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.

October 31st, 2007

Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween from the staff at Modello Designs.

Modello Halloween

Guess who won the costume contest?

October 28th, 2007



Melanie and Eric  

Boun Giorno! I just wanted to thank you all for visiting over the last couple of weeks while I have been MIA in Italy and now in Dallas. I took my laptop and camera to Italy with visions of posting on a somewhat regular basis, but neglected to include the wire that connects camera to computer and, truthfully, it was great to take a vacation from internet and email obligations!!

I will be “back at it”, a lot of “it,” in the coming week but just wanted to let you know that everthing is fine with my family, friends and home in San Diego (thank goodness!)

Our Italy trip was full of amazing art, food, wine and adventures but they all pale to the specialness of an evening in Montalcino where Eric surprised me with a beautiful ring and sweet proposal of marriage. Eric is the mystery man that I am with in my blog photo. We met almost six years ago when he asked me to dance at a milonga and the standard two to three polite dances turned into 15 dances in a row. I am feeling very blessed with a complete current life and an exciting and constantly evolving future full of love and passionate pursuits!

October 10th, 2007

When more is MORE!

OOOH. I SO-O-O-O love this and I am so doing something like this in my new home, uh, I mean office.


Our customer, Heather Mueller of Metamorphasis Designs in Ogden, Utah spent a year working in this wonderful home in Las Vegas for a wonderful woman that just wanted more, more more pattern. That would be my dream client.


Heather masterfully layered pattern after pattern using a combination of Modello Designs and Royal Design Studio stencils all throughout the house. They even used some patterns to make the molds for the individual tiles they cast and put on the ceiling.


For some of the panel designs they also incorporated stencil designs from The Stencil Library. Props to Helen and Chips. Did I mention that I LOVE this?



October 7th, 2007

Climbing up the wall

Whew! The second project in Operation Decoration is D.O.N.E. and it’s beautiful beyond words, so I will let the pictures do the talking. We had the help of a few good men-and a few good women. The “A” team. My heartfelt thanks go out to Bill, Heath, Simon, Yolanda, Kari and especially Linda Self from the School of Italian Plasters for bustin out this and two other gorgeous finishes to compliment my equally fab lobby floors.


Lots and lots of Modellos.


Because you have such a short window of working time with lime plasters we were following each other to complete each step in quick succession.


All hands on deck. Backfilling and burnishing.


Linda applying the wax coat.


I am a happy girl!

September 24th, 2007

Fab Floor

Well the first project for Operation Decoration (our new lobby floor) is done and it turned out FABULOUS! Not without some issues and necessary adjustments midstream, but that’s what decorative finishing and decorative concrete are all about-problem solving!

The incredible Bob Harris, with his equally incredible lady LeeAnne and right hand man Mark came in to teach a class of 18 people who got to see the process and work a bit on the floor. The design concept was scattered, layered tiles over an acid stained floor that would be done using three different techniques.


Here is my very helpful friend Jackie putting the finishing touches on getting the Modello ready on the floor. This was our largest tile! One of the students is shown using an integrally colored overlay to thinly trowel over the surface to create a slightly raised image.


After drying, we hit the floor en masse to remove the Modello patterns so we could continue on with the next “layers” of tiles. The next series was airbrushed using thin layers of solvent dyes. We let Bob handle this part!


I was too busy doing the etching on the last series of tiles to think about pictures but the lighter tiles you see were accomplished by using a gelled acid through the Modellos to remove the stain from the surface. As we were going for a distressed, antiquated look we just left the acid on the surface for a few minutes.


This was actually a huge project that was completed in 2 1/2 days. I can’t give enough credit to Bob (thanks for being so flexible!!!), LeeAnne, Mark, Jackie, John and the rest of the students who got their hands in on this amazing floor project. Now, I’m off to cover it up with heavy contractor’s paper so nothing happens to it over the next couple of months worth of decorating projects there. Next-the walls!

September 15th, 2007

Ceiling Extravaganza

I recently put the call out for some more customer ceiling photos on the painting message boards. You see, I’ve been honored and invited to participate at the higly anticipated Meeting of the Masters as both an exhibiting “master” and a presenter. Unfortunately, this falls right on the heels of my Italy trip so I will be stopping there ON THE WAY home. Not much time to prepare on the front end either with a million other projects happening simultaneously so I thought it would be just brilliant (and somewhat easy) to simply do a powerpoint presentation on all of the great things our customers have been doing on ceilings with our Modellos. BTW if you watch the video of the last event on the Meeting of the Masters site you get to see me blabbing while I wave my arms around wildly. Note to self: Put hands in pockets next time.

And without further ado, some recently received photos from Rhonda Canales-

Modello Shabby Chateau


Modello Shabby Chateau Detail

From Kathy Enguita-

Modello Barrel Ceiling

From Julie Worthy-

Modello Dome

All gorgeous, and let me tell you ceilings are NO piece of cake to decorate. Bravo!


September 14th, 2007

Pretty Petals

I was just quickly playing around with a petal pattern this evening, trying to get something out that’s been rolling around in my head and I’m so tickled I thought I’d quickly share-

Modello Petal Border

These are the same petal shapes we used in the title bars on this blog, but I layered them up, added a center and trimmed them out in a positive/negative pattern (on the computer). This will get painted in b&w around Lauren’s office ceiling to tie all the black beams together. This is just the beginning of the design for this room. It has lime green maroleum floors (very cool) and is going to be super fun to decorate!

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!

September 11th, 2007

Grand Damasks

I have been getting unbelievably gorgeous photos from customers lately, showing our stencil and Modello patterns in action. It’s so inspiring for me, and I think you will find them so as well. Here are some from Lauren Gaines. Lauren was a part of the Art of Living project and I can tell you this woman is an incredibly talented and HARD worker. We practically had to pry the trowel out of her hand at the end of the day. She does a lot of work in builder showcase houses in her area and consistently wins awards. No wonder!

Royal Design Grand Damask

This is the Grand Damask done with metallics on a distressed plaster finish.

Royal Design Fabric Damask

Isn’t this the prettiest color combination? It looks so French. The Fabric Damask is done with a “breakaway” look, achieved by perfectly imperfect troweling.

Royal Design Fabric Damask Stencil Detail

Here is a detail. The background has a really subtle horizontal stria. I love this Lauren!