March 30th, 2009

Art from Floor to Ceiling

We’ve recently completed a rather large project here in our long neglected lunch room: a decorated coffered ceiling. Actually, it’s NOT completed as now I want to add wood detailing and pattern to the beams, but that’s for another day, week, month.  There are 15 different coffers, and naturally, I wanted a different pattern for each one, so scoured my design books for my favorite allover tile designs. We have now added these to the Modello line of decorative masking patterns and they come from historical patterns from Spain, Portugal and Cuba. I’ve mentioned before how much I LOVE tile patterns. Feeling rather lazy efficient about the whole thing, I decided to forego applying them directly to the ceiling and did them on the Roclon canvas that we sell instead. This way, they could be done easily and in a production style on our studio tabletops and installed with heavy duty wallpaper past on the ceiling when completed.


I used SkimStone for this project-a trowel-on product actually designed for resurfacing concrete floors, but that also works great on the Roclon for wall and ceiling panels. I love the color range and look of this product so much!


Here is a panel in progress with the pattern now being removed.  As these patterns would be great for floors, countertops and tabletops I decided to photograph them as they might look when used for that application….











And here they are on the ceiling! Great thanks to the girls of the West Coast Artisans Guild for their help on this project.



New allover tile Modello patterns here.

April 26th, 2008

Breakin in the Studio

Finally! The sound of laughter, paint talk and trowelling has been ringing through the studio as we have just held our first classes here the last couple of weeks.


I had a great group of 10 for the ever-popular SkimStone/Modello class, which is one of my favorite to teach because it only involves one product! It’s amazing how many different looks you can get by changing colors, patterns and application techniques.


Here is the lovely Diane (with the also lovely Julie) modeling her cool new Operation Decoration t-shirt. Wonder where she got that?


They were a dedicated bunch who teamed up and stayed late to work on not one, but two Concrete Carpet designs, which will be hung in the front stair landing.


I love the old crusty look of the Ibiza…


and the fresh color scheme of this one, a new pattern we have coming out with our new Design Library Binder. Thank you guys for a great inagural class!

February 19th, 2008

Workshop Schedule Posted: Check!

I was thinking the other day that it might be helpful if I got my 2008 workshop schedule figured out before 2009 rolls around. No, actually I have been thinking about it a lot because Dawn keeps asking me because people keep asking HER if I ever plan to teach again! With the move, upcoming trips and ongoing major decorating projects at the new building it’s been a bit hard to focus and plan, but it’s done. I’ve created even more work for myself by adding three new classes this year, but I’m excited to create some new looks to share! Here are a couple of them-

Modello Workshop/Elegant Reflections

Elegant Reflections. I am continually excited about the possibilities of pattern on glass and mirrors and have some really cool projects planned for our building including a reverse-gilded Moroccan tile -themed glass countertop (that’s a mouthful, huh?) and mirrored tile door.

Modello Workshop/Boho Modern

Boho Modern Finishes. This is a term I picked up from this post by Holly at Decor8. My idea of Boho Modern is a little broader and more colorful (we can’t have all those plain white walls, now can we?) but I have some GREAT distressed wall finishes in my head that I will be developing over the coming weeks that I will share later! Also, check out Floor Focus, Modello Master Methods and SkimStone/Modello.

Hoping to see you in the studio….

February 6th, 2008

Artistry in Concrete

The World of Concrete is a HUGE show-full of testosterone and all things that testosterone infused beings like: Mega-large machinery, tools, big displays of bags of cement and the like. Tucked away out back of the three huge halls filled with this stuff is a small area dedicated to “Artistry in Concrete” where 10 people are selected to show their stuff on a 10′ x 10′ slab that is poured just for the occasion. For the last fours years Modello Designs has supported some participating artists with design and products and this year we were pleased to have our product used by a couple of lovely ladies!


Stevi Michner was there representing her Detroit-based decorative concrete company, Surface. She created a concrete sculpture of a kimono using overlays and colorants from Colormaker Floors and decorated it with a customized version of our EasPan 114 Plum Blossom tree.




My friend Nancy Jones from Artworks! Spokane (and a participant on our recent Italy trip) create this very cool tiger mural. She worked with Aaron on developing the artwork into a two-layer Modello that was used with custom-tinted SkimStone. She achieved the subtle shading and color variations by applying by both brush and trowel and adding in more hand-painting after the Modello pattern was removed. The only sad thing about this is that they jack-hammer these slabs up at the end of the show. I hope you got better pics than I Nancy and that you get to apply this somewhere with some more permanence!

Mmmm. Mmmm.

Modello Floor-Detail.jpg

We did a SkimStone “carpet” to finish of the Gingko Leaf office, using Modello EasAll104 in the center. I LOVE this trellis pattern. Originally, there was to be an elaborate decorative border overlaid in the raspberry outer border but we liked the relatively simplicity so much as this point we decided to stop here. With everything already going on in the room and yet more just outside the door, I think it was a good call!

Modello Floor-and-Wall.jpg

This shows how it relates in size, scale and color to the wall finish. I custom-tinted the green on the floor to match the paint color on the wall using their French Mint and Yellowstone colors. It’s almost spot on. Just so’s you know, there is all that empty space at the bottom of the wall because it will be filled up with a row of filing cabinets. Sigh.

November 1st, 2007


So, yeah, Italy was amazing! We were really lucky to be accompanied by a fabulous group of 30 people. Now, that may seem like a lot-it sure did to me-and we were working in a smallish space but I’ve never seen a group of diverse people work so well together. We were able to get an incredible amount of work done in a week and there were smiles all around all the time. Maybe it had something to do with the many bottles of red wine on our lunch tables. Hmmm?


This is my favorite shot. Do you think that they are engaging in some girl talk? Naw, probably discussing trowelling techniques. Speaking of that, we did quite a bit of it on this 250 sq. ft. floor area.


Racing to the finish line.


All hands on deck.


Me posing (just a little)


Susan and Todd (who really never did stop smiling)


A pattern picking party. I think many were looking for the opportunity to sit down at this point!


Ta da! The floor turned out to be seriously gorgeous. We were all wishing we could take it home but happy to leave our mark in lovely Florence. A very special Thank You to Modern Masters for their generous donation of SkimStone for this major Modello project that uses one of our Ornamental Allover patterns, OrnAll 107.

September 12th, 2007

Florence Tile Floor

One of our decorating projects in Florence next month will be to do a large floor area (250 sq. ft) in Alison’s studio with an aged tile treatment that we will accomplish with SkimStone and Modellos. I had shared some of the tile treatments we did in a recent SkimStone class and these four samples build on that idea.

Modello tile samples for Florence art trip

With the exception of altering the blue color slightly these all use the same few colors, but they are layered a little differently. I am always amazed at how many different looks can be achieved with the same pattern, product and colors. The advantage of creating your own “tile” floor, of course, is that you can make it look any way you want. You can’t get that at Home Depot folks!

August 26th, 2007

Ibiza Carpet Complete

In every SkimStone class I teach we do a Modello/SkimStone Concrete Carpet design together. We should all be so lucky to have this many sets of hands working on one project! Imagine how much design could get done. This class worked especially well together!

Modello SkimStone Class Photo

This photo dramatically shows the effect of the final toning layer, troweled on VERY tight and thin,  to create a beautiful unifying and aging effect in the Ibiza Carpet design.

Modello Ibiza Carpet in SkimStone

The toning layer enhances the look of really old Encaustic tiles, which is something that I have been searching all over the web about and drooling over all the possible color and design combinations. We have so many patterns that work well for that look, I can’t wait to get into the new building and get to troweling!

August 24th, 2007

Italian Tile Design Times 4

I am trying to catch up a bit here after teaching back to back classes. They were both full of great and fun students. We had 6 that stayed the week and came to both sessions. I wanted to share some sample from the SkimStone class because they are just so darn cool. SkimStone is concrete and countertop resurfacing product that I have been using quite a bit for the last few year. You can see more examples of it in the Floor Gallery and some of the posts I’ve done on my patio projects. It is super easy to use and to create great decorative effects as sit trowels much like a Venetian plaster and you can layer the colors, make them more opaque, more translucent, more textured, etc.

Modello Tile Samples

I shot photos of 4 samples done by different students of the Italian allover tile design (OrnAll 107) sample that we did. These are 2′ x 2′ boards. Each one shows a little different use of color. The one on the lower left started as a “mistake” because she removed the wrong part of the pattern on one step, but it actually turned out the prettiest. In art, and life I suppose, mistakes can be huge opportunities to take you in a much better direction!

This past weekend I tackled another patch of concrete with SkimStone and Modellos and I am simply THRILLED with the results. It was two long days of hard work up and down off the ground, but one of the most satisfying things I think I have done. About a year ago I purchased this really unique gazebo from Lane Venture.


THIS will be the summer we engage in some romatic alfresco dining. Now that the “floor” is done all that is left is to pick the colors for the cushions and drapes! Oh-and I really want to paint something on the panels now. Might as well just take it over the top! Here is a detail. I LOVE the colors in the flowers.