Author Archives: StevenRubin

New construction painting

Here’s a few pictures of some new construction projects I painted. Unfortunately, I don’t always take pictures of the jobs I do… but here’s a few pics for you to look at.

Whether it’s a brand new building or an addition to an existing structure, it’s not finished until it’s painted.

Before and After pictures

Refinishing a basement adds living space and value to your home

Nice rustic sitting room in a new home (before and after)

This new addition made a huge impact on the value of this home

This next one was from years ago, before I owned a digital camera. (ah, memories :))

new construction painting archived photo

I’ll try to add some more pictures for you to look at when I get a chance, but I’m really more of a painter than a web guy and right now I need to get back to work.

Serving Southern New Hampshire since 1995

For A Quality Interior House Painter Call

(603) 864-9783


Do It Yourself painting tips and techniques

Painting a room by yourself can be a rewarding experience.

If everything goes right, you not only get a freshly painted room that looks great, but you may also get a feeling of pride knowing that you did it yourself.

I put this page here to give you a few tricks of the trade from a professional painter. Obviously, I can’t predict every contingency you might come across, but here’s a few ideas to get you started…

paint brush When caulking seams around windows and doors, between trim and walls or anywhere else in a room, try using a wet t-shirt type cloth wrapped tightly around your finger. This will help give you a smooth bead of caulk and will also help prevent your fingers from getting all sticky with the caulking.

paint brush When filling nail holes in trim that’s going to be painted, use vinyl spackle or hardening wood putty. (wood putty dries harder, but vinyl spackle is easier to sand – both are effective). Fill the hole slightly above level to allow for any shrinkage. When it’s dry, you can sand it smooth with fine grit sandpaper. With a little practice, you should have a hard time even telling where the nail holes were once it’s been painted.

paint brush If you’re painting the ceiling and walls in a room, always paint the ceiling first. If you paint the walls first, you might lean against them while painting the ceiling. It’s highly unlikely you’ll ever lean against the ceiling while painting the walls.

paint brush If you have any heavy-duty screw anchors in your walls from a large hanging picture and you want to fill the holes, it’s often better to push them into the wall and fill a small hole, rather than trying to pull them out and possibly patching a much larger hole if they tear the wall on the way out.

paint brush If you’re painting with oil-based paint, don’t waste your time trying to clean the roller nap when you’re finished. It makes no sense spending ½ hour of your time and $6.00 worth of mineral spirits just to clean a $5.00 roller nap. A quality brush is worth cleaning, but just thank the roller nap for its service and give it a proper send off.

paint brush Don’t store left over paint in an unheated garage or shed for the winter. Most paint in a sealed container can handle one or two freeze/thaw cycles, but if you leave it out all winter, you’ll have little more than a huge paperweight by the time spring rolls around.

paint brush  When you’re spackling holes in your walls, it’s better to use multiple thin layers of spackle (allowing each layer to dry before applying the next) rather than laying it on heavy thinking you’ll sand it smooth later. I’ve worked with many so called “professionals” that think they’ll save time by laying the spackle on thick and sanding it later. What usually happens is…
1- They spend the same amount of time sanding, that they thought they were going to save, or
2- It doesn’t really sand smooth and you end up with a visible hump on the wall after it’s painted, or
3- They sand it smoothly but create a dust cloud you’ll be cleaning up for days

It does take a little patience to wait for one layer to dry before applying the next, but with 2 or 3 thin layers of wall patch, you’ll eliminate 95+% of the sanding and you’ll end up with far better results in the end.

paint brush (More to come)

If you’re looking for more in depth DIY tips, you can go to our Contact us page and email me directly with any questions you have. I will personally respond to all inquiries as soon as possible. Or if you’d like a little professional help with your project, you can always hire me for a day.

Serving Southern New Hampshire and surrounding areas since 1995

For A Quality Interior House Painter Call

(603) 864-9783


When to hire a professional

Painting a room in your home can be a rewarding experience.

If everything goes right, you not only get a freshly painted room that looks great, but you may also get a feeling of pride knowing that you did it yourself.

But before you start, here’s a small checklist of things you’ll need…

√ Paint (obviously)
√ Primer (if needed for any unpainted surfaces)
√ Brushes (1 for each different type of paint)
√ Paint bucket
√ Roller pan / Roller frame / Roller nap
√ Drop cloths
√ Ladder(s)
√ Painters masking tape
√ Patience (lots and lots of patience)
√ Spackle
√ Drywall tape and mud (if needed)
√ Spackling tools
√ Caulking and caulking gun
√ Sand paper
√ A steady hand
√ Clothes that you don’t mind getting paint on
√ A free day or two with nothing else to do

If you already have these things, then you’ve probably painted a room or two in your time.
If not, then this could represent a significant investment in time and money.

Even if you usually do your own painting, perhaps you’re just too busy to paint a room, but you still want, or need, to have it done.

Whether you’ve done all of your own painting, or have never painted a room, there may come a time when you’ll want to hire a professional. But whom do you hire?

Here are a few guidelines to use when choosing a painter.

Ask them about their work experience.

How many years have they been painting? Perhaps they have some pictures of past jobs.

Inexperienced painters may be a little cheaper in price, but you’ll probably find out you get what you pay for. Think about it this way – If you pay a little more than you think you should… your talking about pennies. But if you pay less than you ought to, and the quality of the work is crappy… then you’ve lost it all.

Don’t necessarily go for the highest price either, thinking the quality must be better. I’ve met painters that charge $50 or more per hour, and won’t do any better of a job than one who’s much less expensive. Your best bet is to find someone who’s competitively priced and who has a proven track record.

When it comes to price, keep in mind that the prep work is usually the most time consuming and labor intensive part of any job. Therefore, it’s usually the most expensive part of any job. So if the cost seems a little high or unusually low, ask specifically what’s going to be done before the paintbrush comes out. This may help you to determine the value for your dollar.

Are they professional in appearance?

Are they wearing painter’s clothes that are reasonably clean? (Not counting paint of course)

If someone shows up for an estimate looking like a total slob, then you may not want him or her swinging a paintbrush in your home. This type of standard should apply to all professionals, not just painters or other tradesmen.

On the other hand, don’t judge your painter on the basis of dirty clothes alone. They may have just come from another job, and believed that showing up for your estimate on time was more important than going home and changing clothes.

Be sure they have references.

Multiple references are better. Anyone can have a couple of references from a family member or a friend, so ask for 4 or 5 and don’t be shy about calling a few. You can never tell how qualified someone is from their own advertising, but you can get a pretty good idea from the people who have done business with them in the past.

Serving Southern New Hampshire and surrounding areas since 1995

For A Quality Interior House Painter Call

(603) 864-9783




Here’s just a few of the comments some of my customers have sent me over the years…

I was going to type up all the thank you notes I’ve received and add them here as testimonials, but every website does that, and how do you know if they’re for real or just made up?

So instead I photocopied some of them for you to read.

There’s a whole lot more where these came from, but I didn’t want this page to take 20 minutes just to load, so I grabbed a dozen off the top and scanned them to this page for you…

painting references-1painting references-2painting references-3

If you’d like to see more, just let me know. I’ve got another hundred or so I can show you.

Serving Southern New Hampshire and surrounding areas since 1995

For A Quality Interior House Painter Call

(603) 864-9783


Horsehair plaster repair

Antique horsehair plaster has a historical charm that you just don’t find in newer buildings.

Most painters and craftsmen will take one look at crumbling horsehair plaster and tell you it can’t be restored, and you should just drywall over it.

Personally, I love the charm of historical plaster with it’s uneven character and hand tooled craftsmanship. That’s why I’ve spent the better part of 2 decades fixing and restoring horsehair plaster in homes across southern NH.

The first thing we need to consider is that horsehair plaster does not react like most other surfaces. As older houses move and breathe with the changing temperatures and humidity, old school plaster needs to remain strong, while still moving with the building.

So before you let anyone come in to restore your old horsehair plaster, make sure they know what they’re doing. Because there’s a big difference between something that looks good for a couple months (before it starts cracking) and something that will last for another 10 or 20 years, or more.

Here’s a few pictures for you to look at of some old plaster I’ve fixed. If you have old horsehair plaster in your home call me before you tear it down, cover it with sheetrock, or let some hack come in and just start slinging joint compound all over your walls.

Before and after pictures of horsehair plaster repair…

This first ceiling had seen better days. Now it’s seeing better days again…

This next room is about 150 years old, and it was showing its age…
Now it should last for another generation…

When the roof leaked on this next house, the homeowner saw a bulge in his horsehair plaster ceiling. He poked it with a stick and a section of ceiling came crashing down at his feet. The roofer fixed the leaky roof, then I fixed the ceiling and painted the room.

In this next room the walls were pretty solid. A few areas needed some extra attention (a few settling cracks and a some broken keys here and there) but mostly the walls just had the look of pock marked concrete, and the homeowner wanted the walls to be smooth. So all that was needed was some minor repairs and a resurfacing skim coat (and some paint)…

Here’s another one where I discovered an old chimney hidden behind the wallpaper
it had a hole in it that used to be for a wood stove in the room. The homeowner decided to leave access to the chimney (just in case they ever wanted to put a wood stove back in the room) so I left the hole open and covered it with a decorative tin plate

This next ceiling had been neglected for a while. It was finally time to fix it.
Now it will last for many years to come…

I’ve got a lot more pictures where these came from, and I’ll try to add some more to this page when I get a chance, but right now I have to get back to work.

Serving Southern New Hampshire since 1995

For A Quality Interior House Painter Call

(603) 864-9783


Hire me for a day

Do you want to paint a room by yourself, but don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you’ve already started your project and ran into something you didn’t count on?

Help is on the way!

Whether it’s crumbling horsehair plaster, water damage, smoke damage, basic drywall repair, or many other situations that require a professional… if you don’t want to pay someone else to do the entire job, or you simply want to take pride in doing it yourself, and just need a little help, give me a call.

For a low, low fee, I’ll come to you and give you step-by-step instructions on how to repair your ceilings, walls, and/or trim. And I’ll work with you for a half day, or a full day to get your job moving along in the right direction.

Once your project is professionally finished, you’ll be able to take pride in honestly telling everyone “you had a little help from a friend, but did most of the work yourself.”

It will only cost you $175 for a half day (up to 4 hours),
In return you’ll get…
– A professional craftsman with an eye for detail and nearly 3 decades of experience…
– A half day of professional labor to get your job moving along in the right direction…
– Step-by-step instructions to finish the job once I’m gone…
– My personal cell phone number so you can call me if you run into something else you didn’t count on.

That price is dirt cheap for having an expert come to you… show you, teach you, and work with you… to get the best possible results for your interior home project.

Why would a professional like myself offer to do all that for such a low price, 
when I could easily charge more (and usually do charge more) for my services?

- Because I really like what I do, and I really like helping people 
turn their houses into homes. And you'll be doing much of the work.

So if you want to save money by doing it yourself, or if you’re just a real do-it-yourselfer and simply need a little help getting high quality results, give me a call or use the contact us form and drop me a line.

If your project is something I can help you with, then for just a few dollars you’ll get high quality results that will last for years, and pride in knowing that you did it yourself (with a little help from a friend).

Serving Southern New Hampshire and surrounding areas since 1995

Hillsborough, NH – Peterborough, NH – Greenfield, NH – Jaffrey, NH – Hancock, NH – Amherst, NH – New Ipswich, NH – Brookline, NH – Milford, NH – Dublin, NH – Antrim, NH – Manchester, NH – and more…

For A Quality Interior House Painter Call

(603) 864-9783


Renovation and repair work

Water damage, smoke damage, time and gravity… These things (among others) can all take a toll on the appearance of your home. Sometimes it happens slowly over the years… sometimes it happens overnight!

Below are a few before and after pictures of some rooms I repaired and painted.
It just goes to show, no matter how ugly the damage is, it can usually be fixed.

When this skylight leaked, the homeowner freaked… But I came along, and fixed it for a song.

The walls in this next room were not primed or sized before the wallpaper was put up and the wallpaper bonded to the sheetrock. When the homeowner tried to remove the wallpaper it took much of the sheetrock sheathing with it. Fortunately, I was able to fix it before the holidays.

In this next room I first have to strip the wallpaper, to see what I’m up against…

YIKES! (and gadzooks!)

It took a bit of work, but it looks a whole lot better now…

The smoke damage in this next room was incredible. (believe it or not, these walls used to be bright yellow) Now it’s a much cleaner looking room.

This next one shows you just how bad a room can get before someone calls me in to fix it. These pictures came out a bit fuzzy, but you still get the idea (sorry folks, I’m a better painter than I am a photographer)

This next room got mildly demoed when the chimney needed some repairs I’m still not sure why they busted the other hole in the wall next to the chimney, but rather than ask a lot of silly questions, I just got to work and fixed it.

Serving Southern New Hampshire and surrounding areas since 1995

For A Quality Interior House Painter Call

(603) 864-9783


Choosing paint colors

Choosing colors for your home   choose paint colors

Color is a very important decorating tool. It is one of the first things you notice about a room. Color has the power to change the shape and size of furnishings as well as the shape and size of the room itself.

To have a beautiful home, you do not have to worry about trends. Color trends will come and go. The people who live in a home make it beautiful by choosing colors that reflect their likes and their personalities. The trick is to blend those colors you like into a pleasing combination.

Because of its versatility, paint is ideal for introducing color into your home — it’s economical and available in practically limitless shades. You can paint frequently to update the appearance of a room, suit a season or express a personality. Although, most people prefer to paint a room only once every several years, so choosing the right colors can be an important decision.

Selecting colors is not difficult if you equip yourself with some basic information about color and its effects.
The first step in choosing colors for your home is to select an overall color scheme.

  • What type of mood do you want to create?

  • What furniture, architectural features, or artwork are going to remain in the room that you may want to accentuate.

  • Remember, color may appear differently depending on how large the painted area is, whether a glossy or flat finish is used, what other colors are nearby and the type of lighting used in the room. Also, because of the number of pigments that can go into creating some paint colors, the actual color you see may change 4 or 5 shades during the day depending on the lighting in the room.

Tips for Choosing Color

• Consider the function of the room being painted and choose an appropriate color.

• Limit the number of colors in a room to no more than three or four. Too many colors can make a room look busy or cluttered

• If you have already chosen the furnishings for the room bring swatches or samples and try to use 1 or more of these colors when choosing your paint colors. That way your paint colors will already have a relationship to some of the other colors in the room.

• If you want to manipulate the perceived size of the room with color, choose an appropriate palate; light colors and white ceilings to increase size, dark bold tones with a darker ceiling color to shrink.

warm and cool colors

Warm colors generally lean towards red, orange, and yellow. They speed up our perception of time and produce feelings that are warm, cozy, and inviting. These colors are associated with excitement, warmth, and happiness.

Cool Colors generally include violet, blue, light blue and green. Emotions associated with these colors range from calm and peace to sadness if the shades are too intense or overwhelming.

Colors also have different symbolic meanings in different cultures. For example, white is the color for weddings in western societies but for funerals in traditional Chinese culture; red is associated with rage and excitement in America but with happiness and good fortune in China.

Selecting a Color Scheme
The process of selecting a color scheme for your home is a personal matter. There are no strict rules governing the selection of a color scheme, but there are some harmonious combinations inspired by the color wheel.

primary colors          secondary colors          tertiary colors

The color wheel is basically a circle of color. At three triangulated points are the primary colors of red, blue, and yellow. From there we combine these colors to create the secondary colors of Purple, green, and orange. And finally we combine them further to create our tertiary colors of yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green and yellow-green. By blending shades of white or black with our colors, we can lighten or darken the values of any color even further, creating virtually endless possibilities.

    • The monochromatic color scheme is a popular one today because, by using various intensities of one color, it lends continuity and spaciousness to small or crowded spaces. It is one of the simplest schemes to use; yet it can produce very sophisticated results. Simply select a color you would love to surround yourself with and use it in different shades to decorate the room. Try not to use colors that are too close in value, or it may appear washed out

  • A complementary or contrasting color scheme combines colors opposite each other on the color wheel, such as green and red, or blue and orange. At its best, the complementary color scheme produces a lively effect. But color shades should be chosen carefully to avoid a jarring effect.

  • An analogous color scheme uses neighboring colors on the wheel, such as green, blue-green, and blue, for a particularly harmonious effect. To avoid a static effect, use more of one color than the other.
    You can get the inspiration for your color scheme from an Oriental rug or a favorite painting. Either may suggest a pleasing color combination and could then help tie together the colors in the room.

Whether you’re decorating your entire house or merely redoing one room, be sure to maintain a certain amount of color continuity throughout the home.

In some cases, you may want to make your wall treatment the focal point of the room. For instance, an accent wall that’s painted a different color than the other walls in the room, or perhaps a faux finish on one or more walls.

Selecting Paint Colors

    • Select several paint chips that you think will work well with your furnishings, keeping in mind that the color will be much more intense on a large wall than on a small paint chip.

  • Take the chips of several possible colors home and examine them in the room you will be painting — under both natural daylight and artificial night lighting. If you’re still unsure about your color choice, buy the color that seems best in the smallest available quantity. Brush out several 2 foot x 2 foot samples on different walls of the room you will be painting. After they’ve dried, study the samples in daylight and under artificial lighting.

The main thing to remember is to have some fun choosing your colors. Paint colors are not permanent; so don’t get stressed out about choosing the wrong colors, because if you really don’t like them, it’s a simple remedy to change the colors with a fresh coat of paint!

Update: I found this neat little paint color tool online at the Sherwin-Williams paint store website. You can upload a picture of your room and change the colors around to see what your rooms would look like with different colored walls.

Here’s the link… Sherwin-Williams color visualizer  – just keep in mind that while this color visualizer tool can help narrow down your paint choices, the colors won’t be 100% accurate because you’re looking at them on a computer monitor and not actually looking at genuinely painted walls.

Serving Southern New Hampshire and surrounding areas since 1995

For A Quality Interior House Painter Call

(603) 864-9783



Change of paint color

Sometimes all that’s needed is a change of paint color to bring a drab looking room back to life. (But don’t forget the prep work. If we don’t fix the holes, cracks, and other ugly stuff first, all we’ll end up with are ugly walls that are painted a different color)

Here’s a few pictures for you to look at from some rooms I’ve painted over the years. See how a change of color can change the entire feel of the room.
(Please don’t judge the picture quality too harshly, I’m a way better painter than a photographer)

This stairwell / foyer was all white before I started… But with some deep red and orange, it’s like a whole new entryway.

This children’s bathroom hadn’t seen any love in over 15 years… So they let the kids pick the colors, and I got to work.

These walls needed a fresh coat of paint… don’t you think? “Richmond Gold” makes the whole room so much warmer

Plain white walls are OK… But a little color really shows off the architecture

Plain white dining room with a sample color swatch on the walls The color was right, so I finished the room

These next before and after pictures show you how a deeper paint color can give a room more dimension and can dramatically change the look and feel of a room.

So, there’s a few examples of how changing the colors of a room can give it a whole new look and feel. I’ve got a lot more I could show you, but I’m really more of a painter than a website designer… and right now I have to get back to work.

If you’re trying to decide what colors to paint your own rooms,
check out my page on choosing paint colors for your home to get you started.

Serving Southern New Hampshire and surrounding areas since 1995

For A Quality Interior House Painter Call

(603) 864-9783