Interior painter: Life’s too short for white walls
Paul Schroeder’s motto: Life’s too short for white walls.
Schroeder, who owns Taunton-based Final Touch Painting, is an interior painter who specializes in decorative painting and murals. He says just painting a wall or two can completely change the feel of a room.
“People can spend two thousand dollars on a chair or a couch, but spending less to add color to walls provides a backdrop and makes so much more of an impact,” Schroeder said.
One of his most popular services is faux finish, a growing trend in home decoration. Using paint layering and various tools, Schroeder creates walls that that look like materials such as marble, stone, wood, granite, leather and brick.
Not only is faux finish generally less expensive than the substance it mimics, but it looks better and is easier to change than wallpaper.
“It’s got benefits over wallpaper because there are no seams or corners that come up,” Schroeder said. “And it’s just paint, so it can be changed. It’s a lot harder to tear down wallpaper and repair walls.”
Schroeder and his team work closely with the homeowner or interior designer to create the right look. He often calls his wife, Jessica, who has an eye for design, to help with color consultation.
“Right now I’m working on a project where the clients just gave me a color on a pillow, and from that we’re creating a custom color for two accent walls in the master bedroom,” Schroeder said.
Don’t confuse his technique with the DIY wall sponging trend, Schroeder said, adding that sponging more often distracts than adds to a room.
“I don’t want anybody to look at a wall that I’ve done and tell how it was done,” he said.
Clients often ask him to mimic looks from magazines. A photograph torn from a magazine is what Herb and Irma Mershon started with when they called him in to tackle the kitchen they were renovating in their Cumberland, R.I., condo.
Even though they wanted a fresh look, the Mershons decided to keep the top-quality cabinets they already had. Schroeder painted the cabinets to match the photo they showed him, which, along with painting the kitchen and pantry walls, helped transform the kitchen.
“We feel like we have a new house,” said Irma Mershon. “Just doing your kitchen over makes the whole house feel more beautiful, and we plan to have him back to do our living room, too.”
Schroeder kind of stumbled into this business. He had been working off and on as a general painter for a big company, but was unfulfilled by the work. After taking a few classes in interior painting, he realized he had the talent for more artistic work. Five years ago, he found there was a growing market for his skills, and all it took was a little push from his wife to create the business.
“I inherited a lot of my artistic ability from my father, but he didn’t use it for work like he could have,” Schroeder said. “I wanted to do something I enjoyed for work.”
But Schroeder’s background as a straight painter still comes in handy. He’s able to do all the prep work necessary to prepare the walls, like filling cracks and applying base coats, before he delves into the more creative work.
“That’s part of what separates us,” Schroeder said. “We’re not only artists, so people don’t have to hire a contractor to do that work first.”
His favorite projects are murals, which show off his artistic ability the most. Schroeder has transformed a finished basement into a Celtics court, a baby girl’s room into an enchanted forest and a boy’s room into the deep sea (with even a caricature of the boy as a scuba diver painted onto the wall). Other projects, such as a mural of a cherub, hearken back to Italian Renaissance paintings.
At a South Dartmouth home, Schroeder recently blended the outside and inside by painting a mural of a sky on the ceiling of a room with an indoor pool. This lifted up the space, making the ceiling appear higher. In the same room, the ceiling’s metal beams were transformed into wood beams.
In addition to residential jobs, Final Touch does commercial work. It can be seen in many area businesses, including several Sherwin-Williams stores (where he also sometimes does faux finish demonstrations), Stoneforge restaurant in Raynham, Desert Sun Tanning in New Bedford and New York Lace bridal salon in Taunton.