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18 Oct

Life in a Birdcage

It’s no secret I love birds.  Birds in patterns, textiles, stencils, interior design… I’ve never owned a bird although my Mother has a pair of cockatiels and they are very entertaining.  The Hubs has a beautiful tree right outside his office and we enjoy seeing all the birds that set up shop there year after year. One was not too pleased that we were so close to his home and he let us know by pecking at our glass window (with serious attitude to boot).  He subsequently moved everyone out.  We were so bummed.  But this uplifts me now…

I love how this looks like a beautiful mural with great colors over a grey glazed finish or even Venetian Plaster. Wall & Decò.

LOVE the scale of this fresco. I didn’t even notice the sofa until a few seconds in! Gorgeous work by Andrei Kievsky of Studio Unique.

Click Images to Enlarge

Wallpaper in square panels or handpainted on a floor screen – birds are pretty either way. Screen featured in Atlanta Homes.

I couldn’t resist sharing this azulejo with you — so gorgeous. The macaws fit right in! Via Dustjacket Attic

Click Images to Enlarge

Sweet birds over a door and a pattern with birdcages (via Daniella Marie) in a bath.

Speaking of birdcages, have you ever wondered about life within one?  Ca’Toga gives us a fun glimpse as seen below.  Out & About gives us a quick tour of most of the Ca’Toga property while my friend, Theresa Check of Art’s the Answer, recently visited with the artist in residence, Carlo Marchiori.

The Birdcage Room at Ca'Toga

You could also visit the Mandarin Oriental in Paris

…and have a nice breakfast within a glam birdcage.  Cool, no?  Have a wonderful day!


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17 Oct

Liquid Stainless Steel & Giani Granite Giveaway Winner!

We had a fantastic Giveaway by Giani Granite during our Review post on their beautiful Liquid Stainless Steel.  Readers were asked to comment on the post about the product they were most interested in and their creative plans for it — and one was picked via Random to receive their own complimentary kit to work the magic.  Without further ado, the Winner is…

Based on number of eligible entries. Winning entry generated by

Beth Orasco!

Beth is a single mother of two wonderful sons who enjoys DIY projects and turning “nothing into something”.  She says, “I just recently ripped up the carpet and tile in my living room and hall and laid beautiful new laminate floors along with painting most of the rooms in the house.  I saw the Giani product last year at the St. Louis Home Show and was amazed at how easy it looked to be and how gorgeous it turned out.  I knew when I got to the kitchen I would be trying this out for myself.  Christmas came early this year – I will have beautiful counters just in time for the holidays – wooohooo!”  She has decided to try out the Chocolate Brown Giani Granite kit.

Beth works in the IT world and also has a business as an independent consultant with Scentsy Wickless Candles.  “I love bringing beautiful products and scents to people to use in their own homes.  Scent is an amazing way to evoke thoughts and memories of childhood or anytime.”  Please do visit her site or her Scentsy Facebook page. Congratulations, Beth — do keep us posted on the transformation!

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I did want to say “Thank You!” to all who left a wonderful comment on the post and also to Rima Bechara of Boston’s Walls & More for the review and Gail Strebel of Giani Granite for facilitating the wonderful Giveaway.  There will be more opportunities to win products and other great giveaways so be on the lookout — have a wonderful day!


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07 Oct

Silver Leaf

We’ve been doing a lot of work with silver leaf — silver leaf schaibin to be exact.  (Schaibin is irregular sheets of leaf that are primarily used for “broken leaf” effects.)  Next week, we tackle several ceilings with it as well as a few inset niches. Messy (size & flakes) but a whole lotta fun.  I’ve been seeing a lot of beautiful traditional silver leaf work as well. I thought I’d share a few to take us into the weekend…

 Always a thrill to see a silver leaf wall.  This one is designed by Lisa Ficarra.

Love the quiet elegance of this guestroom in a Pacific Heights Victorian – including the silver leaf ceiling. Designed by Claudia Juestel of the Adeeni Design Group.

I looooove silver leaf furniture.  (Especially when paired with mirrors. Serious love.)  It saddens me to see the scratches on this one but it is a pretty piece nonetheless.  It was featured by the Little Green Notebook blog.

Gracie is a studio that produces extraordinary wallcoverings. This one features a handpainted mural over silver leaf.

Here’s one by my company, Garay Artisans. The client and designer wanted imperfections on the layout, with the dark base showing through. I profiled this finish and others for a restaurant commission in Tallahassee, FL.

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I was asked recently why I normally prefer to use leaf in a technique over foils. There are advantages to both actually. There’s just no beating the look of leaf in any way and I like how it covers the surface as completely and opaquely as you’d like.  Foils, however, do save you in cost as well as mess – there’s simply no product to clean up after the transfer. It does take quite a bit to fully transfer the foil product and has much more elbow grease involved. Both are fantastic in their own right and perfect for their own finishes.  Do you prefer one over the other? Do tell.  Have a great weekend!


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05 Oct

Orange Delight

With the start of Fall, I thought I’d share images of one of its most iconic colors.  It appears that the color is named after the fruit and it’s first recorded use was in 1512.  Orange is dynamic, powerful and it is also associated with the warmth of the sun.  It is just as passionate, but less fiery, than her analogous neighbor, Red.

 An Antoni Gaudí interior.  Seriously incredible crackle.

I’ve shared this image on our FB fan page and thought to share it again. Love the inspired Peter Pan shadow!  You?  (Via We Heart It)

Gorgeous patterns! Love them both so much… Left: My Overlays Right: Fine Art America

Click smaller images to enlarge for greater detail.

Unexpected yet so effective! Left: I believe this is fabric on the ceiling with corresponding painted stripes on the walls. Via HGTV.  Right: Cool patterns within circles on what looks like Venetian Plaster. Via Metamorfaux.

Incredible flooring (and view!) in Lake Como, Italy

The Fromental principals with their design. Love it all. Photography by Don Freeman.

An exhilarating mix of colors, textures and patterns! Designed by Todd Black.

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I find that Orange is one of those “extreme” colors – clients will either love to consider it or steer clear altogether.  There’s rarely any ambivalence.  (…and hopefully, you didn’t feel that towards any of today’s images.)  BTW, did you know that the name of the Golden Gate Bridge color is International Orange? The formula is easily available should you desire to have it.  Fascinating history, too.  Have a great day!


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03 Oct

Chalk Art Installations

There’s no doubt that chalkboard finishes are experiencing a glorious time now in design.  Serendipitously, I recently came across an artist, Dana Tanamachi, doing gorgeous chalk art installations.  See?

Created for the National Novel Writing Month

Room 1021 in NYC's Ace Hotel

She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and she does her beautiful chalk lettering on a freelance basis while working for Louise Fili, a company that specializes in restaurant design and food packaging.  She’s done work with clients as diverse as Google, West Elm, Ralph Lauren and Garden & Gun magazine.

It looks like it takes a certain amount of experience, finesse and quite the steady hand.  She’s created a set of short time-lapse videos so that you can see the work coming to life.  Here’s one -  but they’re all fun to see!

She also has a cool Twitter stream and a blog.  I find it really wonderful discovering artistry on all kinds of surfaces.  Hope you enjoyed the peek into her work!

30 Sep

Liquid Stainless Steel Review and Giveaway!

Hello! We are going to be occasionally featuring guest blog posts written by fellow decorative artists.  These “Fauxologists” will either post reviews, create tutorials or just share gorgeous images and information.  I’m really excited about it all!  First up is the lovely Rima Bechara of Massachusett’s Walls & More.  We first featured Rima when she gave us a tour of her home country in the wonderful post A Trip to Lebanon. Today, she reviews the Liquid Stainless Steel product as she took on her own refrigerator as a project.  Not only does she guide us, but there’s also another plus in their for you – a Giveaway! One of you will win a complimentary kit of your choice.  Cool, no?  Let’s dig in!

Rima Bechara: When I first heard that Liquid Stainless Steel paint was developed to change the color of appliances, stoves and refrigerators from any color to Stainless Steel, I was very skeptical. I did not believe that any paint could create such a drastic change and do it well.  I was curious, though, and thought it would be great idea to try it out on the white, ugly fridge sitting in my garage.

I watched the online video to see how it was done and how much work was involved. It seemed easy and simple to do so I ordered the kit. Whilst waiting for the paint to arrive, I casually mentioned the plan to my family; they thought I had lost my mind. If you could see my kitchen cabinets, you would understand why! Every cabinet was painted in a different color.  (I could not settle on one color. It has become a joke even amongst our friends). I was very excited and could not wait for my kit to arrive.

Stainless Steel Refrigerator Kit

When my kit arrived, included were 1) Written instructions, 2) a CD, 3) a paint tray, 4) all the tools that were needed to complete the project; 5) the Basecoat and 6) the Top coat. I looked through the written information and watched the CD over & over again.  (You can also do this on tables & kitchen cabinets!)


I first tested if my fridge was metal — if it was not, I would have to prime it but luckily I did not have to do that.  I also followed their instructions for cleaning the fridge.  Although the paper said I did not have to take the food out, the fridge in the CD looked empty and so I did not unplug it.  I also decided that since this is my extra fridge in the garage, I would paint it with the doors closed and I would not do the inside of the doors or the seals. (I may try to paint the seal part later just to see how well it adheres.)  I also removed the white freezer door handle to paint black.

After stirring the paint well for a while, I was ready to go.  As the paint has metal in it, there is a strong smell. This needs to be done in a well-aired area. I rolled the paint using the tools they provided in the kit.  I removed the Maytag sign and painted the freezer door and then the sides and top of the fridge. For the purposes of this review I decided not to paint the fridge door at that point. It would be easier to compare the Before & After. After I finished the first coat, the fridge looked terrible.

First Coat!

I did a second coat an hour later and it looked a little better.  By the time I did the third coat it looked good.  I felt it was a little streaky so I did a fourth coat and repeated the entire process for the main door. I then decided to stop for the day.  I was happy with the changes I was seeing.

Second, Third and Fourth Coats - seeing progress!

The next day I ran into the garage and my fridge looked GREAT and SPECTACULAR, just like stainless steel.  I was ecstatic! I put the clear coat on the areas that I had painted. I wanted the satin look so I only painted one coat of clear. I had sprayed the door handle black & I attached it to the fridge the next day. My family was so impressed.

For even more fun, I decided to decorate the freezer door.  I used a stencil from Victoria Larsen and mixed a bead gel with silver quartz beads from Wonderfaux Studios in Texas. The gel helps suspend the beads nicely and although opaque when wet, it dries clear. I attached the stencil with low tack tape and began to apply the gel and bead mixture.  Once the gel became dry and clear, I used Martha Stewart glue to apply clear Swarovski crystals and butterfly beads to the design.

Before & After – even painting the handle made a big difference!

I would definitely recommend this product to anyone who has a good fridge but wants to change the color. I was really nervous after the first coat and I do think at least 4 coats of paint are needed.  It does have a strong scent so keep the windows opened.  I would note that you do need to have an empty fridge and freezer. The only potential problem I felt that needed to be addressed was that the tool with the foam was beginning to come apart when I put on the clear. I would like to see this foam tool a little bit sturdier or maybe have two of them in the kit. All in all, I really enjoyed myself and even my family was happy with the way it looked!  This fridge could now move to any living room, it looked like a piece of furniture.

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Rima Bechara is based in Boston and owns the Walls & More studioThank you, Rima, for such a wonderful review!  The products were created by the GIANI company who has won awards for their  unique kitchen coatings that are “changing the way America remodels its kitchens”.  They have two water-based product lines: the aforementioned Liquid Stainless Steel and Giani Granite, which helps create the look of granite countertops.  Do see their Gallery of images and granite colors available.  Both websites have a FAQs area and complete information on the product lines and ordering.  They also have a great Facebook Fan page and a Twitter stream.

G  I  V  E  A  W  A  Y

One lucky Reader will receive a complimentary Liquid Stainless Steel Kit or the Giani Granite Kit in any color chosen to get you going on your own personal project!  (Value: $69.95)  For your chance to win, please leave a comment on this post letting us know the product you are most interested in and your creative plans for it — you know we all love to read inspired ideas!  The Giveaway is open to everyone and one Winner will be chosen at random from the comments.  Deadline: Friday, October 7, 2011.  Good Luck!

29 Sep

My Mural Crush

I love murals — they always add so much to a room. I think many find it hard to envision just how much a mural can enhance a space — but done well, you can have a work of art that gives a small yet effective monochromatic pop or in the alternate, an entire room of ambiance. Of course, there are many, many styles in between those two parameters to consider .

A while ago, I had a morgue file that comprised of many “ancient” photo albums. You know — the ones with the plastic sheet that lifted up and you placed the photo on the sticky page? Yup, tons of them. I would cut up the magazine image and stick it on there for future inspiration. You can imagine why I love Pinterest now. :)

Ceiling, Walls, Tub, Flooring...I die.

I don’t know where I got these images (above, below) but they thrilled me then and they thrill me today still.  I know they are all of the same home.

Unexpected. I like how the panels and chair rail mimic the frame.

I’m a fan of minimalism and also the opposite — and these are in the stratosphere of the latter but done oh-so-well.  I like when a home truly reflects the personality of those that live there.

My Favorite. I love, love, love these walls.

I’ve been so curious for so long about this home — wish I had thought to keep the article!  Do let me know if you know the reference source, would love to credit them.   BTW, be sure to come back tomorrow as we have a guest Fauxologist giving us a product review — and of course, there’s a Giveaway for you. See you then!

P.S. If you are interested in Pinterest but don’t know how to get involved, read our handy tutorial Pinterest for Artists and Designers written by Dana Tucker. Let me know if you need an invite!

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