Author Archives: Nigel Costolloe

Platemark Design - photo of interior design project in Cambridge, MA

Catchlight Community Spotlight: Platemark Design

As a community partner and local business, Catchlight Painting is pleased to support other businesses, individuals, and organizations that we find exceptional. For this month’s spotlight, we are excited to introduce Craig Tevolitz of Platemark Design.

Craig,​ ​what​ ​do​ ​you​ ​enjoy​ ​and​ ​appreciate​ ​most​ ​about​ ​working​ ​in​ ​New​ ​England​ ​and surrounding​ ​areas?

Craig Tevolitz of Platemark Design in Boston MAMy​ ​experience​ ​is​ ​the​ ​deep​ ​concentration​ ​of​ ​artisanal​ ​talent​ ​that​ ​exists​ ​in​ ​this​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the country.​ ​This​ ​extends​ ​to​ ​many​ ​trades,​ ​from​ ​cabinetmaking​ ​and​ ​carpentry,​ ​upholstery​ ​and furniture​ ​restoration​ ​and​ ​of​ ​course,​ ​fine​ ​painting​ ​and​ ​finishing.

When​ ​did​ ​you​ ​discover​ ​your​ ​passion​ ​for​ ​transforming​ ​living​ ​spaces​ ​via​ ​interior​ ​design?

I​ ​never​ ​planned​ ​for​ ​a​ ​career​ ​I​ ​could​ ​be​ ​passionate​ ​about,​ ​let​ ​alone​ ​aspire​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​creative entrepreneur.​ ​I​ ​studied​ ​and​ ​sought​ ​work​ ​(very​ ​successfully)​ ​in​ ​the​ ​financial​ ​services industry​ ​as​ ​a​ ​software​ ​architect,​ ​leading​ ​projects​ ​that​ ​efficiently​ ​automate​ ​essential workflows​ ​and​ ​maximize​ ​user​ ​experiences.

Similar​ ​to​ ​interior​ ​design,​ ​ironically,​ ​I​ ​use​ ​those​ ​same​ ​skills​ ​to​ ​this​ ​day.​ ​My​ ​creative​ ​talent and​ ​gift​ ​was​ ​always​ ​there,​ ​it​ ​just​ ​took​ ​a​ ​curious​ ​incident​ ​to​ ​change​ ​my​ ​life’s​ ​trajectory:​ ​A friend​ ​accidentally​ ​broke​ ​my​ ​sofa​ ​as​ ​he​ ​sank​ ​into​ ​it.

How​ ​is​ ​home​ ​automation​ ​changing​ ​the​ ​way​ ​people​ ​live​ ​and​ ​enjoy​ ​their​ ​homes?

How​ ​is​ ​it​ ​not?​ ​The​ ​“Hey,​ ​Alexa”​ ​novelty​ ​aside,​ ​simple,​ ​unifying​ ​tasks​ ​are​ ​now​ ​quite​ ​easy to​ ​accomplish.​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​mean​ ​just​ ​being​ ​able​ ​to​ ​listen​ ​to​ ​music,​ ​set​ ​lighting​ ​scenes​ ​or stream​ ​TV​ ​or​ ​automate​ ​window​ ​shades​ ​and​ ​set​ ​thermostats.​ ​What’s​ ​now​ ​changing​ ​is​ ​the ease​ ​at​ ​which​ ​these​ ​different​ ​systems​ ​communicate​ ​with​ ​each​ ​other​ and ​most importantly,​ ​the​ ​ease​ ​and​ ​simplicity​ ​of​ ​the​ ​user​ ​experience​ ​presented​ ​beautifully​ ​on​ ​our personal​ ​devices​ ​and​ ​smartphones.​ ​Because​ ​what​ ​good​ ​is​ ​it​ ​if​ ​the​ ​user’s​ ​experience​ ​is unpleasant?

Platemark Design interior design project in Brookline, MAIn​ ​working​ ​with​ ​clients​ ​over​ ​the​ ​past​ ​10​ ​years,​ ​is​ ​there​ ​a​ ​project​ ​that​ ​stands​ ​out?​ ​What made​ ​it​ ​unique?

Frankly,​ ​I​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​enjoy​ ​the​ ​client​ ​synergy​ ​(just​ ​slightly)​ ​more​ ​than​ ​the​ ​projects​ ​per​ ​se. When​ ​the​ ​relationship​ ​works,​ ​everything​ ​always​ ​falls​ ​into​ ​place.​ ​This​ ​usually​ ​involves unbridled​ ​enthusiasm​ ​and​ ​the​ ​sincere​ ​trust​ ​that​ ​everything​ ​will​ ​be​ ​beautiful​ ​in​ ​the​ ​end.

What​ ​makes​ ​Platemark​ ​Design​ ​stand​ ​out​ ​from​ ​other​ ​Interior​ ​Designers​ ​in​ ​Greater Boston?

Our​ ​work​ ​-​ ​and​ ​the​ ​way​ ​in​ ​which​ ​we​ ​work​ ​-​ ​is​ ​driven​ ​by​ ​our​ ​high​ ​standards​ ​of​ ​excellence in​ ​each​ ​phase​ ​and​ ​turn​ ​of​ ​the​ ​project,​ ​not​ ​just​ ​a​ ​promised​ ​result​ ​that​ ​furthers​ ​to​ ​enhance our​ ​portfolio.​ ​Client​ ​satisfaction​ ​prevails​ ​throughout​ ​the​ ​entire​ ​journey​ ​with​ ​Platemark because​ ​we​ ​over-deliver​ ​on​ ​promises.

How​ ​do​ ​you​ ​define​ ​a​ ​successful​ ​project?

A​ ​fully-satisfied​ ​client​ ​typically​ ​expressed​ ​with​ ​laughter​ ​and​ ​sometimes​ ​tears.

Please​ ​provide​ ​a​ ​FAQ​ ​you​ ​receive​ ​from​ ​clients​ ​and​ ​the​ ​answer.

How​ ​Long​ ​will​ ​it​ ​Take?

Depending​ ​on​ ​the​ ​scope​ ​of​ ​work,​ ​your​ ​project​ ​could​ ​last​ ​anywhere​ ​from​ ​12​ ​to​ ​16​ ​weeks after​ ​the​ ​design​ ​is​ ​approved​ ​—​ ​longer,​ ​if​ ​we​ ​are​ ​undergoing​ ​a​ ​project​ ​with​ ​construction and​ ​remodeling.
The​ ​fact​ ​is,​ ​everything​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Design​ ​world​ ​works​ ​very​ ​slowly​ ​and​ ​carefully.​ ​At​ ​the moment​ ​we​ ​are​ ​experiencing​ ​an​ ​increased​ ​demand​ ​for​ ​services.​ ​There​ ​are​ ​many companies​ ​that​ ​will​ ​lead​ ​you​ ​to​ ​believe​ ​they​ ​can​ ​do​ ​things​ ​quickly,​ ​only​ ​to​ ​disappoint. But​ ​that​ ​is​ ​not​ ​our​ ​company.​ ​We​ ​favor​ ​quality​ ​over​ ​speed,​ ​every​ ​time.

Who​ ​inspires​ ​you?

Extremely​ ​driven​ ​female​ ​artists​ ​and​ ​industry​ ​leaders:​ ​think​ ​Barbra​ ​S.,​ ​Joan​ ​C.,​ ​and​ ​Oprah

Who​ ​are​ ​the​ ​local​ ​businesses​ ​that​ ​you​ ​feel​ ​deserve​ ​a​ ​mention​ ​and​ ​why?

I​ ​cannot​ ​perform​ ​my​ ​job​ ​without​ ​the​ ​help​ ​from​ ​many​ ​talented​ ​businesses​ ​we​ ​work​ ​with locally.​ ​To​ ​name​ ​some:​ ​Masterpiece​ ​Woodworks​ ​builds​ ​my​ ​custom​ ​furniture​ ​designs, which​ ​are​ ​only​ ​ideas​ ​until​ ​their​ ​expert​ ​hand​ ​makes​ ​them​ ​-​ ​for​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​a​ ​better​ ​word​ ​- masterpieces.​ ​And​ ​Designers​ ​Services​ ​for​ ​all​ ​our​ ​logistical​ ​receiving​ ​and​ ​delivery.​ ​That’s where​ ​the​ ​magic​ ​really​ ​happens.

Is​ ​there​ ​anything​ ​a​ ​potential​ ​client​ ​can​ ​do​ ​to​ ​prepare​ ​for​ ​an​ ​in-home​ ​consultation?

I​ ​encourage​ ​clients​ ​to​ ​clip​ ​magazine​ ​images,​ ​online​ ​inspiration,​ ​travel​ ​pictures​ ​from memorable​ ​hotel​ ​stays,​ ​and​ ​even​ ​think​ ​about​ ​how​ ​they​ ​want​ ​to​ ​feel​ ​in​ ​the​ ​space.​ ​I’m​ ​very intuitive​ ​and​ ​with​ ​a​ ​few​ ​cues​ ​can​ ​swiftly​ ​interpret​ ​where​ ​a​ ​client’s​ ​dreamland​ ​lies.

Anything​ ​else​ ​our​ ​readers​ ​should​ ​know​ ​about​ ​your​ ​business​ ​and​ ​services?

More​ ​advice,​ ​really:​ ​Always​ ​remember​ ​your​ ​dimmer​ ​switches.

Contact Craig

Craig Tevolitz
45 Newbury St #503
Boston, MA 02116

Phone: 617-487-4475

Seth Barrett of Village Green Renewal in Brookline, MA

Catchlight Community Spotlight: Village Green Renewal

As a community partner and local business, Catchlight Painting is pleased to support other businesses, individuals, and organizations that we find exceptional. For this month’s spotlight, we are excited to introduce Seth Barrett of Village Green Renewal.

Seth, you’re a Brookline native. What do you enjoy and appreciate most about the Brookline local community?

I love how Brookline attracts people from all cultures and backgrounds, and unites them with their appreciation for community and connection. I’m always impressed with how quick people here are to make friends with their neighbors, to reach out to one another and to explore life side by side.

When did you develop a passion for antiques?

I grew in a home filled with interesting antiques, from Egyptian artifacts and early-American cookware to Federal furniture and Chippendale clocks. My mother passed along her taste for beautiful belongings, and my father gave me the tools — literally and figuratively — to care for them.

Is there a specific project you’ve worked on over the years that stands out?

I really enjoyed working on an old kinetic sculpture that had been rusting in our customer’s garage for decades. In its time out of service, it had become poorly tuned, lost its timing, and developed a nasty squeaking sound. After we took the time to really understand its intended working pattern, we meticulously adjusted every gate, lift, and drop, de-rusted the raceways and returned it to its original working order. The day it went home was a sad one for us, but a happy one for it’s owner!

What are some of your own favorite antique pieces?

I love functional pieces that harken graphically to a different era, especially advertising art, like cigar boxes, soda crates, food packaging, and toys. Just as photographs immediately transport you to another time, these gems speak volumes about their moment in history.

Talk to us about the green wave that is sweeping across Brookline. How can the community get involved?

Green thinking has gone beyond just swapping out the SUV for a Prius; now more and more people are realizing that the best way to conserve resources is not to use them in the first place. Planned obsolescence aside, nearly anything can be fixed, and in the end, glow with the patina and character that comes with love and use.

Who inspires you?

You know that expression — if you want to get something done, ask the busiest person in the room? Well, the busiest, and most effective, person in Brookline, hands down is Chobee Hoy. Even while spearheading one of the most successful real estate businesses in town, she remains peerless in her embrace of Brookline’s people and institutions, and even more importantly, she’s always up for a party, (as long as it’s for a good cause)!

Who are the local green businesses that you feel deserve a mention and why?

This isn’t a business, per se, but kudos to the Town of Brookline for everything that they do. From bike paths and recycling programs, to community gardens and electric vehicles, the town is out in front of the green revolution and a clear leader in sustainable living.

village green renewal brookline ma antique repairAre there any considerations for someone with vintage or antique items in need of repair or restoration?

Keep in mind that repair and restoration happens in degrees — you can ask us for everything from museum-quality restoration, to a super-quick glue-up. It helps to know what you’re going for before you come in – That way you can best guide your experience with our reception team.

Anything else our readers should know about your business and services?

We recently teamed up with RARE Moving and Storage, and now our team of professional movers can pick up and deliver your treasures anywhere in the country.

Here’s a short video featuring Seth and Village Green Renewal from David Vos.

Contact Seth

Seth Barrett
Village Green Renewal
6 Davis Ave. Brookline, MA 02445

Phone: 671-464-7336

Should You Paint Your House Before Selling It?

Selling your home is one of the most stressful endeavors you can undertake in your life. In a 2016 survey that asked about people’s perceptions of real estate, selling a home ranked more stressful than other major life events like planning a wedding or having a baby. And it makes sense, when you consider that your home is likely the biggest investment you’ve made. A lot of money is on the line, and you know it’s possible your home may sit on the market for a while — or it may not sell for as much as it should.

Nothing stresses us out more than time ticking away while dollars are disappearing.

While it’s important to price your property competitively and choose the right time to sell, you also need to turn your attention to your home itself. These factors are controlled by you, giving you the power to possibly improve the price of your home and the speed at which it sells:

  • Making upgrades
  • Depersonalizing your home
  • Improving your curb appeal
  • Hiring a professional photographer

But with so many ways to improve your home, where do you start? Which improvements will give you a return, and which are a waste of time and money? Is painting your home worth the effort and expense? Keep reading for answers to this important questions from experienced realtors.

Claire LeBlanc

Claire LeBlanc realtor in Greater BostonClaire LeBlanc is a REALTOR®, ABR-Accredited Buyer Representative, Certified Interior Designer, and Home Staging Specialist who has been helping buyers and sellers in the Greater Boston area for 19 years.

Claire, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

Painting your home before selling can be very beneficial to the seller! The entrance of your home creates the first impression to buyers. Buyers make up their mind about a house in the first few minutes they see it! The exterior should be clean and neat, and a fresh coat of paint goes a long way. Remember, you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. A nicely colored doorway draws your eye right to the door, leading people into the house. If a house shows well, you most likely will get a higher offer. Homes that are looking freshly painted with a beautiful front door and exterior adds curb appeal and the buyer is happy to see a well-maintained home right from the start!

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

Neutral colors work best when selling a home: beige, gray, greige, sand, and off white are all in right now, and they appeal to a wider range of potential buyers. You want to market the home to the most amount of buyers possible, and neutral colors do that. They also are a good background for some interior decorating. If needed, you can always add some pops of color in furniture, art, pillows, and decor to bring a room stylishly together.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

Painting is relatively inexpensive and the sale of the home will go faster if it’s freshly painted. Always hire a professional, experienced painter. If a house shows well, you most likely will get a higher offer! In my experience, homes that are looking worn and tattered tend to stay on the market longer.

Contact Claire

Claire LeBlanc
Phone: 781-424-5443

Mike DelRose

Mike DelRose has been a full-time real estate broker since 1978 and established his team in 1992. He is recognized as one of the top agents with RE/MAX of New England and has been awarded to the RE/MAX Hall of Fame and earned the Lifetime Achievement Award. Based in Watertown, MA the Mike DelRose Team serves all of Greater Boston and often beyond, including the communities of Belmont, Newton, Waltham, and Watertown.

Mike, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

A fresh coat of paint on both the exterior and interior of a home absolutely can help a listing sell faster. It’s actually more important now than ever because your average first-time home buyer is likely going to have a lot of competition for their purchase. So much so that they often have to stretch themselves thin by putting more money down and increasing their offer price. Having projects like painting done prior to listing goes a long way. Buyers will pay a premium for finished projects because it’s cheaper to finance it than spending out of pocket.

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

Whites are in, or should I say, they have always been in. Shades of white are timeless, unlike the houses we view that haven’t been painted in decades. Some homes we view are like time capsules, and your average buyer today wants to be able to picture themselves living in their new home. Sometimes it’s hard to get past a seller’s personal taste.

Will painting the interior/exterior provide the homeowner with an ROI?

There are certain projects we will recommend or not recommend depending on the circumstances. In addition to average repair work, painting is always a task sellers should consider when looking for a return prior to putting their home on the market.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

When I walk through a home for the first time, I can always see the quality of recent projects –and so can our buyers. When there is the perception that home renovations were completed on a budget or by someone who appears inexperienced, I immediately expect that other corners have been cut. Always consult with a professional to ensure the quality of work is adequate not just for you, but for your next home buyer.

Contact Mike

Mike DelRose
Phone: 617-923-8355

Dan Bernal

Dan Bernal - Eastern MassachusettsDan Bernal is a top producing agent providing concierge-level service to buyers, sellers and investors throughout Eastern MA since 2006. Dan has received numerous sales awards and is a repeat featured agent on HGTV’s House Hunters.

Dan, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

I spend about half my time working with buyers, and I’ve found that interior painting has a huge effect on buyer perception and the subsequent speed of sale. Buyers’ attention is drawn toward “issues,” so any cosmetic improvements that remove the impression of an “issue” allow buyers to more fully pay attention to and see the property itself. Interior paint is without a doubt the lowest-cost, highest-return investment in pre-listing home improvement.

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

My advice is to stay neutral on paint colors if you intend to sell a property, and whenever possible, rely on painting professionals for color suggestions. They do it every day, but you do it once every (?) years.

Will painting the interior/exterior provide the homeowner with an ROI?

I would say painting the interior of a home will 100% provide a solid ROI every time. Painting the exterior is a larger, more expensive project and warrants individual evaluation from property to property as to whether addressing it will effectively pay for itself as compared to selling as-is. Sometimes totally worth it. Sometimes not.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

I have some true horror stories from past DIY paint jobs my selling clients did to “save money.” They did not save money; they lost potential buyers. I not only recommend sellers use painting professionals when preparing to sell a home, but I essentially insist on it.

Other considerations or points related to the topic?

Buyers, particularly first time buyers or younger buyers, are drawn toward anything that looks problematic and they universally assign a much greater value to it than actual cost. A loose gutter might cost you a couple hundred bucks to repair but after a home inspection, a buyer might request a $3000 credit to address it. Water staining from a roof leak that was resolved 60 years ago in an old New England home might cost you a $5000 credit request after a home inspection, but cost you a few hundred bucks to repair, paint, make perfect and do everything properly in advance. An ounce of prevention goes a long way in preparing to sell a home. Spend the time and money up front. It’s smarter, cheaper and often more ethical than what some predatory contractor might pull on your buyer.

Contact Dan

Dan Bernal
Phone: 617-275-3291

Erin Barry

Erin Barry Realtor A REALTOR® for over 14 years, Erin made a strong impression from the start and was voted “Rookie of the Year” by her peers. At Coldwell Banker, she was named one of the Top Buyers’ Agents, with her partner, Sergio Macias. Now with Keller Williams, Erin is consistently named one of the Top Producers of the office. She has been a Director for the California Association of REALTORS® since 2015, and this year received a 3-year appointment to a presidential advisory committee. Erin is also a member of the GREEN REsource Council.

Erin, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

Yes! This helps present the home in the very best light. It also gives the impression that the house has been well-maintained, and that the beauty seen is more than “skin” deep. Think of it as putting on make-up!

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

This really depends on the architecture and style of home. Homeowners should look around their neighborhood and at other houses similar in style to their home to get ideas. Another good source for paint color ideas is Pinterest, but make sure you are looking at homes that resemble yours.

Will painting the interior/exterior provide the homeowner with an ROI?

Definitely. In the scheme of things, paint is an inexpensive improvement that offers a good return. But if a house has fading, peeling paint, it can cost the seller a lot more in lost revenue.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

While popular thought is often that DIY will save money, this isn’t always true when you factor in the time a do-it-yourselfer will have to take off work to get the job done. A professional crew can often have the exterior of a home scraped, patched, primed and painted in less than a week. I have seen people take months to do it themselves. My advice is to ask around for names of good painting contractors, and then get at least three estimates. And remember — cheapest isn’t always the best. A bad paint job doesn’t help anyone.

Other considerations or points related to the topic?

Obviously, if you’re going to the effort to make a house look as nice as possible, don’t stop at the paint. The home should be clean and de-cluttered, inside and out. Staging is a very important part of marketing as it inspires a buyer to imagine themselves living in that house. And once this is all done, you don’t want to hire an agent who walks in, takes a few photos with their phone and posts them online. Hire an experienced REALTOR® who will use a professional photographer and create a marketing campaign showcasing the best features of the house –so you can get the best price.

Contact Erin

Erin Barry
Phone: 562-233-0971

Dave Lenhardt

Dave was a real estate investor for six years before becoming a full-time Realtor, and has a unique perspective as a landlord and condo association trustee. Dave and team serve Winchester, Woburn, and Burlington, MA and hold numerous free workshops throughout the year to provide tips and tricks to buyers and sellers in order to help them achieve their real estate goals.

Dave, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

Assuming the paint colors follow the current trends and the job is done well, painting a house will definitely help a home sell faster. Today’s buyers are looking for homes online, and very often won’t even check out a home in person if it looks outdated in the pictures they see.

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

First of all, decide whether you will be changing any light fixtures as well. Different types of bulbs (LEDs in particular) have various tints to them, and you want to paint a room with colors that look good in the light you’ll have in the home when it’s sold. Painting a test section with a small amount of paint is a good idea before paying to have the whole job done. I’ll never forget one example of this in particular. I painted some walls with a color that looked purely gray under the LED lights we had in an interior section of one property, and that same gray looked shockingly brown when painted in a sunroom that was lit up by natural light.

Will painting the interior/exterior provide the homeowner with an ROI?

Assuming the paint colors follow the current trends and the job is done well, a new paint job can often provide a homeowner with a return on investment if the old colors were dark or outdated, or if the homeowner does the work themselves. I always recommend that a homeowner consult with a full-time REALTOR® when evaluating paint colors, or deciding whether to hire a painter or do some of the work themselves.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

This varies in every situation. If a homeowner has the time AND is good with a brush (many are not), it can be worth it to do it themselves. If not, it’s best to hire a professional.

Other considerations or points related to the topic?

I suggest using a low-VOC paint if you can afford it, because a home painted in standard-grade paint will take weeks to rid itself of that headache-causing smell while a low-VOC paint will emit little to no odor once it’s dry.

Contact Dave

Dave Lenhardt
Phone: 781-557-8673

Rachel Hillman Foy

Rachel Hilman - Massachusetts area realtorRachel Hillman became a full-time Massachusetts area REALTOR® in 2002. With over 15 years of experience, her business is over 90% referrals. Rachel and her team at Hillman Homes have a passion for real estate and taking care of their clients.

Rachel, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

Yes, many buyers want “move-in” ready, and homes with clean paint inside and out make a better impression and sell quicker than those with outdated/peeling paint.

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

For the interior, keep colors light and neutral. Something like off-white or light gray works best to help the white trim pop and help the rooms feel bigger/brighter.

Will painting the interior/exterior provide the homeowner with an ROI?

Yes, painting will give the buyer one less thing to worry about when making an offer. It also helps to show the buyers that the property has been maintained well over time.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

Generally, yes — professionally painted walls are done right (no accidentally hitting the ceiling or floor with paint, drips, etc.).

Other considerations or points related to the topic?

After many years, the walls can get dirty from paintings, fingerprints, etc. When de-cluttering/staging for a home sale, painting is one more stop to make sure the property shows in the best possible light.

Contact Rachel

Rachel Hillman Foy
Phone: 617-930-5665

Janis Lippman

Janis Lippman Boston Massachusetts RealtorJanis is a REALTOR®, ABR-Accredited Buyer Representative, is on the board of the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals and is a former board member of both The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and Mass Equality. She spearheads all operations for the Ellen, Janis & Josh Real Estate Team.

Janis, does painting the interior/exterior help a home sell faster?

Yes, no doubt.

What advice do you have on paint colors homeowners should use if they are selling their home?

When selling your home, it is best to stay with neutral colors. We suggest Benjamin Moore Wind’s Breath with white trim.

Will painting the interior/exterior provide the homeowner with an ROI?

A fresh coat of paint can improve curb appeal and enhance the value of your home. It may even sell faster.

In your experience, is it recommended to work with a professional painting contractor as opposed to DIY?

We always recommend working with a seasoned professional. The painting prep work is critical. Few people have the experience and time that a professional quality painting job requires.

Contact Janis

Janis Lippman
Phone: 617-869-0496

Wrapping It Up

Paint is transformative, and a good paint job lets potential home buyers picture themselves living in your home. Since updating your home with paint before you put it on the market may help you sell your home quicker and for a better price, it makes sense to take the time and energy to get the job done — and to get it done right. Hire a professional painting company to transform your home into one that potential homebuyers will be willing to pay for.

Are you a REALTOR®, real estate agent, or homeowner who would like to join the conversation? If so, please leave your thoughts in the comments below. We look forward to hearing from you!

Catchlight Community Spotlight: Shari Pellows Interiors

Catchlight Painting, a local Newton business and community partner, is excited to feature other businesses, individuals, and organizations that we find exceptional. For this month’s spotlight, we are pleased to introduce Shari Pellows Interiors.

Meet Shari

Shari PellowsShari Pellows is the founder & principal designer at Shari Pellows Interiors. Shari has more than 20 years of design experience and offers a full range of interior design services for both residential and commercial spaces.

Shari’s work has been featured in The Boston Globe and New England Home Magazine.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from?

I am a New Yorker who found love in Montclair, New Jersey and wound up married and living in Newton, Massachusetts. At the time, I had no driver’s license or job, and through a series of very fortunate events, found my passion in interior design. I’ve now been an interior designer working in my dream job for the last 26 years!

What does a successful project mean to you?

My clients are very important to me, most of them are with me for many years. Often, I wind up doing more than one house for them. So when my client calls and tells me how good it feels to come home – how happy they are and that it’s better than they imagined – that’s my success and it is incredibly fulfilling each and every time. It never gets old.

Do you have a signature style? If so, will you describe it?

I consider my job as a designer to interpret people’s taste and make sure what they articulate comes to life in their home. Texture, scale, and color all play a strong role in all of my rooms, and work together to ensure each home is unique. I pride myself in finding interesting objects and art. I also custom-design pieces so that they’re special to each of the homes I work on.

On your website, you mention that every project is a creative collaboration between your design team and the client. Tell us more about the process of aligning a client’s vision with your own.

At the beginning of each project our team sits down with our clients and asks them about the way they live, the way they want their house to function, and what is important to them. We then bring them a thoughtful presentation that offers choices of layouts, furniture, and fabrics – taking into consideration their budget and making sure it aligns with their goals. Each project begins the same way, but each outcome is completely individualized; it’s very exciting work.

Where do you find inspiration?

I get to travel a great deal for my job and I am fascinated by how diverse design can be. Every place has its own signature – completely different depending on where you are in the world. I am very fortunate to work all over the country and shop everywhere I go. I am indeed a professional shopper! Inspiration finds me, sometimes in the smallest of details.

Who is your ideal client?

Someone who is excited to put their personality into their home. Someone who starts out not necessarily knowing what they want and then winds up having fun with the process.

What are a few of the exciting trends happening within your industry?

Although there are many trends, such as warm metals making a comeback, black and white is the new grey, and color is everywhere, what’s exciting is that there are no limits. Everything goes, because creativity is what’s in and that means great design goes beyond a label of traditional, transitional, or modern. You can be you.

There are many stunning transformations in the before and after section of your website. Of the projects you’ve worked on over the years, do you have a few favorites? If so, why?

Of course I have favorites, but mostly because the clients and I had so much fun working together. If you look at the before and afters, you can see how amazing it is to transform people’s spaces. If I had to pick one that stands out to me I would have to say the house in St. Thomas.

St. Thomas Residence, VI US– Great Room

The St. Thomas project was so unique.  I had the privilege of working with an incredible team that really utilized each other’s strengths to create this unbelievable home.  I also love working with young families and talking to kids about their spaces. They are so joyful, creative, and opinionated, it keeps me on my toes!


Contact Shari

Shari Pellows
Shari Pellows Interiors
Phone: +1 (617) 388-4300

Catchlight Becomes Official Painter for All Future Room to Dream Foundation Projects

As a local Newton business and community partner, we are pleased to announce that Catchlight has become the official painter for all future Room to Dream Foundation projects.

Over the past 10 years, Catchlight has worked on four charity paint projects with the foundation, and is excited to strengthen the partnership.

Last month, the Catchlight team donated their time, labor, and talents to help beautify and restore the room of a young lady who is battling an illness.

“We are proud to have worked with RTD to serve families and children in need in our greater Boston community.” – Nigel Costolloe

Lead by founder Stefan Nathanson, the RTD Foundation’s mission is to create healing environments in bedrooms for children and adolescents who are facing chronic illnesses.

“We are grateful for Catchlight’s commitment to helping us give chronically ill children in the Boston area new Rooms to Dream in!  We look forward to partnering up on many more projects to come.” – Room to Dream Foundation

Lead work area poison

Historic & Restoration Painting in New England

The antique and venerable homes of New England are beautiful to look at and the innumerable picture postcard images of the classic clapboard homes are unmistakably of a style and vernacular unique to our region.  Those of us who live in these homes are all too aware however, that their preservation and painting demand a level of expertise from a painter that far exceeds the basic knowledge required for new house painting.

From understanding how aged and brittle paint can lead to alligatoring, peeling and paint failure,  the risks of disturbing lead-based paint, to the compatibility issues of mixing oil-based and latex paints, the old house painter must be a master of many skills but more importantly, a curious and observant curator of each old house she or he is engaged with.

Paint Failure and Moisture

paint failure

Let us start with a look at the role of moisture in accelerating paint failure. Old homes sit on stone foundations and a poured cement floor; both surfaces are moisture permeable and so the basement is a damp space. Winter heating of the home draws the moisture up into the home via chimney effect, and this moisture is then pushed through the sidewalls by positive pressure.

When this moisture meets the many multiple coats of paint on original clapboards, it can lift the paint of the wood completely as the thickened coating has become impermeable. The photograph below (insert is of a Cambridge MA home, built in 1853, shows the various examples of paint failure, including this effect of peeling to bare wood due to moisture transpiration

The pervasive visible evidence of alligatored paint is also on view below.

This effect, so called because the paint takes on the texture of alligator skin, is caused by a thickened coatings inability to flex and breathe as the wood it is applied to contracts and expands with temperature and humidity fluctuates. Needless to say, this brittleness causes the coating to fracture then lift and peel. The siding pictured reveals past efforts to remove the lifting paint by manually scraping; the scraped edges of the paint have not been sanded smooth leaving a broken finish, and one more prone to additional peeling.

A common mistake we see when less experienced and informed painters work on older homes is coating incompatibility and intercoat delamination. The photograph included below shows latex paint peeling off an older oil based coating; lack of cleaning and preparation of the oil based coating has caused the latex paint to peel in sheets. Latex paint is an excellent coating and performs well in most environments, but it sticks through adhesion and so requires a clean and properly sanded or abraded surface.

Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule

Finally, per EPA regulations, any home built before 1978 is assumed to have lead paint applied to it. Lead paint is a high performing and durable finish but with a poisonous and neurologically toxic downside; proper protocols for preparation or disturbance of lead paint require licensing and strict adherence to these protocols.

Failure to budget for the added labor and complication of working with lead paint can be expensive in the former, and dangerous in the latter. The photos included here give an example of the laborious extra steps necessary to account for this risk.

Suffice it to say, repainting antique homes is not for the inexperienced painter. With appropriate observation and knowledge however, and a massive dose of patience and diligence, even the oldest and most venerable home can be carefully preserved for future owners to enjoy.


Power Washing Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 4 reviews
5 1

Quality Was Extremely High

5 5 1
The work completed exactly matched the quote. I am a repeat customer so I knew the quality would be extremely high and it was.

Crew Was Respectful & Courteous

5 5 1
The crew was respectful, courteous and very professional. The work was thorough and incredibly well done. A++

Work Was Great!

5 5 1
I have come to rely on Catchlight knowing the finished work will be GREAT and the painting crew exceptionally pleasant

Catchlight Community Spotlight: Christie Dustman & Company

As a local Newton business and community partner, we are excited to feature and support other local businesses, individuals and organizations that we find exceptional. For this month’s showcase, we are pleased to introduce Christie Dustman.

Meet Christie

Christie_DustmanChristie Dustman is a lifelong gardener whose love of plants, people and outdoor spaces impacts everything her green thumbs touch. The artistry and expertise Christie brings to garden design, installation and maintenance is truly extraordinary. Yet what truly sets Christie’s work apart is her ability to design garden areas that are uniquely responsive to her client’s taste and the specific characteristics of their space. Her award winning work has earned national recognition, been featured in published articles and proudly included in local area garden tours.

Tell us a little bit about yourself? When did you develop a passion for gardening? How did you get your start?

I grew up on 6 acres of land near the Erie Canal in upstate NY. Both of my parents were raised in Western NY farm country; Our family garden had vegetables, fruit and an orchard. As a kid, I was roped into helping with the garden, particularly picking veggies and raspberries. I really disliked the bug aspect of gardening and got eaten alive by mosquitoes. My parents enjoyed seeing how people work the land so often took us to see historic houses and botanical gardens. I grew up visiting cultivated outdoor spaces rather than beaches or big state parks.

Seeing historic homes and gardens taught me the impact people can have on the way outdoor spaces appear and function. In addition, my dad had a particular fascination with tools and how things get done, so I was also exposed to the elegant and intentional execution of ideas – for example in house building and in the Shaker vision of furniture design – simple yet elegant and functional.

I didn’t get back on the plant track until I moved to Somerville, MA in my early 20’s. My parents planned a visit and suddenly, out of nowhere, I panicked because my neighborhood lacked anything green – NO gardens. Now, why did that realization spark a reaction? I don’t know. But I started to plant a garden where I lived and, as I did, all that I’d been exposed to as a kid came rushing back. I started remembering plants and gardening activities from the point of view of wanting to do these activities myself. At age 27, I bought my first house so I could begin transforming my own outdoor garden space.

I designed this first home garden with intention and thoughtful elegance. I experimented in creating outdoor rooms, and with different types of plants. I also began taking classes at the Arnold Arboretum and in 1997 I attended my first national meeting of the American Conifer Society in Chicago, IL. My parents attended the conference as well and we met a whole new crowd of people there – people who were passionate about plants, particularly conifers. It was at this conference while visiting botanical gardens (again!) that I had a brainstorm: why not change my avocation into my vocation? Was this possible?

That year I entered a Landscape Design Certificate program at Harvard, and in the spring of 1998, I began working with my very first clients. Thus my business was born and quickly fueled by my own deeply rooted passion and early success. Nearly 20 years in, I continue to live and breathe plants. I still think about how to “get things done” in an elegant and functional way, and I have developed a resonance with plants much like I feel for other living creatures. I feel for and about plants and aim to give them and their “people” a good life.

People may be under the impression that landscape design services are prohibitively expensive. What can you share about the costs associated with the work you do?

We start with a consultations or brainstorming session – what we call a Design Assessment meeting. This is an on-site meeting  to consider what is there now, what can stay, what should change, what problems need to be solved and goals. We charge $165 for this initial session. Depending on the scale of the project, design assessment and planning can take a couple of hours to several dozen. Both result in a written proposal.

Our business model is to be fully present during this initial meeting and to freely explore and call out whatever ideas arise. Our client gets an opportunity to see how we listen, think and  problem-solve as so much of garden design actually involves problem solving, with beauty on top. This first meeting typically focuses on the distinct challenges that every project and client face. Even clients who don’t choose to proceed find that they have gained much greater clarity and direction in thinking about their outdoor space.  Our clients feel heard, and most get genuinely excited as we explore possibilities together.

Design plans for garden spaces, like architectural plans for indoor spaces, evolve. Ultimately project cost is dependent on project scope. We bill $125/hour for our design and consultation work. Once a comprehensive plan has been reached, accurate installation pricing follows. Of course we prioritize working within each client’s budget.

What I can say about planning expenditures is that I have never heard a client lament “this is too well planned”. On the flip side, I have seen many projects that weren’t well planned initially or didn’t function as desired so require retrofitting at additional expense. Like the adage – “A stitch in time saves nine”.

What type/amount of space is needed to create a satisfying garden?

There is no minimum size for a satisfying outdoor space. I don’t think of it this way as a space is what it is – generally defined by property lines. Our creative work happens inside this “box” with the same fundamental design considerations applied to spaces both large and small. For a very small space, the goal may be to feel refreshed by the view into it. It could be that a space is just large enough for one chair or bistro table. I enjoy designing tiny patio spaces able to accommodate just a few planters as well as large scale landscapes.

View more of Christie’s work here.
All spaces must be considered with what is practical and possible in mind so that each space feels effortless rather than forced. Large spaces bring distinct challenges, for example, how to make them cozy and comfortable while keeping their expansive feel. For any size garden, there is the possibly of “borrowing” views and a sense of space from adjacent areas – seeing into the neighboring yard with big trees, or further off into the distance. A good design makes sure to take all parts of the workable space as well as its broader context into consideration.

Contact Christie

Christie Dustman & Company, Inc.
8 A Street
Hyde Park, MA 02136
(617) 327-0330

Importance of Lead Paint Safety

6 Osborne

I am a huge fan of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and when his April 17, 2016 broadcast was about the dangers of lead it got me to thinking about how my coworkers, those fantastic men and women working as painters here at Catchlight Painting, work to make everything safer.

Just over 3 minutes into John Oliver’s story, Elizabeth McDade of the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning made the statement that really caught my attention. “Kid’s are not going to get poisoned from a water fountain at their school. They’re not. They’re going to get poisoned from paint in their homes.”

The rest of the story primarily discussed the current problems with lead in paint where abatement is under discussion and may lead folks to believe that abatement is the only way to protect you and your children from lead. But when you have your home painted, the lead dust can be contained.

If you have lead paint in your home, our painters are certified in Lead Paint safety protocols and trained to keep any disturbance caused by painting in a home with lead paint safe for themselves and for you and your family.

Visit our Lead Paint Safety page for more information about the EPA and Massachusetts regulations regarding lead and what you should expect from your contractors and visit our exterior historic home restoration to see how we handled a project where lead paint was present. And if you are interested in video showing the tools we use at work, watch our foreman Cole and Peter Lawson of LeadSMART in the LeadSMART Festool Throwdown showing the efficiency of the HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner we use on our painting projects.

If you are having renovation work done in your home and it was built before 1978, don’t forget to ask your contractors how they handle lead. It is a question well worth asking, each and every time.

Boston’s Best Painters Give Back, Again and Again…

I’ve been working through a trenchant biography of Winston Churchill for some months now, The Last Lion, and continue to be impressed by his fortitude and perseverance during the harrowing experience of the London blitz of WWII. Recently I heard a quote that was attributed to him “we make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”. Pithy, memorable, brief, and resonant. But stylistically it doesn’t gel with his oratorical flourishes – a quick online search discounts this attribution but offers the following Churchillian pronouncement;
“What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone? How else can we put ourselves in harmonious relation with the great verities and consolations of the infinite and the eternal? And I avow my faith that we are marching towards better days. Humanity will not be cast down. We are going on swinging bravely forward along the grand high road and already behind the distant mountains is the promise of the sun.”

This is more this style!

But what is the point of this blog, you ask? Isn’t Catchlight a painting company?

We are indeed, but we are human beings first, and nobility is our aspiration! We count ourselves fortunate to live where and how we do, working for our lovely customers in this bustling, innovative and remarkable area.

Each year we find opportunities to give back to our community and after starting with our first charity project at the Bethany House in Boston last January, we concluded 2015 by donating hundreds of hours to two organizations that provide shelter to the homeless and to families escaping domestic violence. The tight confines of these shelters did not provide great photographic illustration so we’ll settle for the group shot below;

DSC01523-300x200Kudos and appreciation to the fine people at Heading Home Inc., who work tirelessly to find housing for the homeless and in the meantime provide them with room and board at discrete properties located all over greater Boston. And our thanks to Greg Hadden of Benjamin Moore and Josh Johnson of Johnson Paint for donating the large amount of materials needed!

In 2016 we are choosing to focus our giving on The Second Step here in Newton.

They are a Newton-based and founded charity providing long term shelter to families escaping domestic violence. We kicked off our giving before Xmas with over 110 hours of painting labor and look forward to helping them refresh their shelters throughout the rest of the year. Our thanks to Sherwin Williams for donating all paint and materials!

DSC01517-300x200We hope our efforts go some way to brightening the the prospects of the Second Step families.

Some Thanksgiving Thank Yous

Two delightful and gratifying testimonials are below, both unsolicited, from two very different projects.

The first comes from the remarkable interior designer Kelly Rogers who has been managing the multiple responsibilities of running a business, raising small children, managing her Newton household all the while entering a high pressure design competition.

She writes extensively about this competition and her latest achievement here;
One Room Challenge – Week 6: Manbrary Reveal
and took the time to generously salute the good work or our foreman Scott Walsh, here;

Key Partners

  • Painting:Catchlight Painting (special shout-out to these guys, who are total pros and were extremely flexible and worked hard until the job was completed perfectly – can’t say enough about their skill and precision with a fussy product, and willingness to go above and beyond, including helping me move the ridiculously heavy and awkward desk back into the room)

The second testimonial comes from Julie, a Cambridge client with a much simpler, one day project;

To Nigel, Dan, and Alex,

I am writing this email to express my gratitude for your services.

After many years of wishing for children and a happy home to raise them in, I was blessed with twin boys. I next dreamed of the beautiful space I was going to create and provide them with in our home. A small space in our small home filled with love in this great big world. I picked a color for the walls and began coordinating pieces. I painted at night by work lamps while the boys slept. I hated the color. Tears and another trip to Home Depot for a lighter color. Three nights later, I was frustrated with my sloppy work and inability to cover the old color. I needed a professional.

The next morning, in haste and desperation to make the nursery functional again, I hired the first painter to return my call. He was to begin the next morning. He never showed.
That afternoon (after waiting all morning for the no show painter) I took the boys for a walk. I noticed one of your work vans in our neighborhood. Once we were home and the boys were settled, I called your company again. A woman answered the phone and assessed my needs. She directed me to Dan who promptly scheduled a painter to arrive at our home the following morning. I immediately felt relief knowing that someone was going to show up and get me out of this mess.
Alex showed up the next morning and was ready to go. He worked quietly and diligently, fixing my mistakes and helping me to give my new babies a room of their own.
I’m am now in the process of arranging their beautiful things and am looking forward to the moments and memories that will happen here.

Thank you again,

Julie (& Ryan & Evan)

Needless to say, we’re delighted to receive and read such praise. Painting is after all, a combination of the pragmatic and aesthetic; no one cares too much about the back end; sanding, caulking, spackling, etc, but everyone, including us, loves the end result of a room transformed. We’re so pleased when our own passion for painting is appreciated and acknowledged by our customers!