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before and afterInteriors

Before & After: An Entryway Gets A Moody, Floral Makeover

by Erin Austen Abbott

In a former life of mine, I used to tour the world with bands, mostly selling their merchandise, like t-shirts and records. Sometimes I wore two hats and would also tour manage. Nine months out of the year, I was on the road. And nine months out of the year, I was surrounded by lifelong friends. Sometimes I might just cross paths with an old friend for a day or two and then sometimes we’d be alongside one another for six to twelve weeks on tour. It was great for awhile, but I began to feel the pull to put down roots when I turned 30 — much like my lifelong friend from my tour days, Andrew Everding.

Andrew spent his 20s crisscrossing the world with his band Thursday. When the time came to slow down on touring after 14 years, he and a friend started a music production company called Tiny Lion. He was finally able to settle down in Richmond, VA. “Immediately upon buying [my] house I was drawn to doing something with the entryway wall, something that would hold some inspiration for me,” Andrew shares. “With the extensive traveling and countless moves into different apartments, I never really amassed much artwork (nor furniture), and hanging pictures up a staircase didn’t really suit me.”

Wallpaper seemed out of the question for Andrew, due to the space’s layers of previous wallpaper which would require sanding and refinishing the plaster walls. “I’ve always been drawn to old, anatomical and botanical school charts — especially hand painted. Specifically German as well,” Andrew begins. “My dear friend introduced me to Thicket Design and Naomi McCavitt’s work. I was instantly drawn to it. It’s beautiful and botanical. I followed [Naomi] on social media and she posted a story of a mural which said, ‘please let me do this to someone’s home.’ [I think] I replied with an ‘I will.’ We connected and she and her partner Freddy came over to stare at this giant wall. A mural seemed like a perfect way to accomplish what I was trying to do. So we agreed to go forward with it.”

Working alongside Naomi to create his vision, the two became a team on the project, with Andrew sharing his thoughts and Naomi making sense of it all. “I had a difficult time expressing what I wanted but I trusted her style enough to help figure it out. Naomi was a lovely translator and helped avoid any fumbles on my part,” Andrew says.

For how the mural unfolded, Naomi shares, “We started a conversation with the mood boards and sketches and the design changed a bit, (and got better) with each revision. Eventually becoming more dense at the bottom of the painting with branches and leaves going up. Oh, and the plants around our neighborhood (we live just a few blocks from one another) were an inspiration — Swamp Hibiscus, Magnolia, Tiger Lilies.”

Andrew made it clear before starting on the project that this was going to be Naomi’s mural, simply living in his home. “I wanted Naomi to paint something that she would do in her own house without any intervention or disruption. Full artistic license for her. It was amazing to watch it progress and unfold without knowing the full detail of what it would become,” Andrew remembers. “It’s the first thing I see when I enter my house and the last thing I see before I leave. It’s striking and amazing and likely going to be the best investment for my home.”

I hope you enjoy scrolling through and seeing the beauty and lushness of Naomi’s work, mixed with Andrew’s vision for his first home. —Erin

Photography by Ash Carr@ashhobsoncarr

Andrew Everding and Thicket Design on Design*Sponge
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Before the entry held layers of old wallpaper, trapped under a fresh coat of paint. What a striking difference after the addition of the Thicket Design mural.

Andrew Everding and Thicket Design on Design*Sponge
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Andrew Everding and Thicket Design on Design*Sponge
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The natural light that pours into the entryway allows the mural to pop.
Andrew Everding and Thicket Design on Design*Sponge
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Rich colors against a beautiful black background make this work of art timeless.
Andrew Everding and Thicket Design on Design*Sponge
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Naomi drew inspiration from plants and flowers around their shared Richmond, VA neighborhood.
Andrew Everding and Thicket Design on Design*Sponge
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"This part was a collaboration. I am a huge fan of traditional wallpaper, so I pulled inspiration from de Gournay and other traditional Chinoiserie patterned wallpapers. I also love antique naturalist prints (when I am not painting murals I do species/botanical illustrations) so some of the plants and animals are from old nature illustrations. The heron in the front is inspired by John James Audubon, for example," Naomi explains.
Andrew Everding and Thicket Design on Design*Sponge
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Detail from a section of the two-story mural.
Andrew Everding and Thicket Design on Design*Sponge
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As the mural twists and turns, we see more of Naomi's vision for the work.
Andrew Everding and Thicket Design on Design*Sponge
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More detail on the Thicket Design mural in the home of Andrew Everding.
Andrew Everding and Thicket Design on Design*Sponge
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As the stairs curve, so does the mural.
Andrew Everding and Thicket Design on Design*Sponge
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Stunning flower details, painted directly onto the wall.
Andrew Everding and Thicket Design on Design*Sponge
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"Getting Naomi up to the top of the wall in the landing was the biggest challenge. There’s a turn at the top of the stairs, so we built some makeshift scaffolding out of an extension ladder and cinder blocks. I think Freddy, her partner, stood below and handed her supplies as she needed it. Not the sturdiest contraption, but Naomi was up to the challenge," Andrew says.
Andrew Everding and Thicket Design on Design*Sponge
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Timeless work from Thicket Design, on this staircase.

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