This Old House, Glaser Edition

Friday, September 15, 2006

Master Peace

Back in July, we asked those with an artistic eye to give us some ideas for our upstairs hallway ceiling. We covered the inoperative monstrous air vent with thin plywood, which was cheaper than dismantling it. We had to choose something lightweight to avoid sagging. We received and investigated online numerous ideas: copper panels, metal grates, Tiffany style contact paper, medallions and molding, textured wallpaper, wainscoting material, mirror, paint, "canned" mural, and original mural. We were flooded with so many ideas, leaning toward the copper panels.

Mural in Town Painted by Master Peace Originals
At around this time, a new Mexican restaurant opened in our town. The artwork and murals impressed us, so we grabbed the business card of the artists who painted it, a family-owned business called Master Peace Originals. One day driving around town we noticed Master Peace Originals had also painted one of the murals on the wall of a Mom and Pop dime store, only a block from our house. Our county's citizens are proud of their heritage and commissioned historical outdoor murals, six of which are in our city. Master Peace Originals has painted three of the county's fourteen murals. As our home is part of the town's historical heritage, a mural seemed the way to go. We wondered if a small project would intrigue the artists we had in mind. During David's birthday dinner at the Mexican restaurant, the conversation turned to our house and the mural idea. One of the couples had commissioned the family to paint a mural in their log house and endorsed their work. All of these coincidences seemed to point us to a mural made by Master Peace Originals.

We made an appointment with the artists to discuss our small project. Tammy met the Williams family one afternoon at the house. She saw their portfolio, which included outdoor murals and indoor murals in schools and homes. She especially loved their version of The Secret Garden, painted at a school. The Williams were intrigued by the idea of painting a ceiling, a project they had never attempted. When they saw the homeschool room, Jim remarked, "This would make a great reading room." Sensing kindred spirits, Tammy ventured, "Well, it will be in a way. It's going to be our homeschool room." His wife Liz smiled, "You homeschool too?" One more coincidence!

Sketch by Master Peace OriginalsWe chose an old-fashioned sky light, countrified by the stick in the window propping it open. When Steve suggested Spanish moss, Liz laughed--she had thought of that, but did not include it in the sketch. Tammy wanted a bird, but did not express her wish of a cardinal because the red seemed out of place. Then Liz hesitated and suggested that every painting needed a bit of red, confirming Tammy's gut instinct. They did not have any bird pictures with them, so Tammy sent David over to the house with their bird book. We were all amazed that the one picture in the book with a bird and a window was a cardinal in flight, ready to confront its mirror image. With all these coincidences, we all started to wonder if this were not inspiration from above . . .

The short end of the long story is the final product. We especially love the idea of painting a clear glaze on the window to make it seem more like glass.

A Close-Up of the Mural
Hallway Paint JobThe hallway is nearly ready, except for some touch-ups and the floor, which will be the last project before the upstairs is ready for moving in! We thought you might enjoy the "before" and "after" photo of the railings and the new look of our hallway (you can see the "before" shots of it here). When we moved in, the walls were bare sheetrock with sporadic molding, chocolate brown paint covered the railing's beautiful wood, and all door and window trim was either peeling or layers of paint. Tammy's brother and contractor brought the door and window trim and the railing back to bare wood.

Before RailingAfter Railing


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