Q: I just moved into a new loft that has acres of blank wall space. Where can I find a muralist?
A: A good trompe l’oeil can open up even cramped quarters into a scene of hills rolling to the distant horizon. Try Fresco Decorative Painting (212-966-0676), which specializes in trompe l’oeil, decorative stucco, faux finishing, and leafing ($8 to $50 per square foot). “People want a pleasant backdrop to create atmosphere,” says Fresco president Agnes Liptak. If cost is no object, call David Anderson (917-854-3380). With a portfolio that includes Persian rugs painted on outdoor decks for Ian Shrager and twenty years of work for Anna Wintour, he’s your go-to guy for haute stencilwork and rich color (literally—he averages $100 per hour). For eighteenth- and nineteenth-century portraits and American landscapes in oil, try James Boyd (212-967-8549), a master of the idyllic Hudson River School ($150 to $400 per square foot). Remember: Landscapes cost less than portraits, projects take three weeks to three months, and you shouldn’t be afraid to exercise creative control.