When a car accident temporarily sidelined interior designer Paddy Dugan some years ago, she bought a few plates and poured out her pent-up energy with paint. Dugan used the painted china at a dinner party in November and was inundated with Christmas orders from friends. By January, she had expanded to painting on tiles and was officially in business.
Dugan's painted tiles depict images ranging from a simple basket of wildflowers to a pastoral Tuscany scene. One family wanted a reminder of Jamaica, so she created groupings of tiles for their dining area that resemble open windows looking out onto the tropical island. Perhaps the most complicated piece she's done is a bathroom wall for a couple that provided her with 52 family photographs to create a yacht club scene.
Although the final product is assembled at the client's home, Dugan paints and glazes the tiles in her home studio. With a moss- green hallway, hot pink bathroom and a yellow office, her home reflects Dugan's eclectic style. Everything is art-a violin, her parents' wedding photo-and her furniture is a mix of lovingly refinished pieces culled from antique stores, old family pieces and bits from the Pottery Barn. Some of her own work is evident, too, including whimsically painted dinnerware and martini glasses.
"Art is coming from somebody's spirit," Dugan says. "It's got warmth, it's got mistakes where a line is not perfectly straight. People need to have that imperfection because there's beauty in it. That's what makes a house a home."
You can see Dugan's work at her Web site, www.handpaintedtiles.com, or call her studio at (941) 957-1394.