March 30th, 2011

Stencil Renaissance

You know that saying, “everything old is new again”? Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to apply to the aging human body, but it sure seems to apply to the popularity of stenciled pattern through the ages. After falling out of favor in the early part of the 2oth century, stencils enjoyed  a major resurgence following the Bicentennial celebration of America in 1976.  I became heavily involved obsessed with stencils in the 80′s as I spoke about in this recent post, and watched stencils as an elegant wall decorating choice grow exponentially through the 90′s and early 2000′s.  As fashion trends come and go, so too do decorating trends, and wall stenciling gave up ground to other types of surface treatment options such as Venetian Plaster, gilding, and various other mediums, and eventually gave way altogether to that awful trend of JUST plain, unadorned paint.  Phew! Glad THAT seems to have passed quickly!walls-stencils-royal-design

Well…..stencils seem to be BACK in a very BIG way these day (happy dance!) as a whole new generation of young designers and home decorators are discovering stenciling anew! Case in point: this lovely post recently on our Royal Design Studio stencils by Brittany at A Daily Dose of Harri Ette. (I am reposting her photo montage above) Brittany is not alone! I see bloggers worldwide now ”discovering” stencils as an outlet for creativity and personal design expression in their own homes. Another example is Angel Li’s post on 77+Love. So, if you hang around long enough you can be be “trendy” all over again! :)

I have a little mini-obsession going with artistic  typography. I think it started with the typography floor I designed for one of our project in Marrakech. It continued on with the It’s Just Your Type collection we released through Modello Designs. Lately, I’ve been focusing on stencil designing and have been exploring ideas for a collection of typography stencils for Royal Design Studio.


The first few stencils for the collection are now ready and I’m really excited to share them. Here we show the whole Springtime in Paris Typography stencil set. Each of these stencils is sold separately, but I actually envisioned them all working together as a layered treatment.


The first layer of this look is a repeating wallpaper stencil of a French poem about Spring! How’s that for timing? You can read the interpretation of the poem on the website.


Of course you can create a sweet focal point by just using the sweet Paris Postage Stamp stencil by itself.


Here is another version of the whole stencil set that is a sample on a subtly distressed plaster finish that I created for a uncoming stencil workshop I will be teaching in May at my friend Gary Lord’s Prismatic Painting Studio. I am really interested to know what you think of these, as I have so many possible ideas swimming around in my head! If you think I’m on the right track with these, just say the word! :)

March 10th, 2011

Vintage Stencils?

Stencil flashback!! I was going through a stack of old magazines lately and came across the May 2003 edition of Romantic Homes magazine. Way, WAY back in 2001 I created a whole training program for combining stencil patterns with decorative finishes, plasters, and textures called Extraordinary Stenciled Effects. At the time, I was almost exclusively working with products from the Faux Effects, International product line. Decorative finishing was just starting to BOOM, as an interior design option AND as a career for creative entrepreneurs. Teaching studios were popping up all over the country to meet the demand to train artisans and service their needs. It was a heady time and I think all of us in the industry are sorely missing it! I had been traveling almost monthly to various studios around the country to teach my techniques in hands on workshops. It was a fabulous, if not exhausting, experience. To meet the demand, and stay home a bit more, I shot a series of 6 instructional videos, and created a series of recipe cards and a supporting technique manual. Many of the techniques were put into action in my own home, which was featured in a number of books and publications, including Romantic Homes.


My living room, with the textured faux silk linen walls stenciled with our Fortuny damask pattern. I don’t have any desire to change the walls here-they are very soft, neutral, and classic!


My kitchen which still looks very similar and is in severe need of a redesign!!


My former home office. This was my favorite room, with the faded stenciled damask stripes, stenciled velvet pillows, and a cozy little desk area I build into the former closet.


My old bedroom with stenciled trompe l’oeil mouldings and stenciled panel treatment below. There is actually a stencil gallery here on this blog with more house photos that you can browse through. I titled this post “Vintage Stencils”, but (with a few exceptions), I think most of these looks stand the test of time. Stencils are definitely an up and coming “trend” again, which is GREAT to see. It’s a “trend” I’ve been happily riding for 27 years now…..:)

Here’s a PDF of the full article from Romantic Homes with additional stencil photos.

March 4th, 2011

Hearst Castle Part 2

It’s been awhile since I updated you on my adventure of becoming a licensee for stencil patterns from the amazing Hearst Castle Collection. I have been holding off because I had plans to write a multi-part article about it for the new Artisphere Online magazine. Now, I can take the opportunity to update you on two things at once! How’s THAT for time management? First, the Artisphere Online is the new digital magazine of IDAL, the International Decorative Artisan’s League (formerly SALI). I’ve been an active member of this fabulous organization since 1984 (yes, you read that right!) This new online mag is going to be fabulous ongoing resource for decorative painting industry news and inspiration, with articles, tips, and how-to’s from top artists in our industry. I am honored to have been asked to be a regular contributor, and I encourage you to check it out OFTEN as new content will added on a continuous basis.


My first article presents an introduction to Hearst Castle and the two iconic people behind this national treasure, William Randolph Hearst and the amazing architect, Julia Morgan.


I was thrilled to make the trip up to San Simeon from San Diego last January for a behind the scenes, private tour of the estate to learn more about the history and photograph inspiration for our upcoming Hearst Castle Collection stencil line for Royal Design Studio and Modello Designs.





My article and accompanying photo gallery includes just a sampling of the photos I took there and I’ll be sharing more in future article. I’m just including a few here in this post to inspire you to read the article and check out the whole Artisphere Online magazine while you’re there! As you can see, there is a wealth of pattern inspiration at Hearst Castle for me to develop new stencil designs from, including Julia Morgan’s fabulous architectural drawings. Mygoal is to introduce the new stencil line at the IDAL Convention this July in Hampton, VA. Maybe I will see you there!!

February 12th, 2011

Stencil Giveaway/MadebyGirl

WooHoo!! Royal Design Studio is sponsoring a stencil giveaway over on the lovely Made by Girl Blog!


Head on over there and get all the details and follow the directions for the chance to win a FREE stencil of YOUR choice, valued up to $50. The drawing will be held February 18, so leave your entry comment SOON! Jen has featured some of our latest stencil designs, such as…..


Our new Large Marrakech Trellis stencil,


our modern, graphic Endless Circle Lattice stencil,


and our new Uzbek Suzani allover stencil. You may recognize this last design, as it was first done here on my first painting adventure to Marrakesh at Peacock Pavilions. For that project, we used very large Modello masking stencils. My friend Debbie Hayes later used the same design in an elegant brown and gold bathroom shown here. This new mylar stencil is a bit scaled down from that but it’s still quite a grand size and makes a fabulous bold statement, I think!


Besides running the very popular Made by Girl blog, Jen also has an online Made by Girl store where she sells her original (and very clever) artwork on posters, canvases, and cards.


I particularly love the typography posters where she highlights letters to spell names and sayings. I would just like to say thank you to Jen for hooking us, and YOU, up with this fun giveaway. Good luck everyone!!!

February 11th, 2011

It’s Easy Being Green!

Besides my old friend Kermit, the color green reminds me of fresh cut Summer grass, the new buds of Spring (it WILL come eventually), verdant forests, and fresh beginnings.

Colour Lovers-green

The color green is also featured as an interior design trend on this recent post from The Colour Lovers blog! Perfect timing, then, to share these new allover stencil designs imagined in inspiring shades of nature’s favorite color: green!


This Moroccan-inspired stencil is called Chez Sheik-3071. It is available in two sizes (large shown here) and makes quite a statement on a “bed wall”, don’t you think?


The allover Chain Link Stencil-3086 is super clean and contemporary. It keeps you “going around in circles” the best possible way! We’ve been busy creating a whole flurry of new stencil patterns over at Royal Design Studio. I’d love to know what you think about these new patterns! There are lots more in the works….

February 4th, 2011

Papaya Art

Have you heard of Papaya? 


If you haven’t, you’ve surely seen their colorful array of products including cards, giclee prints, journals, totes, etc. Their style, which layers whimsical imagery, global cultural influences, decorative pattern, and inspiring typography is QUITE recognizable and memorable. Creative abandon, indeed!




You might note that I feel a strong creative kinship with the ladies of this company if you notice HOW PERFECT this imagery looks on THIS blog, LOL!

Stencils-Moroccan Stencils-Papaya 3

So, you can imagine my delight that they chose to use Royal Design Studio stencils from my Moroccan stencil collection in their current trade show booth.

Stencils-Moroccan Stencils-Papaya 2

I love how the graphic black and white pattern “grounds” the space, provides continuity, and provides the perfect compliment to their colorful product mix!

Stencils-Moroccan Stencils-Papaya 1

Note the shift from black on white to white on black to help distinguish the different product lines. Brilliant!

You can keep track of the goings on of this talented team of ladies, led by Anahata Katkin, at the Papaya Blog. The yare currently in the process of designing and decorating their new flagship shop in Ashland, Oregon  (a Lux Boho Boutique), where another one of the Moroccan stencil patterns will be used on a 23′ high ceiling. I’m DYING to see that and only wish that Ashland was closer to San Diego.

P.S. Coincindently, I just saw some Papaya art feature on my friend Angela’s new blog. Check out THIS lovely and inspiring post!

February 2nd, 2011

Under the Big Top

I am in the process of planning yet another (my fourth!) Moroccan painting adventure to Peacock Pavilions in late October, 2011, so thought to revisit the results of our last trip where we focused on a VERY fun fabric stenciling project: turning an ordinary canvas tent into a special space for dining, dreaming, and entertaining.

Stenciling-Moroccan stencils


The inspiration for the series of Moroccan stencils based on class Fez-style embroidery that I developed for this project came from this lovely book. The graphic patterns seemed to just beg to be translated into stencils! So, I created a whole series of designs that could be mixed and matched and layers in different ways, depending on the needs of the project. We didn’t get a chance to see the tent “all dressed up” while we were there, but could imagine all the possibilities that can arise from a basic black and white color color palette. You can see how Maryam has been able to style and decorate the tent in multiple, beautiful ways and various color schemes.



Such as the beautiful Moroccan blue colors this post….


…my favorite pink accent color in this post…


 …and your basic, elegant black in this post . So chis! Note the stenciled paper placemats! What a fun idea!!

All stencils are from our Moroccan stencil collection at Royal Design Studio.

Stay tuned for my next post, where I will show you this same series of stencil patterns used to create an amazing backdrop for a most deliciously colorful product display….

January 28th, 2011

Stencil Score!

I was recently contacted by a long lost customer of Royal Design Studio stencils who is now in the real estate biz. Seems that one of HER customers had a stack of stencils in their home and were looking to find them a new home. Would I like to make an offer. Ummmmm, YEAH!


I have no idea what they are “worth”, but they were worth something to me, so I am now the proud owner of a series of vintage brass stencils (apparently found in an old lighting factory in Michigan). The patterns are really unique, and some will work their way in to new stencil designs from Royal Design Studio. My main thought, though, is to transform them into some special wall art. I am open to suggestions…..

January 22nd, 2011

Martha and Me


It’s always Martha, Martha, Martha!! She’s a purveyor of gracious living that has helped to shape the psyche of multiple generations of woman, a cultural icon, an accomplished, creative woman with business nerves of steel. She’s served time (very graciously, I might add), and served perfect desserts. Oh, and she also has this magazine…..Martha Stewart Living…and the February 2011 issue features a lovely furniture application of my original Ribbon Damask Stencil, available in two sizes through Royal Design Studio. How cool is that?!


The Small Ribbon Damask stencil was used very “smartly” on the furniture piece above for the magazine shoot. 


This easy, breezy stencil pattern looks good repeated formally, as on the chest of drawers, or just scattered in creative random abandon across a wall. Mix in some different colors for fun layered effects, as shown here with our version of the Large Ribbon Damask stencil .

So, what do you think of the vignette the stylist created above? I like it. It’s different, but I feel like I want to change something about it. Maybe the drawer knobs?? Not sure….either way, thank you Martha Stewart Living!!