When Nick and Lee Ann bought their home in Richmond’s Fan district earlier this year, they knew it was solidly constructed but poorly finished.
“In my opinion, previous owners cheapened the house by failing to hire high-quality finishing contractors,” he says. “The bones of the house are pretty darn good, and the overall condition was good, but the house suffered for a number of years with poor paint jobs over poor paint jobs.”
Nick and Lee Ann were aware of H.J. Holtz & Son’s reputation, but they did their due diligence before calling the company for an estimate. “I went online to look at reviews, talked to a lot of people,” he says. “One of the things that caught my attention was a Holtz email newsletter that had an article about painting kitchen cabinets. I thought it was well-written and informative, and I knew there was a possibility we’d need to do that.”
In the end, the Holtz team did more than cabinets, Nick says.
“They painted every square inch of the interior: walls, trim, ceilings, cabinets, bathrooms,” he says. “There is not an original piece of painted trim or wall space anywhere in this house.”
Nick and Lee Ann had previously restored a late 18th-century home on a farm they owned west of Richmond. As a result, they know the importance of preparation.
“What is very difficult is understanding how to restore interior spaces – door and window trims, and wainscoting – before you even open a can of paint,” Nick says. “It takes a tremendous amount of restorative work that can only be done by true craftsmen, people who can come in and erase the bad stuff, and get the house ready to apply the correct amount of paint so the job is done correctly.”
In addition to the many layers of paint that had to be removed in places, the Holtz team also found trim work that was loose and in need of restoration. While work continued elsewhere, the Holtz carpentry division was called in to fix the trim so it could be properly primed and painted. “This was a service Holtz was able to perform in-house without losing any time on the schedule,” Nick notes. “I thought that was good, because you often find, with old houses, it’s not as simple as just painting. There are often other trades necessary, including finish carpentry. If you have a finish carpentry crew, that’s gold.”
Nick says he was also impressed by the manner in which the Holtz team approached the restoration project, with a clear step-by-step process that starts with estimating and continues through the job. “It’s a continuous process they’ve adopted and refined, and it works extremely well,” he says, praising foreman Nelson Bermudez for his leadership.
“He was obviously passionate and saw his work as a craft,” Nick says, adding that Bermudez’ communication skills were also excellent, which is essential to any project.
“As a homeowner, you can’t expect a painting crew to come into your house without becoming engaged,” he says. “You must advocate for yourself, and you must become an active partner with the company that comes in to do your painting, your carpentry or your flooring.
“Holtz made zero mistakes,” he adds. “They got in, they did their work, had no re-dos, and got out on schedule. That’s because we worked together.”