Make Your Home the Canvas in Interior Design

August 20, 2022|In SD Blog|By Lauren Espineli

There are so many ways that interior design studios can bring customization to their work—from built-to-order furniture, cabinets, and millwork; to specially loomed fabrics and trims; to commissioned artwork made expressly for a design vision. Yet some clients seek something beyond ordinary art for a permanent statement piece in their home and this has sparked designers to turn to the work of decorative artists who paint their art directly on interior walls and more.

We explore a trio of exceptional decorative painters—Caroline Lizarraga, Bailey Li, and Melissa White— who have three completely different styles and are all highly sought after by interior design studios. Their exceptional work takes the bespoke nature of interior design to the next level as a home becomes the canvas for their hand-painted masterpieces.

Caroline Lizarraga

Caroline Lizarraga is perhaps the most high-profile decorative artist working in the trade and is based in San Francisco. She originally studied fashion design but—after painting an antique furniture piece and realizing its value—she found her calling in decorative art. She immersed herself in honing her craft by spending time in Florence, Italy, where she apprenticed in restoration and learned so many valuable techniques that would power the rest of her career. She then returned to the Bay Area to apprentice with a decorative artist before opening up her own thriving practice.

As one the vanguards of decorative painting for luxury interiors, Caroline set off a trend that endures today with her seminal use of rose gold paint dripping down the walls at the Robin sushi restaurant in San Francisco. Her use of old-world techniques and understanding of modern styles translates into deftly painted patterns and designs that create an alluring atmosphere that can be seen throughout her outstanding portfolio.

Social media proved to be a winning marketing tool for Caroline as celebrity burlesque artist Dita Von Tesse found her work on her Instagram feed and hired her to paint highly intricate work in her Los Angeles home. Caroline shared with 7×7 magazine that it is her favorite project to date as she shares a love for vintage glamour with Dita and was able to express it in in practically every room of her home. Caroline painted a remarkable green malachite look for the opulent and copper-accented kitchen.

Caroline and her team of artists are hard at work decorating interiors across the country and have established great working relationships with interior design studios like K Interiors, founded by Studio Designer client Kristen Pena. Caroline worked her magic on the walls of Kirsten’s SF Decorators Showcase to stunning results that look like marble with gold details. In an interview with Jeff King & Company, Caroline shared that her work has gone international and she has completed projects in London and Morocco and was able to teach her art in Italy.

Bailey Li

Bailey shared with House Beautiful that her creative spark came from the new scientific theory—neuroaesthetics—that describes the impact of living environments, receiving art, and processing visuals. She took this theory and applied it to her creative work recognizing how her creative and artistic impression can uplift moods and promote positivity.

She also described how she envisions her clients’ interiors by “looking at the big picture” and finding the elements and colors to make her clients happy. The results are completely unique and tailored to her clients’ needs.

Bailey has described her work as an interior artist as someone who “conceptualizes and implements techniques for hand painted, textured walls as well as furniture design” into the rooms she conceives for clients and even herself as seen in her creative loft where she created a few art walls for herself.

Bailey gets so much validation from the positive feedback she gets from her clients about the transformative nature of her creative work. She has also gotten praise and accolades from fellow artists and even major publications and television programs. Based in the Valley Arts District of Orange, New Jersey, Bailey has been featured in many publications including Essence Magazine, and has been a rising star and Design Ambassador for the New York Design Center.

Melissa White

British artist Melissa White brings so much storied history back to life with her incredible work on murals and wallcoverings that have an air of beautiful fantasy to them. Earlier in her career, she apprenticed with interior painter David Cutmore who specialized in Tudor art. She then received the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) to research and study Elizabethan decoration and became a “Craft Scholar” with exceptional training in Tudor wall paintings. This training opened up so many opportunities for her and she had a chance to paint a giant landscape mural for Queen Elizabeth II’s summerhouse at Buckingham Palace.

Several years ago, Melissa began a successful collaboration with British interior design Kit Kemp, who is also the design director of Firmdale Hotels. Kit shared with The Home Page, that she considers Melissa one of her most “treasured artists.” Their collaboration endures today and includes scenic wallpapers for Firmdale hotels in New York and London as well as artwork for Kit’s Andrew Martin fabric and wallpaper collection.

Melissa has also had the chance to work her magic on other brands including a Bacchus design for Lewis and Wood and a great Arden fabric for Zoffany. Her remarkable portfolio of hand-painted work is certainly treasured by artists and interior design studios alike. She is always busy with private commissions and consistently working with brands to create some of the most beautiful wall coverings in the trade. Plus, she has found a way to make her wall decoration technique—using plaster and beeswax polish—to purchase with her Fresco Secco paintings that seem to be cut out of walls.

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Featured Image: Decorative artist Melissa White paints a a mural for Queen Elizabeth II for the summerhouse at Buckhingham Palace