Dear Ida, Will You Paint My House?

Honor your humble home with its own custom-drawn portrait.

By Kristin Belz June 4, 2012


Dear Ida wants to draw your house; you’ll be glad she did.

Digital photos are fantastically easy and immediate, but sometimes they don’t tell the whole story. Sometimes a visual record is more complete – more expressive and revealing – when told by an artist deciding what to put in and what to leave out.

A person’s home is one of those subjects that might benefit from being recorded with a touch of artistry. Dear Ida, the local custom card-making company, is here to do that. As one of its owners, Brian Schaeperkoetter, sees it, the cards also provide you the option of fixing a broken shutter or restoring period windows without the actual home repair costs.

The four-person company is actually two Irvington couples who moved into houses down the block from each other a few years ago, and are each raising two children. They only launched about a year ago ("almost as a whim, with no paid advertising," as Brian confesses), but they are already expanding their line of custom-drawn cards.

We visited them last fall, just before their first holiday season. With hard work from all four adults (and some child labor), they got through the holidays being appropriately, satisfyingly, and successfully busy – shipping out thousands of cards on time and with only one redo required. (A senior editor from Martha Stewart Living even ordered cards from them; she was happy.)


If you don’t want to record your house’s face for posterity, maybe your child’s silhouette deserves artistic attention.

Their new house illustration line has already been used to provide this year’s Irvington historic house tour homeowners with a personalized thank you gift. But your home doesn’t have to be on a tour to warrant its own custom hand drawn illustration. Dear Ida (Brian’s wife Lisa Mundorff is actually the artist) works from a photograph you download to the company website. You give them any specific instructions (the wished for virtual home improvements) and choose a card design style. Lisa does the artful magic.

So the digital photo is still necessary, but it gets improved in a way that Photoshop can never do, and that Google Earth or Zillow will never capture. Orders start at 50 cards for $225 and take about two weeks; the cost goes down with larger orders.

And if you don’t think your home is ready for its close-up yet (even with free rein given to artistic license), you might want to partake of their other new line, the silhouette cards. These come in several boldly graphic yet old-fashioned styles. You chose the style and supply the picture. Definitely a great way to record that sweet little button nose you’re your child has before he or she (likely) grows out of it.

Dear Ida
2427 NE Knott St.
Portland, OR 97212

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