August 13th, 2010

Sparkling Susan Bickford

I have blogged here before about Susan Bickford and her decorative finishing business, Singing Walls. Susan is a wonderful, regular customer of Modello Designs whose work has been featured extensively in our inspirational “idea” books, Modello by Design-Inspiring Interiors from Artists’ Portfolios. Susan recently sent me photos of a fabulous ceiling project that, unfortunately, came too late to make it into the most recent book. Fortunately though, it’s NEVER too late for a blog post!


Susan worked with one of our talented graphic designers, Michelle, to customize our popular EasPan114 pattern, which features classic Japanese plum blossom branches, for a bedroom ceiling. You can see how well she coordinated to the colors to the drapery material in the room in the shot above.


As an added touch, Susan and her friend Elaine Castronova added 100′s of sparkling, Swarovski crystal to accent the flower petals.


Some of the photos of Susan’s work which DID make it into the recent book show the heights that she will go to in order to add a pattern that will compliment an architectural feature! Shown here, OrnCen164 in a dome-topped stairwell.


EasPan102 used for a fabulous striped treatment by Susan, along with another decorative artist, Lorna Soble.


Above, a motif pulled from our Ornamental Panel Collection was used in pie shaped dome. I particularly love this photo because it represents how much impact you can get just by using a fairly simple and enexpensive Modello pattern. It’s hard to imagine that this space would have even a fraction of the visual interest it does without the bold contrast of colors and design.

Click here for more information about Modello by Design-Inspiring Interiors from Artists’ Portfolios, Volume 2

PS It just so happens that today, August 13, is Susan’s birthday. Happy Birthday Susan!!

August 7th, 2010

Walking on Art in Portugal

While pouring back over honeymoon photos to create a slideshow for our wedding reception (yes, I know, VERY backwards!) I came back across my lovely Portuguese pavement pictures, and thought they would be nice to share…Calcada Portuguesa is the art of combining small chiseled and polished pieces of white limestone and black basalt to create beautiful mosaic patterns on wide sidewalks and in stately piazzas. It began in Lisbon in 1849 with a wave design in Rossio Square (4th picture shown below) and soon spread throughout the other major cities of Portugal and even to the colonies. There are literally MILES of this amazing, hand crafted treatment throughout Portugal, and I wish I had shot photos of every one.  Here are but a few…






As you might imagine, this is a painstaking process and a dying art form, but just one of the many delightful things about this small and special country.

August 5th, 2010

Patterned Mirror and Glass

Last Fall, I introduced our exclusive Virtual Workshops; web-based learning that combines hours of pre-recorded video lessons backed up with detailed written instructions and one “live” ,online, interactive webinar for review and Q&A. The response has been fabulous and the reviews have been very rewarding! For many months now, I have been (off and on) hard at work creating a followup workshop to Foilin Around and Stencil Impressions that focuses on Patterned Mirror and Glass techniques.

Patterned MIrror and Glass Workshop

I spent days and weeks recording video lessons, as this subject offers SO MANYpossibilities! Well, the editing is ALMOST done and we are set to launch the program starting September 1, 2010. With double the amount of information provided in the first two Virtual Workshops the cost for this one has increased, but it is still quite an economical way to learn. You don’t even have to leave the comforts of home! If you register for the new Patterned Mirror and Glass workshop before September 1, you can save $25 off the registration cost.

We have changed the Virtual Workshop format a bit, in that you can now start watching the video lessons and will be mailed the printed material immediately up0n registration. You will then automatically be enrolled in the next monthly “live” session for that particular workshop.


We are also now offering a special combo price (save 10%) when you enroll in the two original Virtual Workshops at the same time. We have the next ”live” meeting for these two workshops coming up next week….

Hope to “see” you in a Virtual Workshop soon! ;)

August 4th, 2010

Peacock Peeps

I have been EXTREMELY fortunate to take and lead many decorative painting trips to many fabulous countries, including France, Italy, Morocco, (and soon) Spain! While the landscape, culture, food and sights are always droolworthy, it’s the fabulous people and friendships that I get to experience that make these trip truly special. We had a small but mighty ( and super interesting and talented) group of ladies on the last trip to Marrakech, and damn! we had some fun!!


Touring the Bahia Palace…


and snapping pics of ourselves snapping pics of ourselves..


having a rooftop henna party…


with frothy cocktails, of course.


Visiting the famed Majorelle Gardens…


..and enjoying the, um, view at La Mamounia.


Waiting for our Moroccan knight in shining mini van Mustofa…


…and making friends on shopping excursions.


Making a splash in “the hood”…



…and strutting in the lovely seaside town of Essaouira.



Enjoying the “entertainment” at Chez Ali…


….and providing “the entertainment” at the Hotel du Tresor.


Overall, it was a bit of a spiritual experience I can’t wait to repeat….

Much love to peahens
Lisa Wilson
Maggie O’Neill
Alicia “Lulu”  Danzig
Angela Perrone
Nancy Jones

Want to go? Let me know….

August 2nd, 2010

Marrakech Redux

As I told you in this blog post, our most recent Peacock Painting trip project in Marrakech was themed around Moroccan embroidery designs from Fez. This style of  embroidery is characterized by a singular color of thread, usually black, on a cream-colored background.


The project was fairly simple and straightforward: stenciling the patterns in black on the interior walls of a canvas tent built especially for entertaining. The stencils were designed to coordinate and combine in various ways to create a unique, overall scheme.


We started with a border. Then added a diamond pattern banded by a different border set on the diagonal.


Then we added a more complex lacy border to complete the dado area.


It probably sounds tedious, but it was actually a LOT of fun. We felt like we were doing an old-fashioned quilting bee. The six of us worked really well together and Maggies’ music mix and nice l-o-n-g lunch breaks kept us humming along.


It WAS nice to near the end though, and as each subsequent “wall” was finished and rehung, we enjoyed being enveloped by our handiwork.


The cat provided a temporary distraction, but other than that was no help at all….


So we continued on to stencil the door panels (that convert to awnings) in a coordinating pattern…


until we got down to the last brush stroke….and then it was Moroccan Mint Tea time! My awesome little flock of Peacock Painters this time were Lisa Wilson, Nancy Jones, Angela Perrone, Alicia “LuLu” Danzig, and Miss Maggie O’Neill.

All of these stencil patterns have now been newly added to the Royal Design Studio website here. There are lots of ways to mix and match them and they will be equally fabulous in both bright and pastel colors!

A beautiful Sunday morning seems a fine time to finally get around to sorting and posting some pictures from my most recent Peacock Painting trip to Peacock Pavilions in Marrakech. I feel like I’m taking a “virtual” trip back there….if you want to come along, you will see…


..the most efficient form of transportation for getting quickly around the souks…


..where purple silk hangs to dry….


…and rusted hinges pile up and just BEG for you to grab a handful (tempted!)…


…red thongs sit on a “factory” line…


…and random pots form a perfect still life.


On the edge of the Medina, the gardens at La Mamounia invite you to take a casual stroll…

…where stately palms cast shadows on a building halfway down the path.


Perhaps you’d prefer some quiet reflection at the Medersa…


…or a morning walk in the Koutoubia gardens under the watchful eye of the mosque tower.


How about browsing for Fortuny inspired, henna-decorated goatskin chandeliers? It was hard to resist purchasing one of these, so I got two!


You might enjoy a quiet game of chess in a historic hotel in Essaouira…



…or an afternoon enjoying the cactus gardens at the Jardin Majorelle?


If you think a “virtual” trip is for the birds and are considering a REAL LIVE trip to Marrakech in the future, I am compiling an “interest list” for a 4th Peacock Painting trip in the next year or so. Drop me a line if you are interested…..