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Category: Mirrors & Glass

19 Dec

Holiday Sponsor Love: Royal Design Studio!

Royal Design Studio has been a long-time supporter of Fauxology — and goodness knows I love their stencils, techniques and products! Their president, Melanie Royals, continues to dream up ever-so-wonderful ways to make decorative painting and finishing easier, not to mention the application of beautiful patterns to a myriad of surfaces.  They have so many good things to share and I thought I’d pay it forward!


Imagine learning amazing finishes and techniques in the comfort of your own home, wearing your favorite pajamas with a nice cup of hot chocolate at your side — all at your own pace, without travel and lodging costs. That’s the beauty of Virtual Workshops.  There are four classes available: SkimStone & Modello® Stencils, Antique Mirror & Glass, Metallic Foils and Stencil Impressions. Each class comes with video lessons and a complete, illustrated manual. If you see each of the class descriptions, they come with informative videos and module lessons.  As the classes are ongoing, you can start a class as soon as you register!

Special Pricing on Virtual Workshops through December 31st!


Stencil Cremes are a fantastic stencil paint with opaque coverage and creamy, dreamy application. Eight new colors were introduced just last week and they have special pricing through the end of the year!  In addition, a few new stencil patterns were added to the Royal Design Studio collection — you can always see the latest additions in the New Stencil Designs area of their website.


For ten days until Christmas Eve, Royal Design Studio will feature one selected stencil per day at 50% off!  They are on Day 6 and have a few stencils to go — will your favorite be among them?  Be sure to use the code given for your half off savings!

The daily selected stencils will be showcase on their Facebook page, Twitter account and Pinterest boards.  Do be sure to follow and “like” them for plenty of inspiration, too!

~ ~ ~

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit more the latest and greatest with Royal Design Studio!  They also have the Design Amour and Stencil Ideas blog with creative artists and fab projects showcased regularly — great reads!  A nice, big lush Thank You! goes out to Royal Design for the Fauxology support!

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13 Aug

Portrait of an Artist: Annabel Armstrong

There are certain artists you correspond with that you immediately feel a connection to and one of those, for me, is Annabel Armstrong of Surface.  I enjoy the way she perceives the world and once I saw her artistry, I also knew I had to share it on Fauxology.  She has a beautiful touch with her projects – they are both soft and strong at the same time.  She has strengths in decorative painting for many surfaces, including glass. We travel to Boise, Idaho to meet Annabel and chat about her work.

Artist Annabel Armstrong

Sometimes, our careers choose us. “I didn’t come to the decorative painting profession until my early thirties, after spending more than a decade floating around between various universities and continents,” Annabel explains. “At that point, I made use of a great opportunity to train under a few well-known decorative painters in the San Francisco area for a few years before moving to Boise, Idaho, to start my own studio.”  Annabel Armstrong founded her decorative painting studio, Surface, in 1997.  Even so, collaboration brings her quite a bit of joy. “Even after all these years of running my studio and working for myself,  I find that I always appreciate the chance to work for other decorative painters. There is always something you can learn from another artist, and the collaboration benefits everybody. Hence, I’m looking forward to a mural project in India later this year where I will be working alongside several artists, including Kaveri and TJ Singh of Los Angeles.”

(above) A painted motif with acanthus and oak leaves was designed to emphasize the architectural shape of the groined vault. Annabel shares (below) that all of a room’s finishes, colors, and textures are taken into consideration when creating a decorative painting concept.

Annabel, what are your favorite design and/or finish styles?

For a long time, my passion has been working with paint and gold or silver leaf on the back side of glass, a technique popularly known as verre églomisé. Ever since I naively tried to pick up a fragile leaf of gold over 15 years ago—and watched it crumble and disintegrate into nothing in my fingers—I have been in love with this delicate medium. Getting a crazy-thin leaf of gold to adhere to the slick surface of glass is a magical process that surprises me every time.

Verre églomisé is so-named because an 18th-century Parisian art dealer named Jean-Baptiste Glomy was known for selling prints with gilded and painted decorative borders on the back sides of the glass under which the prints were mounted. The term is a bit of a misnomer because it implies that the process was invented by Glomy, when in fact the technique is much older than the monsieur and not even French.

(above) Square columns in a restaurant were clad with glass for a verre églomisé project. Antiqued silver leaf and mica powders were used to incorporate the restaurant’s logo.  This project was in collaboration with Cathy Conner of Studio C in Seattle.

Verre églomisé, sometimes just called reverse painting and gilding on glass, has precedents in Roman glass, but it wasn’t until the medieval ages that Europe began to see a lot of reverse painted and gilded glass. Italian artisans seem to have been the first to work with this art form (at least in Europe—reverse painting and gilding also has traditions in Turkey, Syria, Persia and India).  Nuremberg and Augsburg in Germany also became real centers for reverse painting and gilding. A lot of glass-work came out of the Murnau area, near where my mother was born and raised in the Bavarian Alps, so I like to think that it’s in my blood. There’s a wonderful little museum called Schlossmuseum Murnau, which has a substantial collection of works on the reverse of glass.

(above) 23-karat and 12-karat gold leaf, aluminum leaf, collage, oil and acrylic paints, polyester plate lithography on the reverse of nine glass panels. To see them individually, please click here.

What are your favorite websites, blogs, and/or message forums on Internet?

The Textile Blog is a great resource and inspiration for decorative painters. The blog provides insight into not only textile design but all forms of design, decoration, and craft. This on-line resource has a massive yet consummately organized library of images with everything from examples of 16th century lace to 1890s wallpaper design. The video library is equally broad-based: if you look under Tile and Mosaic Design, you can view a video about Portuguese azulejos one moment and in the next you’ll be learning about Escher’s mathematical approach to design. “Like” the Textile Blog on Facebook, and you’ll never run out of interesting links.

What I appreciate about the Textile Blog is its broad-based approach to design, something that’s needed by today’s decorative painters. Too many of us are caught up in capturing a painted effect or in perfectly imitating something such as leather, without asking ourselves why we are painting that in the first place. Decorative painting has to interact with a space, and importantly, it also has a profound effect on anyone interacting with that space. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that. Decorative painters should be actively studying design and thinking about it in broad terms, not just about our little niche. Our work needs to be an integral part of the design process.

(above, below) Grottesca ceiling project completed on canvas with Nicola Vigini of Vigini Paint & Design. He let me do quite a bit of the design, but more importantly, I had the opportunity to work with a brighter palette than the one I gravitate towards on my own projects.

What are the most inspiring spaces you’ve seen that had decorative painting?

This spring in Germany I visited the Würzburg Residenz palace, famous for the Tiepolo frescoes but also for its Spiegelkabinett. A Spiegelkabinett is essentially a room of mirrors, usually consisting of panels with inset mirrors and carved stucco or wood ornamentation, and can be found in numerous German baroque and rococo palaces. The Würzburg Spiegelkabinett’s floor-to-ceiling mirrors on all four walls incorporate reverse painting and gilding in a Chinoiserie style. The room was built and decorated in the 1740s but was destroyed—along with most of the palace—during an air raid in 1945. Based on a late 19th century watercolor of the room, numerous photographs of the original interior, and just one surviving mirror fragment, the Spiegelkabinett was meticulously restored in the 1980s. The restoration of the gilded stucco ornamentation alone required 2.5 kilos (more than 5 pounds!) of gold leaf!

(above) Handpainted papers created by Annabel Armstrong and (below) is a detail of a powder room mural with the client’s favorite bird, the red-breasted nuthatch, in a tree, followed by a gorgeous crackled plaster finish in ochre.

If you could write a book about any subject, what would it be?

It would be about bacteria, if only for the chance to create the illustrations. Bacteria are such weird little things that come in wacky shapes. And bacteria fascinate me because they represent a vastness that—although literally right under our noses, covering both the insides and outsides of our bodies—goes by mostly unnoticed.

I’ve read that there are typically 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a milliliter of fresh water; in all, there are approximately five nonillion (what does that even mean? is nonillion a real word? you can’t even wrap your head around this stuff) bacteria on Earth. I love the fact that they form much of the world’s biomass and can be found just about anywhere, including deep underneath the Earth’s crust.  They’ve evolved along with our digestive and immune systems for millions of years, and shaped their environment to create a better bacteria nirvana. That means: not only have bacteria evolved in order to adapt, but we have actually evolved to provide a better home for them. It makes you wonder who’s in charge here.

The mural in the image above was inspired by the frescoes in the Villa Livia in ancient Rome.  It’s the first work I saw of Annabel’s and it still thrills me.  I hope you have enjoyed today’s profile — please be sure to visit her website, Annabel Armstrong Surface, to see more of her artistry.  I thank Annabel so much for her time and for sharing her projects.  I hope they were a beautiful way to start your week!

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07 May

Northern Lights in Your Shower

From the keyboard of Peggy Pardo…

I’ve been a bit overwhelmed this weekend; my dad was rushed to the hospital. He’s 89 years old, so this was a big thing for us. He seems to be doing better now; we hope he continues on that path. Because of this my post is a bit of a short one today, but I didn’t want to miss sharing this great find with all of you.

Imagine taking a shower and a fabulous ever-changing “light show” is going on around you. How cool would that be. Well, that can actually happen because a company has created glass tiles that change color when the temperature changes!

Inspired by the Northern Lights, the company Moving Color Tiles created these tiles so that they appear black at room temperature, but move through the color spectrum when warm water or radiant heat hits them. They’re called Moving Tiles, because when they change color it gives the appearance that the tiles are moving.  I wish I could say more about them, but the manufacturer’s website isn’t in English; I discovered the product via Blavish. However, in any language this product is cool!

Moving Tiles

I love the irredescent shades that are created when the warm water moves across the tiles. What great inspiration for decorative finishes!

Cheers to all,
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20 Apr

The Details Make the Art

From the keyboard of Peggy Pardo…

Ready for your mind to be blown? So, I was purusing the internet and I found these incredible wall installations. Take a look at this one…

Glass Mosaic 5

You’re probably thinking, yes – they’re beautiful. But so what? Now take a CLOSER look…

Glass Mosaic 5CU

Yes – That’s GLASS MOSAIC TILE. They’re the remarkable work of a Spanish company that manufactures wide format images on glass mosaic. To learn more about it, check out their website.

Glass Mosaic 1

Glass Mosaic 2

Glass Mosaic 3

Glass Mosaic 4

Glass Mosaic 6

Cheers to all!
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12 Mar

Gilded Mirrors

Our company, Garay Artisans, has a separate studio for creating unique antique mirrors.  We’ve recently been working on quite a few projects and below are a few that feature gilding.  All three were done with the help of Modello Designs — love how they open up a world of possibilities.

The first used aged silver leaf over an architectural panel pattern.  The mirror was for a space above a stairway and it works perfectly with the home’s clean, contemporary design.  The mirror itself is almost 9′ tall.

Here’s a closer shot:

The second is in a separate home and in a walk-in closet.  The top panel has a gold leaf ornamental design atop an ornate panel on the bottom.  This work was done along the top of the mirror as they were already installed. If you’d like to see the bottom design a bit more clearly, here’s the graphic pattern.

The third was more elaborate and in the same home as the walk-in closet, but this time in the master bath.  The client customized the Donatella Damask pattern and we created an oval within the pattern.  Here’s the outline…

We used blue variegated leaf to add some oomph and color. One of the tricky parts was the lining that separated the design from the mirror oval — it had to be done separately and cleanly.  The coloration also needed to match perfectly but not detract from the overall design.  When installed it flowed perfectly with the light fixture and the bath’s design.

Our client said the mirror sparkles so nicely at night.  All the work is done behind the mirror and each layer — from the stripping to the gilding — needed to be done with a lot of patience and love.  It was a big relief to see her installed perfectly.

Casting off wonderful shadows...

For these projects, we worked directly with the homeowner.  We’ll soon be sharing more residential and hospitality mirror projects that were collaborative efforts with incredible designers.  Hope you’ve enjoyed these shared today — have a great day!

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01 Mar

Dreamy Headboards

From the keypad of Peggy Pardo…

We spend one third of our lives sleeping. (Okay, I agree. How many busy people are actually lucky enough to get 8 hours of sleep each night? But for this post, I’m going to stick with that thought.) If we’re going to spend that much of our lives sleeping, don’t you think it should be done in a bed that is not only comfortable but also FABULOUS looking?

A bed doesn’t always have to include of a footboard and siderails. Some of the most beautiful bed designs I’ve seen consisted only of an amazing headboard. I’ve selected a few headboards for you to savor. Some you can even make yourself!


If you have a small room but want to make a dramatic impact, this headboard is just the thing. The rich plum color and satin fabric create a very elegant look. However, I’d have to change the lighting, artwork, sidetables and bedding. The headboard is fantastic, though…

Plum fabric headboard

Source: House to Home


Drama can still be created on a budget. In this next photo, a couple of inexpensive pieces of metal artwork were spray painted in brushed-silver metallic and then hung above the bed. Creative, thrifty and very chic…

Metalwork headboard

Source: Better Homes & Garden


Want a wrought iron headboard, but it’s not in the budget? Try handpainting or stenciling one on the wall instead. Another plus, the ”headboard” won’t take up any extra space in the room. That’s especially helpful in small spaces…

Stencil headboard

Source: Better Homes & Gardens

This lovely trompe l’oeil design was created using a two-layered stencil…

Trompe L'Oeil headboard

Source: Better Homes & Gardens


This headboard was created using distressed white tin ceiling tiles. Carrying the distressed finish to rest of the headboard and side table create a cohesive and cozy look…

Tin tiles headboard

Source: Better Homes & Gardens


Did anyone say “alphabet soup”?  A variety of letters in different sizes and fonts create a fun headboard. You can find letters like these at craft stores and large home improvement centers…

Letters used as headboard

Source: Better Homes & Gardens


An ornate headboard goes ultra feminine with the addition of a old store canopy draped in lace.  Vintage hats and beads hung beneath it take the look one step further. Check out the finishes on the antique vanity and metal stool…

Vintage style headboard

Source: Country Living


An antique mirror brings added elegance to this room. (For more gorgeous photos of antique mirror patinas, check out Regina’s post from earlier this week.) I love that the headboard extends all the way up the high ceiling…

Antique mirror headboard

Source: Country Living

Using a large 19th Century antique mirror as a headboard helps to make this small room seem much bigger than it is. The use of layering and mixing of fabrics creates a very inviting cottage charm…

19th Century antique mirror headboard

Source: Country Living

The bed is the centerpiece of the bedroom. Since it’s usually the first thing your eyes gravitate towards, it should make a statement and set the tone for the room. Keep in mind that a bed without a headboard looks incomplete and prevents the room from ever looking totally finished. It doesn’t have to be huge or dramatic; sometimes less truly is more. This is a chance for you to be creative. You can use just about anything; so no matter what your budget is, you can have a great headboard.

Have you created your own headboard? Do you have any unique ideas that you’ve put to use to make a headboard? I’d love you to see photos or hear about what you’ve done!

Cheers to all,

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27 Feb

Gorgeous Antique Mirror Patinas

I love mirror patinas — whether they be antique or something fantastical.  My company, Garay Artisans, has a separate studio that creates antique mirror patinas that we ship worldwide. [The shipping is an art in itself, I'm here to tell ya.]  So anytime I spy a beautiful mirror, I save it.  Here are some I’ve found throughout the years…

This is the home of Iris Apfel and featured in Architectural Digest. The caption says, in part, “The entry contains an 18th-century French screen (left) and an early 18th-century painted Genoese corner cabinet”. Love the antique mirror in its two separate pieces.

Mirrored folding screens take my breath away.  Here are two different design styles…

Via Martha Stewart Living

Designed by Rogers Design Group and featured in Florida Design magazine

Of course, wall panels are fantastic as well.  You can have them with our without the corner rosettes. (left: Design Sponge, right: Casa & Campo)

I love the mix of mirror and rustic in this furniture piece featured in Phoenix Home & Garden magazine.

Of course, you can always just have the antique as an art piece just hanging around your home as shown in Cote de Texas. At least I think it’s a mirror. It could be a cleverly conceived art piece on canvas because the reflection doesn’t reflect the room…ish.  But I’m going with mirror. Final answer.

Hope you enjoyed the trip into the looking glass.  Have a fabulous day, gorgeous ones!

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