Updated: Nov 28, 2019
Anyone who has ever stayed at The Island House prior to renovations are familiar with the iconic wall murals that were in every room. They are special. Not only because they were beautifully done but because they have been a part of the Island House experience for as long as anyone can remember.
But the story gets better...
Guest legend tells us a little more about how they came to be. Apparently a gentleman, a little down on his luck, approached a previous owner (2 before us). He was asking if there was any work. He was asked if he could paint and he responded with a yes. We believe the expectation was that he would grab a roller and spruce up the rooms with a fresh coat of paint. Well...the owner at the time went to check in on the work. Instead of finding a newly painted room, he walked in to one of these freshly painted murals. We can only imagine his surprise. After a few stunned moments, he said something like, "Wow! Can you paint these in all the rooms?"
We thought it was an interesting choice of scenery. It is certainly tropical but doesn't quite capture Florida - even old Florida.
The artist is Les Maklem - at least that is how he signed them. And again, guest legend tells us that he came in looking for work because he had just returned from the war in Vietnam. When you look at the murals, this thought certainly is supported by the chosen scene.
Les Maklem found a way to use his talent to not only find work when he needed it but to leave a legacy here in North Redington Beach, FL. Our own research, with the help of long time guests, found that he also painted murals in a local Mall. Unfortunately, the Mall has been torn down.
We haven't saved all of the murals. Unfortunately, many were not as well preserved as we would have liked. BUT...this story and the beautiful murals touched our hearts. We are absolutely preserving a few throughout the hotel. We have found a way to incorporate it into our new theme.
We hope - one day - to find Les Makleem and/or a family member to share our appreciation and the appreciation of so many visitors over the years. Please help us spread the word around in hopes of having him or his family come and stay as our honored guests.