News & Politics

2005 Guide to Home Repair: Painting

You may have seen Lenore Winters's work. She collaborates frequently with the architecture/design team Adamstein & Demetriou, and her decorative painting graces the walls in many local restaurants, including i Ricchi in downtown DC and Palena in Cleveland

Wall Power: Lenore Winters, Lenore Winters Studio

Winters and her team of five artists also work in private homes. For one project, she painted in a missing strip of marble that had chipped off an old piece of furniture. Winters often paints wood grain on new windows or doors to match existing wood. "I love camouflaging," she says.

Winters, 52, studied fine-art painting at the University of Michigan, then did installations for the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History. In the mid-1980s, she discovered decorative painting.

"It's a gold mine if you love materials," she says. Among her favorites are silver and gold leaf and Venetian plaster, a mix of marble dust and wax that creates a porcelainlike finish.

Winters and company can give rooms soft washes of color, create the textured look of fabric on smooth walls, or spice up an old piece of furniture with a new design. They charge $65 to $100 an hour.

"For years we were doing beige, beige, beige," Winters says. "There's a lot more color now, which is really fun for us."

Murals are popular, especially in children's rooms and powder rooms. Winters's studio has painted outdoor murals of Pompeiian-style garlands in the south of France for actress Joan Collins.

Homeowner tip: "Never put a shiny finish on a wall that's less than perfect," Winters says. "It will show every flaw." Some paint companies have come out with washable paints in matte finishes. Winters recommends Benjamin Moore, which she used in her own house.