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Dad is a peacock, Mom a flower. One family’s mural history.
The blooms filled the gardens of her childhood home near Philadelphia. In the foyer of her McLean house, a mural Gorsen painted features white gardenias. They represent her mother, who died when Gorsen was in her twenties.
“My foyer is a symbol of my life and my past and all the people in my life,” says Gorsen, 47, who co-owns a decorative-arts business called Grant Dawson.
A peacock in the mural is her dad, who died when she was in her thirties. In mythology, a peacock’s tail is full of eyes that see all. “It’s his watching over me,” she says.
Gorsen’s husband, Robert, a neurosurgeon at Inova Fairfax Hospital, is a lion. “He’s my rock,” she says. Their 13-year-old son—whom she calls a unique, fascinating creature—is a hummingbird.
A horse beside a pool of water stands for her 15-year-old daughter. Gorsen painted the horse’s reflection as a unicorn, a symbol of healing. “You learn so much from your kids,” Gorsen says. “She’s been an amazing healer for me.”
The foyer has become a favorite backdrop for photos: “It sets the tone for the house—peaceful and filled with passion.”