Modern Mastery: Aliya Riaz

We discovered Aliya Riaz’ gorgeous decorative painting through Instagram. She shared many of her #ModernMasters projects with us and we were charmed with her artistry. We’re very happy to share the work of her studio, Portfauxlio, Inc., here today as part of our ongoing Modern Mastery series.

Modern Mastery: Aliya Riaz of Portfauxlio | Decorative Painting Feature on the Modern Masters Blog

Artist: Aliya Riaz of Portfauxlio

Artist Aliya Riaz of Portfauxlio in Chatham, NJ, Is in love with the decorative arts. Every day and every project brings something new to get her creative juices flowing. She especially enjoys solving design dilemmas either as part of a design team or with the client directly to bring an abstract idea to life. When not busy with projects, she has a line of painted Anaglypta wallpaper that can be custom ordered or made from existing samples.

Aliya also finds great joy in teaching decorative finish workshops. She shares, “I never know who learns more – my students or I. Whether it is individual instruction or a group, I love helping students with decorative finishes, gilding, découpage and, more recently, working with foils. Having taught so many, a lot of my students stay in touch long after class. It’s interesting to track how they run with the knowledge and take it in different directions to suit their own personal endeavors.”

Custom Anaglypta Wallpaper is sold by the roll by artist Aliya Riaz of Portfauxlio | Modern Masters Metallic Paints | Decorative Painting Feature on the Modern Masters Blog

A view of the custom anaglypta rolls that Aliya Riaz paints and sells. She frequently uses our Metallic Paint Collection to help create them.

Modern Masters Venetian Plaster on ceiling with a beautiful Bronze Metal Leaf pattern | Project by Aliya Riaz of Portfauxlio

This ceiling was rendered in a dusky blue color using a base of our Venetian Plaster. It was waxed and polished after the design was put in place using bronze metal leaf.

Gorgeous Metallic Ceiling with a Raised Ornamental Pattern by artist Aliya Riaz of Portfauxlio | Decorative Painting Modern Mastery Feature | Interior Designer: Rachel Kapner | Modern Masters Blog

Over a field of Platinum Metallic Paint, Ms. Riaz cut a stencil based on the design of the window fabric. The stencil was painted using Statuary Bronze Metallic Paint and Glass Bead Gel. The interior designer on the project was Rachel Kapner of Creative Wallcoverings and Interiors. Beautiful!


I would be hard pressed to say which Modern Masters Product is my favorite and it would be even harder to come up with the best color – though I do tend to use a lot of Warm Silver Metallic Paint. From the Dead Flat Varnish to the Metallic Plaster, my decorative finishes are enhanced in every way by the entire Modern Masters product line.

A mix of Metallic Plaster and Metallic Paint was employed to match the cap of this lovely light fixture | Project by Aliya Riaz of Portfauxlio | Modern Masters Blog Feature

A mix of Metallic Plaster and Metallic Paint was employed to match the cap of this lovely light fixture.

Modern Masters Metallic Plaster over Metal Leaf Wall Finish | Beautiful Decorative Paint Treatment by Aliya Riaz of Portfauxlio | Modern Mastery Series

This light and beautiful bath wall treatment has our Metallic Plaster over metal leaf.


My clients fell in love with the ceiling of a suite they stayed at in The Four Seasons Hotel, Milan – most of which is a 15th century converted convent. Armed with no pictures, they wanted me to recreate the ceiling of that suite in their New Jersey dining room. One challenge was that instead of 14′ high ceilings, we had only 9′ to work with, so the details had to be more delicate.

After a great many discussions, I drew up the plans. We started with a flat white ceiling. Aided by gifted woodworker Robert Bittner, I put into place each piece of applied compo molding (painted and gilded) using a palette of colors my clients loved. It was a labor of love and took well over a month to complete, along with the lime plaster walls, gold leaf gilding and using Modern Masters Metallic Paints on parts of the ceiling. It will remain one of my favorite projects not just because of how it all came together but because of the belief and trust placed in me by my clients.

Ornamental Ceiling Designed and Painted by Aliya Riaz of Portfauxlio | Modern Masters Metallic Paint | Modern Mastery Series

Ornamental Ceiling by Aliya Riaz of Portfauxlio | Modern Masters Metallic Paints | Decorative Painting and Finishing Feature for the Modern Mastery Series

Gorgeous close-up of an ornamental ceiling designed and created by artist Aliya Riaz of New Jersey studio, Portfauxlio | Part of a feature of the Modern Mastery Series showcasing incredible decorative finishing projects and surfaces | Modern Masters Blog


Paying it forward helps us all. If Plan A doesn’t work out, you still have plans B through Z to work on! We decorative artists are known for thinking on our feet and in most cases come up with ingenious ideas and solutions. I find our community is amazingly supportive and have learned to reach out for help when needed.

Gorgeous Modern Masters ShimmerStone finish on Walls | Project by Aliya Riaz of Portfauxlio | Interior Design by Mary LaVecchia | Modern Mastery Series

Stunning Coffered Ceiling with Metallics and Gilding and ShimmerStone Plaster Wall Finish | Decorative Painting by Aliya Riaz of Portfauxlio in New Jersey | Interior Design by Mary LaVecchia |Modern Masters Blog Feature

This project was done in a private residence in New Jersey. The walls were plastered using ShimmerStone. The beautiful plaster finish provided the perfect shimmery neutral backdrop to the vaulted coffered ceiling, which is about 25 feet high. The interior designer on the project was Mary LaVecchia of Creative Wallcoverings and Interiors.

We hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the beautiful decorative painting work of Aliya Riaz! She is truly quite versatile, as is her finishing work. If you’d like to keep up with her studio, be sure to follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Houzz, as well as her Portfauxlio website. Many thanks to Ms. Riaz for sharing her exquisite Modern Masters projects with us. We look forward to seeing many more and keeping up with your amazing studio!






Shine On with Venetian Plaster Projects!

Modern Masters Venetian Plaster with Stenciling on Bedroom Walls | Project by Caroline LizarragaOne of the most versatile decorative surface treatments is Venetian Plaster.  It is a troweled plaster finish applied in thin layers and burnished to create a smooth surface with texture and depth. From ultra-chic modern spaces to traditional homes to projects with a rustic, elegant flair, Venetian Plaster is one of the few finishes that can seamlessly flow within design styles without skipping a beat.  We were the first US company to manufacture the acrylic plaster and it has since been used by professionals and DIYers on thousands of projects. We wanted to share a few of our favorite spaces with you!

Venetian Plaster on Fireplace and Wall | Caroline Lizarraga | Modern Mastes Venetian PlasterArtist Caroline Lizarraga has a drop-dead gorgeous style all of her own and you can see the results here in her design projects. She’s a big fan of our Venetian Plasters and uses it frequently to make a big impact. Caroline successfully pairs beautiful ornamental patterns within the Venetian Plaster as evidenced by the luxe bedroom walls and striking furniture surround (above). She’s also got a great eye for color – isn’t the blue Venetian Plaster feature wall below amazing?

Blue Contemporary Modern Venetian Plaster | Modern Masters Venetian Plaster Project by Caroline Lizarraga

Venetian Plaster with Metallic Stenciling with Modern Masters Products | Artist: Heather Bruno-Sears

Our Venetian Plaster is also a beautiful base surface for additional finishes, such as a shimmery stencil treatment. Artist Heather Bruno-Sears had the ivory color custom-tinted and used Pharaoh’s Gold from our Metallic Paint Collection for the stenciling.  Along with a selection of fifteen rich pre-mixed colors, you can simply choose a color from your favorite paint dealer’s fan deck and have it tinted right in the store! 

Venetian Plaster Ceiling by Tobey Renee Sanders | Modern Masters Venetian Plaster

One of the best surfaces to showcase Venetian Plaster is the ceiling. The shimmer and depth stands out in both the day and evening light – so pretty! Here, artist Tobey Renee Sanders creates a hip, colorful space for a very deserving young woman during a recent philanthropic design project we were proud to be a part of.

Handpainted Ornamental Design over Venetian Plaster on Coffered Ceiling | Project by Tiffany Alexander using Modern Masters Venetian Plaster

Stenciled Venetian Plaster on Dining Room Ceiling by Tiffany Alexander | Modern Masters

Showing off a flair for sophisticated drama, decorative painter Tiffany Alexander of Blank Canvas Design Studio uses several colors of Venetian Plaster on ceilings and other surfaces with both stenciled and hand-painted designs. She also likes to mix gold and silver leaf in her finishes. Venetian Plaster colors can easily be mixed and layered for a rich, multi-dimensional finish. Love the results!

The look of polished stone – isn’t it beautiful? If you’d like to add an extra layer of durability to your work, we suggest using our Protective Venetian Plaster Topcoat, which comes in Clear and also in Gold and Pearl for a translucent, decorative lustre. Our Venetian Plaster is acrylic, but if you were interested in lime-based plasters, please read more on our Italian Bellezza Series.  We hope you’ve enjoyed these beautiful projects – and if you’ve used our Venetian Plaster (or any of our products!) we’d love to see the results so send them on in!

Design and DIY Ideas to Inspire!