Bought a house w/mural keep paint over

cardamonJune 3, 2012

I bought a house with a mural that is 9x15 and I was told it was expensive. It was 6 thousand. I am having painter's in and I want to paint over it. I don't care for it much, not awful but it isn't me. Neighbor's have already asked me if it would be painted. I answered not sure just thinking on it because I don't want to say yet. So out of curiosity would most of you just immediately paint over it or would you wait because the neighbor's might just be telling my seller's they painted it already. Would you just paint? I am just curious what most would say. I know it is just paint thank goodness and not a major change we have to make. I know it was discussed neighbor wise when they listed the house because I was told someone asked if it would be painted before they listed. Guess they couldn't do it.

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I wouldn't make my decision based on what the PO thought. As long as you've closed, it's no longer any concern of theirs any more than if you redo the flooring or kitchen.

If they really wanted something to last forever they should have had it painted on canvas or something they could take with them.

You could ask about having it sealed somehow so that a future owner could remove the paint down to that level, if you think it deserves to be preserved.

One of my neighbors spent quite a bit of money on a hideous mural of a much larger than life woman with a hat and a diamond ring (real glass in the ring--very classy), but it didn't stop the next owner from grabbing a roller even before the professional painters showed up.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:38PM
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We made an offer on a house which had a mural along the wall leading to the front door...huge! When you walked into the house the entire left wall inside was a mural, blue skies, roman columns with fig trees. This mural went from floor to ceiling the entire length of the wall.

Our offer was accepted and we scheduled the painters at the same time as inspection to get a price to paint over it.

We knew the woman was an 'artist' but had no intention of leaving the murals to avoid hurting her feelings.

As it turned out the deal fell through and the murals are still there.

Get the painters, and don't worry about it. Make the house your own.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:39PM
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Writers block that is exactly what I thought. I looked at his work online and he is a very good portrait artist. I would have spent the money on a canvas too. She must have enjoyed looking at it everyday because I wouldn't have given up that much for something I might have to leave behind but each to his own.
Jane when I had the painter's there for the estimate to paint the house I asked the painter's wife and she laughed and said I'd paint it right away. It's your house now. I realize that but it is different because someone spent time and it makes me pause but only a little. It has to get painted to make it mine. Thanks, it's just nice hearing others say they would ditch it too.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 8:05AM
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It is YOUR house, and you say you don't like it.
The previous owner's choices for the house do not have to be your choices for the house.

I don't see how this is an issue at all...

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 9:50AM
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I would leave it for a year or two and see if you can work your decor and furniture around it.

What does it look like? Can you pls post a link or explain the colors and style and subject of the mural?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:21AM
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Of course the house painter wants to paint over it...more $ (bigger job) for the painter. Take her comments with a grain of salt.

Pls post a link to the mural or explain it. Why don't you like it( a certain color, etc)?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:25AM
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We looked at a house where the owner was a wood carver? I think he was probably a carpenter by trade. His yard had two large tree stumps which he carved into Indians. They were at least, 15-20ft tall. Very involved carving. One Indian had his arm upstretched holding an arrow.

These carvings were right in the middle of the rear yard facing a canal. I found them scary. We were told they were worth a small fortune.

Small fortune or not, if it were my house, they would go.

I'm sure there are plenty of stories about things left behind by previous owners. Probably could be a funny thread.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 2:51PM
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It doesn't matter how expensive it was. We all have different tastes. The mural isn't your style. Get rid of it. Wall color isn't meant to be permanent.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Our last house had a mural in the kids' bath -- cute little teddy bear tea party scene. Would have been great if I had girls, as the PO obviously did, but I had two boys. The mural was one of the first things to go -- along with the pink and lavender paint and wallpaper. Next owner changed everything but the wallpaper inthe guest bath.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 8:49PM
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I ripped out all the pricey wallpaper that the previous owner put in - none more than a year old.

Pink and green didn't stand a chance when we like blue and white in the master bedroom. The other rooms were similarly mismatched to our likes.

I see no reason to keep something - ESPECIALLY for a year or two as suggested above - that is disliked!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 9:10PM
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I remember looking at a house along the north shore in the Chicago suburbs. The dining room had deeply colored murals covering the walls, and we were informed that they were copies of murals in the White House. I would not have liked them because they were such deep and vivid colors, but since they had badly stained flooring at the base of every column, chair and table leg where their dogs had peed, we never considered it, though they had the NERVE to describe their stained carpet as NEW. All the sofas had moon shaped stains on the side upholstery where the pee from the front and rear legs of the sofa met. It was a cold day, and the windows and French doors were open. Hmmmmm.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:03PM
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Thank you for the responses. I still don't know how to post pictures and I've been on these boards a few years. Sorry. My kids show me at lightning speed and the next time I try and I find I've forgotten. I can tell you it is a Tuscan scene with mountains that I like with a small cottage and some sheep. I'm definitely not of that style. Lu Ann, the reason I posted was out of curiosity how easy it was for people to make the decision to throw paint over it and change something like that. I will change it but I have to admit I feel bad painting over someone's art. But not bad enough to keep it. Jane that is funny about the carvings!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 10:07PM
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You must upload the picture to a hosting site like and then link to it here.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:22AM
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maggie: I'm currently in the midst of buying a house that was "recently painted" -- but into DARK colors that we don't like. It pains me to paint it AGAIN. but its our best chance to do it now rather than after we move in....

So even without art it can be hard to undo someone else's hard work.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:38AM
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Go ahead and paint. I'm sure the $6K is mostly about the labor involved, not because a budding Picasso did it.

It always makes me laugh on "Antiques Roadshow" when someone is informed that an item they hate turns out to be worth a great deal. They always say through pursed lips, "Well I guess I have to try and like it..." No, that means you can sell it and buy something you like.

For fun, I would take a picture of it though, just to look at later. I'm always sorry when I don't take "before" pictures.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 12:02PM
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I understand your feelings about painting over someones artwork. Can't compare it to wallpaper or wrong color paint. I would probably try to find a way around it. i.e. if it is sheet rock, cut it out and re sheet rock. I might also consider for a temp fix a ceiling to floor curtain with suction rods on top & bottom. Another option, if you like the mountains consider having someone paint over the sheep with bushes, flowering plants whatever.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 2:35PM
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"i.e. if it is sheet rock, cut it out and re sheet rock. "

And then what?

The OP does not care for it; what do you do with cut-out sheet rock?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 5:22PM
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If it was so "valuable" or meant so much to the previous owners THEY would have cut out the sheet rock themselves!!!

I would not hesitate to paint a mural I hated, remove expensive walpaper, repaint new paint, etc. etc. Live with something you hate for 2 years? Life is too short!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 6:45PM
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I so much appreciate all these responses. They all ring so true, each of what you has responded to me. I have felt that way. it is the reason I posted. Just to feel what the different responses were. My husband wanted to leave it because he doesn't care but me I am saying the painters are here paint it'. Chispa , I agree, life is short , move on. I want to paint, it is my house. And I will paint. But I love reading the responses. It gives me more confidence to do it. I am making more decisions That are not disclosed here re furniture, weddings, life etc. and this helps so much. Eandhl, yes I have artist friends who have skills comparable to the artist but I dont know even if I want their art on my walls. It holds me to it. Canvas is movable. Trilobite, I agree , it not Picasso and it was only the former owner who enjoyed it. Little princess, your resonse hit home because it is only paint you had to do but it was over someone else's that was acceptable.. All of you have pushed me forward and I thank you for that. It is my house which I knew of course but anomonously it is nice to be not outvoted. Again I thank you all. Luanne, it's going to get painted which is good for me . trilobite, I do have a picture of the sheep in the pasture! Hope it isn't worth a fortune with paint over it! Just kidding!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:42PM
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Maggie, although we ended up not getting this house, here is a shot of the front entry. The front door is on the right of the photo, you see this when you enter. The ower states she is an artist. She painted this wall and if you look at the entry to the kitchen, you will see the walls are also painted. I forget what she called it, but she used sponges. She was very proud of her work and we told her it was lovely.

Notice archway into kitchen. Walls were sponged?


    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 11:12PM
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Jane, I would have been painting that mural before the ink was dry on the purchase papers!!! :-0
Not my taste at all.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 12:34PM
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Jane_ny, that is amazing to me someone can do that. Yeah, it really is taste specific. I like the one you showed as much as mine. Isn't anything a good paint roller can't cover if ya don't like it. But look at the time she spent on it.And I'm happy with a plain solid beige boring wall. With art on canvases.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 1:28PM
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Fori is not pleased

Ohhhh I want to see a picture.

If you feel terribly guilty about it, you can seal it with something clear and wallpaper over it and then when YOU sell, the new owners will tear out that horrible wallpaper and have a delightful surprise!

...which they will promptly paint over. =P

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 6:17PM
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Jane, was that a stencil?
The repeat looks way to even for free hand painting....
(left side especially!)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 11:13PM
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LuAnn, I have no idea, we didn't buy the place. The painter we brought in was amazed, he kept looking for seams - none! He then looked at the spongy paint all through the kitchen and was certain it was paper because it was so even - none! I said I couldn't wait to paint the walls and he felt bad! He kept saying how much work she did.

The owner travelled alot and had wall paper in the bathrooms and hall ways. The painter said it looked like expensive paper, possibly European. I thought it was ugly.

Get out the rollers, Maggie...

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 11:31PM
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I've thought about it and because of all of your responses it has cleared me of any feelings for the work the artist did. He was paid for the work. So, yes Jane, the roller will be rolling on the wall. Thanks all.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 9:06PM
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When we bought our house, it came with a mural painted in the previous owners' daughter's bedroom. It covered all four walls, from floor to picture rail. The mural was an ocean scene with starfish, waves, and LIFE-SIZED mermaids, The artist must have used thick paint because the edges of each image were slightly raised.

We opted NOT to keep the "artwork".

All I can tell you is that all four walls had to be sanded and covered with several coats of KILZ before being painted with several coats of good paint. At times, in the right light, you can still see a few of the starfish outlines.

If you don't like the mural, by all means paint over it. Unless you are personal friends with the PO, they will never see the change you made.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 12:08AM
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I used to paint murals, feel free to paint over it. Some of the subjects my clients chose begged to be painted over. I painted some in my last house, mostly in the kid's rooms. I painted over all of them. They were fun for a while, but I grew tired of them.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:47PM
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Fori is not pleased

Paula, I'm going to have nightmares. That is so very very dreadful!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 11:26PM
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