Historic Garden Week Comes to Richmond April 23,24,25

Historic Garden Week Comes to Richmond April 23,24,25

The spectacular properties featured during Historic Garden Week have been prepped for a year or more for their time in the spotlight. Participating homeowners know that hundreds of people are eager to see meticulous gardens and plantings as well as pristine interiors filled with floral arrangements created by the state’s garden club members. Nearly every year, H.J. Holtz and Son helps to ensure those spaces look their best by providing interior painting, exterior painting, custom cabinetry, and cabinetry painting. 

“We’re always happy to assist an existing or new client who’s getting their house ready for the tour,” says company president Rick Holtz. “Sometimes, it’s a small project, like painting the front door and shutters, but other times, the homeowner realizes that they want a full interior refresh.”

Timing is everything when it comes to getting ready for a big event, whether it’s Historic Garden Week, or any special event. “We always encourage people to call us as soon as they have a date in mind,” Holtz says. “Our calendar typically fills quickly, but we want to help repeat customers when we can, and sometimes we have an unexpected opening. And we’re diligent to make sure we hit deadlines.” 

Crews have been hard at work for weeks to ensure Holtz client homes are ready for this year’s Richmond dates: Tuesday, April 23, in Windsor Farms-Nottingham; Wednesday, April 24, in River Hill; and Thursday, April 25, in Windsor Farms-Coventry. Visitors will see Holtz handiwork in homes on both the April 23 and 25 tours.

Tuesday, April 23

Windsor Farms – hosting two tours this year – was envisioned in the early 1920s as an upscale residential neighborhood away from the grittiness of the city. Designed in an English garden style popular at the time, the carefully plotted area features many historic homes that have been thoughtfully modernized. 

At 209 Nottingham Road, Holtz & Son team members painted cabinets in advance of Historic Garden Week for a new client. At 4601 Lilac Lane, where only the exterior gardens are open for the tour, the Holtz team did exterior painting on the pool house and main residence shutters and doors.

Thursday, April 25

On this second day in Windsor Farms, visitors will encounter varied architectural styles, including English Tudor, Storybook or Cotswold, and European Revival.

At 4300 Dover Road, Holtz team members painted both the dining and living rooms as well as two interior fireboxes with high heat paint. At 4500 Coventry Road, the team hung new wallpaper in the den and painted several chairs in the shop. Projects at 109 Nottingham Road included painting the front door, crown moldings, windows and trim. Holtz craftspeople also installed wallpaper in both the living room and family room, and painted in those rooms as well. The living room also features a Holtz Built cabinet.

Sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia, Historic Garden Week dates to 1929, when it began as a way to raise money for historic Kenmore, the Fredericksburg home of Betty Washington Lewis, George Washington’s sister. Since then, the tour has been canceled only twice: once during World War II and in 2020, due to the COVID pandemic. Funds raised support the ongoing restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historic public gardens and landscapes across the state as well as a research fellowship program in landscape architecture. 

For more information about Historic Garden Week or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.vagardenweek.org/.



Cabinets are everywhere in the home.

They’re in the kitchen, of course, but also in bathrooms, family rooms, offices, laundry rooms, rec rooms, even closets.

Because they are prevalent, they can be overlooked, even ignored. But that would be a mistake. Freshly painted cabinets brighten any living space.

“A fresh coat of paint can offer a fresh perspective,” notes Kelly Kutchey, H.J. Holtz production manager.

Kutchey says the biggest cabinet painting trend Holtz & Son customers are seeing is a two-tone approach, where the upper and lower cabinets are given different colors. Typically, the upper cabinets are light – white or gray – and the lower cabinets are dark. This draws the viewer’s eye upward and lets natural light reflect from the upper cabinet fronts.

Another popular style is to transform the kitchen island with a bright high-gloss paint: royal blue, bright green, red or yellow. “The island is like a piece of furniture in the middle of a room,” Kutchey says. “It doesn’t have to match anything else.”

Bright colors can make a small room look larger, but it’s also possible to visually enlarge a room by keeping a monochromatic color scheme. “We’ve done some [projects] where the wall color is the same color as the cabinet; that really makes the room look big,” he says.

Homeowners are also turning to black paint for impact. While Kutchey says the Holtz & Son team hasn’t had many homeowners choose this approach, black, high-gloss cabinets, “look really good.”

The Holtz & Son method of painting cabinets generally includes five days of in-home painting, starting with the tagging of every cabinet door, drawer front, knob, and hinge, to ensure correct replacement. The doors are removed and the team cleans, brushes and rolls the cabinet boxes. The cabinet and drawer fronts go to the Holtz shop, where they are sanded and prepped. Coatings are applied in the spray room, a controlled environment designed to minimize dust and other air particles. “This gives a nice, even finish,” Kutchey says, noting that roughly 90% of what people see of a cabinet is the door or drawer front.

If the homeowner is changing knobs and pulls, Holtz & Son can fill the original holes and drill new ones, prior to painting. From start to finish, the whole process typically takes two to three weeks, to allow for drying time between stages.

Another way to dress up cabinets is to add molding or trim, which the Holtz & Son carpentry division can build in-house. The trim adds visual interest and can elevate standard cabinets to something special.

“People want their spaces to stand out,” Kutchey says. “Freshly painted cabinets can help with that.”



The most unusual item painted in one of the H.J. Holtz & Son spray booths?

A ceramic goat. Residential Painting

The four-legged figure – two-and-a half-feet from hoof to ear, and two-and-a-half-feet from head to tail – calls a basement rec room home and is a favorite of the family daughter.

“We talked about putting horns on it, but decided just to paint it,” says Kelly Kutchey, Holtz & Son production manager. “We used a high-gloss white, and their daughter just loved it.”

While the company is known for meticulous attention to larger projects, a keen eye is also useful for smaller projects.

“I don’t think people think about this aspect [of our services],” Kutchey says. “There’s a real benefit of having a professional do these kinds of jobs; we’re not just going to grab an aerosol can. The prep work we do with air tools is phenomenal, and we use industrial-strength urethane paint.”

Another benefit Holtz & Son offers comes in the form of two in-house spray booths: one 15 feet by 30 feet, the other 30 feet by 45 feet. The larger booth has a dedicated HVAC system, installed in 2015, that creates a completely contained painting environment. When the booth is closed, the climate system eliminates humidity and dust, and regulates the temperature to create ideal painting conditions, which are essential for a smooth, bubble-free finish that’s pleasing to touch.

“It’s been a good investment,” Kuchey says, noting that the larger booth easily accommodates a small job alongside larger projects, such as shutters, cabinets, doors, or metal window well grates.

Other intriguing paint jobs include an antique wood bin, likely used for storing potatoes or onions; a wire metal trash can; and a fountain and pond. “The fountain had lattice woodwork all around it; that takes a little bit of time,” Kutchey says.

Holtz & Son paints pianos, too, whether upright or grand, to give a brightened, fresh finish. “[Painted pianos] look wonderful and become statement pieces,” Kutchey says. To date, three pianos have come in for updating. The most dramatic change: one piano went from brown to a cool blue. “It was a very large grand piano, and the homeowner arranged for Richmond Piano to transport it to the shop,” Kutchey says. “They rolled it in, and we sprayed it.”

Often, smaller paint jobs come from existing customers who tack on to work in progress. But not always. “We just did a little one-drawer side table that came in all by itself,” Kutchey says. “Their neighbor had something done [by us], and they loved it.”



A fresh coat of paint transforms an existing space like little else. In the kitchen, cabinets are the de facto walls and need just as much attention as any other wall. New paint – either in the cabinets’ existing color or in an all-new hue – will bring life and energy to a room that gets much attention, and H.J. Holtz & Son’s experienced team knows how to tackle the job.

If you’ve never had kitchen cabinets painted professionally, the team at Holtz & Son want you to know what to expect. Recent customer Brice Bowman offers her perspective, too.

In-home consultation. A Holtz & Son representative will come to your house, take measurements and photos, and discuss paint options. A paint finish that is at least semi-gloss is usually suggested, because the surfaces are handled often. A high gloss color from Fine Paints of Europe cleans easily and can make a bold statement. Bowman chose Benjamin Moore’s Paper White in satin finish, for a polished look.

If you wish to leave cabinet contents intact, feel free. But emptying them brings added benefits. “It felt like a good time to reorganize my kitchen, go through items I no longer needed and have a fresh start when the project was finished,” Bowman says. “Plus, I didn’t want dust on the contents of my cabinets!”

The process really gets underway when the cabinet doors are removed. These are taken to the Holtz workshop in Scott’s Addition, where they are cleaned, sanded, primed, and painted in a controlled space, to minimize dust and ensure a smooth finish. If necessary, the team will fill old hardware holes and drill new ones. “I loved that Rick came that first day, introduced me to the guys and made sure they were set up and we were all on the same page,” Bowman says.

Inside the house, the team will bring drop cloths and a ventilation machine, because cleaning and sanding of the cabinet frames – or boxes – happens on-site. Once those surfaces are ready, team members will paint and prime, by hand. “The team was very professional, courteous and clean,” Bowman says. “I was able to use my kitchen in my evenings. I set up a station with coffee, toaster, plates, utensils and cups in my dining room, so we were still able to make breakfasts and lunches for school.”

When the cabinet doors are fully dried and cured, they are brought back and reinstalled. Carpentry services are also available to fix problems such as an irregular drawer or door that’s not hanging quite right.

From start to finish, most kitchen cabinet projects will last about 10 days. At the end, both you and the project manager will have to be satisfied before the job is considered complete.

Bowman says: “We loved the layout of our kitchen, but had recently made a few changes by updating appliances and countertops, and adding a bar area. As a result, painting our cabinets made the most sense for us to get the updated look we wanted. We were incredibly pleased with the quality of [H.J. Holtz & Son’s] workmanship – the result is just beautiful!”



Even decorative artists need continuing education … and the chance to chat with like-minded individuals.

With instruction and inspiration in mind, four H.J. Holtz & Son craftspeople traveled to the International Decorative Artisans League (IDAL) annual conference, held Oct. 18-21 in Greensboro, N.C. There, they attended sessions on furniture and cabinet finishes, plastering, and quick finishing techniques that can be used on multiple surfaces.

“As a group, we selected classes that were most relevant to what we do,” says Brian Smith, who studied graphic design in college and has been with the company 12 years. Additional participants were decorative artists Logan Porter, Amy Shimko and Cassie Webster.

This was the first year Holtz employees attended the IDAL conference, Smith said, and it came about because company president Rick Holtz went looking for something specifically for the artistic team.

“There’s a conference the wallpaper hangers go to every year, and Rick wanted us to be able to go to a [conference], too,” Smith said. “We were all about it.”

Smith says he went to the meeting hoping to find “new ways of doing things, new techniques.

“For example, we do a ton of cabinets, and use the same products and same methods,” he says. “To learn new products can save time and enable you to achieve effects you couldn’t before. They dry faster, require a lot less labor and are less intensive.”

There was plenty of learning outside the seminars, too, Smith said, noting that casual conversations with other artists are useful and rare.

“You can take a class all day long, but to be able to sit down and talk with people who have been doing this for years is really valuable,” he says.

President Rick Holtz says it’s important for everyone on the team to be up-to-date both with trends and techniques.

“We want all our staff to be knowledgeable and educated,” he says. “Just like any other industry, our business changes. Manufacturers create new products, and people find new ways of achieving certain looks. We want our craftspeople to be exposed to those advances and bring them home to our clients.”

Smith is enthusiastic about the possibility of future IDAL gatherings.



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.”