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Expert Tips on Decorative Paint Finishes: An Interview with Jennifer Smith of PaintSmith LLC

By Jennifer Smith

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

PaintSmith is a full-service painting company. PaintSmith's owner Stephen Smith has been beautifying homes and businesses for over 20 years and here in New Mexico since 2002. Several of the homes Steve has painted have been award winners in the popular Parade of Homes, but there is no job too small or too basic for PaintSmith. We do basic interior/exterior to decorator colors, faux finishes, and stain and finish work. .

Can you briefly talk about what decorative paint finishes are and where they can be used?

Decorative paint includes decorator and custom colors and a variety of finishes. There are metallics and pearlescents and finishes that let you add texture like a suede finish. Decorative finishes also include the sheen of paint that is chosen from matte, to eggshell, satin or glossy. These affect the final look and appearance of the room. Some of the techniques we use with these finishes and colors include distressed look, antiquing, glazing, color washing and frottaging.

What are some of the most popular decorative finishes and/or faux painting that people in New Mexico are requesting?

For those with Southwestern architecture, we do a lot of custom stain and finish work on portals and vigas. On kiva fireplaces it is commonly requested to do a frottage, which is applying a wet glaze, then rubbing it with fabric, paper or other materials to create a texture. Regardless of the style of home, we do a lot of decorative color, even if that is in the form of neutrals with a few select accent walls.

How is the price/cost usually determined for different residential painting projects?

Price is determined by the size of the surface area, the condition of the walls (which determines how much prep is required), and by the product to be used and how many coats will be needed to achieve the look.

What are some of the benefits of having decorative painting in your home?

Our homes are our sanctuaries. By using decorative paint you can create an inviting atmosphere that you feel good coming home to and enjoy entertaining others at. Decorative painting can update older homes while maintaining their character. We can create looks and atmospheres that pull together your style and lifestyle. In many cases decorative painting is an inexpensive way to get a designer look. Recently we painted kitchen cabinets in a southwest style adobe home using a red color with a glaze on top to create a beautiful, custom look. The alternative would have been to replace the cabinetry. In this case the homeowner saved thousands of dollars.

Color is another area of decorative painting as colors have a profound effect upon humans and how we feel and think. You can set the mood for rest and relaxation in your bedroom and create an atmosphere of focus and concentration in your home office, all while keeping a flow throughout the home with the right colors.

What advice do you have for a homeowner who is thinking of going with a "regular" painter or DIY for decorative finishes?

We are a full-service painting company so we really are regular painters. Our prices are competitive with the other painters in Albuquerque. We just have additional expertise with decorative finishes and colors due to our high volume of experience with custom homes, so if a homeowner is interested in decorative painting they owe it to themselves to give us a call!

For the DIY'er, I advise them to consider the value of their time and to be sure of the choices they are making. Painting is oftentimes portrayed as a an easy thing to do, but the homeowner typically gets in part way in and realizes its a hard job or they may not like what they chose and find themselves starting over. We can come alongside in several capacities while still allowing the homeowner to do the majority of the work. Even if we don't do any of the painting, we offer consulting services where we can help choose colors or finishes. We also offer a painter for the day where we can come in and do the high work or the "cutting in" so the lines will be clean. Then the do-it-yourselfer can finish the larger portion of the painting.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

They can email me at, call 980-6831.

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