ST. LOUIS - Decorative artist Mary Hanson first got the painting bug when she and husband Dave became foster parents. She would paint fun T-shirts for the kids they fostered, two of whom they eventually adopted and raised.

The kids loved Hanson's artwork, and she soon moved from T-shirts and other clothing to pieces of furniture and eventually walls.

Once Hanson's friends saw all the cool murals and designs she painted throughout her home, they started to hire her to paint theirs. She officially started her decorative painting business 15 years ago and now paints in homes, restaurants and other businesses throughout St. Louis, relying only on word-of-mouth from her customers.

There is very little in the Hanson's Kirkwood, Mo., home that doesn't have the "Mary touch" - including not only the walls (nearly all of which have something she painted on them), but valances, furniture, lamps and wall decor. "I don't like things plain," she says, pointing out how she spiced up a lampshade with paint and beads.

"This house is like living inside a
lava lamp," Dave Hanson says. "It's constantly changing."

Hanson sees potential in everything.

A "grandfather clock" is fashioned out of an old cabinet with the touch of her brush.

An old bookshelf Dave Hanson added a countertop to became a corner bar, decorated by Mary. Even the kitchen table's wood top is painted in a whimsical coffee cup motif to match the hand-painted cutouts on the valances made by Dave.

In the partially finished basement, a huge wall is painted floor to ceiling in a bright, modern graphic pattern, reminiscent of artist Keith Haring's work, creating a fun and lively game room for the kids.

Hanson's artwork not only adorns the inside of the house, but it also extends outside.

The garage wall features a fun mural of Route 66 customized with pictures of Dave and his interests as well as a "tribute" to historic local Kirkwood-area spots such as the infamous Coral Courts Motel. Hanson turned the exposed cement foundation on the sides and back of the house into a painted "garden" that is always in bloom.

The Hansons' grandchildren are big fans of the master bathroom's mural of penguins at play in the arctic sea.