It’s a bedroom dream come true.

Janet Deskevich’s younger daughter became a “Star Wars” fan after a day-long viewing marathon, a reward for the displacement that occurred when the family’s residence was featured on 2016 Historic Garden Week house tours.

“After three days of ‘Don’t touch anything!’ chaos, we spent one day completely vegged out and did nothing but watch [the movies] from start to finish: a nonstop “Star Wars” marathon,” Deskevich says. “She thought it was the coolest thing ever.”

Her daughter’s interest continued to grow as she explored the story through LEGO sets and themed rides at Disney World, where she was also able to meet characters from the films. One day, paging through a Pottery Barn catalog, Deskevich’s daughter saw a bedroom styled with a movie quilt and a wall painted to show the view outside a spaceship’s front window.

And a project was born.

Deskevich reached out to Rick Holtz, president of H.J. Holtz & Son, with whom she’d worked many times before.

Holtz brought in Amy Shimko, a decorative artist with the company who holds a degree from VCU in theater with a concentration in scene design and technical production. Shimko also completed a two-year program at Cobalt Studios in White Lake, N.Y., a respected training center for scenic artists working in theater and film.

Shimko, Deskevich and daughter soon met to discuss the vision for the room, with Shimko noting that an early distinction had to be made between scene – dedicating the room to all things “Star Wars” – and atmosphere, which would be more geared to creating a feeling.

Throughout the process, Shimko shared computer mock-ups with Deskevich and her daughter to make sure everyone was clear on the plan, making adjustments along the way.

Shimko says the project took her back to her theater days. For the characters, she drew on her iPad and projected images on paper, which were then transferred to Masonite and painted both by hand and with a spray gun. The ceiling was given a base coat of different colors with brushes, then sprayed to achieve the galaxy effect, and then the stars were painted freehand.

“The ceiling itself was four and a half days,” Shimko notes.

The freedom of working on such a project is appealing, Shimko says. “I had done murals in White Lake,” she says, “but this was working directly with the client and getting to design it myself, as opposed to being given an image and told to copy it.”

Deskevich says it was a pleasure to work with Shimko. “It was such a great process, and I had so much fun,” she says, adding that it’s obvious that Holtz employees take what they do seriously.

“It’s not just walls and paint, it’s a story,” she says. “It’s one of the greatest attributes they have to offer.”



Rick Holtz wants to hear from people.

Certainly, as president of H.J. Holtz & Son, Holtz cares about what customers need. But what he really wants everyone to understand is that their contact with the company doesn’t end after the job is finished.

“We want to build relationships,” Holtz says. “In our industry, anybody can be a painter, but we are committed to this industry; we are committed to our clients.”

Holtz’s project bids for exterior house painting now include after-the-fact service, so customers can call if they have additional concerns or see something they didn’t expect, like areas of peeling or bubbling paint. Identifying these areas in a timely fashion is important, he notes, because they can indicate wood decay, gutter or even roof problems.

“It’s about protecting your investment,” he says. “This is a cost-effective way of staying ahead of problems.”

With a carpentry department, Holtz & Son can easily address many of the most common exterior home issues, such as wood rot. The company strives to maintain a stable base of committed, trained employees, which helps to ensure consistency of approach. Returning customers also receive certain scheduling privileges. If the situation requires attention the company can’t offer, Holtz notes, the company’s partnerships with a variety of paint suppliers, designers and support companies provide a network of other trustworthy professionals as well as access to the most up-to-date techniques and industry developments.

For basic exterior maintenance, Holtz recommends an annual checklist:

  • A free visual inspection for existing customers, scheduled by Holtz, to identify potential issues.
  • Maintenance washing to remove dirt and mildew, which is paid for by customers. A Holtz employee may conduct a post-wash inspection if the cleaning reveals an issue.
  • Address any peeling paint, deteriorated window glazing, and cracked or missing caulking (at no charge, if within 3 years of painting by H.J. Holtz & Son and if not related to roof leaks, overflowing gutters, or other lack of maintenance).
  • Checking for wood rot/loose boards, with an estimate provided for necessary repairs.

In the end, the point is to keep the conversation alive. Holtz believes relationships start the first time a homeowner contacts the company and continue throughout the active phases of the project with a dedicated project manager…and beyond.

“We’ve not been in business for 85 years by being attentive to our interests,” he says. “We are dedicated to ensuring your satisfaction with our performance.

“We have built this company upon developing clients who trust how we care for their most valued investment. When you hire us, this is what you are getting.”



Visitors to this year’s Charlottesville Design House, benefitting the Shelter for Help in Emergency (SHE), will see H.J. Holtz & Son craftsmanship in several areas: the entrance foyer, the living/dining room, and a guest bathroom. Holtz & Son is a regular contributor to charitable home shows, believing in the importance of philanthropy within the business model. “We’ve benefited from the support of our community for over 80 years and do at least one significant charity project annually as a way of showing our gratitude,” explained Rick Holtz. “This project just fit right in with our philosophy, so we were eager to be involved.”

Charlottesville’s SHE provides a safe environment, support and resources for survivors of domestic violence. This is the 10th year that a Design House has been decorated by local professionals and opened for tours, with proceeds benefitting SHE. This year’s house, Wind River, was built in 2001 and features more than 6,000 s.f. of living space. Information about visiting can be found at http://cvilledesignhouse.com/.

Entrance Foyer

Franny Hurt, of Franny Hurt Design, found H.J. Holtz & Son in her quest to find the right lime wash contractor for her home. “They are only one of two [companies] in the state who apply this lime wash,” she says. After conversations with company staff, Hurt realized how much more the firm does. “When I [was given] the foyer and knew I wanted to do grasscloth, I thought this was a great opportunity to work with them on the wallpaper.”

Because the foyer is relatively small and dominated by the staircase to the second floor, Hurt says, she knew it would be important to update the space through paint and wall covering. With dark paint on the stair woodwork and trim, she needed something that would blend well. “Nothing is warmer than grasscloth wallpaper,” she notes. “It’s a great neutral that provides wonderful texture.”

Hurt said the Holtz & Son team’s thoughtfulness was evident during the scheduling process. “I wanted to move as quickly as possible, to get the paper up,” Hurt says. “But they recommended waiting because of all the traffic in the house: the furniture that was being moved up and down the stairs.

“Given the condition of the walls after it was all done, I was very glad [for the wait] because the paper would have gotten scuffed.”

Hurt also credits the craftsmen for their attention to detail in hanging the cloth. “With grasscloth, you don’t have to line up a pattern image, but you can get a stripe effect because the rolls have different lines,” she says. “With little direction from me, they did a fantastic job of laying out all those stripes.”

Living/Dining Room

While Wind River might be the first Charlottesville Design House for Chloe Ball and Kathleen Conroy of Kenny Ball Design, the pair has been working with H.J. Holtz & Son since their go-to wallpaper installer retired a few years ago. “They are very professional, and they come often to Charlottesville on business,” Ball says. “We have a lot of projects with them.”

For this project, Ball and Conroy had been conferring with Stephanie Snyder, owner of Palette Paint and Home, on a particular Farrow & Ball paint color (carried exclusively by Palette), when a visiting Farrow & Ball representative suggested wallpaper instead. The result: Original neutral beige walls now have Farrow & Ball Inchyra Blue (a dark blue-gray); shimmering gold wallpaper on the ceiling lightens the space. “It’s to die for,” Ball says.

Additionally, Holtz & Son took a table donated by Palette Paint & Home and painted it to resemble a tray that Ball and Conroy fancied. “It’s this papier-mâché tray that we were wild about,” Ball says. “We mailed the tray to Holtz & Son and said ‘This is what we want.’

“It’s so good!” she adds. “We can dream it, and they do it.” Ball says she and Conroy enjoy the partnership with Holtz & Son. “It’s always nice to recommend them because we know they’re going to do a great job.”

Guest Bathroom

Moyanne Harding, of Interiors by Moyanne in Lynchburg, first worked with Holtz & Son in a Richmond Symphony Design House, because she needed someone local to paint and wallpaper her assigned room. “I was really pleased; they did a beautiful job,” she says.

After discovering that Holtz & Son has expanded its service area to include Charlottesville, Harding was again happy to use their expertise. “My paper hanger from Lynchburg was too busy [for the Charlottesville Design House],” she says. “I do stuff all over Virginia, and they are willing to travel.”

Harding’s upstairs guest suite includes a “huge” bathroom in which she couldn’t change layout or tile. She decided to update the space with some new fixtures and Farrow & Ball wallpaper, “which turned out beautifully,” she says.

Holtz & Son’s professionalism is top-notch, Harding says. “As a designer, I’m really really busy, and I need someone to get in there and to the job fabulously,” she says. “I don’t have to call and check up on them.”

With this project, the team ran into a surprise at the end when there wasn’t quite enough wallpaper left to cover the walls in the water closet. “So we collaborated, and just did one wall,” Harding says. In the end, she adds, it’s about getting the job done right. “Holtz & Son knows the business,” she says, “What we do and why we do it that way, and the order we do it in.”

The Wind River house is open now through May 20thVisit the website for details.



Kristin Walinski knew she needed help when her boyfriend made an observation about her dining room.

“He commented that the furniture in that room didn’t match [everything else], and he isn’t really décor-savvy,” she says. “I thought, ‘If he can see this, then I have to do something.’”

Walinski’s recent walk-through was related to a very special event: Historic Garden Week in Virginia. Her home is on the Seminary route in Richmond’s North Side. Up to 1,200 visitors are expected to walk through her 1920s Mediterranean Revival Italian villa during the course of the day.

“I needed the work done in short order, because of the tour,” she says. She turned to H.J. Holtz & Son because of projects she had seen online and the company’s status as a Palette Paint preferred partner.

“They were extremely accommodating when I called and told them my dilemma,” she adds.

Soon, Holtz & Son was painting the dining room table, six matching chairs, and a Bombay chest. They were transformed using Fine Paints of Europe’s Hollandlac Brilliant and a spray-painting technique that leaves no brush strokes.

“It looks like they were lacquered at the factory,” Walinski says.

Based on the company’s approach to the furniture, Walinski raised another issue: her wood kitchen countertop, which was dull and flat.

“No painter before had been able to find a paint that met the need,” she said. “Rick [Holtz, company president] showed up and said, ‘We’ll get this done for you.’”

As it turned out, finding the right product was only the beginning.

Walinski’s floors were also being sanded, in anticipation of the tour, and no one realized how much dust was in the air until the countertop was painted – and “every speck of dust showed in the paint,” Walinski said.

She credits the Holtz team for finding a solution: tenting the countertop prior to painting and bringing in an air purifier to remove the dust so it wasn’t caught in the paint.

“They kept at it,” she says. “They must have painted that counter four times.”

Additional projects include repainting kitchen cabinets and woodwork, and a new front door for the house, which the company is also painting. Rick Holtz says the project is typical for any homeowner who has a special event on the horizon – whether it be a Garden Week tour, retirement or graduation party, or a neighborhood gathering.

“People want their homes to look good,” he says. “We can come in and make rooms fresh and bright, or bring a whole new look. The job itself may not be big, but the impact is significant.”

Walinski couldn’t be happier.

“I turned over the reins to them and said, ‘Let’s get this done,’” she says. “I had confidence in Holtz & Son because of their experience.”


Frank Lloyd Wright House ImageWhile every home project is important, working on a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Virginia Beach was still special for the technicians of H.J. Holtz & Son. The task – to put it simply – was to refinish and repaint every inch of the home.

The house, built for Andrew & Maude Cooke largely after Frank Lloyd Wright’s death, showcases many of the American architect’s signature features: an irregular and uninterrupted ceiling that floats over room dividers; wood paneling throughout with built-in shelves and furniture; and unexpected angles.

The current owner, who purchased the house in 2016, says his goal was to return the private residence to its original state, but with updated kitchen and bathrooms. “I want to live comfortably,” he says, “but I also want to respect the integrity of the house.”

Respecting the integrity was the focal point for company president Rick Holtz, who began by taking a small sample of paneling from a hidden location behind a bed. Back in Richmond, Holtz experimented with different techniques to find the safest way to remove the varnish and layers of dust that had accumulated over the years.

“The wood just looked old and worn when we started,” Holtz said.

Work initially began on the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Virginia Beach with a liquid stripper. But, Holtz said, the team quickly recommended a different approach.

“The guys realized that using a sander with an attached vacuum was cleaner,” Holtz says. “I thought that was a good suggestion.”

Once the paneling was exposed, the current homeowner decided to keep it simple, opting for a satin finish to let the natural grain shine through. Over six weeks, the team sanded and resealed every inch of wood and also painted the ceiling.

Holtz says that this architectural masterpiece by Frank Lloyd Wright in Virginia Beach wasn’t treated any differently than any other home project. “This house took a little longer, because we were doing everything,” he notes, adding that the all-wood interior leaves little room for error. “When you’re painting, you can use fillers and caulking to manage imperfections, because it’s covered,” Holtz says. “Here, everything shows.”

The homeowner, who hired H.J. Holtz & Son on the basis of recommendations from Richmond kitchen designer Marvin Daniel (kdwhome.com), could not be happier.

“I had never heard of [H.J. Holtz & Son],” the homeowner says, “but I feel they probably had more respect for my property than I would ever show for it. They were a real class act.”


Painting your cabinets is a fun way to change the look of your kitchen. But how do you decide what color to choose? Do you want to keep it simple with a classic white, or do you want to spice it up with some color? We spoke with color consultant Keri Tartick of Sherwin Williams for some reasons why it is becoming increasingly popular to choose a color:

  • Additional contrast – with white tile and countertops becoming so common, a color breaks things up and adds some contrast. The same is true for kitchens with white or very light walls.
  • Off-white appliances – several clients that have moved away from white because they have almond appliances, aged white appliances, or a mixture of appliances & do not like the combination of a clean, new white with them (makes the appliances look old/dirty).
  • Function for high traffic families – helps hide fingerprints & dirt a little better…especially with toddlers!
  • The color of the crown molding in the rest of the kitchen. Sometimes clients are not happy with an off white meeting up with a bright white trim, but the trim color is whiter than they want on the cabinets.
  • Personality – It gives you a unique look and allows you to work in a color that you love in a space that is the heart of the house.

Interior designer Avery Sefick thinks the most trending colors in Richmond right now are are gray, greens and blues. To some, gray cabinets can sound drab and boring, but by accenting them with great tile, flooring and surrounding paint, they will actually pop! Anywhere from light blue to navy lacquer, blue tones are an inviting choice and it can change the feel of an entire space. There are so many different hues to choose from. If you finish a cabinet color in a high gloss it highlights the cabinetry and really brings a sophisticated feel to the room!

Painting your Cabinets
Painted Cabinets Light Blue

We painted the kitchen of our customer, Joanne Katsantonis, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue.  It looks amazing! We asked Ms. Katsantonis her thoughts on her kitchen and she said, “I had been looking in a lot of magazines and really liked the colored cabinets and especially blue. Many people told me to do the cabinets in white and maybe just the islands in blue, but I just thought the right blue would be more elegant. The hard part was getting the right blue but H.J. Holtz was incredibly helpful. They will paint samples and even change the finishes to get the exact right color. I wanted a high gloss almost lacquer look. Through the samples we ended up finding the perfect blue with the high gloss finish. It created an elegant and modern look. I can not be more thankful for the high quality work and great collaboration with H.J.Holtz and Son.”


Kitchen Cabinets Before

Painting your Cabinets


Kitchen Cabinets After

Painted Cabinets Dark Blue

Painted Cabinet Blue Corner View
Painted Cabinets Blue Island

Colored cabinets really boost the interest in the kitchen and become the focal point of the room.  They are fun and bring any home to life! Call us today for a free estimate