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Female Painters Offer New Trend

Written by Posted On Sunday, 15 May 2005 17:00

There's lead-free paint and now there is nearly testosterone-free painters. A Hillcrest, California, company is capitalizing on its mostly female staff.

"We have a female painting crew that provides the labor and also a higher level of customer service. They are fantastic communicators with clients. They have all been trained by me on tinting colors on job sites for clients. They're also trained in any kind of faux finishes or plasters," says co-owner, Jennifer Guerin.

Guerin and the lone male in the company, co-owner, Eddie Wheatley, started the business three-and-a-half years ago.

"I think when you let strangers in your house, people feel more comfortable having a girl group come in. It's just different from having a bunch of guys walking around in your house... also a lot of times women have a better sense of color," says employee Susan Suyao.

Ox and Olive Painting specializes in interior projects. Guerin says her female staff brings a warm, caring style to each job site.

The company offers a wide selection of wall finishes and painting styles including murals and Trompe l'oeil -- a style of painting that creates a three-dimensional illusion.

Another highly requested look is the Venetian Plaster.

"It's a specialty finish that is applied in thin, translucent layers to create a rich visual finish with the illusion of depth and substance. Its composition is of slaked lime and finely grounded marble dust that can serve as a luxurious accent wall, or throughout an entire home," explains Guerin.

Still another popular trend is the use of 100 percent natural clay. "American Clay plasters are the newest in finishes," says Guerin.

They're dug from the earth in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The actual clay is then tinted, and applied to walls using a trowel.

Guerin says it's growing in popularity because there are "No fumes and it can duplicate the Venetian plaster (look by using) a Porcelina finish or it can have more of a rustic and organic (look) in the Loma finish. It comes in 32 different colors."

The American clay isn't just used for its appearance. The clay helps control the temperature in your home. It regulates arid, and humid air and absorbs and releases moisture as the weather changes. The non-toxic clay can be painted, stained or plastered. It also helps to absorb sound.

When it comes to paint, Guerin says "Color washes are really popular, which is a layer of translucent color applied on top of a coat of paint. Also what's really popular... is adding accent walls and splashes of color where (a owner's home) was completely white, now it brings personality into the walls."

Color blocking is a style that uses several colors painted in various sized blocks on the wall. It creates an interesting look that can often take the place of artwork on a wall in a living room. It's best to use varying intensities of color from the same color card.

Sheen striping uses vertical stripes of the same color, but different sheens to create a subtle design. Typically this style is used in the dining rooms. In rooms with low ceilings this look can create an illusion of height.

Finally, some tips for getting started on your painting project:

  • Call ahead for an estimate; the better contractors are booked in advance

  • Before you hire a painting company or become a weekend warrior, choose the complete color palette before you begin; re-do jobs just to change color can be a headache

  • Colors always come out two times darker than on the chip

  • After painting is complete, dispose of paints by calling your local Hazardous Waste program

  • Make sure there are contracts and written payment forms

  • Never pay full price for the service before work has begun
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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website:

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

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