Portrait-Perfect Places

Oakville artist captures the essence of homes.

By Gina Parsons

Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton


Custom house portrait artist Richelle Flecke infuses heartfelt details into every architectural illustration she creates. “My goal is to represent the property as the client wishes to remember it while portraying it as aesthetically pleasing as possible,” she says. “I give each residence or commercial property the same attention to detail and flattering idealization as if it were my own.”

After earning an art degree from Webster University and working as a professional fashion illustrator for 16 years, Richelle explored other art subjects that would let her use her artistic talents while working from home and raising a family. “I had the idea to do a watercolor illustration of our family's home at the time, and while working on it, felt a natural creative flow to what I was doing,” she says.

A good friend and fellow artist who saw that house portrait encouraged Richelle to create more. “Soon my passion and focus became architectural artwork,” she says. Thus, Custom House Portraits by Richelle Flecke was born. Since 1997, she has created hundreds of architectural portraits, mostly of homes, but also for businesses, schools, churches and other commercial property.

Having a portrait of a beloved house or building makes a special keepsake. They’re often given by adult children to their parents and by real estate agents to clients. “The portrait is a beautiful reminder of a particular period in a family's or business owner's life and the people it was shared with—family, friends, employees or customers,” she says.

To create the illustrations, Richelle uses photos provided by the clients, or taken by her if it’s local and the client prefers. She then talks with the client. “Prior to beginning a portrait, I touch base with the client by phone to discuss the details of the home and landscape as well as any preferences for the portrayal they might have such as modifying, adding or removing items,” she says.

One client asked her to add a tree and tree swing to their home illustration. The tree and the swing had been gone from the home for years, but seeing them in the finished portrait brings back fond memories for the family.

Richelle says her favorite part of her work is being able to represent many different types of architectural styles, and every size of home. She also loves learning about the places she illustrates. “I'm inspired by the stories clients share with me about their history with the property over the years and how much it means to them,” she says. “For most, it's where they raised their children, and they have a strong emotional connection to it which makes it so gratifying to be able to provide such a meaningful piece of original art they will treasure for generations.” 

In addition to watercolor paintings and black and white pen and ink illustrations, Richelle is also able to have reproduction prints of the original artwork made by Velham Printing.

Visit customhouseportraits.com for more information and to contact the artist.