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Category: Fabulous Design & Architecture

21 Dec

Foyer Ceiling at Ca’ d’Zan

I have quite a few decorative painting pics to show you from some of my mini-vacations! This one is from a quick jaunt to Sarasota, FL, where a visit to the Ringling Museum was a must on the list.  We’ve previously seen their gardens and a bit of the Ringling family home, Ca’ d’Zan (Part 1 and Part 2).  This is actually a very special ceiling in the Ca’ d’Zan foyer.

To give you an idea of its space in the home, here is an image from the living room (an interior court). The foyer itself has glazed walls and Moroccan-inspired arched windows.

Here are a few close-ups.  According to archive records, the “ceiling beams enclose areas of canvas painted with conventionalized foliated motifs in red and gray. That decoration…[was] created by Robert Webb“. Mr. Webb was an artist who studied under John Singer Sargent and he mastered gold leafing and mural work while assisting him.  After a few years and solo projects on his own, he moved his family to Florida. It is said that while Mr. Webb was working on the grape leaf design on the foyer ceiling, his client John Ringling said, “Webb, hurry up! I’m running out of time and money!” to which Mr. Webb immediately put down his brush and said “I’m finished!”. The panel to this day remains uncompleted.  Here’s a few close-ups.

Grape tree close-up (above) and within the panel (below)

Do click here to see a visual tour — walk straight ahead and you’ll run right into the foyer. It is interesting to note that the artist, Robert Webb, had a daughter named Thelma who wrote his biography and filled it with his life story, experiences and anecdotes about his peers and projects. She called it Tramp Artist. I’ll be needing to purchase that.

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20 Dec

Holiday Sponsor Love: Robyn Story Designs!

Meeting Robyn Story of Robyn Story Designs is meeting a dynamo — plus, you feel like you can do anything after you’ve spent a few hours with her!  Her eponymous shop is 5,000 square feet packed with great design and beautiful finds. She is one of our beloved sponsors and we always love to catch up and see what is new and fabulous!  Shall we dig in?


Robyn has quite a few delicious new offerings in her shop. Not only is she one of the top stockists of Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan, she is also carrying Annie’s new Workbook and fabric line!  The wire-bound Workbook is an interactive notebook for home design enthusiasts featuring hand-drawn illustrations, ruled and plain pages, expandable inner pockets and an elasticated tie-closure — it’s a personal book to keep your decor ideas, colors and inspirations right at hand.

The Annie Sloan fabric line (some featured below left) has eight different patterns in toiles and tickings that come direct from factories in Belgium and France and have been selected to complement the colors of Chalk Paint. Brilliant!

Bella Notte Linens (above right) is also a new collection series! They are the world’s first easy care, garment-dyed luxury linens. Irresistibly soft and gloriously colored, every order is custom dyed using low-impact, non-toxic dyes. Don’t they sound sumptuous?

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint is a new paint product that is also available at Robyn’s boutique!  Milk Paint is an ancient all-natural paint containing basic ingredients including milk protein (casein), limestone, clay and natural pigments. It is interior and exterior rated for many surfaces and is naturally mold resistant. Very pretty!


Robyn Story Designs is having a store-wide Pre-Christmas sale — so they are the perfect stop to visit while doing your last minute shopping!  Here’s more information to have on hand while heading to the shop.


Robyn’s team is so well-known for their fabulous interior design services, that even Tampa’s International Airport had them do all their holiday decorations!  At this time of year, the design team is super-busy helping everyone prepare for the holidays and their decor is always fresh, inspired and oh-so-gorgeous.  It’s truly a joy to see the warm and festive results!

Holiday Works in Progress at Tampa International Airport


I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Robyn Story Designs — a visit to Tampa, FL means a must visit to her beautiful shop to see every charming nook and cranny. You’re sure to take home something perfect for your space, trust.  Do check in with their lively Facebook page and blog as they always have something new and wonderful to share!  Thank you so much, Robyn, for all your support of Fauxology!

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10 Sep

Ca’ d’Zan – Part Two

So, I think I might have mentioned that I went to Sarasota’s Ringling Museum recently. (As in this post on the incredible gardens and this first post on the Ca’ d’Zan interiors.) There’s a few more features yet to come as it’s wayyyyy too much yumminess to share on only one post.  Today, I’m going to show you the first floor Great Hall in the museum’s Ca’ d’Zan mansion but it does encompass the second floor as well.  It was the family’s main living room. Here’s the full shot…

Initially, I was like one of those puppies that couldn’t concentrate as there was so much artistry to take in.  It is a two-and-a-half storied interior court and it is approximately 40 feet long. There are several bedrooms that overlook the hall from a second floor balcony. The tapestries are from the 17th century and depict various scenes, including the life of Alexander the Great and the heroic career of Achilles.

I’ve noted arrows below where you can see the various areas of hand-painted ornamental works.

In case you’d like to pin this image without the arrows, click here.

Here are some close-ups for you.

Love the two-toned harlequins, the hand-painted design and the aging, too.  You?

The column below is made of a gorgeous onyx from Mexico.  To see a close-up, click here.

The furnishings all reflect the Italian and French Renaissance. Lovely gilding on the beautiful screen and furniture!

Thirty rooms spread out from this main living room and it’s the home’s unifying architectural feature.  The ceiling is coffered and made with Florida pecky cypress and frames an inner colored glass skylight.  The cypress has been hand-painted as well as the (previously-seen) ceilings surrounding three sides of the hall on both floor levels.

A truly amazing room.  In fact, if you’d like to take a virtual look at Ca’ d’Zan, the Ringling Museum has a fully interactive tour.  You can also read so much more in an extensive PDF about its architecture and design.  Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post — have an inspired day!

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07 Aug

Bricks of Art

On my Pinterest account, a space with bricks of blue is one the most popular pinned images I have.  It was created by architect Coleman Coker for a ranch in Vegas.  Here’s another view.

Of course, you can also color the bricks in cool funky colors like the Green Avenue Bench Collection did…

The main thrust of this post, though, is to showcase bricks that have been enhanced with gorgeous typography or a mural — in some cases, both.  Starting with an image from Concept Blanc, here’s the rest of the eye candy!

(above) Cool painted bricks by decorative painter Kristen F. Davis and (below) a guest bath designed by the fab Beth Dotolo for her own home.

Love the restaurant design above!  The sign for “Cardui – A Woman’s Tonic” is original to the space and was kept as an overscale art element by designer by Jones Baker.  The space below is the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

SO beautiful, right?  Traditional brick colors are not the only option and I do hope these examples proved inspiring!  Do you have a favorite?

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24 Jul

C Mosaic Tilework

I had quite the time naming this post.  You see, I’m quite enamored with a pattern but I’ve no idea of the technical/proper name for it. I’ve spied it twice again recently.

The pattern I’m crushing on is the interlocking square C’s on the front of this furniture piece.  (Actually, I first featured this image on another post, Graphically Speaking, after spying it in Small Shop Studio. The beautiful space is the C Wonder store in SoHo. We love what we love, I guess.)

Then, here it is again at the Viceroy in Palm Springs. Love those alternating bands of color!

Actually, if you were to widen that shot you’d see it’s a big, beautiful optical illusion of a square.  That Kelly Wearstler — she always brings the unexpected.

I’m not quite sure of the technical term of this pattern — you should have seen me Googling for the right phrase that would lead me to more information.  “Interlocking C Square”, “Optical Illusion C”, “C Mosaic Tilework”, “Optical Illusion in Interior Design”, “C Labyrinth Pattern” and so on and so forth.  Do you know the proper term?  I would much appreciate it if you let me know because then I can stop going crazy thinking up new ways to find it the knowledge would be satisfying.

In the meantime, I found this interesting image of the labyrinth flooring at France’s Amiens Cathedral.  It was really wonderful to be reminded how optical illusions and labyrinths figure beautifully in creating the contemporary patterns we know and love today. That may be a post for another time.  Have a great day, gorgeous ones!

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20 Jul

Kitchen Week Sponsor: Royal Design Studio [Giveaway Closed]

Melanie Royals, owner of Royal Design Studio, is a lover of rich colors and patterns both historic and contemporary.  Royal Design Studio design and manufacture modern wall stencils, furniture stencils, Modello Designs vinyl stencils, stenciling supplies, decorative painting tools and techniques for faux painting in addition to stenciling educational resources for professional decorative painters, interior designers and home decorators.

Today’s Prize to Kitchen Week artists Ashlie Bickford & Kindra Benge and Giveaway to one lucky reader is:

  1. A Marrakesh by Design book signed by the author, Maryam Montague; and
  2. A special Stencil Surprise!

G  I  V  E  A  W  A  Y

Marrakesh by Design is an incredible, detailed book on achieving the look and feel of Morocco in your home.  We recently reviewed the book, which includes a look at both historic and contemporary Moroccan spaces and architecture as well.

For your chance to win the signed book and the stencil surprise…

Leave a comment on this post after visiting Royal Design Studio and let us know your favorite stencil!

But that’s not all! You have FOUR MORE chances to win…

  1. Follow Royal Design Studio on Facebook
  2. Follow Royal Design Studio on Pinterest
  3. Follow Royal Design Studio on Twitter
  4. Follow Fauxology on Facebook

Each time you do one of these, leave us a comment on this blog post letting us know you did.  So, you can leave up to five individual comments on this blog post to enhance your chances of winning — please note that comments left on Facebook, Twitter or other posts or sites will not count towards this prize.

The Giveaway is open to everyone and one winner will be chosen at random from the comments.  Deadline: Midnight on Friday, July 27, 2012.

All winners will be announced August 1, 2012.

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16 Jul

Kitchen Week: Kaveri Singh

Welcome to Kitchen Week!  Culled from submitted entries, the week-long series focus on five artists with extraordinary projects.  For the first time ever, each artist and five readers are receiving prizes for their beautiful artworks. Look to the end for today’s sponsor and your chance to win! Our Kitchen Week starts with an old friend of Fauxology, Los Angeles-based Kaveri Singh, who has previously been featured in our Powder Room Week series.  She and her partner, TJ, starts us off with a strong, richly colored  and personal project.  She recounts the gorgeous commission.

Santa Ynez. Rolling yellow California meadows, nestled among the blue grey hills, the gentle fog a backdrop for lazy cows; time here seems to stand still. The neat rows of grape vines bear silent witness to the wonderful blue house on the hill, a little gem of indigo. I remember walking up with TJ and feeling happy, excited for this wonderful adventure that awaited us, an interior that spoke to our Indian roots, a client unafraid of color, pushing to break the barriers of beige.

The designer on the project, Joanna Poitier of JSP Interiors, has known the clients for many years and her one directive was that this house had to be filled with color.

The clients, Sam and her husband Eric, who own Coghlan Jewelry in nearby Los Olivos, are both jewelry designers and so the rich colors of gems were the order of the day.   The kitchen is the heart of the house and with two young boys and a love of cooking that they both share, the island took center stage. The island was a giant butcher block where the family could roll out pizzas that would be cooked in the built in pizza oven and they could spend time together cooking, sipping wine and entertaining friends…looking out at the rolling lines of grapevines that surround the house. TJ and I pored over books from India and decided that what was a must was to create a typical Indian arch detail that would go in the bookcase at the end of the island.

The walls were finished with a deep turquoise Venetian plaster, with aged turquoise blue baseboards. The rest of the kitchen was done in a multi-layered finish of cream with bits of a darker espresso base. On the other side of the pizza oven, Joanna and Sam wanted to incorporate a stand-alone cabinet so we mimicked the details of the bookcase along with the arches and columns that would again reflect the Indian arches.

Closeup of the multi-layer cream and espresso cabinets above (love the different knobs!) and the turquoise Venetian Plaster and decorative painting over the pizza oven below.

The inspiration for the designs on the island, around which the entire kitchen flowed, came from Sanganeri prints from Rajasthan. These detailed bootah prints, done in vibrant colors of emerald green and blue, were the main design elements on the doors. Reminiscent of inlaid designs from the Taj, it seemed appropriate, as gems are an integral part of Sam and Eric’s lives. The columns were more in the style of Gujarati furniture and the combination seemed appropriate since the Sanganeri designs are an amalgamation of elements from Gujarat and Malwa.

 Close-up below

Traditionally, Sanganeri prints are done on a white ground. However, it was an image of a craved block drenched in blue and green dye that was the inspiration for the palette. There is a certain rhythm to these traditional color combinations, and I discovered that with every use of a cool color there had to be one that was warm. Even colors that where analogous, one leaned a little warmer than the other. It was this balanced use of hot and cool vibrant colors, always reined in with a use of a cool white or cream that really established the balance in the room. Hence the use of a hot pink cabinet against a cool turquoise made it in some way to make sense.

To see more of the entire home, click on a recent feature by Seasons Santa Barbara. One could imagine this inventive kitchen, on the gentle slopes of a California landscape, on the dusty, exotic sands of Rajasthan.  In an unusual and happy way, it was a perfect fit for a creative young couple.

 ~  ~  ~

Isn’t the kitchen spectacular? Kaveri is an incredible talent! Please do visit her site to see more of her projects and learn more about her Los Angeles studio at her website, Kaveri Singh Artworks.

For her winning submission for Kitchen Week, Kaveri will receive a Twisted Roller (value $65) from today’s sponsor Faux Design Studio.  Would you like to win this prize as well? Scroll right below or click here!

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