All posts by KT Toomey

The Power of an Accent or Feature Wall

Are you hoping to make an architectural feature pop in your home or add interest to a mainly monochromatic room? You don’t have to be an interior designer to know that an accent wall can make a room zing without overpowering it. Accent walls or feature walls can draw attention to an area using a different color, design or texture on a wall.

Choosing an Accent Wall Many homeowners use feature walls to accentuate:

  • a distinct architectural feature
  •  a fireplace wall
  •  built-in bookshelves
  •  wainscoting
  •  interesting nooks
  • paintings or window features

Allow the unique attributes of the room to be your guide on choosing an accent wall. Think about where you want the eyes to be drawn to upon entering that room. Many homeowners use the accent wall to emphasize a decorative element such as a painting, headboard or unusual feature to a room; while businesses use accent walls to highlight a business logo, waiting area or office entrance. Once you have decided upon the wall, follow the “60-30-10” Accent Rule. The 60-30-10 Rule is a timeless decorating rule that can help you put a color scheme together easily. This concept is referring to the proportion of color in a room.

Here’s how the 60-30-10 accent wall color rule works:

  •  60 percent of the room including its painted surfaces represents your dominant color choice
  • 30 percent is applied to a secondary color
  • 10 percent is for the accent color – possibly your accent or feature wall.

Adding a splash of color can be a great way to make any room come to life. Talk to our painting professionals about how an accent wall could be used in your home.

2016 Design Trends: Encaustic Tile

 

If you’re a fan of patterned tile that draws the eye, this is your lucky year! One of the emerging design trends for 2016 is colorful, cool encaustic tile. This type of varied, kaleidoscopic ceramic tile used for flooring or backsplashes is made from a multicolored clay design inlaid on a background color. While the majority of these tiles are two tone, the design process that produces an encaustic allows for as many as six colors.

 

Tile by Lindsey Lang
Tile by Lindsey Lang

The intricate pattern of the clay is formed first by a die that resembles a cookie cutter, which gets filled by a mixture of natural pigments, Portland cement, and marble dust. In the second step of the tile-making process, the background mixture of solid grey concrete is poured around the finished inlay pattern to form a square.

 

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Encaustic tiles aren’t a new trend – they’ve been used for centuries and were referred to as “inlaid” tiles during the medieval period. They were primarily used in religious settings to adorn ornate churches, and then moved into decorating palatial homes. They enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in America in the late 1800s, but fell out of use in new construction after the Great Depression. Some New York City brownstones still have these type of tiles in the entryway or foyer! Encaustic tiles can be found all over the world, but were most plentiful in England, where the greatest number of the tiles were produced. The tiles are known for their longevity – because the design is ¼ inch thick, the tiles will last for years without wearing down. The below medieval tiles are from Cleeve Abbey in England.

 

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The encaustic tile of 2016 comes in a range of styles and prices. Because of they way they’re made, the tiles are quite heavy – the average 8×8 inch tile can weigh in around three pounds. Many are made by designers who produce them in small batches or by custom order, which can add to the price, but their widening popularity means it’s getting more and more likely your local tile or flooring store has a selection, or can order them for you.

The possibilities for decorating with encaustic tiles are endless, and with so many varieties and styles, will fit with any design scheme! Below, this modern, southwestern take on a zig zag pattern works for living room, kitchen, or foyer.

 

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Don’t limit your imagination to the indoors. Outdoor spaces like the veranda below receive just the right pop of color with these blue patterned tiles. Encaustics are great for spaces that have neutral walls with muted design schemes, so the tiles can really shine!

 

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When it comes to bathrooms, larger encaustic tiles featuring wide patterns can make a small space look bigger, like in this vintage Spanish inspired room featured on House Nerd.

 

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As you can see, encaustics aren’t just a fad – they’ve been around for centuries, and their timeless beauty will improve the look, and value, of any home. So why not choose encaustics in your next renovation project?

Every Massachusetts exterior painting and interior painting project is different, and unlike other MA interior painting companies, we will always treat your house, building, or surface as one-of-a-kind. Need help choosing paint colors? We can do that with an expert eye. Call us for a free estimate at 978-546-6843

2016 Design Trends: Rustic Dining Rooms

Often relegated to the back burner and used only when company came, the formal dining room is set to return to glory, as this spring’s emerging design trends will have families wanting to eat there for every meal. According to ElleDecor,  this year more homeowners are opting to keep their formal dining room rather than converting to a family room or office than ever before, and they expect the formal dining room to be a hot design trend for spring.

The D.C. Design House features this gorgeous dining room by designer Sara Wessel. Photo via Architectural Digest.
The D.C. Design House features this gorgeous dining room by designer Sara Wessel. Photo via Architectural Digest.

The dining room tends to get the back burner when it comes time to redecorate or renovate. Compared to the kitchen or living room, it may not see as much use unless it’s the holidays or you’re expecting guests for dinner, so it’s natural to want to redecorate those rooms first. However, keeping your formal dining room fresh and inviting can lead to more family dinners together, as well as increase your home’s resale value.

Photo via Honey Bear Lane
Photo via Honey Bear Lane

One of the top dining trends that has emerged over the past few seasons, the rustic, vintage farmhouse look, continues to gain popularity in 2016. This design style tends to pair well with many of the antique colonial New England homes here on Cape Ann, as well as more modern homes. A country farmhouse decor can lean either towards an industrial, iron factory look, or can be more shabby, colorful, and inviting, depending on individual taste or preference.

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Photo via Indulgy

The simple, timeless farmhouse style table is the staple and centerpiece of a rustic dining room. These tables can either be used with individual chairs, or with wide picnic-style benches, depending on how casual or formal the room should be. Some have been handed down from generations and have seen decades, possibly even centuries, of use.

As these photos show, the wide-planked, large wooden tables look wonderful with either matching, upholstered chairs, or a collection of mismatched wooden chairs that can be found anywhere from thrift stores to flea markets or yard sales. Some rustic farmhouse dining rooms even use vintage iron tractor seats for bar stools.

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Photo via Shades of Light

Lighting is one of the most important parts of any room, and the dining room is no exception. A dining room was once defined by its chandelier – the grander, the better. Thankfully for your eyes, and your wallet, that’s no longer the case, especially when it comes to farmhouse design aesthetics.

A simply stated, unique, light fixture upgrade can draw attention and change the whole look of the room without breaking your budget, especially if paired with a new coat of paint.

 

Photo via Shades of Light

 

When it comes to the rustic look, black iron chandeliers paired with candle-type light fixtures or single hanging Edison lightbulbs surrounded by cages help to evoke a 1920’s vintage farmhouse feel, like the ones above, sold by online retailer Shades of Light.

Photo via Colby Construction/Pinterest
Photo via Colby Construction/Pinterest

Accessories work to pull together a country farmhouse style dining room as well. Everything from vintage bread boxes to checkered napkins can brighten up a country-style dining room. Aged wooden crates can be used as both accent pieces or as actual storage for linens or accessories.

If you’ve left your dining room to languish, now is the time to give it a fresh, clean rustic country makeover.

5 Unique Uses for Blue Painter’s Tape

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 It’s a common scenario – you’ve finished with your painting project, but have a lot of blue painter’s tape leftover. Saving it in your junk drawer or tool bag for the next project is always an option, but if those projects aren’t common, or you just don’t want it lying around, you’re in luck. There are great alternate uses for that ubiquitous blue tape!

  1. Cheap chip clip (say that one five times fast!) Because painter’s tape is meant to be mildly adhesive, it can be used to close an open bag of snacks – and be re-used until the bag’s empty. This is great for camping, picnics, or any other time a chip clip isn’t available. It can also be used to keep other food fresh – sugar or flour bags, bags of rice, and bags of cereal will last much longer with an application of painter’s tape to keep the bags closed.
  2.  As a home project manager: Don’t laugh – it’s true! For instance, if you’re installing curtain rods, and need to keep screws, drill bits, or other small parts within reach while up on a ladder, use painter’s tape to tape them to the top step of the ladder. You know, the one that says “do not use as step.” This means no more screws that roll off the top step, across the floor, and under furniture, or the radiator. They’ll finally stay in place until they’re needed.
  3.  Party helper! Next time you’re hosting a super bowl party, cookout, or birthday party, bring out the blue tape. It has multiple party uses you’ve probably never imagined. For instance, use it to hang decorations so the paint or wallpaper doesn’t get marred. Use it to label drink cups so there’s less waste. Playing twister? Tape down the corners of the board so it doesn’t slip! You can even use it to mark off areas of the home or rooms that you don’t want guests to use, or label the bathroom door to avoid everyone asking where, exactly, the facilities are.
  4. Labels! Because blue painter’s tape is less permanent and sticky than regular masking tape or duct tape, but is easy to write on (unlike packing or scotch tape), it’s great for labeling. Use it to label everything from cords behind your desk or entertainment center, to yard sale item, food in your fridge, or your children’s school items.
  5. Decorating. Blue painter’s tape is useful for making a long, straight line on your wall – that can be removed with no residue – if you’re hanging multiple pieces of art or photos at the same level. Alternately, if you’re attempting to lay out multiple frames on the same wall and want to picture how it will look before making all the nail holes, cut the tape into the dimensions of the frame and place it in its prospective new home. You’ll be able to stand back and get a good feel for the final result, and adjusting the tape is much easier than more drilling or nailing.

With these tips, it’s easy to see how useful that blue tape can be, beyond keeping paint off your ceilings or trim work. So don’t throw it in a drawer forever – make it work for you!

4 Painting Products You Never Knew You Needed

If you’re like most DIY homeowners who have no problem tackling a smaller painting project (whether or not you leave those bigger projects to the professionals like us), you may think you already know all the tools you need to get the job done. Painter’s tape, a tray, rollers, and roller covers, right? Not so fast. There’s a whole array of painting products you didn’t know you needed – especially if you’re up for not only one painting task, but many over the course of months or even years! Here’s a few added tools to think about before you begin your next painting task. While we don’t specifically endorse any product over another, we found some great tools that have been rated well among buyers.

Paint Fragrance Additive

These concentrated fragrance additives for latex or oil paint can work wonders on walls where odor is an issue, such as in homes formerly owned by smokers, multiple pets, or kitchens with heavy, long-term cooking odors. There are many scent choices that can last for weeks after application, including linen, citrus, and Gloucester’s favorite, sea breeze!


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They are available online, as well as at your local Benjamin Moore paint store, and come in a variety of fresh scents. Most come in one ounce packets or bottles, and mix in with one gallon of paint or primer.

Mr. Long Arm Extension Paint Pole

For painting ceilings, stairways, or tall walls, ladders will work – but there’s always the danger of a slip and fall. For $17, you can purchase a paint pole that will remove those precarious ladders. The poles thread into the end of a standard paint roller, as well as standard broom ends – which makes this useful for not only painting, but for cleaning cobwebs or other chores.

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The Rejuv-A-Roller

Most DIY-ers toss out their roller cover after their project is finished. But why not spend a little more on a better-quality roller that last through multiple projects, and then wash it clean after you’ve finished? The Rejuv-A-Roller does just that, and is less than $20. It’s not only cost-effective, but environmentally friendly as well – and better quality rollers not only use less paint, but make your job much easier and faster. The Rejuv-A-Roller hooks up to a standard sink. When the water runs clear, your work is done! The product only works with water-based paints, and can clean rollers from 3” to 9”.

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Paint and Store Lid

Pouring from a gallon of paint can be unwieldy, wasteful, and prone to spills. Avoid that, and keep your paint fresh, with a stretchy, re-usable lid that also functions as a pouring spout.  The lid helps your paint last longer by minimizing air contact, while also avoiding the potential disaster of an overturned can. Best of all, it’s inexpensive and will last through many projects. Use with water-soluble paint only.

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While some of these items can be found online, a lot are located right at your local paint store, Ben’s Paint here in Gloucester – which comes with the added bonus of professionals to give you advice on anything else you’ll need for your project.

2016 Color Trends: Off-White

Did you know that paint manufacturers release their popularity forecasts every year? For 2016, the verdicts are in – and more than one manufacturer has chosen white, off white, or cream as their top trendy color of the year. Those chosen hues are the ones they expect to sell the most of. White, cream, and off-white are popping up everywhere – from exterior paint or stucco, to every interior room from bathrooms, to kitchens, to nurseries and home offices. “White is transcendent, powerful and polarizing — it is either taken for granted or obsessed over,” explained Benjamin Moore Creative Director Ellen O’Neill. The company chose their “Simply White” hue as color of the year.

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(photo via Pinterest/Nursery Project)

 

But wait just a minute- hasn’t white been described as a boring monochromatic color option? According to New York designer Miles Redd, “I don’t think of white as a color.”  So why, then, does white deserve the coveted color of the year status?

 

Simple: it’s not too saturated – just the opposite. It  doesn’t overpower a room, and lets your home’s other details shine through. It provides a break from “louder” colors, and every home needs some neutral colors, or it can quickly become too busy or overwhelming. A slight color to the white can boost a room, as well. For instance, the smallest amount of coffee or brown is great for a darker room to increase the light in your space, as it imitates the warm glow you’d get from a sunny day.

 

Off-white also provides a calming effect in many rooms. It brings an air of cleanliness to a kitchen. Paired with a warm-toned wooden floor, as in the example below, the white isn’t overpoweringly cold or sterile.

white kitchen

(photo via Pinterest/Homebunch.com)

 

In a living room, for example, white can serve as a great base to make colorful furniture stand out when it would otherwise get lost in a complementary color. Choosing a white or slightly off-white hue for your walls also means that changing out furniture and decorative pieces can be done with ease – there’s no chance of a redecoration not working with the wall color. After all subtlety can be underrated when it comes to interior design.

living rom

(photo via Pinterest/West Elm Blog)

 

The living room above isn’t lacking for color – yet the walls are white! The bold door, plants, rugs, and wall art are front and center, but don’t overpower the room because of the neutral wall tones. This proves that all the forecasts are right on the money – white, off-white, and cream aren’t cold, sterile, and boring! In fact, they can be used across large spaces to bring calm and even warmth to a room when paired with architectural details!

 

This sudden flash of white doesn’t come from nowhere – it’s part of an overall trend that pairs neutral tones, both warm and cool, with pops of color. The days of oversaturation are in the rearview now!

 

Every Massachusetts exterior painting and interior painting project is different, and unlike other MA interior painting companies, we will always treat your house, building, or surface as one-of-a-kind. Need help choosing paint colors? We can do that with an expert eye. Call us for a free estimate at 978-546-6843

Announcement – Lynn Fire Claims Life of Jerry Enos Team Member

We at the Jerry Enos Painting family are saddened to announce we lost a member of our team last Friday evening when a three-alarm house fire in Lynn claimed the lives of four people. Rodolfo Mercedes died after going back inside the burning home to try to find his mother. He had been a valued member of the Jerry Enos team for three years.

Rodolfo was a hard worker who liked to help others. He was quite close to his family, who were all avid Lynn Spanish 7th Day Adventist church-goers.

rodolfo

His uncle, Santiago Cruz, is also a longtime employee of the company. He has lost not only his nephew Rodolfo, but two sisters, including one who was seven months pregnant, and his 19 year old niece, a college student. Two other family members, one a Lynn English high school senior were saved by firefighters. The cause of the blaze is yet undetermined, but not only have the Cruz family lost four members, but 18 survivors living at the three-unit home are left with nothing but the clothes they were wearing.

We ask you to keep the Cruz family in your thoughts and prayers, and a memorial fund has been set up to help Santiago’s family with funeral costs for all four victims. To donate, please mail a check payable to Memorial Fund for Four Victims of Lynn Fire ℅ Salem Five Bank, 210 Essex St, Salem MA 01970.

Featured Local Artist: Peter Herbert of Annisquam

For the past twenty years, local artist Peter Herbert of Annisquam has been following his passion for painting here on Cape Ann. Since his retirement from practicing law in 2006, he has been able to paint on a daily basis.

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Peter’s chosen field is mainly outdoor “plein air” representational landscapes and housescapes. However, he also offers portrait painting for subjects who come to his home studio and pose while he paints. Much of his work can be seen on his website, peterherbertpainter.com.

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Landscape View towards Essex Marshes

Herbert’s work has been exhibited in many galleries in Cape Ann and beyond. In New York City, his art has been featured at The Crosby Gallery, The Century Association, and the Art Students League. Locally, his work has been displayed at the Wenniger Gallery in Rockport, the Rockport Art Association, the North Shore Arts Association in East Gloucester, as well as every summer at the Annisquam Art Fair. Currently, he shows his art at his home studio by appointment.

Down Squam Rock Road

When asked which other artists have influenced him most , Herbert explained, “My favorite artists are Spanish painter Joachin Sorolla because, in my opinion, no one has ever painted light on form the way he did (and my definition of art is the painting of light on form). My favorite portrait painters are Lucian Freud for oversized non-traditional approaches, and Rembrandt and John Singer Sargent for traditional work.”

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Herbert explained that his creative process is simply to go out and paint, regardless of whether he is in the mood. “Mood of course is sometimes created when a particular scene or subject strikes you as exciting for many different reasons. Most often, mood is created when you start to paint and can see the abstract shapes that make up an ordinary subject. A painter doesn’t think in terms of grass, trees, mountain, sky etc. But rather when we look at an outdoor subject, we see abstract shapes, colors, values (the degrees of lights and darks that appear in our vision. It is seeing in this way that excites me as a painter. If I were simply painting “things,” rather than light on form, I would not be a painter.”

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Herbert’s advice to novice painters is this: “Painting can be easy if you look at the world as a patchwork quilt of abstract shapes like a jigsaw puzzle, and include in your painting only the big shapes – like the shape of the land mass, the ocean mass, the mountain mass, the sky mass, overall shape of a tree – painting each shape the middle value of the color that you see. Then make each colored shape its degree of lightness or darkness. That’s all you need to know. Then, you must do this many many times, and you will be a painter.”

Currently, Peter’s work can be seen by private appointment at his home in Annisquam. He can be reached by telephone at 978-283-2263, or via e-mail at peteraherbert@comcast.net.

 

Trends: Chalk Painted Furniture

Have you ever found a great piece of furniture that needed a little TLC? One of the hot products on the market right now for DIY projects is chalk paint, which has gone from a niche specialty product to one that’s rapidly becoming more and more available at local paint and home improvement stores. Chalk paint is different from the chalkboard paint we’ve seen on the market for the past few years. It’s meant for furniture or cabinetry, and is meant to cut down on the time and effort necessary to complete a restoration project, while at the same time making the end product look like a professional paint job.

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With chalk paint, it’s easy to create a bedroom or dining room set out of mismatched pieces that end up looking like they have always belonged together, simply by using the same shade of paint and using the same technique.

If you’re particularly adventurous and handy, there are even recipes for making your own chalk paint with plaster of paris or latex paint!

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One of the advantages of chalk paint is that there is no sanding, stripping, or other physically intensive labor involved in the process – the chalk paint sticks well, even to enameled surfaces. A small amount of paint goes a long way, and it rolls on thick, but smooth.

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Here’s how to use chalk paint.

First, the piece of furniture should be cleaned thoroughly with a TSP-like product, or basic soap and water, and completely dried. Make sure you have enough space to paint without accidentally marking nearby surfaces, and place a drop cloth under the piece.

Remove all the drawers and hardware. Read the directions on the chalk paint – most paints need to be mixed very well, and some need to be placed upside-down for a half hour to an hour to make sure the heavier particles don’t stay at the bottom of the paint jar.

A good quality paintbrush will make your job easier and lead to a better looking finished product. Coat the piece evenly, but make sure the coat is thin enough to not drip.

It may take two or three coats to finish your piece. Let dry for at least one hour between coats, longer if your specific brand’s directions indicate. Make sure you let the final coat dry before re-installing hardware and drawers.

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Chalk paint is also great for giving furniture an aged, distressed, shabby chic look. Simply sand before adding a top coat.

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While chalk paint can be left on its own for a muted, matte finish, there is also the option to finish the piece with a specialized wax product to make it shine. There is clear wax, dark and light waxes, each with their own look, as well as aging dust that can be applied over the wax. Also, a clear polyurethane top coat can be used to permanently seal the piece if an annual re-waxing is not something you’re excited about.

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If chalk paint sounds like a dream come true, it sure can be! More information on chalk paint and accessories can be found at your local paint or hardware store.

 

 

2015 Trends: Decorating with Tile

 

If you’re looking to spice up your home’s interior this fall with a DIY or professional project, why not try tile? Adding a small splash of tile as a focal point in your decorating scheme – or a new floor or backsplash as a larger project – is a fantastic way to improve the look of your home. Tile has gone beyond the boring bathroom floor – here’s some trendy examples of how to use tile to transform the look of any room in your home.

Herringbone or chevron floor patterns aren’t just for hardwood anymore- it’s easy to use tile for an eye-pleasing result, no matter what your style preferences are. While a single color or pattern can be soothing and complementary, varying the colors and materials of herringbone can give the room an eclectic feel – for instance, using tile with a wood grain like finish.

 

NeoTerrazo_Install_3Terrazzo tile is another alternative that’s making a recent comeback. It’s not hard to see why – Terrazzo tile is long-lasting, low maintenance, and able to be made from recycled materials, which means it’s more environmentally friendly.This type of tile can be used both in the home and also in commercial or retail settings because of its durability. If you have a high-travel entryway, mudroom, or hallway, don’t overlook the benefits of terrazzo tile.

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If tile flooring isn’t in your budget – or doesn’t fit your preferred design aesthetic – an accent wall is an increasingly trendy way to use tile in interior design. In the example above, the small black subway tile wall makes a huge statement that breaks up the white walls and transforms the look of this small bathroom. Tile options have expanded past the traditional squares and rectangle selections and into custom, detailed shapes that dovetail into a beautiful and calming pattern, such as the marquise style tiled wall below.

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New trends are emerging in kitchen backsplash and accent tiling this year. Both natural stone and marble thin pencil or rectangle shapes are new top sellers. Matte tiles are also gaining popularity against the traditional glazed tile for their softer look and feel. There are even tiles on the market that mimic the look of fabric. With these varied products, it’s clear – tiled accent walls aren’t just for the bathroom and kitchen anymore.

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In larger rooms like this bedroom, oversized tin tiles create an eye-pleasing patchwork effect. The neutral tones seen here make it easy to change other design elements, which means that a change of bedding won’t disrupt the look of the room. However, a bold solid color or two of tile against a white or grey wall is an alternative that will make your room pop!

No matter what type of design upgrade you’re looking for, tile is a great way to make a durable, long-lasting and phenomenal looking change in your home.

Every Massachusetts exterior painting and interior painting project is different, and unlike other MA interior painting companies, we will always treat your house, building, or surface as one-of-a-kind. Need help choosing paint colors? We can do that with an expert eye. Call us for a free estimate at 978-546-6843