Then you walk through the front door and dive right into the owner’s imagination.
A retired artist, Marten Griego, has lived in the house for 21 years and has added his personal touch to most of the surfaces in the 1,430-square-foot home.
“He was just being artsy and creative with his own house,” says the listing agent, Alexandria Oberbeck.
Within the home, you’ll see murals, wall hangings, light installations, and much more.
Buyers must have liked what they saw. After a single weekend on the market, the home, which was listed for $265,000, had received multiple offers. Many of the folks interested were ready to keep it as is.
“Everyone who put in an offer loved it, and they weren’t going to paint the walls, or anything like that,” says Oberbeck.
Oberbeck says the book Griego wrote about his battles with mental illness, titled “Leaving the House of Tears: A Memoir” inspired much of the home’s art.
“For example, when he was young, he was in a band—he played the drums. They did a lot of partying and whatnot, and sometimes, he felt like he was just really trapped in his mind,” she says.
As a result, Griego built a wall of steel in the living room.
“He kind of built that thinking it’s like being trapped in a prison of his own mind. The wall directly across from it has an outer space theme. It’s just showing that life is limitless, and there’s freedom. One side is like being trapped, and on the other side is freedom.”
Griego did many of the art installations himself, but a friend of his painted the murals, including one in the hallway which depicts two dancers. One of the dancers wears a real bowtie, and the other has diamond jewelry.
“When [Griego] retired, he got into swing dancing. He would hold dancing classes at his house, so that’s what inspired the mural,” Oberbeck explains.
The kitchen has yellow cabinets, purple countertops, and updated stainless-steel appliances.
Nestled between the kitchen and the main living space is a one-of-a-kind installation.
“It’s a really unique light thing that he built, called ‘power source’,” Oberbeck explains.
Using mirrors and a projector, it creates what Griego calls a futuristic kaleidoscope. It projects an array of colors, patterns, and shapes throughout the house.
The dining space is anything but ordinary, with murals on every surface and wall cutouts looking into other rooms, creating sightlines directly from one bedroom to the other.
Both bedrooms and the home’s two bathrooms also boast creative touches.
Outside, the home’s backyard is also extremely expressive. It’s decorated and landscaped with a mural, plants, a fountain, and intriguing light installations.
Oberbeck said she knew she had something special the first time she saw the house. She admits she wasn’t sure what kind of interest the home would generate, because it isn’t exactly what most buyers are in search of.
“As soon as we listed it and had the pictures up, people were going crazy. We were pleasantly surprised to see how many people loved it,” she say
With five offers after a few days, Oberbeck says Griego was able to handpick the person he wanted to buy his house. He picked candidates who bought the place completely furnished and will share it with others.
The agent says the tale of the quirky Albuquerque art home has a happy ending.
“The people who actually have it under contract are planning to make it a bed-and-breakfast or an Airbnb,” she says.
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