Now I call it the Treehouse. The name took hold as writers and artists came to the annual gatherings I hosted during the Printers Row Book Fair. In fact, that’s how the idea for the tree came to be. When I decided to buy the loft, my friend David C Jensen, a fine muralist, and I agreed that the space; with its open floor plan, soaring ceilings, brick walls, and industrial duct work, presented the perfect setting for one of his murals. But I wasn’t sure what or where.
At the time, I held salons attended by creative people of all sorts. At one such event, someone (I don’t recall now) suggested a tree painted on one of the architectural pillars. A tree, emerging organically to the space, would bring a bit of nature into this urban environment.
The idea seized our imaginations. Growing up, I had an illustrated book of Greek Myths. One of the pictures featured the wood nymph, Daphne, as she was being turned into a tree. We decided on an image in which, if you look closely, you can see Daphne, along with birds, deer, and more, hidden in plain sight in the tree bark. Branches sprouting fruit, leaves stretched over the ceiling around the pillar in the kitchen. David and I chose a few colorful animals, parrots, raccoon, monkey, gecko, even a dodo bird decorating the tree.
It took David 2 weeks to paint it. My cat would climb the ladder while he painted the ceiling Michelangelo-style. The process required careful thinking out the application and layering of trunk, foliage, fruit and wildlife to create the organic, gentle but striking 3-D fresco you can see there today. I hung the surrounding duct work with flowering vines and bunches of grapes, bought at a craft store. A few more animals, created by local artists completed the picture.
The loft, with tree at its heart, has been featured in the Printers Row Loft Walk and you can glimpse images in a video produced to promote that event. Or, if your interested in buying, you can schedule a showing with RE/MAX agent, Terri Buseman. New owners can make of it what they will. Add your own personal touches or, if it doesn’t fit your vision, it can be painted over. It’s a space loaded with possibility!
Make it your own.
Written by the homeowner.
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