March 7th, 2011
Last month, our local Borders book store shut its doors forever. I know….bummer!! The only bright spot for me is that I was able to pick up a fantastic, recently published book, The Finest Rooms in America, for 40% off.
This compilation of 50 gorgeous rooms, selected by interior decorator Thomas Jayne, celebrates the most elegantly designed rooms in America, dating back 200 years, beginning with George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. I highly recommend adding this book to your shelf, even at full price! Here are some of my favorites, though I could have easily share dozens more….
Winter Garden Room: New York City
This room, which overlooks Central Park, was designed by Henri Samuel around 18th century painted Chinoiserie panels taken from a Belgium chateau. Notice how the lovely raised trellis pattern on the shutters is echoed in the plant stand and gold chair trim. The other photo in the book shows that the room is filled with an abundance of potted plants and flowers, as well as being bathed in natural light.
Sitting Room: New York City
I simply adore this blue color accented with gold and “framed” in the black and white mini-print wallpaper. Simply stunning and stunningly simple-by the legendary Albert Hadley.
Living Room: San Francisco
This Nob Hill living room, owned and designed by Jeffry Weisman, features many elements that were gifts from the great Tony Duquette, as well as amazing and expansive mirrored walls. Mirror and more mirror. My kind of place!
Dining Room: Palm Beach
Designer Thad Hayes had commissioned Gracie to replicate the original Chinoiserie hand-painted wallpaper for this 1938 home designed by Marion Sims Wyeth. Lynne Rutter has written a fab article on Chinoiserie for the new Artisphere Online magazine, BTW!
Reception Room: Portland, Maine
What is now the Victoria Mansion began as a stately brownstone villa decorated in the mid 1850′s by Gustave Herter (of the Herter Brothers firm) and saved from demolition (thankfully!) in the 1940′s. The extensive and inspiring decorative painting was done by a leading decorative painter of Herter’s time, Guisseppe Guidicini.
Bedroom: New York City
Designed by the late Mark Hampton, this bedroom in his family apartment’s prominent feature is the Chinese wallpaper hand painted on a silver ground. Hampton took the risk to roll the paper into tight balls to crease it before installation to give it some “age” and surface texture to reflect the light inevenly. Way to roll! It’s super lovely.
Dressing Room: Vizcaya
If you ever, EVER find yourself in South Florida don’t miss the opportunity to visit one of this country’s great historical houses, Vizcaya. I’ve been there twice now, and would easily go back in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, they do not allow you to photograph in the house, so seeing this dressing in this book was a special thrill. The fully restored linen canopy is completely hand-embroidered. I did a post several years ago on my now abandoned blog, The Art of Living, if you’d like to see more of Vizcaya.
This book is full of many beautiful examples on Chinoiserie, antique mirrors, tasteful interiors, and tasty design ideas. I hope you enjoyed a little peek!
March 4th, 2011
It’s been awhile since I updated you on my adventure of becoming a licensee for stencil patterns from the amazing Hearst Castle Collection. I have been holding off because I had plans to write a multi-part article about it for the new Artisphere Online magazine. Now, I can take the opportunity to update you on two things at once! How’s THAT for time management? First, the Artisphere Online is the new digital magazine of IDAL, the International Decorative Artisan’s League (formerly SALI). I’ve been an active member of this fabulous organization since 1984 (yes, you read that right!) This new online mag is going to be fabulous ongoing resource for decorative painting industry news and inspiration, with articles, tips, and how-to’s from top artists in our industry. I am honored to have been asked to be a regular contributor, and I encourage you to check it out OFTEN as new content will added on a continuous basis.
My first article presents an introduction to Hearst Castle and the two iconic people behind this national treasure, William Randolph Hearst and the amazing architect, Julia Morgan.
I was thrilled to make the trip up to San Simeon from San Diego last January for a behind the scenes, private tour of the estate to learn more about the history and photograph inspiration for our upcoming Hearst Castle Collection stencil line for Royal Design Studio and Modello Designs.
My article and accompanying photo gallery includes just a sampling of the photos I took there and I’ll be sharing more in future article. I’m just including a few here in this post to inspire you to read the article and check out the whole Artisphere Online magazine while you’re there! As you can see, there is a wealth of pattern inspiration at Hearst Castle for me to develop new stencil designs from, including Julia Morgan’s fabulous architectural drawings. Mygoal is to introduce the new stencil line at the IDAL Convention this July in Hampton, VA. Maybe I will see you there!!
March 3rd, 2011
I’d like to personally invite you today on a little tour with me of Royal Design Studio and Modello Designs “home” here in San Diego, CA. I’m slightly embarrassed by the low quality of the video and editing (this was all shot with a little Flip camera), but hope can find some inspiration from all the ways we have used our stencil patterns and Modello masking stencil patterns throughout our teaching studio, offices, and showroom!
I hope you enjoyed the tour and getting to see “almost first hand” what we’ve been doing around here! I have kind of been laying off doing hands on workshops here as I’ve developed the web-based Virtual Workshops, but hoping to find the time to schedule some studio classes here in the coming year. I’d love to get your comments below and please feel free to ask questions as well! I know it was a bit of a whirlwind tour!
February 27th, 2011
I am so excited to announce that I am leading yet another travel/painting adventure-this time to beautiful Barcelona June 16-28. I have already partially prefilled spots on this tour with friends from past travels, but there are still a few spots left on this intimate tour for 8.
I think that Barcelona is my favorite European city so far, because it is so “alive” and forward leaning, yet posesses an amazingly rich history and fabulous architecture from Gothic to Modernista. Barcelona seems to have a little bit of everything to offer, and we will be exploring all the highlights!
Our adventure will begin in the Eixample district of Barcelona, in the heart of Antoni Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces, where we will stay (and play!) for the first part of our trip. Day trips out of town to the seaside town of Tarragona and nearby Montserrat will provide a broader experience of this Catalunya region of Spain.
Our painting class and projects will begin when we transfer to the peaceful and inspiring monastery Sant Jeroni de la Murtra, just outside of Barcelona and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Here, we will work on guided painting projects for several days, as well as enjoy some solitude and hiking in the surrounding hills.
On all of my painting trips I strive to plan a really good balance of art and creativity with diving into the local culture, enjoying excellent food and wine, shopping and sightseeing, relaxing and exploring. I think that this trip totally hits the mark! Look for the link at the end of the video to download all the details, and don’t forget there are just a few spots left!
February 25th, 2011
One of the great things about having businesses that focus on creating awesome patterns for decorating just about any surface is that there are so many opportunities to work with different companies who have awesome PRODUCTS that can be used with our designs! Modello Designs has recently joined forces with New Look to see what kind of magic can be created with our Modello stencils and their easy-to-use, water-based concrete stains and environmentally friendly etching gel.
I popped in to the recent World of Concrete show in Las Vegas to visit with Jacob Webb, and the nice people from New Look at their booth there.
The simple process starts with 2 coats of their Solid Color Stain, (not shown) which comes in a ton of great colors and is easily broomed on. Then, one or more of their Translucent Designer Enhancer colors is applied with a spray gun through the Modello stencil pattern.
To soften the effect, a complimentary color can then be applied overall, after removing the Modello stencil.
Above are two examples of easy Marquetry effects that can be achieved by applying layers of color after different areas of the design are removed, one layer at a time.
The light “airbrushing” technique used with the Designer Enhancer Stains gives a nice, crisp edge to the patterns.
I was really excited about their QuickEtch etching gel! This is a water-based, biodegradable, non-corrosive surface etching solution that etches concrete surfaces WITHOUT acid. I have used acid-based etching gels in the past, and this works just as well without the hazard and worry of using a dangerous chemical. You can find more information on concrete etching with Modello patterns here and an example of a finished project here. I love the organic look of etched concrete, especially with the addition of Modello stencils! New Look has training and distribution throughout the country, and provides a great alternative to acid staining and etching! You can find more information about our New Look collaboration here on our website, as well as links to more information and some instructional videos.
February 23rd, 2011
You’ve seen the amazing work of Gracie Reed, of Grace Designs Dallas here before. Her work is on the cover of our Modello by Design, Vol. II book and also featured in the whole first chapter. Gracie continues to inspire and amaze me with her talent and she recently sent along these juicy, colorful photos of some fabulous porch projects she did recently with some custom-fit Modello masking stencil patterns. And so, to brighten up your day…..He-e-e-e-r’s Gracie!
Porch before: yaaaaawn.
Porch after: YEAH!
I think you’ll agree with me that these are really exceptional uses of some of our Modello Concrete Carpet patterns, adapted to fit the projects perfectly. For these projects, Gracie used a polymer-based concrete overlay product called RSCrete from Faux Effects, International. Like the products featured in the last post, this is an easy to use, integrally colored overlay that gets thinly troweled over an existing concrete slab. It’s kind of like a Venetian Plaster type material-for floors-and works wonderfully in combination with our masking stencils! Wouldn’t you love to walk up to either one of these houses and be surprised to see this?!?!
February 21st, 2011
Continuing a focus on patterned decorative concrete, I’d like to share some beautiful projects by Nancy Tomaski of Paint My World in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvannia, using our Modello decorative masking stencils. Nancy is a long-time customer of Modello Designs, and you can see some of her amazing projects in our inspirational book, Modello by Design, Volume II. Alas, these projects were done after that book went to press, but I am very proud to share some more of Nancy’s work here!
This first project uses a custom Modello stencil pattern created from our one-time-use masking material. Nancy was able to create this original pattern with the help of Jillian from our design team. This photo shows the pattern all laid out and ready for color!
Nancy used SkimStone for this project, applying different custom-mixed colors of this easy-to-use cementitious overlay directly onto the concrete slab.
After the “concrete carpet” was completed, Nancy went back and created a realistic faux tile treatment using another concrete overlay system designed specifically for floors from Granicrete. Isn’t this an amazing transformation??
This next porch project features a custom adaptation of our popular Chavall carpet design.
Our specialty at Modello Designs is customizing our existing patterns to existing project parameters, and Natalie from our design team did a great job of recreating this design to fit the irregular shape. If it looks like this pattern was perfectly designed for this space, it’s because it WAS!
This last concrete porch transformation features our Toldeo carpet pattern, and Nancy did this one for herself, perfectly copying the color scheme represented in our Concrete Carpet and Panel Catalog! Yeah Nancy!
For this project, she used products from the iCoat concrete system to create both the faux carpet AND the faux wood and surrounding brick. Now, perhaps you are wondering how you can create some of these looks for yourself! All of the companies mentioned in this post offer hands-0n training and distribution of their products around the country. They can also recommend trained artisans in your area if you’d rather watch than do!
And a reminder…..I will be teaching a hands-on Modello/SkimStone class with Katrina Johnson from SkimStone at the upcoming Concrete Decor Show in Nashville. Go Girl Power!
February 18th, 2011
I am going to be teaming up with Katrina Johnson from SkimStone/Rudd Company to teach a hands-0n SkimStone + Modello workshop at the upcoming Concrete Decor Show in Nashville, TN on March 17-18.
The class is “officially” called Masking Patterns and MicroToppings for Ultra Decorative Finishes if you want to check the schedule. For some reason, in the concrete world they don’t like to “name names”, but rest assured it will be all about SkimStone and Modellos. I have posted many times about SkimStone here before, because it is one of my favorite mediums to work in for decorative floor applications.
Katrina is THE authority on SkimStone applications so this class will be full of great technical application information (the brains!) as well as instruction, inspiration, and sample making that features Modello patterns (the beauty!)
In addition to the class samples, students will have the opportunity to view and participate in a whole decorative floor treatment that we will be completing at Rocketown.
One of my favorite ways to incorporate SkimStone is with patterns from our Carpet and Panel Collection. We have recently updated the catalog with some beautiful new designs, like this new Bristol Carpet.
Another thing I am quite excited about it that we are now offering the Carpet and Panel Collection catalog in both a beautiful high res printed version, as well as a free eCatalog-available here. I’d love to know what you think about this format!
February 15th, 2011
I didn’t even know that my Skylar’s Lace stencil from Royal Design Studio was being used in Better Homes and Gardens Do it Yourself magazine, but fortunately a kind customer alerted me! After striking out at several different stores, I finally came across the Spring 2011 issue at my local Barnes and Noble this past weekend.
This is perfect timing because I wanted to spend a few posts sharing some other floor projects, new “carpet” designs, and other assorted info related to painting and decorating floors. The article, aptly entitled “Eye Candy”, features this fabulous lace pattern done in a bold turquoise and white color combo. As the article points out, you can stencil all KINDS of floors, whether they be wood, concrete, primed vinyl, or canvas floorcloths. This version was done using a gloss finish blue with the white paint added with a stencil roller. Easy peasy!
There was actually a great DIY project done recently by fab artist and photographer Ashley Ann of Under the Sycamore that was INSPIRED by the original Skylar’s Lace stencil project that we completed in Marrakech. She details out the process for painting and stenciling on a plywood subfloor. Even though she was inspired by my floor , she didn’t use the stencil. . I actually love the stencil that she created herself, though, and of course it looks fabulous in gray and white!
Skylar’s lace continues to get a lot of attention (around the world!) and it will also be featured soon in some more magazines, YEAH! To celebrate all this Skylar’s Lace LUV we are doing a Facebook Fan Flash Sale for 24 hours only offering this very popular, intricate design at a very sweet price. Ready, set, and GO here to find out more!
February 14th, 2011
I am celebrating this LOVEly day by remembering the most romantic, happy day of this past year for me…..
Beautiful heart photographs by A Creative Mint. Happy Valentines Day everyone! Wishing you all kinds of love…..