Russ Robins Paint: A Sharper Image

Shop Talk by Kitty Kaufman

Imagine you're living in a place with really good bones: crown moldings, decorative wood, cornices, high ceilings, built-in bookshelves, hardwood floors. Over the years shards of bad taste and remnants of neglect have chipped away at its surface beauty. It's time for a facelift so how far are you willing to go?

Russ Robins is not typical. His interior dialogue speaks to standards of meticulous precision. In the land of too much beige, he is a standard-bearer for turning the ordinary into extraordinary as he quietly makes beauty out of chaos.

His restorations transform wall imperfections, doors that won't close, windows that don't slide, floors that have lost their glow, cabinets coated with smoke and grease, and water damage. "What's most important are preparatory steps," Robins says. Before the sandpaper appears, the Robins Painting Company crew tapes heavy paper over everything. They wrap furniture, dewax and degrease millwork, and then sand to remove old drips, blobs and edges. Dust is contained with plastic film and window venting and they clean as they go.

Your urban renewal comes in platinum, gold or silver. The silver menu includes final sanding with 120 grit, and rolling of wall primers and paints. At the gold level you have final sanding with 180 grit, walls are skimmed, and primers and paints are tipped by brush. With platinum they sand with 220 grit, restore damaged millwork, and provide floor protection wearing booties. The platinum project is capped off with maid service. Regardless of plan, room hardware is removed.

What distinguishes Robins from other paint professionals? "You get more than you pay for," Robins says, "We show up on time and we don't need supervision." Their proposal includes a work sheet for each room: ceiling, walls, doors, crown molding, baseboards and cabinetry. Each section spells out type, condition, and the treatment that's been selected, all of which assures that you get what you ask for. Good painters have to work harder to prove their value and he is no exception: "We stay until the job is done."

© May 26, 2004 for The City Shopper
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