Dannon Featherston wants people to understand that wallpaper is always fashionable.
“The biggest misconception – and I hear it every week – is that wallpaper is coming back into style,” says Featherston, a member of the H.J. Holtz & Son paper hanging division. “Since there aren’t a lot of us [who install residential wallpaper], it’s rare for people to know an experienced paper hanger. I tell everyone: Wallpaper isn’t coming back in style; it’s always been in style.”
Featherston, who marks 15 years with the company in April, joined Holtz & Son because friends working in the faux finishes department encouraged him to apply. He came with a background in art, having worked as an illustrator, muralist, and fine art painter. After joining the company, he learned how to hang wallpaper, a pivot he welcomed.
“Art has always been in my life … but here I’m using a different set of artistic skills; it’s like playing Tetris® every day,” he laughs.
Featherston says he and his fellow paper hangers at Holtz & Son are fortunate to work with high-end wallpapers, some of which are one-of-a-kind. Those products are popular with interior designers and homeowners who value luxe finishes.
“We get exposed to so much,” he says. “Every day, I have an opportunity to do something new and on a scale that a lot of [other paper hangers] won’t come across. The relationship we have with designers is unique.”
Featherston says the company’s strong connection to design professionals and repeat customers demonstrates a dedication to service and quality.
“People know we have a certain standard, that reaches back to my very first day of working here with [former owner and president] Dickie Holtz and [longtime foreman] Charlie Herbert,” he says. “They told us to do it right the first time. We don’t take shortcuts, and that’s a very big thing in our industry – taking short cuts. We don’t do that.”
Featherston says another factor in the quality workmanship Holtz is known for comes from its training process.
“A lot of places will hire someone and say, ‘Just do your best,’” he says. “Here, after you are hired, you’re put with a mentor, and you have an apprenticeship that can last a couple of years. That [approach] builds a higher standard. You develop an appreciation for the work you do because you spend time learning it; it gives you ownership in what you’re doing.”
Featherston says he enjoys educating customers about wallpaper and the hanging process, so they know how to care for their investment. “If you buy a car, you want to know how to take care of it,” he notes. “I want them to know if they can wipe it down, how to store the scraps for the future. I want to give them as much information as I can, because I’m the professional. At the end of the day, they’ll know what they have and what do to with it… or when to call us.”
He also enjoys working with others who take what they do seriously.
“In our group, the standard is really high,” he says. “We consider ourselves not tradesmen but craftsmen, learning the old-school way.”
And the dedication seems to reap dividends.
“One of the things that attracted me to the company [initially] was that they didn’t advertise,” he says. “Everybody just knew of a certain standard [Holtz] had; you weren’t seeing that with other companies.
“I’m lucky I work with a company that works with … high-end projects because I never stop,” he adds. “I roll from one job to another.”