Placing an imprint on our homes can take a host of forms—among them: Architectural designs, furniture elements, décor themes and color stories have their own ways of communicating homeowners’ styles. After living much of our lives on mute due to the pandemic, are we ready to make bigger, bolder statements in our homes?
Fine artist Abbey Holden of Wayzata is mostly known for her landscape painting and textile designs, but she’s also adept at large-scale pieces, including murals. “I love painting murals because they sort of envelop you in a giant painting,” she says. “The actual act of painting murals really fulfills me; it is something about the large-scale nature of them.” She’s witnessed an uptick in clients requesting murals and says, “I think it has to do with people being home a lot more now.”
Commonly used as a focal point, murals can also serve as the exclamation point for a space. “I love being the player in the team that brings a home together,” Holden says. Using different brush techniques, as well as line forms, Holden is able to create pieces to enhance each rooms’ purpose and intended feel. She says clients are using murals in most spaces, particularly in nurseries and bathrooms.
While wallpaper can have a similar effect on spaces, it’s doesn’t have that personalized touch that many homeowners are seeking when creating their design story. “There’s something about having it unique and knowing no one else has this on their walls,” Holden says.
Using a unique blend of oil paints, the purest paint form made from non-toxic and natural materials, like stones and elements, Holden creates rich and textured pieces that combine playful energy with organic shapes. From soft, neutral hillside landscapes to vibrant, colorful floral patterns, she uses the room as her canvas to accentuate its physical features and heighten its interior design elements, such as furniture, accessories, upholstery and even appliances. Her background in textiles lends itself to mural work, where she focuses on patterns and florals. “I get to translate that pretty smoothly into murals,” she says.
While neutral tones and soft palettes certainly have a place, Holden says bolder colors are certainly coming to the fore. “Murals are a statement piece, and people are willing to make it colorful,” she says. “At its core, a mural is already a statement. It’s a fun surprise for people.” Regardless of color choice, “The end result provides a great statement room, a story and something that adds personality to an otherwise blank wall,” Holden says.
Falling in love with color and design at a young age, Holden became intrigued by the work of her artistic grandmother and attended additional art classes and afterschool programs to enhance her skill set. Through her exposure to different mediums, Holden realized her career path including painting. “I know it’s my calling and how I’m wired, so there’s really no ignoring it,” she says. “Another career wasn’t ever really an option for me.”
Studying studio art, art history and design management in Denver, Florence, Italy, and the Parsons School of Design in New York City, Holden gained extensive perspectives. Upon graduating, she moved to Philadelphia, where she joined the textile designer team at Lilly Pulitzer. Following her experience there, Holden went on work with Brooke & Lou, The Hutton House, Love Your Melon and Mahi Gold, to name a few.
However, Holden always longed to start her own business. Upon returning to the Midwest to live lakeside in Wayzata, she established Abbey Holden Studio, offering custom pieces for clients, and a small selection of her work is featured at Gray Home + Lifestyle in Excelsior.