“Ken’s work on our Beacon Hill home was superb. He helped us pick the right colors for our taste, then finished the job on time and on budget with great attention to detail. Our old dark kitchen cabinets now look like the finest custom made cabinets you could ask for. I highly recommend Ken to clients who appreciate high quality work”.
– Jeff L.
Good luck trying to find a specialist painter to do your front doors in Charlestown. I researched four painters who advertised door expertise. We wanted our doors done in place, and two of the shops only did dip, strip and refinish in their shops. One painter never returned my call and the last one recommended Ken Marshall. He does interior painting as well, but had good door examples on his website. He visited us (Charlestown) and gave me a quote. It was outrageous.
I kept looking but I also checked one of his doors on Beacon Hill. It had the finish of a luxury automobile, a Bentley or a Rolls. We ended up hiring Ken and his crew.
Was it worth the money? I watched them carefully. They left the doors in place for security. They don’t strip the door like other painters, because it can weaken the glue and damage the wood. It took two guys several days to painstakingly sand off the old paint and gouge out the old wood filler and Spackle from previous paintings. They sanded it down to bare wood and primer using vacuums to reduce the dust. They filled the cracks with wood hardeners and epoxy, like restoring a yacht.
Then they primed. I thought, “This will be done in no time. What’s the big deal?” Then they applied something called “Swedish Putty”. “What’s this?” I asked. The painters were quiet, polite guys, and very focused. No loud music or cans of Red Bull. “Swedish Putty” reduces imperfections and creates a really smooth surface. The doors were 150 years-old, covered with nicks and scratches. After the putty dried they sanded it smooth with block sanders using very fine sand paper. It took a week.
They primed again, sanded and began to apply the paint. They used an imported paint I’ve never heard of. It goes on very thin. Really shinny. Another reason for leaving the doors in place: gravity helps them smooth their brush strokes. When I was a teenager I had part-time jobs painting, and helped paint several luxury yachts. This kind of painting is serious craftsmanship. It cannot be too thick or too thin. They had special natural bristle brushes. Man, I wish I had had one of those brushes. The whole process was painstaking.
More than you want and need to know, I’m sure. Paint and sand, paint and sand. It took another week. The repeated coats of paint (four) developed a deep luster. All done. No. Someone found an imperfection none of us had noticed. Bummer. Ken said, “It happens”. Sand, prime, and two more coats of paint on one section.
Was it worth it? The price was reasonable, given the number of hours and the skilled craftsmanship. The doors are luminous. You get what you pay for, I guess. Tourists are having their photos taken in front of our new door.