Road Trip to Rome
Road Trip To Rome For Project Inspiration
Places 10 years ago No Comments

roman_road_trip-title.gifWhat better place to find inspiration for a painted panel dining room project than Rome, Italy” How breathtaking and revelatory it was to see up close pieces and parts of the historic paneled designs that occupy this modern metropolis. The level of detail in the ornamentation still in existence in the ancient ruins throughout the city was unbelievably exquisite. The intricacy, the craftsmanship, and the creativity can only be described as awesome. However, it was the wonderfully preserved buildings of the Renaissance that flipped my switch for project design possibilities. I returned to the United States with photos of walls, ceilings, floor designs and feet. Let me explain about the feet…

Feet To The Ground

While studying Renaissance paintings I became interested in hands. They are so graceful and expressive. Often they serve as pivotal points in a painting for its interpretation. I admired and appreciated them all the more when standing in front of the very same paintings I had studied.

However, the “No Photographs” notices on most paintings turned my attention to sculpture. The sculpted hands were often too high above my head for decent photographs, but, ah, the feet! They were everywhere and many at eye level or lower. (I’ll do them justice and write about them at another time.)

The painted and tiled walls and ceilings of the Renaissance, as well as the floor designs, were much more diverse than I imagined. The range of sizes and shapes of the sections were hard to comprehend fully, and the creativity of border designs that defined each section seemed limitless.

Click on the images or labels below to access albums of inspirational photos.
Rome and Florence Floors Rome and Florence Ceilings


I returned home having had my preconceived, Robert Adam-inspired notions of neatly spaced panels of simple geometry fitting within the interior architecture completely expanded to embrace limitless possibilities. My Roman road trip let my design mind out from the flat interiors of the sarcophagus to experience the dimensional diversity of a fully Roman and Renaissance Worlds. Dimension truly is an understatement in these worlds!

Ancient Rome is all about shape, line, form, proportion, scale and telling visual stories with reliefs, sculpture, and the sheer size of things. They used murals of gardens and other exterior and interior spaces on walls, floors, and ceilings in various mediums.

The artists of the Renaissance created chiaroscuro – or gradations of light to dark contrast – to give dimension to painted trims and objects. They used faux finishes and perfected perspective. Flat walls with flat paint seems so drab, non-dimensional, and unadorned now. I feel free at last to go a little berserk on this project.

Interpretation & Inspiration

The requirements for this project include utilizing objects from photos taken on various trips, as well as things meaningful to the family. Items such as a Minister’s robe, a grandmother’s sewing box, jewelry, a Navy Pilot’s scarf, an heirloom silver tea set, etc. will be “interpreted” in the painted panels of the dining room. Using only pieces and parts of these objects is fine – just enough for family and those “in the know” to recognize them. Stylistically, the works of Russian artists Guenrich Hozatski, Vladimir Hozatski, and Vladimir Stroozer provide inspiration.

The colors, though, may be more subtle than those of the Russian artists, and they might not be the actual colors from the trip photographs or of the inspirational items. The flexibility gives the mural artist and painter, Kim Fay, much needed creative freedom as the palette and design must compliment an existing rug, as well as the architecture and furnishings of the house overall and the dining room specifically. My Roman road trip is the catalyst to bring it all together.

Click on the images or labels below to access albums of inspirational photos.
Rome and Florence Walls, Inside and Out Rome and Florence Detail, Trim, and Odds and Ends

The Possibilities Of The Panels

All those magnificent paintings that I saw in Rome (and Florence) – especially the religious ones with their symbolism and Saints recognizable by what they are doing or carrying – serve as wonderful inspiration for interpreting items into paintings.

The brilliant ways in which objects were placed into the paintings’ compositions to convey symbolic meaning, all while still maintaining a harmonious whole, is fascinating. The vast array of panel sections, layout, design, and definition that I was able to study, analyze and absorb was simply unbelievable.

So imagine the challenge and the possibilities. Think about the process needed to pull it off without it being tacky, overdone, or too confusing and busy for the space. It is a formal dining room, after all, and the painted panels need to support both formal and informal entertaining and serve as interesting background for engaging conversation, good food, good wine, and good friends.

As I head off on my design adventure, I’ll bow to Bacchus with a toast to you. Here’s hoping my Road Trip and challenge serve as inspiration for your next project!