Friday, November 20, 2015

A new season

Just returned from the southwest finishing up a large mural with help from my former business partner and great friend Mary Barnes.  We worked together for almost 20 years and had a reunion of sorts for a week down there.  So appreciate her help and company--- I know everyone is curious about the outcome. but can't post pictures yet.  In the meantime here is a terrible picture of us on the final day--we actually got some pleasure time driving up to Sedona that afternoon which was a much deserved saving grace!

Friday, October 16, 2015


I've been busy working on an out of town job, sketches and a mural on canvas to be sent and hung later, when I find some help finishing the huge mural on the main wall of the new home and a faux marble table top which will be shipped with my client's furnishings to their new home.  Sorry for not keeping up with my promise to post more frequently, such is life, mine anyway!  Here are a few pics of the current work in progress...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Restoration II

I recently acquired a set of four Italian chairs from the early 20th century that needed a slight color change and minor restoration and stabilization.  The color is  a bright cobalt blue, ranging to dark teal with gold leaf gilding on the ornate details.  The designer and client wanted the color toned down and a general restoration of the original finish, hiding the white, worn areas of the chairs without compromising the integrity of the original hand painted finish.  The first step was to clean them thoroughly to remove any wax or silicone based waxing/ dusting product for proper adhesion.

The chairs obviously couldn't be sanded, so, the saving grace was an oil glaze, which doesn't change the original, (rather uneven) hand painted finish, but masks the worn areas without making them "new" or obviously repainted.   They will then be sealed with a good quality oil varnish to prevent further peeling and cracking.

Friday, May 15, 2015


I recently had the pleasure of restoring a beautiful reproduction of a turn of the century sculpture.  Somewhere along in it's life, a cherubs arm was broken off and repaired.  I'm guessing that's when someone decided to coat it in thick white enamel or lacquer to cover the repair.  The sculpture is pot metal originally painted to look like bronze, which was very common in the past.  The sculptor is Jean Garnier,  A French artist know for huge sculptures in that country.  Assuming it's a copy of a maquette, (small study) for a much larger piece. the details are amazing right down to fingernails, ear canals, and anatomically correct male cherubs.  The stripping of the piece was therefore very labor intensive, but the results were worth it--the piece turned out beautifully in it's reconstructed original "bronzed' finish.  The title of the piece loosely translated  means covetousness, the cherubs are obviously going for something that at one point was in her hand--wasn't able to find pictures of what that was.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Black and White

I'm reposting a previous version, as I inadvertently deleted the original.  Not one to jump on any decorating trends, this one works for me. If you pay any attention to home decorating magazines and blogs, even retail home furnishing catalogs, you see a lot of black and white schemes.  I love the look because it's classic--from traditional through midcentury modern to contemporary, black and white will never date an interior as most trends do. (think Old World, Southwestern)  Personally, I have a very classical style in my 100+ year old home--but once in a while I get the feeling that I'm living in Grandma's house, a little too safe, and outdated.  Periodically, usually in the Spring, I get rid of a lot of the clutter to streamline and lighten the look.  Recently I've added a lot of black (every room needs black elements, a weighted neutral) to update the look of my home.  It's an inexpensive way to update and revive a room that is waiting for total renovation/ redesign.  I've painted my kitchen floor in black and white "tiles" which makes the smallest room in my home appear much more spacious.  I also painted the patio doors on the back black--by far the best update--which makes them totally disappear, and the view of the garden shine.  Just painting the interior of the front door black makes a big statement.  Note that I've kept all the trim the same off-white for consistency throughout, which also gives the areas the contrast needed for the focal points in the room.  I'm jumping on this "trend" with both feet because in my mind it's not a trend but a classic design move that will last for another century.   An added benefit to adding black is that it ties in the big screen TV, speakers, and electronic gadgets that we all find ourselves loving and loathing in this age!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Warm it up

Black and White, part 2--- A classic combination that applies to any interior project from traditional to mid-century modern to contemporary I'm tempted to state that all of these neutrals, gray included, must be warmed up for balance in the room. Whether you use warm rugs and upholstery or warm woods and wicker baskets, one needs to balance the coolness of the d├ęcor in the room. Here are a few picks that help illustrate how to bring warmth into a neutral room.  The all gray Carrera marble kitchen is balanced by a rustic warm wood dining table and the distressed wood pantry.  the kitchen with the charcoal and off white tile is balanced by a warmer glaze on the cabinets and an oriental runner.  Gray wallpaper is toned by aged brass and gilding. Both the neutral sitting room, and the bookshelf living room are warmed with upholstery and drapery.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pics from 2014

I can't believe I took a whole year off from posting--determined to do better this year!  Have an upcoming mural project near Phoenix which will be challenging and fun in a much warmer locale!  In the meantime, here are a few pics from 2014 that I neglected to post---