March 8th, 2008

Carved in Stone?

OOOPs! Well I thought I had posts all set to appear while I was on my Spain/Morocco trip, but in my haste to get everything done the night before I neglected to select “publish” and produced a lot of dead air time. SO-while I recover from jet lag, do laundry, catch up on bills, edit my photos for Flickr and try to ease back into my “real” world, I’ll let a couple of these fly…… 

I love the look of the carved Jali sandstone in these pages fromAlberto Pinto Orientalism (fab book BTW!).

Alberto Pinto  

I can’t tell if they are real or painted carvings….


but this look is easily achieved with a single-overlay stenciling and some careful attention to shading with a stencil brush.

Royal Design Studio Stencils

I featured in my book, Painted Illusions, and it’s also detailed out in this DVD on Advanced Shading and Shadowing and this one on Furniture and Floor techniques. If you do it on a textured sureface or apply decorative finishing techniques to create the look of stone before adding the stenciling it makes the illusion seem even more real. It works great on wood too! The designs shown above are the Italianate Border, Italian Medallion and Reverse Scroll and can be found here!

March 3rd, 2008

Silk Purse

Just how DOES one make a silk purse from a sow’s ear? I haven’t quite figured that one out yet, but I have discovered some easy ways to transform standard-issue commercial-grade bathroom fixtures such as paper towel dispensers and toilet seat sanitary tissue cover holders into something quite lovely!


I am sure I violated some ridiculous city code (there are many) by gussying up these ugly fixtures but I will throw caution to the wind and share them with you. Shhhhhhhhh.


Since we were using Modern Masters Metal Paints, we began by spraying Kilz, a bonding primer, on the metal surfaces. Be sure to do this outside and with good ventilation. We then applied a coat of their Acid Blocking Primer. After applying the Modello patterns we troweled on  a thick stone texture product, Fauxtex, to a create a raised, “embossed” pattern.


When that was completely dry we removed the Modellos, applied another coat of Acid Blocking Primer and two coats of Harvest Gold.


We spritzed and dabbed with some Green and Black Patina Solution to “age” and patinate the Metal Paint and then sealed. After applying some stain to antique and accentuate the raised designs we now have the MOST beautiful sanitary toilet tissue paper cover holders….


and paper towel dispensers in all of San Diego!

PS The designs used were EasAll112 and EasPan126.


February 26th, 2008


I wrote about my Turkish door idea a week or so ago. It’s done and we finally have the room put together (more on that tomorrow!) I photo’d the door before we hung it up because the bathroom is so small I never could have gotten a shot off!


Here it is, all metallic-y and gilty from a combo of metallic paint and Celestial Leaf.


This is a fun shot that Melissa snapped of the leaf laid in place and ready to be burnished.


and a detail of the lower panel of the door. Still using my favorite colors here: Dawn, Moonbeam and Twilight. The effect is so great and the application so easy that we finally got something done to this little table that has been taking up storage space for 5 years.


Coat of black paint and then size and leaf each color separately.


A detail of a Modello pattern on the top (OrnCen170). Cute knob by Anthro, of course!

February 25th, 2008

Artistic Inspiration

When I started Modello Designs, my decorative masking company, 4.5 years ago I envisioned that it would provide working decorative artisans with a much-needed artistic tool that would allow them to greatly expand their abilities to provide custom artwork to their clients and to spread their wings to explore new techniques and mediums for surface decoration.

Every time I see a customer photo come back, showing our designs in inspiring interior applications, I get to realize my initial goals for this company and rejoice in that fact that what we do here helps to bring more beauty into people’s lives and homes. I’ve just recently put the finishing touches on a whole new round of customer art that we have added to our Showcase area here. Please enjoy this sampling and click through to see more!

Modello Customer Photos

Featured Artists: Left column top to bottom-Debbie Hayes/Faux Design Studio, Georgia Morrow/SFW Plasters by Georgia, Gwen Ware/Bohemian Spirit, Susan Allemand/Out of This World. Right column top to bottom-Norman Goodwin/Specialty Faux Finishes, LLC, Gina Wolfrum/Elegant Finishes, Kimberly Longo, Christine Dilts/Painter Sisters, Christine Zill. 

February 22nd, 2008

Lovely Helen

Way, way back when I started my own stencil company Royal Design Studio 15 years ago, I was greatly inspired by the British stencil company, The Stencil Library, and their classicly inspired designs. Back then, they already had thousands of designs in their catalog. Now, I believe they are up to 23.75 bajillion patterns, and Chips, the designer, just keeps em coming! Helen Morris is the frontman, er woman, though and she’s the one who charms us all with her inspiring and original applications, flaming red hair, funky stenciled jeans, British accent and endearing manner of speech.


Here she is modeling an outfit she created after being inspired by Christmas gifts from her cousin Rachel from this post on the Design Inspiration blog. I get a chance to see Helen every year when she crosses the pond to teach and exhibit at the Stencil Arsitans League Convention and Exposition-a very cool summer happening for the decorative finishing industry as a whole. Our industry is fairly small and we are a close-knit, supportive group. Some of the men seem to need to puff their chests out a bit too much, but OUCH! (that was me biting my tongue) 

concrete blond

Helen was sweet to feature some of my concrete work on her blog in a post about a very cool company that produces bespoke concrete surfaces, Concrete Blonde. It looks as though they have made highly detailed molds from lace and fabrics to pour these lovely concrete panels that can be installed on walls and other surfaces. Very tactile and a creative new use for a centuries-old medium!

Thanks Helen, see you in July!

February 21st, 2008

Larger Than Life

One of the very bestest things about owning your own business space/office/showroom that I’ve found it that you can do WHATEVER you want-at least from a design sense. It’s not someone’s home or expectations or limitations you are designing for so you can go couture, catwalk, over the top! Well, at least that’s MY goal!

I am still very inspired by Geishas and the whole Japanese design aesthetic so when it came time to think about a design for a door for this room I knew I had found my girl when looking through a Dover book one day.

Amazing Modello Geisha

This is a 3′ x 8′ door, so she looms quite large! We reworked the design quite a bit, adding some color, body parts and coordinating patterns to her obi.


Here she is in her space, coyly greeting all who enter in the way that only a true geisha can. This design was done with a two layer Modello pattern. For the first I troweled Jasmine Portofino to colorblock in her parasol and part of the obi. When dry I placed the second layer and simple rolled black paint through. VERY IMPORTANT tip: When you are rolling paint through a Modello, seal the pattern first by rolling over it with two coats of a water-based satin varnish, allowing it to dry between coats.

3 Geisha Modellos

She has friends, and they are available! I was originally wanting to add these other Geishas to different walls in the room, but decided to show some restraint-at least for now. Due to the intricate details they contain, the girls must be cut quite large-6′ high minimum. I imagine them on a large 3-panel screen or on the walls of a salon, spa or fun boutique dressing room walls.

February 20th, 2008

More Floor

Remember this? It’s done, it’s gorgeous, it’s mine! I won’t bore you with all the layers-the many layers….

staining modello floor

We stained for days.

Modello Weeding

They removed the pattern for hours.

Modello floor

I can hardly wait to decorate. Oh wait! We still have to do the walls and ceilings. Back off, girl.

Modello Final Floor

Let’s just enjoy the uninterrupted pattern for awhile.

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 18th, 2008


Excuse me?! No, not burp, BLURB!

When I was presenting at the Meeting of the Masters last October, I saw a gorgeous, printed portfolio in the booth of a very talented artist, Carol Pascale. I’m like, “How did you afford this!!” She looked at me like “Are you serious?” No big deal, it’s through my iBook, but Blurb is cheaper. Blurb, blurb, blurb I repeated in my head so I wouldn’t forget. Miraculously I didn’t, and found the website immediately upon returning home. Isn’t this just the coolest thing ever?! You can while away large chunks of time previewing other peoples books (ask me how I know this!) and getting great ideas to make your own. What a perfect tool for a limited run of swanky artist portfolios!

Blurb book montage  

So, I’ve been biding my time trying to decide what my first Blurb book will be. Ah HA! The Painting of Peacock Pavilions! (working title). Maryam has offered to contribute some wickedly witty writing so I think it’s going to be a winner! Even if it isn’t it will be fun to do and a great keepsake for the artists in the group, don’t you think?


This also would have been great to do after the Italy Painting Trip. Darn! Not quite as glamorous, but I DID write an article on that for the most recent issue of the The Faux Finisher magazine! 

And more-

Maryam just sent me this link from Grow Wings. What talent! Look at these lovely ladies….

February 15th, 2008

All around the WWW

World Wide Web isn’t a phrase you hear bandied about much this days. Being vocally lazy, most of us just call it “the web” or “the net”. I have to share a bit of Google research with you: Did you realize that the internet has only been available to the general public since the early 90′s and search engines since the mid 90′s? Holy cow! How DID we manage?! Anyway, I just wanted to share how pleased I am that this blog is getting some really nice exposure around the WWW-thanks largely in part to Maryam’s very cool post about our upcoming project at Peacock Pavilions. Maryam is quite the blog star (deservadly so!) and some of the images from her post got picked up here and here. The latter one is in French, no less. Ooh la la! Thank you Maryam, for letting me hang on to your lovely coattails a bit!

As any blogger knows, the key to getting people to actually drop by “your place” in this vast web universe is to be fortunate to have people that link to you through their blogs, either through post links or blogrolls. Besides Maryam, here are some recent incoming links from some REALLY nice blogs that are showing up on my dashboard. Back at ya’ and big thank you to:

Crafty Cameleon.jpg

The Crafty Cameleon


Eye Candy

Taddie Tales.jpg

Taddie Tales

Bari J.jpg

Bari J


Garay Artisans

Room Service.jpg

and Room Service. I don’t even know what she said, but I’m hoping is was good ;-)