Decorative Painting

With over 3,500 images to sort thru this turned out to be a much more difficult task than I had originally imagined. There are well over 300 “favorite ” images including building exteriors, landscapes, stairs, lighting, paneling, floors, etc. (And this doesn’t include the food/restaurant pics…) Some of these images serve a practical purpose as I see a detail I feel I can learn something from. Others record a “Holy Cow! that is incredible!!!” moment.

I’ll start with this one – a happy accident. Taken in the Louvre, I took a picture of the crown molding detail of a museum display case. It wasn’t until later, going thru the images when Sally and I returned to Salem that I saw what was in the background. I guess I was hyper focused… (We designers can be like that…)

From the Louvre as well. Note – the marble on left is faux. Sally and I saw this frequently and were in awe of it’s beauty.


I’m quite sure I took this at Versailles. Several important things here. The use of crystal to reflect and reflect light, increasing/enhancing the candle light from the chandelier. How the adjacent room is connected visually thru the use of light. And as I as to began to see and understand as our visit went on, as ornate as the crown and wall/panel trim were, they were based on the same classical orders and forms as later less orange periods/styles. There was great continuity as one style evolved and morphed into the next over several centuries.

And this was simply overwhelming… The lantern in foyers and foyer-like spaces was an element we saw repeatedly.


Fontainebleau yielded a few gems. The scale of this chandelier was massive!

It was interesting to see how Napoleon adapted rooms to his taste and style. This is the ceiling in his bedchamber, formerly the king’s reception chamber.

Vaux Le Vicomte was my favorite chateau and the predecessor to Louis XIV‘s Versailles.  Let’s start with a ceiling detail in the foyer. Spectacularly classical and ahead of it’s time.

These next two images display unbelievable faux painting/finish work. The sheer number of talented artisans employed to complete/finish buildings such as this boggles my imagination.

When Louis XIV had his finance minister, Nicholas Fouquet arrested, he stripped Vaux Le Vicomte of many of it’s valuable features, including tapestries. I believe the fabric panels and frieze indicate where tapestries originally hung. Note again, the extent of faux painting.

A ceiling detail of Fouquet’s bed chamber.  The image speaks for itself…

The bed chamber… No wonder a young Louis XIV was jealous, had him arrested and put in prison for life!


And I conclude with an image from the Carnavalet Museum, whose purpose is to preserve the history of the city of Paris. While the museum was described to us as a collection of historical artifacts, it was so very much more – especially the rooms that they have salvaged and preserved as the grand “Hotels” of Paris were demolished years ago.

And an image I need to figure out where it was taken… My guess is Versailles or the Louvre.


Hope you’ve had a mini-vacation as we slide into the month of December and the Holiday Season.


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We’re making good progress on our Celebrity Series of Boston piano. As I mentioned in our last  post, we needed to rethink portions of our design. Late last week, we met with Lena and Doug of Zoe Design and finalized the runner that will cover the main body of the piano.

At the bottom right of the above photo, you can see the the various test strips Doug prepared for us to evaluate and the combination we finally selected just in front of the chair.

Here’s a detail shot… Look very closely at the bottom right corner of the larger “feather” sample where we did a test of the clad lacquer finish coat. It really pops and brightens things up!

Over the weekend, Dave of Fantastic Finishes (978-578-4160) very carefully partially dismantled the piano. After masking off the piano’s inner workings, he primed and painted. The masked areas are where the runner will go (less the keyboard, etc.).

Some of the bits and pieces primed to receive the paper runner.

Tomorrow, Doug will being applying the paper. Can’t wait to see it!!! Then the final step will be several clear coats of lacquer to make it all Pop!!!

While Sally was at the Design Center last week, she dropped in on the Studio to see how the other pianos were coming along. Everyone was having fun painting/creating their pianos and great progress was being made!

The excitement and energy is building! We’re so looking forward to seeing all the finished pianos in one room early next week, before they are disbursed throughout the city!

Next post will be on my friends from Woodmeister Master Builders’ making and contributing 45 piano benches to the cause! BRAVO and THANK YOU!!!

Have a wonderful week!

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Sally and I, along with our design partners, are busy pulling together a design scheme for a piano that will be featured in an exciting event associated with Celebrity Series of Boston this Fall. It is called “Play Me, I’m Yours”, The Street Pianos Boston Festival. 75 pianos decorated, painted, etc. by local Boston artist will be sprinkled about the city in public places inviting people to play them between September 27 and October 14. Ours will be in the galleria of 10 St. James Ave., where Landry & Arcari is located. We’re hard at work finalizing our design and finishing the piano with our artists from Zoe Design and Fantastic Finishes, 978- 578-4160.

We first saw our piano a few weeks ago in Boston. A beautiful satin black Yamaha upright. (Almost like Sally’s first piano.) Formerly a practice piano at a local music school, she is quietly hoping to be adopted by a loving family.


We’ve heard rumors that this piano is to be auctioned off at the Celebrity Series Opening Gala on October 5th. (Trying to confirm…) What’s that – 4 weeks away? (At the time…) Piece of cake! We had a glimmer of a concept… Sally and I knew we wanted to treat the piano as a form, expressing its inherent shape and quality. The more we talked, the more we honed in on a “stair runner” concept that would flow over the entire piano like water – and we liked the idea of animal prints.


We began sketching and talking with our team… Maybe a little zebra/tiger stripe? Not quite the right scale… Not classy enough…


So – how about a littel chinoiserie? Love it, but far to complex to do in the amount of time we have. This would take months to do by hand. Save the idea for another day…

We began to realize that given the time constraints, we were going to have to be clever with how we created and did the piano. Fortunately, Zoe Design has been putting many of their hand painted mural patterns into their computer creating custom wall paper. Perfect!!! Create a pattern and repeat – viola!!!!

Below is the preliminary idea we settled on – using feathers! (Zoe Design’s custom wallpaper is worthy of it’s own blog post…)


While this was going on the piano had been delivered to Fantastic Finishes. We met there in the evening last week to finalize where all the finishes/patterns would stop and start.

OMG! It’s real!!!


Figuring out the pattern repeat…


…and realizing, “What??? We need to tweak the design further??? It’s not quite right yet??? YIKES!!!”


Sally tickled the ivories to help calm frayed nerves…

And so we retired, agreeing to meet at Zoe Design’s studio to refine and finalize the design. Stay tuned to see what we created!



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