Benicia’s travelling Victorian house can be spotted in yet another Benicia locale. Little did homeowners Monique and Jim Moench know when they commissioned a mural from local artist Mernie Buchanan that Phil Joy’s Queen Anne would inspire the transformation of the back of the couple’s Southhampton home and garden.

The couple had asked Buchanan to paint low-maintenance landscaping, a bougainvillea mural they could enjoy from their hot tub. Said Monique Moench, “The back of our house was always so blah . . . Many nights my husband and I would sit in the hot tub, and various lights would cast tree shadows on the house giving me the idea of wanting to have a garden-type design painted (there).”

Buchanan asked if they were game to take this project a step further. Perhaps they would they like to add Victorian Bay windows and a roofline.

Enter the inspiration, the Phil Joy house, as it’s known to locals. Benicia residents are familiar with the story of the professional mover’s quest to save the house from demolition. Joy spotted the vacant Queen Anne in a Napa field. He then guided the two hundred ton house over dry creek beds, onto a barge, and sailed her twenty miles down the Napa River to Benicia. The house now resides on West D Street undergoing renovation as a Bed and Breakfast.

Buchanan’s sketched the Victorian. Using trompe l'oeil painting magic, she transformed the flat stucco back of the Moench’s home. The newly painted Bay windows appear three-dimensional and grace the upper level. The bougainvillea wends under the faux roofline.

The Moench’s say the transformation is remarkable. Her friends are in awe, says Monique Moench. “The back of the house came to life.”

Buchanan said Joy had no problem with her use of the downtown landmark. “It moved again?”said Joy. “That’s great!"

About Mernie Buchanan:

Mernie has been working professionally as an artist for 30 years. She earned a BA in Art from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, designed the front entrance floor of the Las Vegas Hilton at 22, then continued studies in design at CA College of Arts & Crafts. Her florals, landscapes, portraits & interpretive masterpieces are collected internationally. In addition to painting fine art, Mernie is an accomplished muralist, illustrator and award-winning scenic artist. Examples of her commissioned wall art can be found throughout Northern CA & Las Vegas.