There’s a Gallery in Every Room in this Artful Home.
Written by Amy Shuman, with Photography by John Shuman
On the west side of Cumberland is the 1400 square foot home of abstract artist Greg Malloy. A Cumberland native, Malloy is living just seven houses from where he grew up. “I love this neighborhood. I know every bump in the sidewalk,” Malloy smiles as he conducts a visual tour of his totally artistic sanctuary.
Sitting in the kitchen, drinking rooibos tea, he explains that this room is totally Americana. A beer can collection from days gone by lines the top of the wall on three sides. A Magic Chef gas stove, “born December 7, 1934” came from a big white mansion in D.C. “Not the White House,” he jokes. Built-in cupboards are decorated in purples and greens with painted abstract boughs of drying flowers. A six foot mahogany desk was transformed into an eclectic side table. “I took the top off, sanded it to take off the varnish, then allowed it to weather outside for a year. I painted the bottom and re-installed the top, applying Tung oil.” The floor is painted with huge lettering, like the sides of barns, with the “Mail Pouch Tobacco” logo.
In the sitting room are two tables that his brother, Jeff, a mechanic, made from fly wheels. A comfortable brown leather couch, transported from New Hope, Pa. “feels like a good old bomber jacket.” The other side of this room is Malloy’s office. He cleverly transformed two vintage Singer sewing machine tables into computer stands and work areas. Neon art deco lights from a theatre in D.C. sparkle in a railcar spring. Art lines the walls, each one a treasure with a special story. Over the entry way to his painting studio, Malloy has printed, “Only those who can see the invisible can do the impossible.” A player piano is waiting for new hoses to entertain visitors who come by for the annual Mountain Maryland Art Sale and Tour each October. Malloy painted the floor here as well, in bright colors with swirling spirals and a splash paint technique. A suspended artist doll crafted by the late Shirley Carnahan, offers inspiration. In the hallway is a lovely collection of small art pieces, many with mirrors. Three of Malloy’s abstract splatter paintings, a triptych, hang on the opposite side. An oak staircase with beautifully refinished banister leads upstairs. On the upstairs landing, Malloy painted bright crayon colors like a stunning beach towel, in varying widths of stripes, on the floor. An unusual sculptural table by Mike Edelman, with a marble top and a base from recycled metal pieces, sits, with two chairs in an alcove.
Purple doors lead to each bedroom. The Cumberland guest room’s saying on the wall states, “Just Another Day in Paradise.” Malloy was able to purchase street signs from Brock’s, when all the signage was changed and hung “Fayette,” “Baltimore,” and “Greene” above the bed. His bedroom sports a vintage chenille bedspread in pastels, perfectly matching a 4’ X 6’ painting with his trademark spirals. A crazy quilt, crafted by his friend and mentor, Mary Ann Dossi, hangs on a rack. The brick flue, left from the days of pot bellied stoves, adds interest. The upstairs sitting room is artful from floor to ceiling. Malloy’s collection of DVD’s stands ready on shelves near the ceiling on all four walls, categorized by action, comedy and drama. There is a family photo gallery and a large abstract that Malloy helped his niece, now 37, complete, on a summer visit when she was ten years old. His early Will’s Creek winner, a painting by Sybil McKenzie and an Alexis Levine nude are favorites in this room’s gallery. The bathroom, with black and white tile and an original claw foot bathtub, even has artistic flair—Malloy’s whimsical side prompted him to stucco a face emerging from one wall and a tic tac toe board on the ceiling above the shower.
Greg Malloy wanted to become an artist most of his adult life. “I remember waiting tables when I was twenty and saying, ‘I’m going to be an artist someday.’” He was inspired by artists Meg and Dave Romero’s encouragement and being surrounded by the growing Cumberland artist community. In 2004, he booked his first show, for six weeks away, having only one completed painting on hand. He sold half his work. Malloy has became known for his off the wall ideas, like taking tiny paintings on a cruise he won, which were gifted to new friends in eight countries and, most recently, he enjoyed a “sold out” show at the Saville Gallery by offering forty-three pieces with a bidding process over several weeks, like a silent auction.
Malloy’s home is always a work in progress. Next in line is to cover the deck, which overlooks a huge expanse of woods, with burlap fabric. He will then accent over top with special coffee bean bags from all over the world. Everything will be water sealed to form a most unusual flooring. Coffee cups and mugs, coffee cans and anything which says, “Let’s have coffee” will decorate the space. His other dream is to return the front of his home to how it looked when Moorehead’s Grocery Store was there, in the (years). He has purchased an old soda fountain from West Side Pharmacy, where F. Scott Fitzgerald stopped when he came to Cumberland and will install this, again, to invite others to come and chat. “It will be a coffee bar, where young and old can come to share experiences. We’re missing that piece and I want to bring it back.” Each present room and those that are planned are galleries in and of themselves in Malloy’s home. He sips coffee each morning in a different room, pausing to appreciate the energy of the people who have contributed artwork to the space. “I am so thankful that I have a piece of these friends and family that represents a part of our journey together. I love living among all this art.”