July 12th, 2008

Hot off the press!


Modello by Design book

The new book Modello by Design-Inspiring Interiors from Artist’s Portfolios is HERE! I’ve told you about it before-remember this?  And this? It is SOOOO beautiful and I am so proud of the work that our fabulous customers do and also need to give a special thanks to Lauren for helping me lay out this book in record time-under two weeks! I just finished writing a press release for an industry message board for the book, so I’ll be lazy and just repost it here- 

Modello Designs was launched in the fall of 2003, introducing the concept of Decorative Masking Patterns to the decorative finishing industry.  Since that time, thousands of decorative finishers worldwide have discovered the benefits of using custom-sized, cut to order vinyl masking patterns for their decorative painting projects.

The exciting and inspirational new book features the creative Modello work of 80 different artists in beautifully photographed interior settings.  Various chapters highlight the use of Modello patterns on floors, walls, ceilings and furniture. Special chapters highlight the body of work of three featured artists: Terri Reisenman of Palm Desert, CA., Robbie Calvo of Nashville, TN.,  and Gina Wolfrum of Hicksville, OH.  Their varied styles of decoration really help to highlight the many styles of surface ornamentation that can be more easily achieved with this versatile medium!

This book, the first in a series, will provide an invaluable resource of design ideas for decorative finishers, designers, and their potential customers alike. For an industry that revolves around a highly visual and tactile experience, it helps to fill the current void of inspiring images of painted decoration that used to be so common in books and magazines.

Modello by Design book

We mailed out complimentary, signed copies to all the 80 contributing artists this week. Yeah, that was tiring! Thank you, thank  you everyone! If you didn’t get a chance to submit a project for the book, you can buy it here, and…..there’s always next year!

July 4th, 2008

Aint Life Grand?

A year ago at this time, and throughout last summer, our Modello team had their hands full fulfilling multiple orders for a large hospitality project. The architectural firm that was handling the design and decoration of the new Grand Del Mar resort in North San Diego chose a wide variety of Modello patterns to highlight and accentuate the Moorish theme. Besides a ceiling border that went in each of over 300 guest suites, there were many public areas, particularly ceilings, that were treated with custom-fit frames and medallions. Oh, to have a total decorative budget in the millions! I just recently had professional photographs done, and here are a select few-

The Grand Del Mar

This retail promenade is one of my favorite spaces. All the natural light really reflects on the gold leafed medallions. 

The Grand Del Mar

I LOVE the colors used in this downstairs hallway. You can see how the patterns were designed to perfectly fit and confirm to the curved ceiling spaces. 

The Grand Del Mar

This long hallway by the meeting rooms features multiple recessed ceiling spaces that are framed by a highly ornamental border. The gorgeous uplighting really serves to highlight it! 


There are also some villas (for sale) on the property that got some fabulouse coffered ceiling treatments. Here, a cast of thousands (almost) from a local decorative painting contractor, Shauna Decker, works to complete the ceiling in a very tight deadline before the grand opening. 

The Grand Del Mar

And they made it! You can see more photos here.

Final photography by Gary Conaughton.


June 30th, 2008

More Boho Modern

The Boho Modern class went VERY well, thank you! I’d have to say it is my new favorite class to teach. Generally the last thing I’ve done is my new favorite thing. I just wanted to share a few more samples from the class before I move on to THIS WEEKS project which is getting ready for the SALI convention in a few weeks. I am planning 10-12 new 4′ x 7′ backdrops. Just a LITTLE ambitious. Wish me luck!! More class samples….



June 23rd, 2008

Cool Creative Weekend

Well, there was record breaking heat here in San Diego again this weekend! As we don’t have air conditioning in our house (didn’t used to need it here by the ocean!) I spent the weekend in the studio with the thermostat set at a semi-comfie 78. Well, it beats 101! Actually, I was going to be there anyway as I have a new class, Boho Modern, starting this week and wanted to work on some last minute ideas. Nothing like a deadline to spark some creativity!!! I actually LOVE being in my studio on the weekend. No distractions, no phone calls. I didn’t even turn on any music. Sometimes it’s good to listen to the thoughts in your OWN head, you know? There were more hits than misses. I tried a couple of different versions of an embroidery-ish theme.

Modello custom stencils

Neutral can be nice and tone on tone looks are always classy-and easy to decorate around. I love the subtle textural quality of this. It actually is all smooth when you rub your hand across. This funky floral motifs are originally from a series of old printer’s ornaments.

Modello custom stencils

I was playing around a lot with metallic foils that I got from my friend Gary Lord. These are applied to a bed of gold size, like metal leaf, except that they come on big rolls and in yummy colors like celedon green, blue and plum. I love the way the eggplant glaze settled in around all the little peacock feathers and makes these guys POP!

Modello custom stencils

I found this old sample board painted with this unusual (for me) coral color. It must have been left over from some long ago project. I’ve had these blank boards laying around for up to 8 years! I thought it might be cool to combine these funky modish flowers with some embedded lace.

Modello custom stencils

I transferred some metallic foil first; Candy Apple Red and Orchid. It wasn’t super dramatic but adds a nice little sparkle. The color of the plaster I pushed through the lace was actually a dark brown. The antique gold mica glaze I applied over it turned it more green. At first I wasn’t too sure about it, but one is really starting to grow on me!

Modello custom stencils

Another finish with an embroidered look. This time on a metallic stria finish.

Modello custom stencils

I’ve had these jars of large mica flakes sitting around for some time and wasn’t sure what to do with them. Hmmm. What would happen if I stirred some into a glaze? This!


I call this one blue steel. More metallic foils! This one incorporates a hologram foil as well which gives you some really crazy color shifts as you view it from different angles. I like patterns like this classic modern allover one, that divide the space in half. It has a nice symmetry and balance don’t you think?

Modello custom stencils

Well, I’m off to clean up the studio. I hope you weekend was equally fun and productive! BTW, the next Boho Modern class is scheduled for December….

June 16th, 2008


“Hard as stone and soft as silk” is a phrase that is commonly used to describe a very uncommon, ancient form of plaster that is believed to trace it’s roots to the Atlas Mountains surrounding Marrakech. This unbelievably tactile and sensuous surface, which is waterproofed by burnishing repeatedly with a stone and further sealed with olive soap, used to be reserved for hammams (public steam baths) and royal palaces. It can now be found in most of the stylish riads and chic restaurants of Marrakech, where pierced tin lanterns fixed with colored glass cast amazing color and shadow on its rich, glossy surface. Positively dreamy. Here are some images from the Hotel du Tresor and Les Bains de Marrakech.


The little tower on our upstairs patio.


Peeking through a keyhole door (this room is best for short people, I think)


“My” bathroom


Reflections on a wall….


and a ceiling.

The very prettiest examples were in some of the restaurants, though, like Narwama and Le Tanjia. Click through to view!

I picked up a most amazing tile book at the airport bookstore in Casablanca on the way home from Marrakech. I seem to have a grave weakness for very large, very heavy and very expensive books. SO worth it! There are already ideas in the air for future Morocco projects and collaborations and I am positively smitten and inspired by the follow gorgeousness. They say the blue is the big “new” color this year. Um, I think it’s been pretty hot for a few thousand years…..



Far and away, one of the most enchanting and easily copied customs for exotic Moroccan dining and entertaining may be as near as your own backyard. If not yours, check your neighbors! It’s scattered rose petals….

Moroccan Rose Petals

In the fountains

Moroccan Rose Petals

At dreamy Dar Moha. So many there you could almost play Scrabble.

Moroccan Rose Petals

For our most special farewell lunch at Peacock Pavilions

Moroccan Rose Petals


Morocco-Rose-Petals 5.jpg

and our farewell dinner at darling Hotel du Tresor. Aaaahhh, where are my pruning shears!

June 2nd, 2008

Rhapsody in Blue



After a week in Marrakech, it was time to hit the beach and dip our toes in the chilly Atlantic Ocean, North Africa style. It’s a 2.5 hour drive of questionable auto safety on a busy two lane road to Essaouira and the coast, but well worth it once you arrive! We missed seeing GOATS IN TREES on this drive (Alas, I think goats in trees are currently out of season) but trust me, they do exist. Google proves it. 


Essaouira was once a fortified town, has fabulous shopping in a walled Medina area, and is all decked out in the most refreshing shades of blue painted wood set off by whitewashed walls.


I’ve already posted about the blue doors of Essaouira after my March trip but I must do so again as there are so gosh darn many gorgeous ones and they are SOOO photogenic.


Even their propane tanks are color coordinated!


Some more cool blueness


and a shot of my new favorite adult beverage, Campari and fresh-squeezed orange juice over ice. Is that our handsome horseman in the background?

Soon enough, the guest houses that make up Peacock Pavilions will be filled with exotic carpets and leather poufs, fluffed with down pillows and sequined vintage wedding blankets, buffed with silver vases filled with fresh flowers and sugary Moroccan mint tea. The plaster walls will reflect light from custom-made pierced metal sconces and pendants and Maryam will delight in making everything “just so”. For now though, Chris the architect husband is testing his talents for patience and perserverance as he fashions and finesses the glorious architecture that will house their family, Maryam’s delightful treasures and lucky visitors. It hasn’t been easy-and every day brings new challenges-but just look at what a fabulous job he has done!

Peacock Pavilions

Each of the three buildings boasts its own unique architectural details, while maintaining a connection to the land, the sky and its sister buildings. Each is filled with delightful nooks, crannies, arches, domes that are so visually strong they require no further need for decoration. And yet…..;)

Photos by Becky Roth and Debbie Hayes

May 30th, 2008

The Art of Living UPTOWN

The paint is barely dry and I’m a million miles away from getting caught up with myself but it’s on to ANOTHER big project. Bring it on! I love living a life full of creative tension and unrealistic expectations (of myself, mainly).

Art of Living Uptown

I just posted the details of the next Art of Living project over on the Art of Living Blog. Please check it out. Barb and I are super excited. We’re going UPTOWN!

Oh-and check back for more on Marrakech here. I have posts stacked up like the planes at JFK (leaving on Friday night for an international flight)