San Diego-based artist Sarah Stieber is known for her modern, figurative paintings. Bold colors, a frequent presence of water, and strong female subjects, her work carries a signature style to be sure. So when she looked at her living room in her recently purchased home she knew she didn’t love what she saw—a beige space in desperate need of some personality. “The room was lovely but very beige and not my vibe. I wanted to imbue the space with tons of color and bold patterns, and a hand-painted accent wall was the perfect jumping off point,” explained Stieber.
Stieber, who has created work for brands like Marriott, Effen Vodka, and Samsung knew that she was in need of a space to equal her own vibrant aesthetic, and there’s no better way to dramatically and efficiently overhaul a space than with paint. For her, the goal with the re-envisioned space was to “feel comfortable and fun and to inspire conversation.”
The process of choosing the specific design started with drawing inspiration from the 1970s—specifically, the curved lines frequently found in 70’s music posters as they paved the way for the mural’s water ripples curvature. “I envisioned the living room would have the aesthetic and energy of a groovy 70’s pool party." Stieber then opted for a vibrant, retro 70’s color palette from Dunn-Edwards as the perfect accompaniment to the design.
The impetus for this bold makeover came from a recent interaction she had while traveling. While in Italy on her honeymoon, Steiber and her husband had a fateful encounter with charismatic Italian artist who told them the secret to a fulfilled life is to ‘cultivate’ one’s space, one’s work, and one’s relationships. “The same day we returned from Italy I saw this house and knew it was perfect for us. I had the artist’s words in my mind and was so committed to cultivating a space that felt true to our personalities that I painted this mural before I had even unpacked my clothes,” she exclaimed.
Stieber was drawn to Dunn-Edwards colors for her specific 1970s-inspired palette due to the wide range of color options. “The variety and vibrancy of the colors are really fantastic. I’ve painted every day for over 10 years, so I know Dunn-Edwards is great quality,” explains the artist.
Before Stieber could take brush to wall, she diligently mocked up her design first, sketching out the illustration with her preferred Dunn-Edwards paint colors on her iPad. Next, the artist sketched the 17 ft. x 8 ft. mural, freehand with a pencil, on the living room wall, which she admits, was a bit intimidating.
She explained that freehanding on a smaller medium like canvas, for example, is easy but the large proportions of a mural often make it difficult to freehand with accuracy. After she was able to accomplish the task, however, Stieber then put down a dropcloth, taped the edges, and got to work. “Once I ditched the pencil and went in directly with Dunn-Edwards paint it flowed pretty seamlessly,” she said.
Can’t get enough murals? To see how other creatives have used Dunn-Edwards painted to transform their homes with murals click here. Or to read how this SoCal muralist turned her architecture degree into a license to, quite literally, paint the town, click here.
All photos courtesy of Sarah Stieber