Wade Thompson, house painter | 5 minutes with
The owner of a Pilsen painting business weighs in on his worst jobs.
In his 14 years as owner of ThompsonHoliday Painting, Wade Thompson, 39, has seen some foreclosures that go beyond the term shit show—literally. “In one case, the former owners had several pets, and all the floors had been ruined because of bladder-infection problems with a dog or cat,” says the lifelong Chicagoan, whose Pilsen company handles residential paint jobs. “Nobody else would touch it.”
Why is cleaning a urine-stained floor your problem as a painter? Cleaning is part of the prep work [with foreclosures]. If you show up and it’s not done, it becomes your job. That particular case was in the South Loop. Not a pretty sight.
Horror stories are par for the course with foreclosed homes? When people move out, they’re not happy. We’ve seen places where people have deliberately damaged the electrical and plumbing. They’ve taken the fridge, pulled the mantles off of fireplaces. And a lot of DIY painting projects have been stopped right in the middle.
You’ve probably seen some hideous paint jobs. Neon green, neon yellow. We’re working on a high-rise on Irving Park, and the door person complained he had to let in the Realtor about 150 times until the place finally sold. He said the reason was the horrible paint job: orange, red, green, yellow, powder blue and purple all in the same space. It’s even on the ceiling.
So I shouldn’t paint my walls emerald green? It’s Pantone’s color of the year! Ninety percent of paint colors are bad ideas. Go with white or off-white and add color with throw rugs and pillows.
Any other no-no’s? What you see most of the time is people who have watched HGTV and try to do what they’re doing. Those shows don’t tell you how to prep or prime anything properly.