There is something special about murals.
Unlike canvas or framed pictures, they are so large, bold and eccentric that they immediately catch the eye in any room. Sometimes they can even secure the sale of a home.
That was the case for retired businessman Gary Keeley when, 25 years ago, he first set foot on Byeballs Farm in Tindon End, Saffron Walden.
Room with a view: former hand-painted studio of artist John Pascoe in Islington, north London
“I was looking for a renovation project but nothing like this,” says Gary, 59.
“There were brambles growing on the roof, weeds were sticking out of the ground and the moat was completely dry.”
Gary was about to turn his back on the remains of a house when something caught his attention.
In the shadows of the living room he distinguished the faint color of some medieval decorative and floral murals.
“I was fascinated by them and what really sold me were the initials ‘S’ and ‘G’ on the work,” says Gary.
‘My wife is Sharon; I’m Gary, so those were our initials too. It seemed like destiny that we were owners of the house.
Gary then spent two years restoring and reconfiguring the layout of the house, adding bathrooms.
With 2.5 acres of land, an orchard, heated swimming pool, gym and party barn, Byeballs Farm is now for sale with Cheffins with an asking price of £1.75 million.
The murals date back to the Paleolithic period; They were widely used by the Romans and remain popular today, when a newly discovered Banksy makes the front pages of the news.
Tess Newall is one of the country’s most sought-after mural artists, prior to which she painted and decorated film sets.
“Hand painting adds charm and texture to a room,” says Tess, who worked on the film Vita & Virginia about the Bloomsbury Group.
‘There is something magical about seeing the brush strokes knowing that a person has painted them. Wallpaper has awkward joints, while a mural celebrates the shape of a room.’
Murals are often used to create a feeling of space. Artist and opera set designer John Pascoe did just that in his studio in a Victorian house in Islington, north London, where he created a mural that wrapped around the entire room, adding rays of sunlight to monuments, trees and lakes, making the It was a kind of extension of the nearby Clissold Park.
“I believe that nature has incredible power to improve our well-being,” says John, who put the study on the market last year. “I hope I’ve created some peace in the city.”
Back to nature: botanical designs offer homeowners a sense of tranquility
For your own piece of tranquility, Joanna Perry specializes in nature-inspired scenes, from Japanese gardens to forests.
Basically, the best murals are about trickery: they’re fun. Parents today often have their children’s nursery walls adorned with Disney scenes (The Jungle Book is still a favorite) or in Barbie pink.
Birmingham-based Sweetart Murals offers custom designs and specializes in children’s and nursery pieces.
In the background
Bathrooms can be an inspiration. Recently, a seller listed his house for sale with a mural in his bathroom that gave the impression that the entire room was under the ocean.
The roof represented the bottom of the ships; the sun filtered over the swimming fish, everything was very realistic.
We will miss many things about the house and the murals are at the top of the list.
Unfortunately, however, many viewers with young children were not very impressed with the naked nymphs. So be careful, as murals can be a selling point but also a drawback.
“I recently advised a client who had a Sistine-style mural in the kitchen to paint over it,” says Ed Jephson of Stacks Property Search.
“I think a mural is too much of an expression of the owner’s interest.”
Others take excessive pride in their murals.
“Every time we start planning the day we move out of this house, my wife, Sharon, bursts into tears,” says Gary Keeley of Byeballs Farm.
“We will miss many things about the house and the murals are at the top of the list.”