michelle dripped cuteness as a melting snow cone…


…Tara honored her Boston Irish roots…


…Tony channeled our very own Maynard…


…and Natalie was a wayward rag doll. Happy Halloween everyone!
PS The winner was Jerome

October 28th, 2009

A Table or Two Please

Just in time for you to start thinking about all those handcrafted Christmas gifts you’ll be giving this year….I give you a fabulous little stenciled side table treatment from Dagmar Alexandersson! Dagmar created these  lovely custom tables recently as a wedding present. She used acrylic paints and tile stencils from Royal Design Studio to create the look of embroidered table cloths on some simple fold-up tray tables. I adore the added tassels!




Dagmar was a welcome addition to our group on the Umbria Italy Painting Trip with Gary Lord and myself last May. Gary and I are finalizing the fabulous details for a return trip to Umbria and Tuscany in early October 2010. Please email me at melanie(at)modellodesigns.com if you’d like to be placed on the priority list for notification when we open up registrations in a couple of weeks.

October 26th, 2009

High Style in High Point

My good friend, Barb Skivington, has undeniably one of the loveliest decorative finishing teaching studios in the whole country-Faux Works Studio in High Point, NC. Besides a state-of-the-art studio area, it also includes an elegant showroom full of interesting decorative treatments. Many of the featured treatments incorporate Modello patterns. Am I biased? Maybe. Are they fabulous? Definitely. Take a look…



Multiple Modern Allover patterns are worked into an allover metallic wall treatment. The tile idea is a great way to work in different patterns and slight color variations while maintaining a cohesive look, don’t you think??


This is one of our exclusive Marquetry patterns, MarqAll106 done on cork tiles in the coffee bar area. One of the benefits of staining pattern on unfinished cork tiles (as we did also in our showroom spaces at Modello Designs) is that you can do the pattern work prior to installation-much easier than working down on the floor!


An allover Eastern Lattice pattern, EasAll106, painted on a table in the teaching studio.


Some custom Typography to define different workshops and the unique finishes that Barb teaches.

Barb will be teaching one of her famous cabinet finishes classes here at our San Diego studio this November. The class is sold out, but you can find Barb teaching both at her own studio and other great studios around the country throughout the year-including a “date-to-be determined” back here in San Diego. Just check the Workshop page on the Faux Works Studio website.

October 25th, 2009

Ready, Set, Photo-Part Two

Here are some more inspiring images from the forthcoming Modello by Design-Inspiring Images from Artist’s Portfolios, Part 2. These are all from a talented single artist-Rita Melnick.



A beautiful frieze using TransBor116


Modified panels.


Lovely Art Deco, lined leaves with ModAll111


A simple architectural frame pulled from our Chambord Carpet and Panel pattern.


An interesting wall “bump-out” that looks like a 3-panel screen using OrnTile162

Pssst! Don’t be shy-don’t forget-submit YOUR project photos by October 31…..get the details here….

October 23rd, 2009

Ready, Set, Photo-Part One

Back in June, 2008 we published the first edition of Modello by Design-Inspiring Images from Artist’s Portfolios. Featuring the work of 80 different decorative artisans using our Modello patterns, this book has become a definitive resource tool for ideas, inspiration, and enticement for incorporating Modellos into interior and exterior projects. Our next edition will be released in early 2010, and we’ve been receiving some fabulous photos that really highlight the range of options and applications for decorative pattern in surface finishes…


A custom fireplace surround by Joy Conway using a modified version of EasPan109


Beautiful handpainted ceramic bowl by Jeff Raum using Royal Design Studio’s Elegancia Border as a Modello around the edge.



TransBor132 used by Joannie Gaillardia in a decorator showhouse.


Virgina Weathersby’s simple yet highly elegant custom curtains using OrnBor132


Hand painted detailing by Deanne Cunningham over OrnCen 130 on a custom tabletop.

Krista Vind

ModAll124 on a contemporary art canvase by Krista Vind.

The deadline for submitting professional-quality project photos for the next Modello by Design book is fast approaching-October 31, 2009. You can find all the details and directions here!

October 6th, 2009

The Reviews are In

The reviews are in for the very first Virtual Workshop, Foilin’ Around. It was a “challenge” working through some of the technical difficulties and limitations of the webinar format, but I think I “have it down” now! I need to thank my great inaugural group for their patience, support, contribution, AND nice comments!

Just finished Melanie’s Virtual Workshop. It was great!! It was just like we were there. As usual, Mel gives mor than I expected for something like this. The foils are awesome in their own beauty!! Didn’t realize they could add so much to a finish. -Janet Gonzales

Loved it!!! Awesome job Melanie! Looking forward to many more; very inspiring! THANK YOU!!! -Denise Lindstrom

I have already learned alot from the videos and can’t wait to play around with some of these finishes. I really also appreciate the chance to purchase these items at this great rate. Thanks again for putting this together and I’m sure I’ll be taking your future virtual workshops. -Mignon Hunter

I loved, loved, loved this innovative virtual class!  No matter how much you think you know about this business, there is always something new to learn — and I learned so much from this session.  We’ve already reproduced several of the finishes with great success.  The videos were clear and concise and beautifully filmed and the supporting documentation was detailed and completed the experience.  This was definitely worth my time and I’m looking forward to the next — Stencil Impressions.  Thank you Melanie for always being such a great source for knowledge and inspiration. -Barb Skivington/Faux Works

Thanks so much for all the work you put into the Foilin’ Around virtual workshop.  And it’s obvious that you put a LOT of work into that class. I’ve always been an admirer of your innovative finishes and your ability to describe the techniques so well in person and in writing.  The virtual workshops take your talents to a whole new level, and I’m pleased to have been a participant in your first virtual workshop. I’m glad you decided to have students in future workshops view the videos in advance of the online discussion. When I viewed the videos I did have some questions, but I found the answers in your Power Point presentation.  But still, I found the real-time online discussion to be interesting and informative. Thanks for all you do in the world of decorative finishing. -Kate Kiernan


The trick to doing anything well in the end, I think, is to make it “look” like it was easy all along. Whether it’s a decorative finish, an edited video, or a 3 minute samba on Dancing With the Stars, that final shining ”ta da” moment only comes after a lot of mistakes, lessons learned, dedication to keep moving forward, and hours of grinding out a lot of practice and hard work. Once the memories of all the stress, hair pulling, and performance jitters fade, you find that you actually CAN do something, anything really,  by always venturing to take one more step forward, no matter what. Sometimes that requires a bit of back-stepping as well, but that’s all part of the dance, isn’t it? Next up, Stencil Impressions……