COON VALLEY — When Sarah and Kurt Pederson moved into their small Coon Valley home 5 1/2 years ago, it needed a lot of work.
They remodeled both bedrooms, fixed up a front porch that had been used for storage, added insulation and rewired. Outside, they transformed the bare yard into a lush garden.
But that was just the beginning, as far as Sarah was concerned.
Once she had a fresh palette of drywall, she went to work with a paint brush. And she painted walls, but not the way the rest of us do.
She was intimidated to take a paint roller and paint a whole room, so instead she picked up artist’s brushes and started painting murals.
“I didn’t go to school for art,” she said, but she had always been interested. In fact, she took only one art class on her way to earning a business degree.
But that one class must have sparked something because she started reading books about painting and finally decided to take the colors of her lush garden and paint them into the bathroom.
“I just love flowers,” she said, so she started painting them. “And I painted curtains around the window.”
Because the bathroom is small, it was better to paint curtains than to hang real ones, she said, because the painted kind took up much less room.
But her real painting began after husband Kurt’s remodeling gave her some fresh drywall to work with. She painted arbors onto either side of the living room-kitchen archway, incorporating the arch into the design of the arbors. And there are more flowers that trail from one side of the arch in the living room onto the other side of the arch in the kitchen.
She painted the kitchen backsplash and then she tackled the wall outside the bathroom. On this small wall she re-created a piece of the scenery that is just outside her door, showing the terraced fields of the Haugen brothers, Coon Valley farmers who adopted a soil conservation plan in the 1930s that called for the terracing.
“My husband grew up in Vernon County,” she said, so the surrounding hills and coulees mean a lot to him. “I love the hills around here.”
Pederson said she is careful not to go overboard with the murals because the house is small and “We’re not going to live here forever. So I don’t want to put murals everywhere,” she said, because the next homeowners might not want them.
What she has done is freshen up paint colors, including in the living room where she already had the arbor painted. The solution? She carefully painted around and inside the latticework of the trellis.
Pederson said this gives her home the feeling she wanted, bringing the outside in so that she’s got flowers and sunshine even on the coldest day in January.