November 30th, 2011


Allow me to introduce you to Sylvie Bilger and Metamorfaux.


I had the great pleasure of meeting Sylvie this past October when she attended my last painting trip to Marrakech as one of our very special Peacock Painters. Originally from France, Sylvie has a joie de vivre that is both infectious and endearing. She also happens to be a classically trained decorative artist with an impressive resume.  Sylvie learned her craft first during 4 years in the Ecole National des Arts Appliques et des Metiers d’ Art. She followed that with a year at the Institute de peinture Van Der Kelen in Brussels where she perfected her decorative painting skills in trompe l’oeil, wood graining, marbleizing and lettering. Impressed yet? Well, to top that off she then proceeded to work for two years doing restoration at the Palace of Versailles. Yeah. Cool. For the last 25 years she has lived and worked in NYC, and established her decorative painting company, Metamorfaux with her artist/husband Joe Bilger.







Right before we left for our Morocco trip, she contacted me regarding the opportunity to sponsor the decoration of  a space in the annual Holiday House NYC-an annual showcase and fundraiser for the Susan G Komen foundation for breast cancer research. Of course I said yes! The space was of the sort normally given to decorative painters-a hallway. Hallways are actually fabulous, because they are generally lacking the need for furniture and you can be left to let the paint treatment be the star. Sylvie was inspired by the stenciling that I had designed the year before for a dining tent in Morocco, and this became the basis for the hallway decoration at Holiday House. Of course, she reinterpreted the idea unique and special way. Let’s see, shall we?






Sylvie used a combination of Royal Design Studio stencils and Modello masking patterns. I suggested the Modello patterns for the ceiling, because they can be so much easier than trying to maneuver a large stencil around, and we were able to cut the design to fit the space exactly. Above, she is removing the transfer tape to begin the painting process with metallic paints from Modern Masters.






We also provided Modello patterns for the the arches and medallion. Again, the Modellos are much easier to apply and decorate an otherwise difficult space like these arches!






Cut to a week later, and…..voila! Sylvie used our new large Peacock Feather stencil on the walls. I love how she has them trailing randomly from the ceiling line,






and added just a little extra touch on the window treatment.





More of our Moroccan  stencils were used in the small hallway, including Moroccan Lace, the Fez Corner, and the Fez Floral Border.






A final touch of magic happened when the light fixture was installed. Along with a warm, reflective glow, it adds a whole other dreamy layer of geometric pattern to an already beautifully designed space.






Here is a shot of Sylvie and our mutual Moroccan traveler and friend, artist Tom Henman-her lucky date to the opening night Gala! If you happen to be in the NYC area you can check out Sylvie’s work along with many other beautifully designed and decorated rooms at Holiday House NYC through December 11!


September 24th, 2011

Stencil Freshen Up 2

A couple of weeks ago, I shared some fresh new stenciled looks with some of our classic stencils. I have some more great updated stencil looks to show you today. Hopefully it will spark some ideas and get those creative wheels turning!

chinoiserie wall stencils

The Oriental Brushstroke Chinese stencil is a series of individual fanciful bird and leaf elements that you can scatter at will over a wall to create a loose, painterly wallpaper effect. Here, it looks very soft in shades of blue, but you can use it in metallic colors over dark backgrounds for very dramatic effects too!

border wall stencil

A border stencil can be perfect for adding just the right touch of color and design to spark up a plain wall. The Elegancia Border stencil is shown here above a step-in tub. Notice how the gold color ties in with the bath fixture and really warms up the wall. Simple, but effective. If you wanted to add more pattern, this design coordinates with our Elegancia Allover stencil.

feather wall stencil as wallpaper

Another area to try a wallpaper effect with stencils in on the back wall of an open bookshelf or china cabinet. Here, the Falling Feather stencil is perfect for creating a casual, yet custom effect. This is another fun stencil for scattering across a wall, but would be great on a floor, furniture, or fabric project as well.

moroccan stencil allover or border design

The Moroccan Hexagons border stencil can also be repeated to create an allover pattern, as shown here. This pattern is perfect for an entry hall or bathroom wall. Using stencil brushes makes it easy to paint the tile pattern in multiple colors.

chinoiserie wall stencil cherry blossoms

Our classic Japanese Cherry Blossom stencil set takes on a fresh, modern vibe in a yellow/gray/cream color scheme. Individual branches are fun to scatter and stencil. Shown in a laundry room setting this design works great in bathrooms, bedrooms, even nurseries!

furniture stencil on painted furniture

One of our most classic and popular designs for many years, the Florentine Grille Border stencil comes in three sizes, so you can use it for everything from a ceiling freize to a small furniture stenciling detail. Here the medium size is shown centered and stenciled on drawer fronts in boldly contrasting colors for a clean, contemporary look.

allover wall stencil as furniture stencil

Another pattern that is available in multiple sizes is the allover Victorian Grillwork stencil. This classic floral trellis is perfect for furniture stenciling. The larger version is shown here stenciled on the side of an armoire. It’s a perfect romantic look-yet not too fussy!

I hope you enjoyed this stencil re-fresher. Perhaps you have some older stencil patterns laying around and maybe now are inspired to try them anew in some updated colors. That’s what is so great about stencils! They can take on a whole new attitude with simple changes in color and application. Happy Painting!

Every year for the last 3 years I have had the great fortune to lead a different group of “Peacock Painters” on an amazing journey of art, culture, and discovery to one of my favorite places in the world: Marrakech. Each trip has been unique in the projects that we have done with Maryam (of My Marrakesh) at the increasingly lovely Peacock Pavilions. On our first trip in 2008, this chic boutique hotel was still a major construction site, but we were able to stencil some amazing graphic ceilings and henna-inspired stair risers. In 2009, we returned as Maryam and her family had just moved in to the main house there-with much work still to be done. This trip featured stenciled floors, more stair risers, and a dramatic, Art Deco-inspired mural. In 2010, we inaugurated the hotel as its first guests while we stenciled a beautiful entertainment tent there. As many projects as we have done to floors, walls, ceilings, fabric and stair risers, there are still spaces that are calling for an artistic touch.


And so, I am happy to announce that in October 2011, we will return to make more magic and more memories! And the memories ARE magical. In order to prepare for planning this upcoming trip, I spent a couple of days reliving our past journeys. Each person, each group, each project lives happily in my heart. I wanted to honor that with a special video that (I hope) captures the mystique and the joy that these trips have brought to me and all who have joined me….

Would you like to join me in Marrakech as well?? You can find more trip information here, and download a pdf with all the juicy details here. Space is limited, so don’t delay, OK? See you in Morocco!!


March 30th, 2011

Stencil Renaissance

You know that saying, “everything old is new again”? Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to apply to the aging human body, but it sure seems to apply to the popularity of stenciled pattern through the ages. After falling out of favor in the early part of the 2oth century, stencils enjoyed  a major resurgence following the Bicentennial celebration of America in 1976.  I became heavily involved obsessed with stencils in the 80′s as I spoke about in this recent post, and watched stencils as an elegant wall decorating choice grow exponentially through the 90′s and early 2000′s.  As fashion trends come and go, so too do decorating trends, and wall stenciling gave up ground to other types of surface treatment options such as Venetian Plaster, gilding, and various other mediums, and eventually gave way altogether to that awful trend of JUST plain, unadorned paint.  Phew! Glad THAT seems to have passed quickly!walls-stencils-royal-design

Well…..stencils seem to be BACK in a very BIG way these day (happy dance!) as a whole new generation of young designers and home decorators are discovering stenciling anew! Case in point: this lovely post recently on our Royal Design Studio stencils by Brittany at A Daily Dose of Harri Ette. (I am reposting her photo montage above) Brittany is not alone! I see bloggers worldwide now ”discovering” stencils as an outlet for creativity and personal design expression in their own homes. Another example is Angel Li’s post on 77+Love. So, if you hang around long enough you can be be “trendy” all over again! :)

February 12th, 2011

Stencil Giveaway/MadebyGirl

WooHoo!! Royal Design Studio is sponsoring a stencil giveaway over on the lovely Made by Girl Blog!


Head on over there and get all the details and follow the directions for the chance to win a FREE stencil of YOUR choice, valued up to $50. The drawing will be held February 18, so leave your entry comment SOON! Jen has featured some of our latest stencil designs, such as…..


Our new Large Marrakech Trellis stencil,


our modern, graphic Endless Circle Lattice stencil,


and our new Uzbek Suzani allover stencil. You may recognize this last design, as it was first done here on my first painting adventure to Marrakesh at Peacock Pavilions. For that project, we used very large Modello masking stencils. My friend Debbie Hayes later used the same design in an elegant brown and gold bathroom shown here. This new mylar stencil is a bit scaled down from that but it’s still quite a grand size and makes a fabulous bold statement, I think!


Besides running the very popular Made by Girl blog, Jen also has an online Made by Girl store where she sells her original (and very clever) artwork on posters, canvases, and cards.


I particularly love the typography posters where she highlights letters to spell names and sayings. I would just like to say thank you to Jen for hooking us, and YOU, up with this fun giveaway. Good luck everyone!!!

February 11th, 2011

It’s Easy Being Green!

Besides my old friend Kermit, the color green reminds me of fresh cut Summer grass, the new buds of Spring (it WILL come eventually), verdant forests, and fresh beginnings.

Colour Lovers-green

The color green is also featured as an interior design trend on this recent post from The Colour Lovers blog! Perfect timing, then, to share these new allover stencil designs imagined in inspiring shades of nature’s favorite color: green!


This Moroccan-inspired stencil is called Chez Sheik-3071. It is available in two sizes (large shown here) and makes quite a statement on a “bed wall”, don’t you think?


The allover Chain Link Stencil-3086 is super clean and contemporary. It keeps you “going around in circles” the best possible way! We’ve been busy creating a whole flurry of new stencil patterns over at Royal Design Studio. I’d love to know what you think about these new patterns! There are lots more in the works….

February 2nd, 2011

Under the Big Top

I am in the process of planning yet another (my fourth!) Moroccan painting adventure to Peacock Pavilions in late October, 2011, so thought to revisit the results of our last trip where we focused on a VERY fun fabric stenciling project: turning an ordinary canvas tent into a special space for dining, dreaming, and entertaining.

Stenciling-Moroccan stencils


The inspiration for the series of Moroccan stencils based on class Fez-style embroidery that I developed for this project came from this lovely book. The graphic patterns seemed to just beg to be translated into stencils! So, I created a whole series of designs that could be mixed and matched and layers in different ways, depending on the needs of the project. We didn’t get a chance to see the tent “all dressed up” while we were there, but could imagine all the possibilities that can arise from a basic black and white color color palette. You can see how Maryam has been able to style and decorate the tent in multiple, beautiful ways and various color schemes.



Such as the beautiful Moroccan blue colors this post….


…my favorite pink accent color in this post…


…and your basic, elegant black in this post . So chis! Note the stenciled paper placemats! What a fun idea!!

All stencils are from our Moroccan stencil collection at Royal Design Studio.

Stay tuned for my next post, where I will show you this same series of stencil patterns used to create an amazing backdrop for a most deliciously colorful product display….