The San Diego Palace in the Sky

Palace in the sky was how the several San Diego news casts described Jim Shaw’s latest and most prolific project.

Since I was the primary decorative artist on this project, I can tell you quite frankly that the term palace is appropriate.

In 2006, I returned from Barcelona to visit a friend in San Diego. While I was here, I was referred by a mutual friend in Spain, to Jim Shaw who was in the middle condominium remodel. That is the way the project was described to me, as a remodel. What I expected to see was your typical remodel mess, you know new bathroom tile work, kitchen counters some cabinet work, new drywall and some painting going on.

What I saw, in fact, were some 20 or so craftsmen and tradesmen working on various aspects of a huge project. There were workshops set up in several rooms dedicated to a specific trade. A wood working area, a tile and marble cutting area etc. There were electricians and HVAC and drywall workers all over the place. Scaffolding that extended 30 feet in to the open air living room and work stations scattered about.


What I didn’t see and this is what made my heart leap, was an area dedicated to the decorative aspects of the remodel. It made my heart leap because I began to think of all the various possibilities. To date, none of the walls had a finish on them, none of the decorative molding had been painted or installed, none of the arched ceilings throughout the condo were given a decorative treatment. In short, while the infrastructure of the penthouse was beginning to take a definite shape, the entire place was still a blank canvas screaming for attention.

In the next few days, I will describe the many different decorative paint techniques, and artistic touches I used to turn this project into a palace in the sky.

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