The scaffolding has just come down from one of the most ambitious paint jobs you’ll find in a historic Denver neighborhood. Meet the new painted lady of Wyandot Street.
“It’s impossibly detailed. I’ve done six or seven of these in my life, the Victorians, but this is the most detailed of all of them,” says Leeland Morgan, an English teacher-turned-housepainter who speaks in Bill Murray’s unhurried style.
He has been edging the lines of the 125-year-old house by hand for the better part of this year, no masking tape needed.
Naomi Salzman has owned the place for about 20 years, and it’s been a shade of evergreen that entire time. The idea for this new coat of paint (several, actually) came as her garden bloomed this spring.
“It was in the spring, when the irises were in bloom. It was like the best year, and these beautiful purple irises were abundant,” she explains. “It would be kind of fun,” she thought, “to match the house to the flowers.”
Later she’d add the blue of her periwinkles (which Morgan got by taking a flower to a local paint shop), accents of lime green and stripes of turquoise-blue.
“There’s just something about lime green,” she says, laughing freely. “If you ever see my abstract paintings, they have a lot of colors in them. They’re very bright, and they are very energetic.”
She was drawing inspiration in part from San Francisco, where rows of boldly painted houses eventually became the city’s “painted ladies,” as well as her own art, which favors big, colorful abstractions.
“People are looking at it — like crazy. I think the house deserves to be painted like that,” she says. All that color, she figures, highlights the incredible variety of architectural elements that make up the home’s face.
Morgan, who also works as a carpenter, figures the place must have taken two years to build back in the 1890s, especially with all those soffits and corbels and eyeballs that he’s been laboring over.
With the painting finally done, or nearly done, the owner hopes it will become a permanent splash of art on Wyandot Street.
“I think my house is happy now,” she says.
Bonus round: More of our favorite paint jobs.
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