Friday, July 29, 2011

Memories of Murals Past

Faux Venetian plaster in the powder room.

Our sons' space-themed mural.

The farmyard and forest scene in the loft.

A cardinal escapes from the mural in the loft.
Nearly a decade ago my husband and I built and purchased our first new home. The first home we owned was a 60s ranch that taught us everything we know about remodeling. But this was the first house made entirely for us. Our family has outgrown it to the point that we will need to either move or add on. We don't think we will recoup the investment of an addition, so we are preparing to put it up for sale.

We had the home for sale for a year with no luck and barely any showings. This time we are using a Realtor who hires a homestager to advise each homeowner. I had "staged" our home already in my opinion, but the homestager came and managed to remove probably twice as much as I had done. Her rules: No valences (dated) no curtains if they aren't essential; no gold frames or lights (out of style); no rugs; no bold colors or murals. So I haven't been blogging this week because I've been painting!

The rules against murals is unfortunate, since I often work as a muralist and find it handy to have a life-size area to show clients rather than just a photo. The murals in this house are highly personal as well, since they were painted entirely for us. The pink Venetian powder room had to go, being decorated in a rich Italian pink with gold frames as trim. That not-quite-coral, not-quite-salmon pink and gold combo is so uniquely Italian that every time I saw it I was instantly transported. I used to leave the door open just to catch sight of that color. Now the powder room is the same sedate beige as almost the rest of the house, but I feel the loss of my color fix like a pain in my heart.

The children had the hardest time painting over the farm and woodland scene in the loft, which serves mostly as their playroom. They begged to keep just one or two parts. Could they keep the rabbit? Or how about the cardinal? The rabbit has been so popular it exists in Clayton as well as Garner, lifted straight into the bedroom of a baby girl named Julia at her mother's request. The loft painting was inspired by the giant barn, made for me by my grandfather when I was 4 years old. It certainly can't be hidden, so I worked it into the decor. The rest of the room was decorated with toy horses and bird houses to carry the theme. It's funny, I can still remember the episode of Monk playing on t.v. when I started painting it. I started with the sky. I made a special roller for my son to use so he could help. He painted the leaves in the forest. I can still see him, a toddler wearing one of my t-shirts that reached to the floor.

For him as well was the space room painted. His favorite character at the time was Buzz Lightyear. The little green ball hanging from the ceiling was a Christmas ornament. He saw it in the store and said, "Look, Mommy, it's The Green Planet, for my room!" Today the sight of The Green Planet lying on the floor (thankfully taken down by Jerry) brought tears to my eyes. The truth, though, is that that sweet toddler has turned in the blink of an eye to a teenager, and the toddler who now lives in that room really prefers Lightning McQueen to Buzz Lightyear.

So tonight as I sit in our primarily beige home I reflect that in a way it is good for us to do this. We have said goodbye to our home through this purpose. Where we now live is more like a really big hotel room, nicely appointed, light on furniture, artfully arranged. We will leave it on the market until it sells now, because to return it to our home would be too much work, and impossible anyway.

I don't agree with everything the stager says. She prefers towels tied with raffia and fake ivy on most surfaces, a look that says "1992" to me, far more dated than a gold-finish mirror frame, and she picked the worst painting I've ever done out of the garage to hang on the wall because she loves it. I was only keeping it so I could paint over it someday! But I do think this was necessary for us. We are guests now in our home, ready to move on, but we keep the memories of the life and the home we created here.

1 comment:

  1. I sure hope this works out quickly for you....I cannot imagine how it must feel to take everything that makes your family unique out of your home. But, it will be a beautiful experience to make another house your own when the time comes!

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