Martha Stewart Weddings Middle East

I am not sure how I missed the press on this, but I found the Middle East edition of Martha Stewart Weddings on the supermarket shelf yesterday….it is a gorgeous issue and the cover image as well as the main bridal story was shot at my favorite hotel in Dubai, the One and Only Royal Mirage.

Of course , I am biased as I was involved with a lot of the decorative painting in the hotel, and in fact the cover shot features some of my work in the domes of the main lobby!

* image from Martha Stewart Weddings Middle East

If you look at the arches behind the model, there is a gold plaster which features a very subtle stenciled design….the effect is really rich and looks wonderful lit up at night. I was thrilled to see the gorgeous photo shoot and even more thrilled to see some of my work!

The magazine is lovely with the exacting “Martha ” stamp of quality…I can’t wait to see how the magazine editors and contributors deal with the cultural issues of this fascinating country we live in.

My first post

Hi everyone…my name is Julie and this is officially my first blog post and I hope one of many more to come!

I am a decorative painter and interior decorator based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. I have been living here for the past 11 years and I arrived in Dubai when almost no one had even heard of the city or the Emirates in general…it has been a fascinating journey and I consider myself very fortunate to have been contributing in some small way to the development of such an exciting city.

I work on a number of different projects from private villas and Palaces to hotels and residential towers and while my business has been going through a tough time recently due to the recession, we finally seem to be moving out of the slump and I am bidding for several projects at the moment. I hope to be able to share my experiences and my projects on this blog as well as my passion for design and decoration in general.

I spent yesterday afternoon sourcing gold leaf for  mock-up panels which I am preparing for a  large project I will be involved in very soon. I had to see a number of suppliers to check the colour of the gold which varies from supplier to supplier, and depends on where exactly the gold leaf is produced…I find that the nicest gold leaf is usually from Italy, but it is a personal choice and of course also depends on the project.

The gold leaf I use most often is imitation gold leaf  or Composition leaf , which is made from brass and a combination of copper and zinc. It tarnishes very easily and requires careful handling, and a protective sealer immediately after application to the surface being gilded. I use this Composition leaf in most of my projects in Dubai due to budget constraints.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pure gold leaf is  beautiful but very expensive and is usually only used here  in Palaces or Hotels with very generous budgets!! It is completely resistant to tarnishing and corrosion and it will even maintain its integrity outdoors for up to 30 years or more.

My new project involves gold leaf application on a  number of ceiling panels  with a complex stenciled  design on top of the gold to create a very subtle finish. I am very excited about it and I will have pictures to share soon of the mock-up panels I am currently busy doing to show my clients.

*images by me

These images I have included are similar panels I did for a desert resort just outside Dubai called Bab Al Shams.

Please check back for the progress and the finished panels.