Tag Archives: Interior Decorating

Custom Wall Murals – A Special Touch

I wanted to share this wonderful interview one of our team members, Katya, had with a local artist. The past year has been filled with transitions; for many, the greatest being a move from corporate locations to the home office. As life begins to normalize again, many folks are returning to in-person work sites, yet even more are shifting to permanent work from home or flexible remote work options. With more time at home, and a multitude of zoom calls, people are searching for ways to make spaces professional, comfortable and personal. Minneaoplis based artist, Molly McDougall, specializes in just that– helping her clients dream up their ideal space through custom murals and illustrations.

Molly

 

Molly, how did you dream of bringing your vendor art into private residences?

I’ve always felt that homes present an amazing opportunity to express yourself. You can hang artwork and collect furniture to build an environment that comforts you, and a mural is another great tool for personalizing space. When so many people transitioned to work from home during the pandemic, I decided to revisit my push for home office murals, and the demand has certainly picked up over the past six months or so.

 

As a homeowner, the idea of creating a full-wall, or even full-room, mural seems daunting; I wouldn’t know where to begin! What is your process for collaborating with the client on design?

We always start with a conversation. I have a lot of people reach out and say, “I would love a mural but I don’t know what I want!,” and I always tell them, “that’s okay, that part is my job!”. The cool thing about a mural is that it’s a commissioned piece, and that means that I work with you to interpret your vision into a final design. I like to get keywords from clients to learn what they want the space to feel like when it’s finished: calming, joyful, minimalist, organic, colorful, empowering. I welcome any piece of inspiration for the mural as well, such as photos, furniture, past work– I even did a mural recently that was designed around a client’s favorite poem!

 

Once you’ve clarified intentions with the client, what is your creative process and how long does it take you?

I always start with moodboards to narrow down the general direction of the mural. Once the moodboards have been reviewed, I present a few options to the client as first drafts. They choose their favorite design and we complete an additional two rounds of revision and editing. Some clients want a little more time reviewing each round than others, but typically the design process takes a couple of weeks and final execution is dependent on the size and intricacy of the mural. Generally, a residential mural will take between one and a half to three days to fabricate on-site.

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset

 

Have you been commissioned to paint other rooms in addition to home offices?

So far it’s been mostly home offices and nurseries for residential murals, but I honestly think a mural would look amazing in any room of the house! I would love to do a kitchen or breakfast nook.

 

Typical ways to decorate a room include artwork, gallery walls, wallpaper, even custom wallpaper you can design online. Tell me the benefits of a custom mural versus some of the other decor options available. 

There’s just something about a mural that feels so luxurious and custom. When you walk into a room with a mural, you can feel immediately that you are in a one-of-a-kind space. When it comes to wallpaper versus murals, I love that you can explore larger images in a mural, it doesn’t have to be a perfectly repeated pattern. Not to mention, it’s way easier to paint over a mural than to remove or replace wallpaper, and you can absolutely still hang artwork over a mural. I’m all for eclectic stylings– mix and match it up!

 

We’re seeing more murals and grand illustrations in professional spaces. Is this a trend you believe we’ll see more of in private homes?

Murals have definitely become more popular in commercial storefronts and newer, luxury apartment buildings over the past five to ten years. I think there’s a lot of overlap between their rise in popularity and the increased focus on shopping local. Using a mural in your space underlines the idea that this particular environment was curated on-site and made just for this space, it’s not some commercialized artwork that you will find in a million other locations. Murals make a place feel special, and I think that’s why, with so many people working remotely, there has been an increased desire to lean into the uniqueness of your home. Make it special, make it yours. I foresee that trend only getting stronger.   Bedroom 1

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about murals, your business or home design?

When you decide to put a mural in your home or business, you are taking the pressure off of yourself to make all of the design decisions. You’re not only getting a custom piece of artwork just for you, you’re also getting a professional artist whose job is to learn your space, interpret your needs, and execute your final choice. You’re basically hiring an interior designer and professional painter all in one! You’re also choosing to personalize your space by supporting a small business and independent artist, and that’s pretty special.

 

Molly

 

 

In addition to murals, Molly creates custom signage, window lettering, spot illustrations, and  teaches various creative workshops. You can see her work throughout the Twin Cities at popular shops, restaurants and workspaces such as Primp Boutique, The Coven Minneapolis, a&bé Bridal Shop, and Aster Cafe. Her latest work can be found on Instagram at @madebymollyjo and her full portfolio can be viewed on her website. To inquire about murals or other services, email madebymollyjo@gmail.com.

 

As I Sit in a Parade of Homes Model…….

I’m sitting in a Parade of Homes model, not as an agent to try sell it but just hanging out as my photographer takes photos of my staging work. As I sit here I have time to actually look around and take in things that I normally wouldn’t see as I am flying around putting beds together and staging the home.    IMG_1662

 

I got to thinking that people coming to view the Parade models are in the same way, not that they are staging and working but there is just so much to see! The beautiful decor, the exquisite architectural features, and at the same time trying to not make eye contact with the builder or agent so that they give you a sales pitch, ha.

But I must say look around…..really look around. If you are there for ideas to renovate your home, or update your decor, or perhaps to build a home, really pay attention.

 

What are the paint colors? Light? Dark? Is every room painted a different color or is everything basically the same?

 

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What about the floors? Where are there hardwoods? Carpet? LVT or Tile? What is the stain color of the hardwoods.

 

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I do think light fixtures are so important in a home and can make such a difference whether selling or dwelling. Take a close look at them, their size, style, and finish.

 

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If you want to drill in to the nuances of the decor now is the perfect time!! How did they make a space look so homey and cozy yet perhaps elegant at the same time.

 

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You may ask why do I care? Well I am a believer that no matter how old your home is, it can look like a model home when you go to sell it. Things can be current, in good repair, light and bright and enticing to all who enter in.

The Parade of Homes in Minneapolis runs through Sept 29, 2019 and you can check this particular home out in Plymouth at Parade #251.

 

 

 

How High Should I Hang A Dining Room Light Fixture?

Many times when I am in a client’s home I notice a few things about the dining room. One of those things is the height that their light fixture is hung above the table. Most of the time it is too high.  In the photo to the right I feel the light is too high but it also is too large for the table.dining-room light too high

I think many times what happens is when people are moving in or out they clip the light fixture up so they won’t hit their heads when the table is gone and then it never gets lowered again. Or people just don’t know how to hang it so I’m here to help!

A general rule of thumb is that the bottom of the light should be about 30-34 inches above the table. Most table heights are 30″ so you are looking at approximately 62″ off the floor if your table isn’t in the room yet.

The dining room light fixture is normally the primary architectural feature of the room besides being the main source of light. So function as well as overall room decor is key.

The general rule I listed above is for an 8 foot ceiling. For every additional foot of ceiling height your light fixture may need to be raised 3 inches. The key word in that sentence is “may”. A lot is determined by the overall size of your light fixture, the size of your table and the size of your room. If you have an overly large chandelier you may need to raise it slightly higher.

In the photo below I feel the light is not only too small for the room it is too small for the table.

 

Light too small

 

The size of your fixture should be a half to two-thirds the width of the table; or one foot smaller than the table width is another way people determine the size. You just don’t want a fixture that is overpowering the table or the room. Likewise you don’t want it to look dwarfed in the space.

I am going to use my own dining room as an example:

My ceiling height is 9 feet, the diameter of the light fixture is 22″ and my table is 44″ wide and 78″ long. It is an open concept home so the height also needs to be adjusted with the overall scope of the area. But although my ceilings are a foot taller than the general rule of 8 feet, I did not adjust my light upwards. I just didn’t feel that was necessary with this pendant light.

 

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My light is 33″above the table. This height provides light down on the table where it is needed and really draws focus on the dining area itself. If this fixture was higher ……it would totally lose the intimate feeling you want in the dining room and feel like a hallway or foyer light.

 

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My recommendation is to use these general rules but then to hold up the light fixture and eye ball it as well. If necessary bring in a trained professional to assist you as once that wire is cut and the light is installed…..you can’t take it back!