Custom Cabinetry Helps Homeowner Make the Best Use of Space

Custom Cabinetry Helps Homeowner Make the Best Use of Space

As a designer, Emily Wood knows the value of built-in custom cabinetry. “It makes rooms more usable, it adds interest,” she says. “And if you want built-ins, don’t sacrifice on quality.”

So when a client asked Wood to help her make the most of her new home, Wood knew who to call for a variety of cabinetry needs: H.J. Holtz & Son. 

“They are the best,” Wood says. “The Holtz team built everything to our specifications. Josh Hastings was amazing and made our requests a reality.”

The client, a single woman in her 20s, had just purchased a ranch home that had been gutted and updated. “As a first-time homeowner able to make all the decisions herself, she was really ready to explore all her options,” says Wood, principal of Wallace Wood Interiors. “She wanted the spaces to be welcoming and lasting, able to roll with life changes.”

Together, Wood and the client talked about practical uses for all the rooms, and eventually called in the Holtz team to create built-ins for three rooms: the sitting room, the laundry room, and a room that is both office and guest bedroom. 

“We’re both very big on multi-use spaces,” Wood laughs. “We kept going back and forth between the use for that room. We ended up with a happy medium. 

In that bedroom, open shelving hangs above the desk and wraps around a corner to another wall. A shelf was added next to the bed, to eliminate the need for more furniture. In the sitting room, the Holtz team built a banquette with drawers underneath that hugs one wall. “Wall space was at a premium in that room, with two wide door openings, plus windows,” Wood says. “The client isn’t a formal entertainer, so she didn’t want the typical loveseat and two armchairs configuration. This banquette balances the sofa on the opposite wall and provides functionality to an otherwise dead corner.”

Another creative approach is evident in the laundry room, where a waterfall countertop was built to create work space above the washer and dryer then drops to become a bench that can hold a laundry basket and hide a litter box below. Two additional cabinets on the wall complete the look. “There’s nothing better than having good storage in your laundry room,” Wood notes. 

The process of working with the Holtz team was excellent, Wood says, noting that Hastings also worked with an electrician to install custom sconces in the bedroom, adjacent to the new shelves. “The communication was clear and efficient,” Wood says. “It makes for a seamless process from start to finish.”

Both Wood and the client are thrilled with the outcome. “I make the cost clear to clients up front, and she didn’t flinch,” Wood says. “Especially after everything was installed, it was very obvious it was worth the cost.”

Mission accomplished.

Updated Look for Beloved Home Through Exterior Painting

Updated Look for Beloved Home Through Exterior Painting

It was time for her home’s exterior painting, and Robin knew just who to call: H.J. Holtz & Son.

Only a year ago, Robin and her husband had hired the local firm to paint the interior of their house, following a kitchen remodel. It was an easy decision to hire Holtz & Son then, too.

“We wanted to get it done, correctly,” she says. “We knew their reputation and knew they were good. I didn’t even think of someone else. They’re probably a bit higher in price than some, but we never worried about it; we just wanted it done right.”

Exterior painting requires a slightly different skill set from interior, though repairs often come into play in both situations. With exterior work, sanding and scraping can reveal unexpected damage from water, mold, and even animals. As the Holtz team prepped the exterior of Robin’s house, issues were uncovered.

“We’ve replaced boards here and there, but there was more extensive carpentry work that needed to be done than was expected,” she says. “The carpentry guys are so good; they have such great attention to detail.”

One fun aspect of the exterior paint job, Robin says, was changing the look of the home, which her family has lived in for 25 years. Previously, the house was gray wood clapboard with black shutters, white trim, and yellow doors. Now, the house is blue with black shutters and doors, and pearl gray trim, which was suggested by a member of the Holtz team.

Robin had seen the blue on an acquaintance’s house, which has fiber-cement lap siding. Wanting the same hue – Deep Ocean – but not the siding itself, Robin requested a sample from the manufacturer, and the Holtz team had Sherwin-Williams Emerald Rain Refresh paint tinted to match their wood siding.

“The color is spot-on,” she says.

Robin says it was a pleasure to work with Holtz painters again. “Their people are very nice; they must be treated well,” she says. “They’re so considerate, clean, and very punctual.” During the exterior project, Robin was startled when the team replaced patio furniture and planters every day, as they were finishing work. “I told them that wasn’t necessary,” she says. “But they said they wanted to make it right for the evening, in case we wanted to use the patio.”

There was a gap in time from when Robin and her husband signed the contract in early 2023 and when the painting happened in the fall. “We knew we would have to wait,” Robin says. “We’re very in tune with keeping up with our property, because it’s an investment. We’re not going to let things languish. And they did a really good job.”

Attic Renovation Creates Welcoming Space for Family and Friends

Attic Renovation Creates Welcoming Space for Family and Friends

The unfinished third floor in the house had been useful over the years. With easy access to the second floor below via a wide stairway, the attic was a great storage spot for boxes and bins. Plus, it had two dormer windows that offered light and created a feeling of openness.

But the family now needed more from that space. An attic renovation was in order.

“My clients are almost empty nesters, but the kids come home all the time, and friends come with them,” says Ashley Hanley, principal of her own design firm. “The couple also has younger nieces and nephews, and they were running out of space for everybody to sleep.”

The solution? Turn the attic into a welcoming bunk room with built-in sleeping and sitting areas, and architectural details to elevate the look and feel of the space.

Hanley was familiar with H.J. Holtz & Son’s carpentry division, having worked most recently with the team on a project in Williamsburg that included a custom mantel, shiplap, and built-in cupboards. “I have used and loved the company so many times,” she says. “These clients had Holtz’s carpentry team build custom radiator covers for them, so it was easy for them to get on board.”

For the attic renovation, the Holtz carpentry team created three built-in twin beds, window seats that open for hidden storage, and a chair rail and beadboard. The team also fashioned a new railing for the staircase leading into the room, setting the tone for the refreshed space above. Holtz painting and wallpaper teams finished the room, adding whimsical “Cornwall” wallpaper by Anna French, which Hanley selected.

“The room really has that Mary Poppins attic feel,” Hanley says.

Hanley has worked with H.J. Holtz & Son since early in her career and quickly noticed that Holtz was different from other home services firms.

“I always knew Holtz & Son was really good, and I also knew they were expensive,” she says. “But after deciding to give them a try, I was just blown away by their professionalism. If something is wrong, they’re going to fix it; they’re not going to fight me on it.”

And she is delighted the company continues to expand its carpentry division, making projects like this attic renovation possible.

“Finding a good carpenter is really, really hard,” Hanley says. “Builders use the good ones and don’t like to take on smaller projects. This is such a smart part of the business for Holtz & Son to lean into.

“Everybody is nice, friendly, and talented,” she adds. “They are really proud of the work they do. It’s always a pleasure to work with incredible craftsmen.”

New Home Renovation for Holtz Customer Offers Fresh Template

New Home Renovation for Holtz Customer Offers Fresh Template

Kristen Ziegler wanted to avoid making the same mistakes twice.

In her first home renovation, she hired H.J. Holtz & Son to paint the house’s exterior after the painter who worked on the interior retired. She knew of the company’s high-end reputation, but soon found the craftsmanship and attention brought by the Holtz team to be worth any added expense.

So it was an easy decision for Ziegler to turn to Holtz & Son to help her renovate her new residence, a condominium in a 1914 apartment building. The original intent of the building was intact, but Ziegler wanted to restore the space with historical accuracy. “My first home was also my first renovation; I wasted some time and money in the learning process to get things right,” she says. “This time, I knew how to do things properly. It’s so hard: you don’t know what you don’t know.”

Painting the walls would be simple enough, Ziegler knew. The challenges were in the space’s woodwork. Trim around windows and doors was buried under layers of old paint. Crown molding at the ceiling wasn’t original to the apartment. And the baseboards were clearly also replacements; they were nearly two inches taller than the original baseboards in the building’s shared stairwell.

Working on a tight timeline, so Ziegler and her husband didn’t have to find a place to live between the sale of their previous home and moving into the new condo, the Holtz painting and carpentry divisions fabricated and painted new historically accurate baseboards, sanded and repainted all the home’s trim, and replastered and painted the walls after the inauthentic crown molding was removed. Later, after the couple had moved in, the Holtz team stripped and repainted exterior balcony French doors and painted the living room fireplace.

“The Holtz team was able to figure everything out – all the different parts – without me having to manage it,” Ziegler says. “They see other things that need attention and go above and beyond to make sure it’s complete. No detail is left unaddressed.”

As founder and principal of Minima – a firm that specializes in helping people declutter, organize, and redesign their spaces – Ziegler has an eye for detail. She credits Holtz craftsman Ricky Reid for working diligently to ensure that the new baseboards were aligned perfectly. “There are no straight walls here,” she says. “He got the trim to look straight and have the shadows look right. It was double the cost it could have been, but I’m so glad I did it.”

Ziegler is pleased with the finished project and even the process of getting there.

“I’m not an easygoing person, especially when it comes to renovations, but I’m kind,” she says. “I could tell they appreciated that, and they never got upset with me over my high standards. There’s no drama [with the Holtz team]; they show up on time and solve problems. They take pride in what they do.

“As a business owner, I value really strong customer service and really strong quality of service,” she adds. “I feel like they share those same principles, which brings peace of mind during complex projects.”

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Today’s painting projects require much more than brushes, rollers and drop cloths. H.J. Holtz & Son has a range of highly specialized equipment to create the best finished product while ensuring the safety of staff and homeowners.

“We want to be careful and thorough,” company President Rick Holtz says. “By investing in the right products, we can provide a level of service that we know customers appreciate.”

The most commonly used piece of equipment in the Holtz repertoire is a combination vacuum cleaner-dust extractor made by Festool, an American company well-known for its extensive line of machinery and power tools. Holtz says the benefit of the extractor is that it removes dust as the team is working, which protects furniture and flooring while saving time.

When a paint job involves spraying, as opposed to rolling, Holtz team members will often use a negative air machine, which draws paint particles and fumes from the air and traps them in filters. “We can’t eliminate paint odor entirely,” Holtz says, “but we can minimize it.”

For large spraying jobs, the company recently added full-body protection in the form of two oxygen suits that come with compressors carried as backpacks. When in the suit, the painter is completely enclosed, with a clean air source. “It’s just safer for our employees,” Holtz says.

Moving this equipment from job to job also requires some special effort. The company’s large box truck, which is used to deliver cabinets and shutters that have been painted in-house, was recently enhanced with an attractive graphic wrap, promoting the company as it makes its deliveries. “People think we bought it new,” Holtz says, “but we didn’t. We just made it prettier.”

The company recently outfitted another truck with a large utility box that has many compartments, accessible from the exterior, for various tools and supplies used primarily by the carpentry team. “It’s so much easier to get to things when we can just open one or two lockers,” Holtz says. “We can keep everything organized and within reach; it’s really efficient.”

The most expensive element in the Holtz arsenal, however, is not something that is obvious. Within the last year, the company invested in a new HVAC system of filters and blowers for the in-house spray room. Here, craftspeople can spray furniture, doors, etc., in a virtually sterile space. Additionally, the HVAC system allows the paint to cure in optimal, temperature-controlled conditions – not too hot, not too humid – which had always been a challenge, given Virginia’s climate.

“We’re happy to invest in products that allow us to do the best work we can do, while keeping our employees safe and protecting the environment,” Holtz says. “It’s good all around.”



In the summer of 2014, Tim Leahy, of Kirby Perkins Construction in Newport, R.I., needed a Virginia painter. The project: a full-scale historic home restoration of Carter’s Grove, an 18th century mansion on the banks of the James River, near Williamsburg.

Leahy, the company’s architectural finish director, turned first to the website for Fine Paints of Europe, which makes the top-notch paints needed for some areas of the project. Scanning FPE’s list of certified painters, “There were very few highly qualified painters in that area of Virginia,” Leahy says. He reviewed websites, contacted a handful of firms, and found Rick Holtz, president of H.J. Holtz & Son.

“Rick was able to very competently talk with me,” Leahy says. “He was confident, capable and experienced. And he showed a willingness to do a little or everything.”

That’s a good thing, because, as with so many historic home renovations, the project evolved.

Initially hired for exterior and interior prep tasks, the Holtz & Son team eventually assisted with painting, finishings and wallpapering. “Rick’s team helped us from the beginning in stripping much of the modern paints,” Leahy says. “His workers weren’t afraid to do the dirty work, and they were also capable of doing fine finish work.”


The Georgian mansion, built in the 1750s, had been owned and operated as a museum by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation since 1969. Sold to a private citizen in 2014, the house is a National Historic Landmark, on the National Register of Historic Places and on the Virginia Landmarks registry. Given these designations, Leahy says, most of the 14,000-square-foot house could not be “materially” altered but restored to its original historic appearance.

“We were careful to preserve the existing texture and character – the original fabric – of the house,” Leahy says, noting that workers had to be particularly attentive to original wood details and plaster work, while removing layers of paint that had been added over the years. The interior has now been repainted with its original colors, gleaned from paint chips obtained and analyzed by the Department of Conservation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Kirby Perkins Construction had staff relocate to Williamsburg for the nearly three-year historic restoration project. Leahy says it was helpful to have additional expertise available nearby. “We had a very good symbiotic relationship,” he says. “I would be happy to work with Holtz again – one thousand percent.”

For his part, Rick Holtz says working on a historic home restoration is both similar and completely different from working in a modern house.

“We bring the same attention to detail no matter what the project is,” he says. “But in an older home, you find different challenges, since work has been done to the house over the years. There are also specific guidelines about materials and, in some cases, specific techniques that we can use.”

In the end, Holtz says, it’s still someone’s house.

“You always want the home to look its best and be what the homeowner wants,” he says. “It’s our job to carry out the homeowner’s vision using the best techniques and materials we can, so the owner is happy and the house is in the best condition possible.”

In this case, that meant teaming up with Kirby Perkins Construction to help restore one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the nation.