November 28th, 2010

Hearst Castle, Part 1

For 28 years, from 1919 to 1947, William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan worked collaboratively to turn a former remote Hearst family camping site near San Simeon, CA  into one of the most lavish and famous private residences in the country. Hearst dubbed it La Cuesta Encantada (the Enchanted Hill), and referred to it as “the ranch”. We now call it Hearst Castle, and it is an invaluable treasure of art, architecture, and design. It is absolutely one of my favorite, most inspiring places on earth.


The Hearst Castle Collection is the registered brand name encompassing artisan quality, licensed home furnishings, decorative accessories, and art objects inspired by the architecture, antiques and antiquities at Hearst Castle. The mission of the Hearst Castle Collection is to educate and enlighten the community on the importance of preserving the history of design and craftsmanship through in spired contemporary design. Hearst Castle Collection licensees directly support the preservation and restoration of Hearst Castle by producing contemporary reproductions and design interpretations that bring the museum’s collections to the attention of the public worldwide. Additionally, a percentage of all items sold under the Hearst Castle Collection brand go directly back to funding the ongoing maintenance and preservation of this national historic landmark and treasure.


Licensees have access to an extensive and well documented collection of patterns, designs, decorative elements, architectural features, fabrics, and on and on…..

Julia Morgan Designs 1

…including the architectural drawings by the architect Julia Morgan, who with Hearst, designed all of the architectural features that were created on-site down to the smallest detail. Much of what you see when you visit  Hearst Castle was actually dismantled and shipped from villas, palaces, monestaries, etc in Spain and Italy. Julia designed some of the  main rooms around whole ceilings that Hearst “picked up” on his many trips abroad.


Morgan was the first independently practicing female architect in California. She was also the first woman to graduate with a degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and the first woman to graduate with a degree in architecture from the famous Ă‰cole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Impressive?!?!? Indeed!!!! Julia was one A-mazing woman.

Hearst-Castle-Ceilings 1

So knowing all this, and knowing how much of my life revolves around all things having to do with pattern, design and decoration, you can imagine how HONORED and EXCITED I am to announce that both Royal Design Studio and Modello Designs will be producing and offering patterns based on the Hearst Castle Collection. We will be joining a well-respected and merry group of licensees including Pindler & Pindler, Habersham, Barclay Butera, Tilevera, and more.


In addition to stencil designs and decorative masking stencils, we are looking at developing a line of decorative art accessories, including mirror, floor screens……AND an architectural ceiling series. OH MY! My head is swimming and I can hardly wait to get started……waiting now for my books and cds containing over 5,ooo documented designs to work from. This pattern junkie is beyond thrilled and looking forward to the ultimate “fix”!   to be continued.

November 22nd, 2010

Colour Lovers + Stencils

COLOURLovers is

 a creative community where people from around the world create
and share colors, palettes and patterns, discuss the latest trends and explore colorful
articles… All in the spirit of love.

It’s a great place  to go for a jolt of color inspiration-or while away your time playing around with the various “generators”. Hey, it’s research!

COLOURlovers BLOG routinely features trends in interior design color palettes, which were fun to assign to some of our latest stencil designs from Royal Design Studio.

New Stencil: Corsini Damask




New Stencil: Granada Border




New Stencil: Barcelona Border



New Stencil: Deco Doily



New Stencil: Rosie

Hope you enjoyed and find lots of creative uses for Colourlovers AND stencils in YOUR life!

November 21st, 2010

Set in Stone

I was so thankful this past October that on our last day in Florence on our Italy Painting Trip, that Alison pointed a small group of us in the direction of the Pietre Dure Museum, officially called the Opificio della Pietre Dure. This amazing little place is tucked on a side street just around the corner from the lines of people waiting to see Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia. We were the only three people in attendance the whole time we were there! How lovely to escape the crowds and spend some quiet time contemplating the stone marquetry and scagliola work of centuries of fine Florentine craftsmen. Below are some of my favorite photos taken on site….

Pietre Dure Italy 4

Pietre Dure Italy 2

Pietre Dure Italy 6

Pietre Dure Italy 5

Pietre Dure Italy 1

Pietre Dure Italy 3

My favorite photo is of this ornate and amazing  malachite fireplace surround, detailed out with gilded plasterwork. They just don’t make ‘em like this any more kids!!

Alison had recommended this museum as being “easily digestable”, and the focus on JUST this type of artistry really helps you hone in, enjoy, and appreicate the amount of skill and detail that this kind of artwork requires! Upstairs there is even an extensive display of the tools and “machines’ that were employed by the artisans, as well as a beautiful selection of all of the precious and semi-precious stones and marbles that were routinely incorporated. I HIGHLY recommend that this museum be moved to the top of your list if you find yourself lucky enough to be in Florence!

You can find more interesting details about the history of the this “court laboratory” turned museum, and the beauty it contains here, in English.