Though real estate experts strongly recommend “de-personalizing” your home when putting it on the market, making a home your own while you live there adds sense of comfort and warmth. “Yes, it is best to remove most of the personal items, especially on the walls,” says Marc Archambault of Randall Realtors, “but best to leave ‘art’ type things on the wall to warm the home. Be sure not to overdo it.” Custom touches range from subtle temporary accents including framed photos, monogrammed linens and home plaques with the family surname to more semi-permanent upgrades like painted murals and tiles. As with any substantial home design project, seeking the advice of an experienced professional will ensure you stay focused on the big picture – in some cases, quite literally.
Cecilia Tavares of Cranston is the founder of Young at Heart Studios, which specializes in custom murals for children’s rooms and pet portraits. She says it’s perfectly understandable for homeowners to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of completely modifying a space. “Because there are so many different looks and styles for home design, it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out which you want to commit to,” she says. Start by considering colors for the space: wall, trim, accent and if moving forward with a mural, the general palate. “When designing a space/nursery I like to stick with a more neutral background and bring in pops of color,” says the artist. A well-thought-out plan will ensure the color palate is controlled while hues complement one another. Nurseries are some of her favorite spaces to create whimsical murals and intriguing finishes. “Since I am an artist first, nursery design allows me to get fun and creative... whether it be painting a mural on the wall, creating an accent wall with a fun texture or pattern, customizing the perfect piece of artwork to hang up or refinishing that special piece of furniture to incorporate into a baby’s space,” she says. “Each job is so different from the next, therefore discussing details with the client and taking a look at the space first is absolutely key before figuring out a game plan.”
Providence-based illustrator Caleigh McGrath merges her skills as a graphic designer and artist to create a variety of interior spaces. “I am getting a lot of requests for of a more hand-drawn look in the murals I do; more of a hand-crafted approach as opposed to something that looks machine made or pre-fabricated,” she says. The artist was commissioned in 2014 to paint motifs at the newly opened Providence hotspot, Ogie’s Trailer Park. Owners Dan and Jessica Becker (Jessica is an interior designer) turned to Caleigh to bring to life retro-inspired designs throughout the hip bar. Together, the trio discussed the vision for Ogie’s and exchanged ideas, making for a collaboration that has resonated with customers, especially the artwork painted on the sides of multiple deconstructed mobile homes. “The mural and hand-painted signs for Ogie’s were a great project for me,” says Caleigh. “The idea was conceptualized by the owners and the design was created through a series of sketches and trials for all of us. Painting the patio trailers was the best part. I was just given a theme for each trailer and got to paint them however I wanted, with approval of course.”
While repurposed mobile homes may or may not work as a canvas in your home, thinking outside of the box and challenging your comfort zone typically results in a rewarding, one of a kind aesthetic that feels truly your own. “Blending elements of different styles works well, if you can pull it off,” says Jessica Becker. “Don’t be afraid to hire a designer to help with this. Even if you don’t know your aesthetic, it prevents your home from looking like a page out of a Pottery Barn catalogue.”