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




 April 16, 2014  Posted by at 11:35 am Ceilings, Interior Design 1 Response »
Oct 222013

Thirty years ago I had a black living room.   At the time, it was quite a statement, so much so that I had to paint everything before the house would sell.  Everyone loved it but couldn’t picture their furnishings in it.  Here is an wonderful collection of basic black today.


Black is dramatic and elegant when paired with white.







john jacob (8)



black and white




35. bkh design




2. milestone hotel london


34. black and white


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Scott-Snyder-New-York-Resort-9 (1)

black kitchen 3

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Jul 082013

This month’s Architectural Digest is a gem and here is a glimpse of a few of my favorites from  a fabulous restoration of a 1930′s Louis XV style manor which was originally designed by John F. Staub who worked mainly in Houston from 1920s to 60s.  The renovation was completed by Newberry Campa Architects and the interior design was done by Kara Childress.

Love the ornamentation and pilasters in this dining room.  I am sure the pilasters are marble, but this look of the pilasters connecting with the marble below the chair rail is a great idea for a faux project.  The companion panel paintings  are wonderful.


Use this Decorator Supply ornament with picture molding below to create the look of the crown.

Greek Palmette 9″ x 12″


Focusing on great doors, windows and entries add so much character.  Love the shape of this entry.  Particularly as it continues the symmetry of the wall panel design.  The embroidered silk on the ottoman is perfect.


Ceiling Inspiration in the Library –  the 16th-century Italian painted-canvas ceiling panels.  Refer to my blog on Architexture’s Tattoowall which would be perfect to create a version of this.



Another beautiful paneled room incorporating the windows and mirrored panels.




Jun 262013

This is a most magnificent time we live in.  Following my previous blog on Classical Wall Treatments…, never in the history of the planet has so much potential to create amazing beauty on walls, ceilings and virtually any surface been possible.  Architexture from Italy offers a unique, innovative and highly specialized solution for the Decorative Industry.   Their unique products combine highly sophisticated European digital imaging with traditional techniques.  They have the ability to take any image, any surface (interior and exterior) with no size limits,  or join lines  and create  outstanding wall, ceiling and surface treatments that are cost effective.

This magnificent image is their product Tattoowall and the chair fabric is  urbantattoo.

Tattoowall Mural with Mural Elements Printed on Chair Fabric

Tattoowall is a patented and certified new technique created for the production of direct and lasting transfers of digital images to any surface of any size.  It is not the application of a film or paper, but the direct transfer of color onto a desired surface.  It adapts to a smooth or rough surface up to .2 inch variation.  It can also be designed to apply to domes and curved surfaces.

Urbantattoo  uses  sophisticated European printing technology for the  digital reproduction and transfer of images to any surface including ceramic tiles, mosaics, wood, parquet floors, cement, bricks, sheet metal, glass, fabric, leather, aluminium, linoleum etc. The applications are virtually limitless.



Yes, this is a tattoowall!!

Tattoowall by Terri Roddy

Tattoowall - Private Residence

Before and After Tattoowall Ceiling Mural by Jerry Troyer

Close-up of Tattoowall Ceiling Mural by Jerry Troyer

Tattoowall Footboard by Joannie Wooder

Architexture partners have extensive knowledge and experience in the field.  After having studied Fine Art in Italy, with a specialization in Decoration, Restoration and Paint Techniques from the 1400′s, they have been involved in numerous operations around the world.  These include a Faux Finishing company in South Africa, a Paint and Coatings manufacturing plant in China and a Textured Wall Coating business in Melbourne, Australia.

Having always been involved in the industry, the partners saw a need to provide clients with a service and products that included the entire range of surface treatments that went from traditional to cutting edge, but at the same time allowing the client to create without limitations.

Tattoowall Mural in Dome by Jason Lucas

Tattoowall on ceiling

Tattoowall -PublicSpaces2

Tattoowall in Dome

Architexture provides a written step by step guide to the application of Tattoowall as well as a video presentation.  They also offer Certified Application  courses.  I have signed up for a class in the fall with The Greater Maryland Decorative Artists group, which is a chapter of the International Decoratists League.   Each artist selects the style sample kit  and receives two sample boards.  I have a client who wants the Sibille-look for a spa.  In addition they have two-day workshops where you complete a larger installation.  They also have a list of Certified Applicators throughout the United States and Canada.

This work is by B&G Studio Designs based in No. Virginia - Before Tattoowall








Jun 182013


It is my pleasure to devote this post to Leslie Sinclair.  Her beautiful book Segreto Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors is my current favorite.  I was prepared to just give a sampling of great plaster, faux, trompe l’oeil, color palettes, interior design, art and architecture from the book until I discovered even more amazing work from the premier finish design firm in Houston, Texas Segreto Finishes.  Leslie’s talents along with the work of the  20 amazing artists she has brought together are responsible for this  most impressive body of work.  The Segreto style is the result of what they do with paint, plaster and color on the  walls, ceiling, doors and cabinets.

The architects, designers and builders that came together to create these spaces are all to be complemented.   Excellent.  I give the book 5 stars.

Selections from Segreto Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors.

Book Tip  “When plastering the walls and ceilings of a newly constructed home, the sheetrock should be taped, floated and lightly sanded.  There is no need to fix imperfections in the sheetrock or to texture, prime or paint the walls.  This savings can offset the overall cost of applying plaster.”  Leslie Sinclair


The plaster on the walls, cabinetry finishes and beams achieves the feel of Provence.

Designer – Cindy Witmer, Architectural Consultant – Sarah West, Building Design – Robert Dame Designs, Builder – Parker House, Inc.

Cindy Witmer_wm

French Chateau

Love the panels and plaster.  Love it.

Designers – Margie Slovack and Sarah Herndon, Architect – Sullivan, Henry, Oggero & Associates, Inc., Builder – Memorial Builders, Inc.

Slovack Designs_wm (1)

European Farmhouse

The plaster walls for this master bath achieve a feeling of  serenity along with the neutral and warm color palette.  Very flattering.  Rustic, elegant and classic.

Design – Eleanor Cummings

Eleanor Cummings_wm

Louis XV Revisited

It was very difficult to choose what pictures to show you because they are all so wonderful, but this one is very special.  “Changing the background color of this cove creates the illusion that the antique columns are integral parts of the design.  Evoking a celestial sky, friezes that decorate these ceilings enhance its architecturally interesting details.”

Antiques and Furnishings – Joyce Horn Antiques

segreto-Joyce Horn 1_wm

Ranch Style Chateau

“Bringing artful touches to the walls and ceilings of this large 21st century construction transforms its newness into the richness of a home with history.”

Designer – Talbot Cooley, Building Design – Colby Design & Brandon Breaux, Builder – Darryl Dieciedue


talbot 2_wm

Fabulous design for this ceiling which would look great with one of Beaux-Artes decorative grilles or recessed light trims painted in the same color palette to replace the standard industrial features.

talbot 1_wm

talbot cooley_wm

Wonderful wall treatment – tinted artist’s gesso troweled through a stencil over a silver metallic paint and then tea stained, giving the appearance of dimensional wallpaper.

Designer – Sheila Lyon

Sheila Lyon_wm Continue reading »

Mar 152013

Vatican Hill  is a hill located across the Tiber river from the traditional seven hills of Rome.

It is the location of St. Peter’s Basilica. The  masterpiece designed principally by Donato BramanteMichelangeloCarlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.   St Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and remains one of the largest churches in the world.  Because of its location in the Vatican, the Pope presides at a number of services throughout the year, drawing audiences of 15,000 to over 80,000 people, either within the Vatican Basilica, or in St Peter’s Square.

Treasures of St. Peter’s

Michelangelo’s Pieta

Bronze of St. Peter attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio

Continue reading »

Feb 202013

Not sure I agree with this list, but here it is with pictures for your enjoyment.

  1. Catherine Palace, Russia
  2. Sleeper-McCann House, Massachusetts, US
  3. Castle Howard, York
  4. Powerscourt, Ireland
  5. Marble Palace Mansion, Kolkata, India
  6. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Malaysia
  7. Werribee Mansion, Australia
  8. Villa d’Este, Italy
  9. Falling Water, PA
  10. Chateau de Chambord, France

Catherine Palace

At the top of my list as well.

Exquisite floor, ceiling, walls and doors.

The amazing Amber Room.  In a class all by itself.

Love this wall of individual panels for the artwork.

Sleeper-McCann House

I disagree with this choice.  Not in my top 10.


Castle Howard









Marble Palace Mansion

Because this is a private residence no photography is permitted.

Continue reading »

Nov 092012

Last month Architectural Digest showcased the latest resort Selman Marrakech, a sprawling Moorish-style hotel minutes from medina. Developers Saida and Abdeslam Bennani Smires and decorator Jacques Garcia the creative force on the project. The exteriors are pure redbrick grandeur.

Love Moorish designs with all the intricate patterns.

There are 56 guest rooms and five riads. The interiors are Second Empire elegance with Napoleon III-inspired chairs, ebony-stained plasterwork, and antique carpets.
The ebony stained plasterwork is amazing.

I so enjoyed researching the other resorts mentioned in the Architectural Digest article. I know you will enjoy seeing them and want to add a trip to any one of them to your bucket list.
The Royal Mansour – Magnificent!

Continue reading »

Aug 072012

Castle Howard is one of the world’s top ten greatest mansions and grand houses.

It was designed in the 18th Century by Sir John Vanbrugh for the 3rd Earl of Carlisle and has been home to the Howard families for 300 years.  Today Honorable Simon and Mrs. Howard reside there with their two children, Merlin and Octavia.

Castle Howard is located in Yorkshire and set within 1,000 acres of the breathtaking landscape of the Howardian Hills.

The estate has 200 listed buildings and monuments.

The Temple of the Four Winds is one of my favorites. Michael Hampton has captured it in his wonderful watercolor.

It is a thriving rural estate with farming and forestry and has buildings to let!!

Continue reading »

Jul 302012

After seeing Hampton Court Palace during the Olympics this weekend,  I have chosen it to begin my Historic Homes and Palaces of Britain tour.  The Olympic Flame at Hampton Court Palace.

The Royal Barge Gloriana carries the Olympic flame as it leaves Hampton Court Palace.  Love this barge.

Hampton Court Palace is located in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.  It has not been inhabited by the Royal family since the 18th Century.

In 1838 the restoration of the Palace was completed and the Palace was opened to the public. This is a fabulous gate!

Throughout the 20th Century in addition to becoming a major London tourist attraction, the Palace housed 50 grace and favor residences given to esteemed servants and subjects of the crown.

An elderly recipient of one grace and favor apartment caused a major fire to spread to the king’s apartments in 1986, which led to new restoration work which was completed in 1990.

Continue reading »

 July 30, 2012  Posted by at 3:37 pm Architecture, Ceilings, Classically Speaking 2 Responses »