January 22nd, 2008

A Man and His Machine

Seeing as how myself, Eric and Aaron are here in Las Vegas at the World of Concrete show I thought this would be an apropos time for this post. Aaron Knight is the go-to guy in the graphic department for our decorative concrete customers. With a fine art degree from Chico State he likes to utilize Adobe Illustrator vector art in many of his own studio projects. When it came time to contemplate what type of design to use on our concrete production room floor I gave Aaron the challenge of coming up with something that would be a little ”different”, reflect what happens in our company, and that would appeal more to men-our primary customers for decorative concrete. 

Tinguely Concept

Aaron was inspired by the work of Jean Tinguely and his scupltural machines and developed a working sketch for our floor after Tinguely’s work.

Modello Laid Out

This became a series of vector art, gears, screws, belts and other assorted ”parts”, that we worked into a “machine” that travels across our production room floor, much as our jobs flow through.

Modello with Spray Top

After many hours spent applying the various parts of the Modellos in proper order (see Aaron left) we had Ernie Archuleta (right) come and and spray Concrete Solutions Spray Top in a matter of minutes. This sprayable overlay is ideal for large-scale production as it lays down an even layer of colored concrete very quickly and we almost immediately were able to begin removing the vinyl.

Finished Modello

Some shots of various parts of the final machine.  Aaron is a man who puts alot of thought into his life and work and these were his thoughts for this project:

Machines are a refined process. This machine has been abstracted to suggest an openness to new ideas or methods. This site specific design is representative of the way I seen the different people who make up the business of Modello Designs. The design department feeds the machine with ideas. The gears turn in production to realize the idea of the designer. The finished patterns are then sent to the decorative artists who then apply their own unique twist. This machine was not meant to have one refined process, not condemned to a life spent stamping out fenders. This machine is an “idea” machine, capable of bringing together and realizing the ideas of many people.

January 18th, 2008

Painter Girl

Carol Leonesio is a lovely lady, long-time customer and fellow blogger in Massachusetts who tracks the ups and downs of her decorative painting projects.

Royal stencil Damask on magnetic paint board

One of my favorite projects on her site is the Magnetic Memo Board, and not just because she used our Damask and Trompe L’oeil Molding in one of my alltime fav color schemes. I had been toying with the idea of doing this in one or some of the offices here and it’s good to hear how someone else approached it. Carol recently updated me with the info that she thinks that 4-5 thin coats of the Magnetic Primer would be better than 2  or 3 as she has a hard time getting the magnets to stick. I am wondering about just painting on sheet metal? Does anyone else have an experience with this to share?

Royal stencil elegant fruit branch

Another one that caught my eye was this darling Nursery Mural that uses our Elegant Fruit Branch as a frame.

Hopscotch floorcloth

In a recent post on floorcloths she has done, she shared this one which I think is MOST clever!

Paintit Marketing postcard

Carol also shares her marketing tips, as in this post that shows an oversized postcard that she had printed and hand delivered door-to-door in a neighborhood she wanted to target. It’s easy to see how Carol keeps busy!

January 17th, 2008

Feeling Blue?

Lest you think we do nothing but floors around here I offer up this wall finish we completed one of our Operation Decoration classes. This was a modification of one of the finishes I designed for our Italy trip. It is, typically, hard to get a decent shot of the finished wall, but….


This uses the Oikos product called Kreos, which is quite nice for embossing and texures. Even rolling it over a texured background we had very little material creep under the stencil. Here is Christine to demonstrate.


Tired stencils resting after a hard days work.


Sweet smelling bees wax is tinted with mica powder and rolled on. Easy breezy and so fast, it’s blurry.


And it looks like this when it dries. This is our romantic, shabby chic, boho modern (a term I stole from decor8) lobby for Royal Design Studio, which features stencils such as the Grand Damask and our new Florentine Damask which, she says coyly, will be unveiled at a later date. 

January 15th, 2008

Modello Makeover

One of my businesses is Modello Designs. I started this as an offshoot business 4.5 years ago from my original company Royal Design Studio, which specializes in elegant designer stencils for interior decorating. Rather than a reusable,mylar stencil Modellos are one-time-use decorative masking patterns (masking stencils!). They have some advantages over stencils for certain types of designs; can go very large, very intricate, continuous pattern, positive or negative image, allow for development of  new decorative techniques, can be custom-sized and cut to order, and much more.


We now offer 1,000′s of patterns and are constantly developing more, so a static, bound catalog just doesn’t work because it becomes out of date very quickly. This Spring, we will be introducing our brand new, easily update-able design binder, with a new look that really showcases what we are all about: Pattern and design!

Modello Design Library

Lauren came up with this great (I think) paisley concept after cruising many design blogs such as decor8 and print and pattern and being inspired by the rich paisley patterns that are popping up (again). We have filled the shapes with some of our favorite designs and I think the end result is colorful, unique and quite fetching….

Modello Design Library


January 12th, 2008

Going for Gold

In going through one of the many stacks of things I rip out of magazines I rediscovered this Elle Decor feature from months ago on the opening of the Reem Acra flagship boutique in New York. Ms. Acra’s passion and business revolves around luxury bridal and eveningwear designs. I ripped out the page not because I needed a gown (but they are gorgeous, aren’t they?!) but because it had a beautiful gold design on white floor: Unique and elegant and oddly familiar….

Reem Acra Modello Floor

After picking it up again and actually reading the copy I realized that it was the familiar work of one of our favorite decorative concrete customers, Dominick Cardone The Concrete Impressionist. One of Dom’s specialties is gilding with 24k gold on concrete and he had been sending us progress shots but we never saw the final result-until now. Isn’t this just swanky?

Reem Acra modello floor

Here’s Dom two years ago at the Artistry in Concrete event at the World of Concrete show where he used custom-designed Modellos for a 9/11 tribute-again with his special gilding techniques.

Dominick Cardone Artistry in Concrete

January 9th, 2008

A Bit Bookish

Ask me what my prized possession and major obsession is. Okay, I’ll tell you. It’s my paint, design and decorating book collection. I’m a fiend. A hound. An addict. I get my fix on Amazon and that pusher is open 24/7. Do I want to kick this habit? No! Give me more in massive doses. It got a little hairy for a few weeks when my books were all boxed up during the move. I was having major withdrawals for a lack of aimless book browsing and design brain tingling. Well, I got my fix and my babies are back!


They took awhile to organize due to the desire to revisit each one and sidetrack myself yet again.


But I finally made some sense of the assortment and built high stacks.


Ready for their new home and easy access to my wandering eye and aching need.

January 7th, 2008

Walkin the Planks

If you can pardon the dust and disregard the blue tape and plastic I would like to share with you some pics of some of our wood floor projects in the new building. We have two sets of stairs on each side going up to the Mezzanine space that houses the studio and creative offices and I had them both finished off with Maple hardwood flooring. One set will be in the gold, red and black colorway and the other in shades of brown.


A lovely classic Egyptian pattern in progress.


All finished on the left and a Peruvian “rug” on the right.


This is the same design I did in my home but done as another “rug” to fit the small landing. Next up: 48 stair risers each with a different border pattern. Yes, I HAVE created a monster. I’ll tell you what though, all this hard work and running up and down stairs is doing wonders for this ageing bod. There are definitely lots of benefits to be had in hard, physical labor!

January 5th, 2008

The Dust Settles

Phew! You may have wondered why you haven’t heard from me? On the other hand, maybe you didn’t notice I’ve been MIA for a few weeks. At any rate-I’m ba-a-a-ack. After weeks of major chaos we have settled into only minor chaos after moving both my businesses, Modello Designs and Royal Design Studio into our new building. I have some serious catching up to do in just about every area of life and business, but am starting here with some photos of our very green and black Creative Office. I had drywall beams installed on this ceiling because I had the idea to see just how many different patterns I could graphically represent in one room and thought “what a cool way to break ‘em up”. Also, I wanted to do something graphic and simple (to ME, this is simple). We painted. We plastered (my favorite color of Jasmine Portofino). Thanks Kari!

Troweling Modello with Jasmine Portofino

We picked out lots of pieces of Modello vinyl. Thanks Michelle and Melissa!

Weeding a Modello Trellis Pattern

We have pattern! I chose to alternate black trellis designs with green intricate floral patterns. To tie it all together, this Transitional Border runs around the room between the beams.

Modello Trellis Ceilign Closeup

I surely need to get a wide angle lens!

Modello Trellis Ceiling

This room isn’t totally ready for it’s closeup as it is still being decorated, but it has a wonderful big black Pottery Barn desk/wall unit and some really cool FLOR tiles on green marmoleum. It’s coming along……

Designs used: Fol All 152, Eas All 105,106,107, Trans Bor 129.


December 16th, 2007

Fassatt Fantasy

I was entertaining the fantasy this morning that I might someday actually have time to take up needlepoint again. Back in the day (way back!) I was quite handy with pins, needles, embroidery hoops and the like. My grandmothers looked forward to their new pairs of knitted slippers, complete with pom-poms, every Christmas in my late grade school years.

A visit to Ehrman Tapestry led to a visit to the great Kaffe Fassatt’s website. I adore this man’s style and have several of his beautiful, inspiring books on my shelf. Now I am not only fantasizing about needlepoint projects….


But also knitting….


and most especially mosaic….


A girl can dream.


December 6th, 2007

Laid to Rest

It’s done! I had nightmares that something would go horribly wrong and my million dollar cork floor would get ruined somehow. Well, it didn’t REALLY cost a million dollars, but it definitely wasn’t cheap and we had another big chunk invested in labor and materials, AND there have been quite a few BIG things going awry lately, BUT I think we are safe. Knock wood.


Once we got the whole assembly line thing down we were cranking out 35 tiles (on a good day). Richard and Michelle from our staff are pulling out the last pieces of the pattern to ready them for the final stenciled layer.


Here the trusty installers are pressing the last tiles into place. Good thing THEY were good as we used all 120 tiles that we made. Phew!


If you’ve never walked on a cork floor, let me tell you it’s heaven. Especially when all your other floors are concrete. It feels like you just put brand new gel inserts in your shoes! I’m so in love, I’ve ordered some more for my home office floor where I think I will do a very large “stained-in-place” meandering cherry blossom branch. Then we will see how it holds up to my greyhound’s toenails.