December 4th, 2009

Pssst. Hey Santa!

You know how when people ask you “what do you want for Christmas?” and you can’t think of anything off the top of your head. Well, that’s what happens to me anyway….Whether your list for Santa is long or short, you might want to consider asking for the gift that keeps on giving….and creating.


We now have Virtual Workshop Gift Certificates available in our online store. They are good for any Virtual Workshop offered in 2010, including the two current offerings: Foilin’ Around and Stencil Impressions. Coming soon are Patterned Glass and Mirror, SkimStone Surfaces and Marquetry Effects on Wood, Walls, and More! If you’ve been a good boy or girl and whisper in the right ear, you may just find one in your stocking this year….

December 3rd, 2009

Fabulous Cabinet Finishes

I wrote recently about my friend Barb Skivington’s beautiful showroom and space in High Point, NC. Well a couple of weeks ago Barb was in MY house to teach one of her signature cabinet and furniture finishes workshops.


Barb has a wealth of knowledge about cabinet finishing, the product line that she uses, and how to be successful at selling these amazing and elegant surface treatments to high-end clients. Plus, she LOVES to teach!


Here, she demonstrates “tipping” on a raised resin ornament that has been applied to the initial raw wood of a hand-distressed cabinet door.


And now showing off a more contemporary Asian look. The class was called Artisan Cabinet and Furniture Finishes and was such a HUGE hit that we have scheduled a return trip for Barb. She will be coming west again for another amazing class, European Cabinet and Furniture Finishes.


This workshop offers distressed, stained and painted finishes, and multi-layered and textured specialty finishes-finishes inspired by the beautiful towns, cities and regions of France, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, and Belgium. According to Barb, who frequents the furniture showrooms in High Point, Belgium is BIG for 2010.


I, for one, am looking forward to learning how to replicate these lovely finishes! European Cabinet and Furniture Finishes Class, March 3-5, 2010

November 30th, 2009

Merry Hissmiss

Walking down 5th avenue in Manhattan last week on Thanksgiving eve, I couldn’t help but notice that there was some tension in the air. I think that there may be a catfight brewing between the cool ice princesses at Lord & Taylor….




…and the red hot haughties at Saks….





November 20th, 2009

Exploring New Terrain

I’ll be winging my way east tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving week with my family in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York. My first shopping stop in the Philadelphia area HAS to be Anthropologie’s Terrain garden shop in Glen Mills, PA. How could I not…….????



Selected items above from their Shop, just in case your interested too……and you can find more gorgeous photos of this place at Laura Novak’s Photography blog

November 17th, 2009

Laviva Trunk Show

Looking for eye candy? Color inspiration? A special something to lovingly run your hands over? A unique, handcrafted Christmas present with international intrique? Check out  l’aviva home – a series of curated online trunk shows.


Currently on show: textile and objectShown here: handpainted Michoacan platters and Kantha pillows from India


In textile , each hand-selected piece tells a story and evokes a sense of place. Show here: Kuba cloth from the Congo (my fav!) and hadenga cushions, made by Zimbabwean refugees.


Items in object  balance traditional techniques with a modern sensibility. Shown here: Bolivian aguayos and Turkish filligree pendant lamps

“The collections reflect the belief that the things we surround ourselves with should possess a soul, a history, and a purpose beyond mere decoration: they should help us connect to the world.” I’m feeling very connected right now…..

November 15th, 2009

Inspired by: Elsa Mora

I’ve just spent many magical minutes traveling through the amazing art, mind and world of Elsa Mora.


“Elsita” is a Cuban-born artist, mother, and “hollywood wife” who is amazingly talented in a seemingly endless array of mediums. She has multiple blogs on her general art and her intricate papercutting projects, as well as a store.  Just a few delightful things by Elsita….

elsita 1

elsita 1b


elsita 6


elsita 5

…blossom buddies…

elsita 3

…doll houses…

elsita 4

…beautiful dresses…

elsita 7


elsita 2

…and illustrations. Absolutely NOT to be missed is her blog on personal style, which she seems to have in spades, as well as a generous heart and a nurturing spirit.

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) 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….