Interior Design

Apr 162014

“…Ceilings afford great scope for decoration, yet it seems a strange defect in our modern method of decoration, that in many mansions the walls of the principal rooms are highly decorated with expensive papers, to be afterwards partly or wholly covered with pictures, looking-glasses, and bric-a-brac, and the floor is covered with carpets, to say nothing of furniture; but the ceiling spreads its broad blank waste of white above us, expressionless and inartistic to a great degree.  The ceiling being the crowning glory of a room, and the part most seen, should be decorated with form and colour.”  William Millar, London, circa 1890.

William Millar would be amazed that in 2014 our modern ceiling decoration has continued to be ignored.  So, here are some great ceilings.  Who knows you might decide that dressing the ceiling makes such an impact that you add it to your must have it list.

Their are two basic approaches to ornamentation design for ceilings.

The Frame – Use the ornamentation to frame the ceiling with four corners attached with decorative running linears or add corners, linears and side ornament.

Catherine Kwong, San Francisco

1. catherine kwong san francisco

2. catherine kwong san francisco ceiling

4. catherine kwong san francisco

5. catherine kwong san francisco


Love our Beaux-Artes’ handpainted Louis XV corners connected with S curves.  This one is in a premium finish which means we will paint it with a maximum of nine colors chosen for your color palette.  This style also looks so elegant with semi-precious gems  and/or crystals added to cover installation screws and for embellishment.


Louis XV hand painted ceiling corner

This is a lovely ceiling frame design.  No crown coming down on the walls which would interfere with the window.

ceiling design frame

Another  great design.




Add a center to the frame design which will work with or without a chandelier.

ceiling medallion

Or just add a center by itself.

ceiling medallions


finished medalion


ceiling ornamentation corners running linears

ceiling medallion, ceiling corners and running linears

ceiling medallion, ceiling center

This is still my favorite ceiling center.

Ceiling Shell Center

Expand the impact by adding corners, side ornaments, crown and molding.

ceiling ornamentation-center,side ornaments, molding

ceiling design

ceiling design with molding,center and side ornaments


ceiling design

ceiling design

Add ceiling coffers.

ceiling coffers

ceiling coffers

11. malene birger palma mallora

ceiling coffers

ceiling coffers

ceiling coffers

This lovely ceiling created with Modello adhesive backed stencils.

ceiling design with stencils

What do you think of how they repeated the pattern in the rug?

ceiling design with coffers

ceiling design coffers

A Focal Point – Start with the center decorative ornament and design out.   This approach works well for irregular and unsymmetrical spaces.

plaster 2

Ceiling  designs using molding or beams in combination with ornamentation.

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design with molding

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design


ceiling design with beams

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design


ceiling design

ceiling design


Ceiling Tile

ceiling tilesceiling tile

ceiling tile

ceiling tile

ceiling tile

Everything in full color.

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

Burley on the Hill, England

ceiling design

ceiling design

ceiling design

In a class by themselves.

ceiling design

ceiling design




Mar 312014

Designing with ornamentation seems to be a lost art, but we at Beaux-Artes believe there is a revival occurring.  Some of the most beautiful published rooms have architectural details and ornamentation.  Rooms that are beautiful without any furnishings.



5. lonny hotel du marc france

A trend we see is adding ornamentation to the ‘room’.  To transform a fireplace by adding ornamentation.



To transform large expanses of drywall with wall panels.

A 2208


To create one of a kind doors.



A client has asked me to create a door design which will be used on her bedroom doors.  It has been an interesting design process which I thought would benefit our readers.  When we began, our design inspiration was this gorgeous door.  I researched ornament possibilities on the Decorators Supply website.  Note the relief of the ornament on this door.  By the time I did a number of designs my client realized she wanted heavy ornament.


The website has pictures for most of their ornament which can be saved and used to layout your ornamentation design.  You do not need CAD software to create a scaled design layout.  For a quick idea how the ornament will look in your design,  Publisher has easy tools to create a scaled drawing.

Step 1.  Do a scaled drawing of the door in Publisher.   I use a scale of 1/16″ = 1″.   I am using the dimensions of the door closed to determine my ornamentation design since the door opens into the room.  I have added very simple molding around my door design which I will add ornament to.  The ceiling is 8′; but there is a 12″ crown molding which leaves me with 3-1/2″ over the door for my door header ornamentation.  I am also putting rosettes on the blocks.

Door-Publisher Drawing

This picture shows the door header with the old paneled door still in place.  The ornamentation will be added to a new flat panel door.  Rebecca is gold leafing the crown molding and door molding.  The small header over the door is also being gilded.


Step 2.  Draw in the basic size of your door design.  My inspiration picture requires a border of running ornament around a 2-panel design.  I have not found the ornament which appears in the inspiration but I thought this ornament would work for the repeating S-curve that is in the outer border.  It also gives me a small rosette to cover the ends.

Decorators Supply 890F - 8-1/4″ x 4-3/4″ You can crop, rotate and copy the image in Publisher.  890f

Instead of a running floral design I chose this running ornament 2928F.  This ornament was not online so I scanned it and used Publisher to remove the dark background.


Here is a screen shot of the ornament showing the scaled ornament in the upper left corner using the 1/16″=1″ scale.


During the research and development of this design it became clear that the time involved in applying all of this individual composition ornament to six doors was going to be labor intensive and the design just wasn’t developing into a great design.  So, I began researching other design possibilities.

This Design is based on using most  of the inside panel of Decorators Supply Wall Panel 9894.


My client did not want a shell as the center feature so I used this beautiful floral center 11627.  Now I had to figure out a C curve that would compliment the curve of the inner panel.  My client also wants a different feature on each door to represent whose room it is.



This single panel design did not have enough beautiful ornament and the molding for the panel was not interesting enough.  Here is my design for a two panel door.  We decided the corners on the top panel with S curves to form an arch would be a good design.  For this design I chose this beautiful Rococo Rose corner 9804.


The Center 11564 for the bottom panel




This design lacks beauty on the bottom of the panels.  Here is yet another design adding corners to the bottom of the panels.  With each design I record the ornament style, size and cost with a picture of the ornament.

Rococo Corners 9800




This design is still not there.  The next design I am going to work on will be a 3-panel layout with heavy molding.




Feb 032014

It has been awhile since I have blogged.  We have been working on our new E-store which I am happy to announce is now online .   We are still tweaking things, but overall we are very happy with our new look.   It is  a rather gray day and time of year for those of us who live in the East.  So here are just some beautiful images.   Beauty is a big inspiration and  focus for this blog and as stated by Oscar Wilde,  “All Beautiful  things belong to the same age.” Beauty is a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, esp. the sight.


Palace of Fine Arts
San Francisco

There are some things of beauty that appeal universally, such as a gorgeous sunrise or sunset.   Here is one of my sky paintings.




The Beauty of Nature.










The Beauty created by humans  is a never ending source of  joy, pleasure and inspiration.  Enjoy….


tumblr_mknuqovaMB1qk9hrqo1_1280Building Before


Building After



















Jan 102014

More fabulous inspiration from design icons.


Jamie Drake



Victoria Hagan


victoria-hagan-vhi city portfolio_03

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victoria-hagan-vhi city portfolio_07

victoria-hagan-vhi waterside portfolio_09

victoria-hagan-vhi waterside portfolio_16

victoria-hagan-vhi waterside portfolio_17

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victoria-hagan-vhi waterside portfolio_35




Timothy Corrigan







Verre Grenney Associates













Jan 082014

Happy New Year.  After a much needed vacation and wonderful holiday I am excited to be back with this blog showcasing the work of some of the top architects and designers at the forefront of global design today that are in Architectural Digest’s AD100.

Their work  is based on classically inspired details, proportions and principles of scale and harmony with 21st century comfort and style.  You will see a lot of bold colors, eye catching art, beautiful wall panels, craftsmanship and artistry.  Enjoy.

Alberto Pinto

_albeto-pinto-510The Lanesborough Suites (21)




This firm specializes in Orientalism.















Brian McCarthy






Bunny Williams


gottwald, richmond, virginia

gottwald, richmond, virginia


gottwald, richmond, virginia








David Kleinberg Design Associates


dkda-dean library















Dec 092013

Just bought a great book on the Empire Period Empire by Madeleine Deschamps. Here is some food for thought from the Introduction.   “The end of the eighteenth century was a tumultuous and remarkably rich period that laid the foundations of modern times.”  This can be said of our times,  the end of the twentieth century laying the foundations of the new age.   “In the course of the century the philosophy of Enlightenment had opened minds to realities veiled until then, and it had awakened hopes of social and political change in many lands.”  Once again, this can be said of our times with the expansion of knowledge, technology and physics all contributing to powers we could not have imagined just 30 years ago.  “In France this new consciousness culminated in a major cultural rupture, the Revolution.  The fall of the Bastille in 1789 and the death of Louis XVI in 1793 marked the end of a monarchy that had shaped France, its society, and its economy for ten centuries.”

It goes on to establish that the Revolution did not immediately find a language to express the social order they were striving to establish.  So there was no real break in the styles and art forms that characterized the reign of Louis XVI and the subsequent Directoire, Consulat and Empire Styles. The Empire style was a natural development of the neoclassical art born in the preceding decades, which explains why Empire also includes styles that predate the coronation of Napoleon.  “Despite a strong connection to its stylistic preedecessors, the Empire style was highly influenced by the personality of one man, Napoleon Bonaparte.napoleon Once in power he not only wished to dominate European countries but also to control their trade. “He also wished to give grandeur and splendor to his reign, a purpose best served by the arts. Thus the short years of his rule were a period of extraordinary development for arts and crafts in France and in the countries he controlled.”

What will be said of this time in terms of the development of the arts and crafts.  The decorative arts business had products and technologies which will enable today’s artists, artisans, architects and designers to surpass anything that has been created.  Hopefully there will always be patrons to support today’s masterpieces and with the advantage of technology the middle class will be able to create interiors rich with artistry.

“When Napoleon came to power he found a country that had been torn apart by civil war and lay in partial ruin. He also inherited royal residences that had been stripped bare by the Revolution.  Today’s interiors are in a sense are stripped bare with large expanses of drywall.  In his ten years as emperor he not only refurbished palaces and chateaux throughout France and Europe but also gave France one of its most superb collections of decorative arts. To accomplish this he provided massive help to workshops and nascent industries, encouraged and publicized technical inventions, and instituted schools, competitions and prizes. No one since Louis XIV’s minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert had been so concerned with the economic status of France and the international image of its arts and crafts.  Just as Napoleon knew how to surround himself with the best political and military counselors, so too did he call some of the best artists in Europe to his service.”

Let’s look at the glory of the Empire Period and dream about our expression of the decorative arts in the 21st Century.

The Chateau de Malmaison, Paris is a country house in the city of Rueil-Malmaison about 12 km from Paris. It was formerly the residence of Joséphine de Beauharnais, and with the Tuileries, was from 1800 to 1802 the headquarters of the French government.


Mythological Frieze, Chateau de Malmaison


Josephine’s  Bedroom

Chateau de Malmaison-Josephine's bedroom-2

Chateau de Malmaison-Josephine's bedroom--3787628155_4595c69647_z

Today’s Mansion - The Enchanted Home







Hotel de Beauharnais, Paris


Salon of the Four Seasons – The paintings of the four seasons were formerly attributed to Pierre-Paul Prud’hon and now to Anne-Louis Girodet, who painted works on the same theme for the Platinum Study in the Casa del Labrador in Aranjuez, Spain.

Salon of The Four Seasons

Salon of The Four Seasons




Bathroom at Hotel de Beauharmais


The Turkish bath in the Hotel de Beauharnais


Beaux-Artes designed and executed this Powder Room using technology to create the pietre dure design on the vanity and reproduce it below the chair rail with venetian plaster.


Inspiration vanity.


Empire has a section on wallpaper since it was becoming a convenient and attractive way to decorate an interior.  Manufacturers as Jacquemart et Benard, Dufour and Zuber made papers of great artistic and technical quality in lavish colors.  It was a young industry when the Revolution broke out.  Wallpaper answered the demand of a clientele that could not afford expensive silks for decorating the home.  The extension of the Empire opened Europe to their production.

Great article by Barbara Clark in Artisphere Online showcasing the work of Alan Carroll

“My old business partner, Mark Kusek, really opened my eyes to the digital world. Without him I never would have embraced computers as a tool for decorative artists in the same way. More importantly, he taught me that you can be true to the same creative spirit that flowed through the old guys while at the same time embracing new technology.

You don’t have to be mired in the past, trying to copy stuff that was done way better hundreds of years ago. ”


“Imagine you have a piece of artwork on your computer. You’ve either painted and scanned it, or created it directly on the computer. Want to make fabric? Wallpaper? Flooring? ceiling murals? Area rugs? verre eglomisé? You can do all those and tons more from the same piece of artwork now by combining the power of digital printing with traditional skills. We are only beginning to touch on the possibilities.”

“We even developed a way to print gold size. You could get a sheet of ebony veneer for example, and literally print from any design you have on your computer screen in gold size right onto the wood – no masking/stencilling necessary – then gild it. The computer is used just to expedite the hand-done finish, not to supplant it. It’s still a hand-gilded product.

Or forget about printing the size. What about printing the ‘painted’ image on the reverse of glass before you gild it? Mark is now in the middle of printing verre eglomisé polychrome designs right onto glass from ornamental panels that I painted using a Wacom tablet and some computer software. This is groundbreaking stuff. Print the image onto the reverse of the glass, and then gild it. He even printed the patina onto the sheet of glass before gilding it. Time savings are huge, and that’s just with this one thing!

“I think that’ll be my theme for the future: exploring how to expand and truly incorporate digital technology into the decorative artist’s toolkit. I don’t mean simply painting something by hand, then selling prints. But how about this other experiment we did with the Glass department of OSU in Ohio: We printed our gold size directly onto paper in super-detailed ornate designs. then we simply applied leaf, and dusted off the design. The gold only sticks to the areas we printed. Then we took these gold leaf designs on paper to the glass furnace. The guy blows a vase out of molten glass, then rolls it carefully across our design. The paper burns off completely, and the gold design is instantly transferred to the glass. Never been done before, but we just came up with it by experimenting.

It’s not just about coming up with ways that save time over traditional methods. It’s also about creating new hybrid techniques that could not be conceived of any other way. That’s the future.”

Josephine and her Entourage at Lake Garda, 1805-6 by Hippolyte Lecomte.  Available as a 12″ x 15″ print for $181.


Chateau de Compiegne


Chateau de Compiegne

Chateau de Compiegne


The Ballroom


Empress Marie-Louise’s Second Salon later called the Salon of Flowers.  Would love to do a variation of the panel art in this room.  The Book Empire has a wonderful closeup of the panels.


Hotel de Charost

Hotel de Charost

Hotel de Charost



The Sala di Marte near Naples

Sala di Marte

Sala di Marte

Beaux-Artes Arabesque Panel



Casita del Principe, El Escorial, Spain

Casita del Principe-El Escorial-Spain

Platinum study in the Casa del Labrador, Aranjuez, Spain

casa-del-labrador-platinum study

Charlottenburg Castle, Berlin


Queen Luise’s Bedroomcharlottenburg-castle-queen-luise-bedroom















Dec 032013

I love Old Town. I bought my first condominium on the fringe of Old Town behind the Masonic Temple. That was almost 40 years ago now and the expansion and development of the area between the heart of Old Town which borders on the Potomac River and the Masonic Temple is a great example of planned development and an architectural vision.  Photo by David Zanzinger. masonic-temple


 They have joined the historic look of the Old Town Waterfront with shopping, offices, hotels and apartments.


Wyndham Hotel

Hampton Inn

Hampton Inn


Morrison House Hotel

I have eaten at the Morrison House and it is excellent.

Old Town has  blocks and blocks of a great collection of boutiques and favorite chain stores like Anthropologie.  Old Town was ‘comfortably’  bustling with shoppers for Small Business Saturday.








It is a healthy walk from the Masonic Temple to the waterfront.  We hopped on a Trolley and got off at M and M Fine Art and Antiques who were advertising a clearance sale to make room for new inventory.  A great collection of beauty in a very small typical townhouse style shop.  Here are some outstanding pieces that were hard to photograph because there were things in front of them and on top of them.

Italian Pietre Dure table 46″ diameter.


Mixed Metals Table with Cherubs.  I am purchasing this beauty tomorrow.


Lovely mahogany inlaid end table with a center drawer.


Empire fainting couch.






Next Stop Random Harvest.  Antique accents, comfortable upholstery, contemporary lighting and accents.




Love this side chair with the lovely painting on the back.


Topiaries are a favorite holiday, anytime accent.


The best bow of the season so far $12.


old-town-waterfront2We had lunch at a new sandwich, salad and sushi restaurant, The Waterfront Market.  My salmon and kale quinoa salad was delicious.  View of the waterfront.


The Torpedo Factory ‘Aethenium’ – A combination artists working studios,  stores, and galleries.


City Hall

City Hall


Old Town is a great place to shop, eat and visit.   I am fortunate to have it near me and I am so excited about my fabulous purchase.   The wall design for room the table will be in;  mirrors, aluminum leaf with shellac, verre eglomise, and of course ornament.















Nov 212013

Winner of Fifth Avenue Style by Howard Slatkin is Lisa McMillen.  Lisa please email me your mailing address.  You are going to love this book, congratulations.

The focus for this post is on antique and stone fireplaces as our inspiration.  Decorative artists and today’s wonderful faux products make it possible to get the look without the price tag of the real thing.






Tartaruga - Love the simplicity and the wonderful cartouche.




Daryl Carter


This is so fabulous.


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2. Manolo-Blahnik-at-home



Totally over the top, Villa Stibbert, Florence

Villa Stibbert Dining Room




Nov 192013

Even though we are having 60 degree temperatures, fireplace weather is just around the corner.  I have an amazing collection of great fireplaces.  Too many for one blog post.  Whatever the season a fireplace is a focal point for the room and all of these images have outstanding fireplaces.  Whatever your decor I am sure you will find plenty of inspiration.

This one is very unusual with the over mantle built out the same depth as the fireplace.  Love the cornice on the top.


For a less formal fireplace this design has interesting proportions.


Decorators Supply has a wonderful fireplace piece very similar to this.

#27092 Flemish Plaster Shield 35-1/2″ x 12-5/8″ $223.37


Simple panel above a gorgeous fireplace.  Effective use of wall color with the furnishings.



The mirror, fireplace screen and candelabras really make this fireplace stunning.




The Fireplace and Mirror combination offers endless possibilities.



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pp25 (1)

Paris Apartment Thomas Pheasant


Maurice Fatio

If you have a plain fireplace, adding swags is a great addition.


This is a fireplace and cabinet makeover we did using composition ornament.


More swags.




I love the fireplace but the over mantle treatment doesn’t work for me.



8. bill blass new preston ct

7. champeau and wilde paris

3. studio ko paris

Lonny Hotel

2. lonny hotel du marc france

Champagne and Wilde, Paris

2. champeau and wilde paris elle decor


Benjamin Dhong

Living Room



In my next post I will continue great fireplace inspirations Part 2 with stone and antiques that have some great ideas for adding ornament and faux finishes to existing fireplaces.  In the meantime, Thursday, November 21st is the last day to qualify for my book giveaway of Howard Slatkin’s wonderful Fifth Avenue Style.  Here is a link to comment and like it.












Nov 152013

slatkin-5AS-cover It is a pleasure to review and offer a free book to one of my readers of Interior Designer, Howard Slatkin’s New York apartment Fifth Avenue Style.   Not only is it filled with creativity, artistry and craftsmanship, but practical ideas for organizing the working parts of a home.  According to Howard, “This interest in the inner workings of a home is the genesis of the book in your hands, and perhaps an integral part of the success I have been fortunate to have had as an interior designer. A home doesn’t run smoothly and effortlessly unless all these service areas are well planned.”

It is a visually beautiful book.  Tria Giovan’s excellent photography captures the exquisite details, and lighting which is Howard’s obsession. Another purpose of the book is to show the inspiration for the rooms and the choices, decisions and what he would do differently today, hoping that the reader will benefit from his process and be inspired to follow your dream for your home. I so enjoyed that aspect of the book.  His design philosophy “is that rooms should be deeply personal; make yourself comfortable in them, and others will be too.”  Another reason for the book was to create a record of what was done and most importantly what a group of superbly talented artisans achieved.  That there are craftsmen today who are committed to beauty and quality with the skills and talent to create it.  He is a patron for all those in the field of the decorative arts.

I love the organization of the book.  It is like a personal tour beginning with getting off the elevator into the Elevator Vestibule with panels made from an eighteenth-century Chinese black lacquer screen that had serious water damage.  A visit to  Monplaisir, Peter the Great’s summer palace in Peterhof, where an amazing Chinese-style room with gilt-decorated black lacquer panels inset in moldings was his inspiration of his vestibule.  He refers to sources of inspiration as a point of departure (POD) which gets him going on the design for the space.  The floor is incredible.  It was inspired by the floor in Empress Maria Feodorovna’s bedroom at Pavlovsk outside of St. Perersburg.  It was done by Alexander (Sasha) Solodukho.

Chinese Room in Monplaisir


Empress Bedroom Pavlovsk Palace


From the Vestibule you enter the Gallery.  One of my favorite rooms.


His POD for the design was the early-nineteenth-century French scenic wallpaper panels that he found at a Paris antique dealer.  The book has many beautiful photographs of this space along with background information about all the details that went into creating it.  The apartment had no ornamentation or architectural details.  Everything was designed and created by Howard and his team of artists and craftsmen.  This also included all the fabrics most of which were also embroidered.

The ornament used to create this space is beautiful.  As an inspiration for us,  here is a similar ornament  from Decorators Supply which is on the doors.



The Living Room, which was quite small in the original apartment, was combined with an adjoining sitting room to create a light filled room overlooking Central Park.  However, it resulted in a long, narrow room which he remedied with  painting  the eighteenth-century oak parquet wood floor he found in Paris a color similar to the boiserie paneling.   The floor was installed upside down because he did not want to destroy the original honey-colored finish and he preferred “the unfinished underside’s rougher, more textural surface”.



The living room niche was another remedy for the ‘bowling alley’ feeling of the long room.


The Library has embossed leather panels with  horizontal and vertical strapwork borders which  he commissioned.  The book has great closeups of the walls.  Love the Louis XIV style pilasters inset with patinated mirrors.


The Dining Room’s POD was Raphael’s Loggia at the Vatican which was copied at the Hermitage and also the interior of his favorite restaurant, Le Grand Vefour in Paris.


Here is his inspiration,  Le Grand Vefour, which  is said to have the most beautiful, romantic dining room in Paris.




To enter the drawing for this wonderful book please like this blog post on Facebook and send me a comment  by Thursday, November 21.