September 14th, 2011
Poetic Stenciling Ideas
Well, the writing is on the wall….and the mirror…and the chest….and the floor! Our unique new French poetry typography stencil is showing up everywhere these days and it’s thrilling to see it used in so many creative ways. First, the wall…
Michele has a beautiful blog called Hello Lovely Inc. where she mixes lovely imagery with poetic writing. She was smitten with the Springtime in Paris stencil as she is a writer herself and has studied French. A perfect fit! She not only stenciled her bathroom wall…
…but cleverly transformed a mirror she was thinking of throwing out by stenciling directly over the front with acrylic paint.
Stenciling on mirror is always fun because the mirror will reflect your artwork (as well as your feet!), providing an interesting dimensional effect.
Note that you will need to take care cleaning a mirror like this because the paint will not bond super good to the glass. The upside to that is that you can always remove it later if you wish. Michele also has an Etsy shop where she sells lovely vintage jewerly and clever collage art interspersed with her OWN poetry.
The ever talented Miss Mustard Seed, aka Marian, also did a fabulous post this week featuring the Springtime in Paris stencil on a rehabbed vintage chest. Marian’s specialty (well, one of them) is transforming furniture that she sells in her shop in Virginia.
She used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (of course!) to quickly change the base color from drab green to soft Cream and then stenciled the typography across the from with (appropriately) Paris Gray. I have no doubt this piece will be finding a special home soon!
And now, to the floor! My dear friend Barb Skivington has a fabulous decorative painting and design studio in High Point, NC called Faux Works. Barb is also an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint distributor and certified national teacher for the line. You are probably seeing ASCP ALL over the blog world used on furniture but the paint can also be applied directly over concrete-to beautiful effect!
Barb mixed it up a bit by adding in other elements such as our Paris Postage Stamp and PostMark, along with quotes we have available as Modello Designs masking patterns here.
We actually did a similar treatment on one of the Marrakech Painting trips, and I absolutely love the layering of words and images for a floor application, don’t you?? Decorative typography can be so inspiring…
I hope this inspires YOU.
September 7th, 2011
Stencil Freshen Up 1
Well, summer has come and gone (OH SO quickly!) once again. The kids are back in school and this is traditionally the time of year when lots of people’s thoughts turn to home decorating projects. After all, the holidays are approaching and fall is a great time to freshen things up a bit! We have some freshening up projects going on around here-Royal Design Studio and Modello Designs website redesigns to be exact. Even this pretty but aging blog. It’s a ridiculous amount of work, but going to be SO worth it…..someday…..soon…..I hope. So, I’ve been doing some housekeeping at Royal Design Studio. Trying to figure out which stencil patterns to “let go” and which to keep. I’ve been selling some of these stencils since the mid 90′s and some of the color and finish representations are looking a bit, well, dated. But just like that old piece of boring brown but highly functional furniture, many of these stencil designs have stood the test of time and could continue to do so if they just had a fresh coat of paint and some perkier colors added. And so, here you go! Some refreshed classic stencil patterns from Royal Design Studio….
Our Granada Border Stencil looks very cool and current stenciled in white as a backsplash pattern over a chalkboard paint finish.
The Delicate Floral Panel stencil pattern is generally used as a wall stencil, but it also makes a great furniture stencil when used in the panels of a large armoire.
We have a small series of stencils inspired by the tragically romantic ruins of Pompeii. This Botanical Column Stencil , with its delicate vines and birds works equally well in other romantic settings. This wall stencil repeats vertically and can be used as a single element of wall decor or repeated around a room for a patterned stripe effect.
Our Large Rosie motif stencil has an chic, Art Deco look. It’s adorable for nurseries or children’s room, especially when stenciled in shades of lipstick pink!
The Brocade Border Stencil has been one of my favorite stencil patterns for years. I love the delicate vine and berries. It has an Indian vibe to it, especially when paired with a punched tin mirror.
Another funky floral stencil pattern that works great for nurseries and little girl’s rooms is the Deco Doily stencil from our Modern Options Stencil collection. This two layer stencil allows you to introduce a coordinating color for the background which really sets it off from the wall color.
The Floral Medallions stencil set is based on ancient Middle Eastern patterns, but it looks cool, fresh and contemporary in minty green and lilac colors. It’s very quick and easy to scatter stencil motifs like this around a room for a custom wallpaper effect.
The great thing about stencils is that you can completely change the look and feel of the designs simply by changing the colors. So, do you have some freshening up projects planned for this fall?
June 20th, 2011
New Virtual Workshop Sneek Peak
In the fall of 2009 I began introducing Virtual Workshops as a way to teach decorative painting techniques to students around the country (and world) through web-based methods. To date, hundreds of students have enjoyed learning new techniques such as metallic foils with Foilin’ Around, Stencil Impressions, and the popular patterned finishes for mirror and glass through a series of recorded video lessons, detailed manuals and review webinars. These have been very successful in this current economy where funds have been limited for travel to participate in hands-on studio workshops. Recently, we began production of our 4th Virtual Workshop which combines our Modello Masking Pattern stencils with one of my favorite concrete resurfacing products: SkimStone. This new workshop will be available in late summer. One series of video lessons will guide students through the process of competing a beautiful floor project from start to finish. I am joined in this video series by Katrina Johnson, technical sales director for SkimStone, and her wealth of product knowledge from her ten years with this amazingly simple yet versatile product. Would you like a sneak peek? Well…..ok….and to celebrate this upcoming workshop, we are offering super pricing on our current ones for a limited time here!
It was a lot of work trying to do this project and film it well at the same time, but it will be SO worth it to be able to show a major project from start to finish, in addition to the basic studio lessons and Modello finishes. I think it will really take the intimidation factor out of tackling a floor project that incorporates pattern work, as I get the opportunity to show how easy it is to make adjustments with the Modello stencils. Oh, and I love my new floor! Look for more info in this new Virtual Workshop coming soon! Meanwhile, you can check out quite a few previous SkimStone posts here.
April 13th, 2011
High Style, High Gloss
Are you loving all the digital design magazines that are popping up everywhere these days?? Personally, I prefer the feel of paper over plastic keyboards, but I find it exciting that so much design inspiration is coming through amongst the email clutter I receive daily. I was SUPER excited last week, when I got the email announcing the latest edition of High Gloss magazine. This is the second issue of this magazine, which is the brainchild of Paloma Contrares of the blog, La Dolce Vita.
While quickly scrolling the current issue and guzzling coffee, I nearly choked when I saw one of my original stencil designs, Chez Sheik, featured on a page spread called “Get the Look” of Martyn Lawrence Bullard.
Now, I had previously not heard of Mr. Lawrence-Bullard (though I have probably seen his work multiple times!), and I dare say it’s quite possible he has still never heard of me, but I am certainly happy for the association-however small. He will be one of the design stars on the upcoming Bravo show, Million Dollar Decorators (which looks like wicked fun!) Besides designing rooms for celebs such as Elton John and Cher, he has designed a seriously awesome furniture line, as well as fabrics, rugs, and candles. I had a grand old time looking through his company website at projects like these…
Yes, that’s a pink and white stenciled ceiling with a red rug. I especially loved seeing this as I am planning on doing a deep pink ceiling in my home office that already has an alcove done in deep metallic red tones. More favs….
I had wanted to do big sliding doors in my work studio, but didn’t. Something like this “would have” been nice!
I’m not sure if this is wallpaper or stenciling, but it’s divine and Cheryl Tiegs agrees!
Amazing embroidery and the hanging tapestry reminds me of the black and gold mural we did in Marrakech.
Simply put. I want that arched carving and mirrored wall!
This is the same wall pattern from above. Check out the chest here.
I could TOTALLY curl up with a book on this couch-and I love nuts!
Not many people would enjoy this much pattern in a room-but I’m not one of THOSE people. Hope you enjoyed! Do you have a favorite?
March 7th, 2011
The Finest Rooms
Last month, our local Borders book store shut its doors forever. I know….bummer!! The only bright spot for me is that I was able to pick up a fantastic, recently published book, The Finest Rooms in America, for 40% off.
This compilation of 50 gorgeous rooms, selected by interior decorator Thomas Jayne, celebrates the most elegantly designed rooms in America, dating back 200 years, beginning with George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. I highly recommend adding this book to your shelf, even at full price! Here are some of my favorites, though I could have easily share dozens more….
Winter Garden Room: New York City
This room, which overlooks Central Park, was designed by Henri Samuel around 18th century painted Chinoiserie panels taken from a Belgium chateau. Notice how the lovely raised trellis pattern on the shutters is echoed in the plant stand and gold chair trim. The other photo in the book shows that the room is filled with an abundance of potted plants and flowers, as well as being bathed in natural light.
Sitting Room: New York City
I simply adore this blue color accented with gold and “framed” in the black and white mini-print wallpaper. Simply stunning and stunningly simple-by the legendary Albert Hadley.
Living Room: San Francisco
This Nob Hill living room, owned and designed by Jeffry Weisman, features many elements that were gifts from the great Tony Duquette, as well as amazing and expansive mirrored walls. Mirror and more mirror. My kind of place!
Dining Room: Palm Beach
Designer Thad Hayes had commissioned Gracie to replicate the original Chinoiserie hand-painted wallpaper for this 1938 home designed by Marion Sims Wyeth. Lynne Rutter has written a fab article on Chinoiserie for the new Artisphere Online magazine, BTW!
Reception Room: Portland, Maine
What is now the Victoria Mansion began as a stately brownstone villa decorated in the mid 1850′s by Gustave Herter (of the Herter Brothers firm) and saved from demolition (thankfully!) in the 1940′s. The extensive and inspiring decorative painting was done by a leading decorative painter of Herter’s time, Guisseppe Guidicini.
Bedroom: New York City
Designed by the late Mark Hampton, this bedroom in his family apartment’s prominent feature is the Chinese wallpaper hand painted on a silver ground. Hampton took the risk to roll the paper into tight balls to crease it before installation to give it some “age” and surface texture to reflect the light inevenly. Way to roll! It’s super lovely.
Dressing Room: Vizcaya
If you ever, EVER find yourself in South Florida don’t miss the opportunity to visit one of this country’s great historical houses, Vizcaya. I’ve been there twice now, and would easily go back in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, they do not allow you to photograph in the house, so seeing this dressing in this book was a special thrill. The fully restored linen canopy is completely hand-embroidered. I did a post several years ago on my now abandoned blog, The Art of Living, if you’d like to see more of Vizcaya.
This book is full of many beautiful examples on Chinoiserie, antique mirrors, tasteful interiors, and tasty design ideas. I hope you enjoyed a little peek!
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…..
…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 École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Impressive?!?!? Indeed!!!! Julia was one A-mazing woman.
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.
October 26th, 2010
Well, I’ve made a decision. When my dreams come true, I will buy a villa or palazzo in Italy. While I’m dreaming, I might as well just make a commitment to visit Riccardo Barthel in Florence because, you know, I am going to need HELP decorating my new digs.
This amazing design store was right next to the hotel where our Italy Painting Tour group stayed a couple of weeks ago.
They specialize in, well, LOTS of amazing things, it seems….
…like a seemingly endless variety of hand painted tiles for floors, walls, backsplashes, and countertops.
They also featured a lot of gorgeous custom furniture, frames, mirrors, furniture, fabrics, and fine art…
…all set amidst unique displays….
,,,that contrasted contemporary wall treatments with centuries-old painted ceilings.
There was also had a wonderful “shed” filled with antiques ready to be rehabbed and restored-or sold “as is”.
Truly amazing (and bank breaking) though, were their kitchen and bath fixtures.
Unfortunately, everything there was completely out of my price range, but WAIT, I AM dreaming here…..
The next time you are “museumed-out” in Florence, check out the dreamy Riccardo Barthel store near Porto Romano in Oltrarno for yourself!
September 26th, 2010
Reflecting on the Possibilities
As a decorative artist and surface finish designer, I’ve enjoyed creating literally 100′s of unique finishes that incorporate pattern. In fact, I simply don’t “do” a finish without pattern!! I love the combination and manipulation of design, medium, tools, color, textures, and reflective qualities, and the million different ways that those can be combined to create something with purposeful beauty. My latest pattern process “love” is working with mirror and glass, and I am quite proud of the finishes and techniques that I share in our latest Virtual Workshop, Patterned Mirror and Glass. Not only do these techniques present amazing new artistic possibilities, but I really feel that this workshop offers amazing value and opportunities for decorative artisans.
For this workshop, I’ve taken everything (plus much more) that I used to teach in a $1,000 3-day hands-on workshop ,and put it into 5 hours of recorded video lessons, an 85-page illustrated book, and a 2+ hour interactive Webinar meeting. When you throw in the cost (and aggravation) savings of an airline flight, hotel room, and schedule juggling, the lower cost of a Virtual Workshop becomes an even greater value! At least that is what our students say…..:)
But the even biggestvalue of this workshop is not even that you are getting a great deal on unique, quality information that you can review over and over. The biggest value is in what you can DO with the information. Beyond making pretty little glass and mirror samples, this workshop provides you with options for expanding your artistry over a wide variety of new surfaces and applications. If you are a DIYer, you can create unique accents for your home. If you are a professional decorative artisan, you can expand your portolio and add income to your bottom line with valuable additions to your decorative projects. Use these Patterned Mirror and Glass techniques on framed mirrors….
….custom tabletops, countertops, and protective/decorative furniture tops.
You can have custom mirror shapes cut to create one-of-a-kind wall art…
…or transform an inexpensive catalog side table into something highly unique and personal.
Use the easy “Faux Iron Grillwork” to add architectural interest to French doors, cabinet door, and fixed windows.
There are countless commercial applications for these techniques, as demonstrated by this focal point logo mirror installation by Garay Artisans in a retail boutique. Regina attending one of my hands on mirror workshops a couple of years ago and her company has worked hard to successfully develop their own signature techniques and market them effectively. Photo from Modello by Design, Volume 2.
Also from Modello by Design, Volume 2, this reverse painted glass backsplash beautifully demonstrates the possibilities of displaying and selling these finishes as backsplash options through high-end kitchen and bath showrooms. If you are already doing cabinet finishing and countertop surfacing, coordinating backsplashes are an easy and elegant “add on” project!
On a personal note, I also incorporated Patterned Mirror and Glass into my recent wedding. 20″ mirror rounds were patterned and patinated and placed in the center of each table. They beautifully reflected the lovely flowers and flickering votives. The cake “plate” used the same pattern, this time gilding on the front of an undistressed mirror round. Yet another marketing opportunity for these techniques: wedding and event planners!
Want to see more?! Click here for lots of inspiring past posts on Mirror and Glass finishes!
After becoming fully inspired, sign up for our Patterned Mirror and Glass Virtual Workshop to get your login info to start viewing the 36 different video lessons, and you’re on your way!!! Then, take advantage of our Friends with Benefits program: refer a friend and get a $25 product credit while your friend enjoys registering with $25 off!! Call Jillian at 800.663.3860 for details.
We also have Virtual Workshop Combo Packages where you can save by enrolling in multiple workshops at once.
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.
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
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
Alicia “Lulu” Danzig
Want to go? Let me know….