Most people know the house at 956 S. Van Ness Ave. by what's painted on the garage: A full-blown depiction of the solar system. But there's a galaxy of art, color, and design behind the familiar planetary system. The house has been decorated with every paint technique known on Earth and Sistine Chapel-inspired murals adorn the ceilings. The ceiling art is by the former owner, Michael Brennan. Brennan is the man behind the murals in dozens of Bay Area restaurants and made this home his personal canvas. When the current owners (a couple of artists) purchased it a decade ago, they decided to preserve and expand on the artistic expression. They told us about the home's artistic history, what it has meant to them, and why they've put the 3,453-square-foot home up for sale (asking price $2.995 million).
Curbed: Tell us about the ceiling murals. How did this start?
Owner: The paintings are by a local artist, Michael Brennan. He lived in the house years before we owned it. He's an amazing artist and has done a lot of clubs, bars, and restaurants in the city. He painstakingly painted and adorned every inch of the house with his creative touch. Although Brennan was the catalyst for the warm, artistic voice of the house, both my wife and I are artists, and the art you see throughout the house on the walls are either painted by us, family, or friends. Music and art are very important to our every day lives and we flourished in this home. We've done a number of updates and have done our best to honor Michael Brennan's point of view while also adding a little of our own.
Curbed: What inspired the ceiling murals?
Owner:: The ceiling art is inspired by the Michelangelo's Delphic Sibyl in the Sistine Chapel. Michael Brennan went to Rome to see the incredible paintings of the Sistine Chapel, and the one day he chose to go, the Chapel was closed. He decided to create his own version of the Sistine Chapel in his SF home. The Delphic Sibyl is the greed god of music, poetry and prophecy and the four colors in her clothes represent earth, water, fire, and air—the basic elements of life. In our kitchen, there is another mural taken from a monastery and there is another beautiful mural in the master bedroom.
Curbed: Why a solar system on the garage?
The mural was painted by another amazing artist, Tasha Lowden. Tasha also painted the ceiling in our bathroom. The solar system mural was inspired by the combination of the first letter of our (me, my wife, our son, and our two dogs) first and last names. The letters spell: MARRZS, and the Mars planet is the symbol of our family. We also wanted the garage to provide art and fun to all who passed by. It definitely does!
Curbed: Why are you selling it and what's next for you?
Owner: We've lived in this home since 2005, and have made many improvements to it. We just love this house and it will always be apart of us. We will be moving with our two dogs and 3.5-year-old son to the beauty of Bend, Oregon. We want our son to spend his time in nature and the beautiful outdoors. It was a very difficult decision, but we hope the next owner of this unique and incredible home loves and treasures art as much as we do.