October 23, 2008
| by Lisa Montgomery
A home theater is one place where you can unleash your creativity. You can let your imagination soar, incorporating bold colors and unique furnishings into the space. If your home theater is set apart from the rest of house, like in a bonus room or basement, you won’t even have to worry about the clever decor clashing with other rooms. It’s your chance to do something totally unique.
A mural can provide a breathtaking backdrop to your design plans and set the tone for the entire room. Beth O’Connell of O’Connell Custom Concepts, Kratzerville, PA, got into the business of rendering the walls of home theaters into works of art somewhat by accident. “I was working on some other rooms for a client when they decided to build a home theater,” she recalls. “They asked me to do a mural for that area, too.” As her first home theater job, O’Connell painted an art deco mural with a Hollywood theme. The homeowners wanted the painting to reflect their love of movies. After familiarizing herself with the art deco style, O’Connell sketched the design on paper, making sure the arrangement would fit on the allotted 12-foot wide, by 4-foot high area. Per the homeowners’ request she incorporated into the mural items that had special meaning to the owners, a rendering of the first movie theater they went to while dating. “That’s one of the nice things about murals.” says O’Connell, “You can add things and make changes on the spot.”
O’Connell’s work was such a hit, that the home theater specialists on that job, Futureview TV Services of Elysburg, PA, regularly refer her to their clients. Most of the requests from Futureview’s clients have been for faux finishes, says O’Connell, but she occasionally gets to exercise her mural painting passion. One of her most memorable murals was done for an Asian-themed home theater. “I started out painting bamboo shoots on the wall, and the next thing I knew the homeowners were asking me to add a life-size panda bear.”
The ability to paint a variety of subjects is one of O’Connell’s most notable skills. Her online portfolio at freewebs.com proves that she’s just as comfortable creating film reels and movie marquees as she is beach landscapes and fairy gardens. Although her murals are remarkably diverse, O’Connell sticks with the same kind of paint for every job: regular Benjamin Moore wall paint. She explains: “If you get popcorn grease on the wall, it wipes right off.”
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.