Best Painters And Electricians In Dallas

Find the best local painters and electricians in the Dallas area.

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NEW THIS ISSUE: The Best Painters and Electricians in Dallas

Finding a good Dallas painter, or electrician for that matter, is no easy feat. Our search began with mothers, friends, teachers —even the patients and staff at our dentists’ offices. Once we managed to compile a list, we researched the services, pricing, company history, and unique selling propositions of the most highly recommended. Then we contacted the Better Business Bureau to make certain these firms came up clean, with no complaints lodged. Finally, we checked references and asked ourselves if indeed these were people we’d want to do business with. If the answer was yes, they appear in the listing that follows.

A freshly painted room or exterior lifts the spirit and transforms a drab dwelling into a pleasure dome. But getting the color right, scraping and prepping walls, layering on paint until the color sings, and then cleaning up afterward is a time-consuming process. Why not leave it to the pros? Some of our favorites (listed below) are strictly house painters, some are professional decorative painters, still others are full-service painters who offer both basic and specialty finishes.

Baxter Painting
4010 Shenandoah St. 214-528-6744.

For a great, old-time-quality paint job, go here. “We show up when we say we will, do what we say we will, and finish when we say we will,” says proprietor Tim Baxter. He started painting houses to put himself through college. Twenty-seven years later he owns a full-fledged enterprise with 50 employees and a reputation one top contractor called awesome. They serve builders and individual clients, predominantly in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow, but work as far north as Bent Tree. Trends? “I see a less-is-more attitude evolving. People are moving away from dramatic looks towards more refined color —less country French, more English subtlety,” says Baxter. The company charges for time and material, but will also work on a budgeted project basis.

C.V. Painting
8208 Rincon, Frisco. 972-307-8816.

A member of the Better Business Bureau, owner Cesar Valasquez plies his residential painting trade primarily in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow. He got his start working for Sears Painting Service in Los Angeles, then moved to Dallas where he built up his name, attracting a sterling clientele that grew through word of mouth and the loyalty of a leading general contractor. Valasquez oversees all aspects of his projects, supervising and working with his team of a dozen, long-time employees. The company is bonded and insured and does everything from power washing to priming, scraping, sanding, caulking, and bondo —the myriad steps of preparation that precede the actual painting. Only top-of-the-line products are used, and faux and special finishes can be ordered. They charge $4-$6 per square foot, depending on complexity. (An average two-story house in Park Cities runs $5,500-$6,500 for the entire exterior.)

Dan Pedigo & Resurrection Art Group
4130 Commerce St., Ste. 101. 214-828-0690.
This is the place where fine finishes meet fine art. As sculptor and painter Dan Pedigo says, “Mastering the art of decorative painting and murals has crossed over into and changed my fine art.” We’ll attest that his artwork has been refined by such commissions as stenciling arabesques on walls, copying medieval tapestries onto chimneys, creating murals that incorporate portraits of family members, and painting scenes on domes from scaffolding à la Michelangelo. Doubtless one day some clients will lay claim to having a Pedigo on their wall or ceiling. Charges depend on the intricacy of design, number of colors, and quantity of glazes, but an estimate is provided based on the square footage of the surface to be covered.

David Lyles Decorative Painting
514 Summit Dr., Richardson. 972-240-0051.

The Lyles have been creating fine paint finishes for four generations, and they supervise the basic painting work before applying their traditional European formal and country paint finishes. Their trading area includes Plano, Southlake, Colleyville, and Fort Worth in addition to the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, and North Dallas. Besides color-washing, marbling, mottling, trompe l’oeil, and frescoes, they offer hand-designed flourishes. Classic motifs such as acanthus leaves, scrollwork, and Greek keys are developed on-site; they are unique to the client, not simply stencils out of a book. They also restore murals, finishes, and gilding from the ’20s and ’30s. David Lyles says: “We price on a sliding scale: the more volume, the lower the day rate. Charges are the same for everyone, whether there’s a Rolls or a Toyota in the driveway.”

Holton Collection
1025 N. Stemmons Fwy., Ste 600M. 214-752-7300.
If you’re looking for something truly unique for your walls, you’re looking for the Holton Collection (formerly Holton & Associates and Holton Art; the two concerns merged earlier this year). Owned and operated by Richard Holton and Lori Herring, Holton Collection produces faux finishes, murals on canvas, and hand-painted-to-order fabrics. But that’s not all. The studio has also developed two proprietary lines of wallpaper, including a line of hand-painted silks that gives you incredible design freedom. Pick your background color, choose a motif from 15 hand-painted designs, and you have a whole new take on wall art. As you can imagine, rates vary by project.

J.C. & Barry Martin Painting Contractors
2607 Bomar Ave. 214-353-0720.

By the late 1970s, the business that J.C. Martin started 20 years earlier evolved into J.C. & Barry Martin Painting Contractors, to include son Barry’s name on the shingle. Theirs is a full-service painting company offering everything from tape and bedding, to texturizing, specialty finishes, and wall coverings. Though they’ve done a number of large commercial projects over the years, the bulk of their business is in Park Cities and North Dallas houses. Their customers ask for a lot of pickling, glazing, str, and stippling effects on walls and woodwork. “What’s really hot is glazing walls covered with canvas to create the texture of linen,” he says. “The other technique piquing people’s interest is troweling, which gives a hand-finished look.” The Martins charge either by the hour or on a contractual basis, whichever method the customer is most comfortable with.

Jerry Long Painting
378 Birch Ln., Richardson. 214-232-9450.
Jerry Long was a tournament bowler by the time he was 17, when a summer job painting high-rises took him away from the alley and gave him a good foundation as a residential and commercial painter. In business for 21 years, his service area covers Dallas and the suburbs as far north as Van Alstyne and as far south as Ovilla. In addition to basic painting, he does glazing, antiquing, and color washes. Long says the most significant factors in the cost of a job are the prep work and the paint grade, which can double or triple in price, depending on the quality the customer desires.

Paul Jackson Painting Co.
252 E. First St., Lancaster. 972-228-9175.
A third-generation painter, Paul Jackson learned his craft at his father’s knee. These experts do Level 5 finishes. “What’s that?” we queried. “We make your house look like a new car body,” he said. Just ask one of their customers in the Park Cities or North Dallas where they’ve been painting residential exteriors and interiors since 1975. They will customize finishes, too. According to Jackson, Faux is still big. One client asked for her walls to look like those of the Crescent Court Hotel. Jackson’s magicians chose the matching color, added some aggregate to the paint, drew mortar lines and –presto!– instant stone. The company charges by the job for time and material.

Susan Abbey Designs
9126 Raeford Dr. 214-343-1874.

When Neiman Marcus is on your client list, you must be doing something right. Freelancer Susan Abbey does all of the bread-and-butter finishes –washes, combing, sponging but her joy lies in murals and marbleizing. “There’s more demand for murals in children’s rooms than anything else,” she told us, but she’s also done bars, dining rooms, entryways, and master baths. “A current fancy is for faux breakaway brick, a trompe l’oeil technique that fools the eye into seeing a patch of brickwork showing through an aging plaster wall. Another new favorite is copper metallic glaze.” We saw one of her installations, a stunning sunset ceiling in a Lake Highlands dining room, back lit with recessed rope lights. Susan does both residential and commercial work in Coppell, Frisco, Plano, Park Cities, and Dallas proper. She charges by the job, providing clients with an estimate upfront.

Studio H Design
4910 Don Dr. 214-956-8256.
When Del Hermanovski moved to Dallas to start his own design studio, he could hardly have anticipated the match he would discover in future wife and design partner Marlowe. Del first hired her to work in Texas Ranger Rafael Palmeiro’s house, and the two have been creating beautiful hand-painted murals and frescoes ever since. Their style ranges from cutting-edge to classical, even incorporating Ming Dynasty flair into their work for P.F. Chang restaurants nationwide. While they boast a crowd of big-name clientele (including Martha Stewart and Ray Nasher) and projects as encompassing as the Potter’s House (Reverend T.D. Jakes 5,000-seat house of worship), they’ll also create discrete projects for residences. To ensure that you’ll love the finished product, they overlay designs onto a digital photo and give you a color rendering. Pricing is either by the job or by the square foot and varies according to complexity and size.  

Terrence Sweeney Design
1615 Dragon St. 214-651-7101.
If you want your painter to bring more to the table than the standard dropcloth, bucket, and paint, you should consider Terrence Sweeney Design. Sweeney is a multifaceted designer best known for his furniture and specialty finishes, but the firm also does basic interior finishes. By bringing the artist’s eye to bear on a painting project, Sweeney and his team will help you avoid the maddening process of poring over paint fans, selecting a color, then bemoaning the result applied on an ocean of wall. Specialty techniques include patinas, fantasy finishes, faux marble, gold leafing, lacquers, trompe l’oeil, and chinoiserie, among others. Sweeney’s rates are on a project basis.

Tommy Eoff Painting
19440 FM 548, Terrell. 972-524-5485.

Tommy Eoff has been painting houses in Dallas and its suburbs for almost 30 years. One satisfied customer described him as “a very sweet man who takes the time to do it right.” He does exteriors, interiors, and special finishes, including staining and glazing. “The big trend now,” he says, “is for Venetian-plaster and other Old World Italian finishes such as stucco and marmorino (a limestone-based paint to which marble powder or sea sand is added, so that the finish emulates stone when dry).” Eoff’s country French looks appear authentic because he applies different colored layers of paint, then distresses them. The process is also used to make built-in kitchen cabinets look like aged, stand-alone pieces. He charges either by the job or by the hour, depending on the scope of the work.

William Shepherd Paint Contractor
1909 Copper St., Garland. 972-487-9868.
To see some dazzling decorative finishes in place, make a beeline to the William Shepherd showroom-slash-studio. This old-line firm offers full-service paint contracting from sheet rock to basic paint to specialized textures. Owner Bill Shepherd, who’s been called the best painter in the world, became familiar with color and decorative elements working as an illustrator in the Air Force. Shepherd formed his own company in 1969. Ever since, he and some 25 employees have been coloring the exteriors and interiors of better homes in the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, and North Dallas. His secret weapon: son-in-law Troy Oswald, an artisan who is expert at fancy finishes such as Venetian plaster and marmorino. They bid out jobs, provide free estimates, and also work on a time and material basis, charging $28.50 an hour and cost of material plus 15 percent.


We’re so dependent on electricity in our homes that when it goes on the fritz we may not be able to see, bake, e-mail, microwave, watch television, tan ourselves, call our friends, keep cool, or recharge our cell phones. Where to turn? We’ve scoured Dallas for the best electricians, from single operators to monarchs of electrical empires, and found the fabulous tradesmen who do everything from feeding power to your chandelier to creating paths of light so you can raid the refrigerator at night.

Amp-Tech Systems
5646 Milton St. 972-672-1808.

Head honcho Lynn LeFlore has been electrifying homes and offices since 1968, after finishing his union apprenticeship. He worked for another electrical company for some 10 years before striking out on his own. LeFlore mastered his trade setting up global satellite links on oil rigs. His firm’s forte is infrastructure: wiring for computers and computer networks, installing cameras and wires for security systems, and putting in telephone lines, including those for intra-home calling. Amp-Tech Systems  trading area is “anywhere within a 75-mile radius of Dallas.” Estimates are free, but prices are a bargain at a flat $35 an hour for electrical, data, or phone line installation.

Austral Electrical
1519 Reiger. 214-824-1806.

We almost changed Austral to Astral, until we learned that proprietor and master electrician Reg Miller hails from Down Under. Miller came to Texas 25 years ago to visit his sister, got a green card through his family, and never returned to the Outback. He completed his electrical apprenticeship in England and then decided to work for himself. He does some commercial but mostly high-end residential work, with three electricians working under him. His specialty is fancy lighting –low voltage, rope lights, pin spots, that kind of thing. He’s been working on the home of one famous singer/songwriter (and perfectionist) for nine years. Miller works all over Dallas and charges for time and material at $60 an hour.

Calcom Lighting Company
P.O. Box 796487. 972-931-7999.

 If you want a lighting face lift for your home, call Calcom. Principal and master electrician Bob Milford was passing his grandfather tools by the time he was 10, but then, Grandpa was an electrical engineer for the Empire State Building! When Grandpa retired to buy cigars and get out of the house, Milford took over his Verona, NJ, business. (He was just 16 and had to hire a driver because he wasn’t old enough to get his license). A stint in Los Angeles followed, where he took on a partner. Then Milford moved to Dallas to establish a new niche, “froufrou lighting.” Calcom diagnoses your home lighting problems: “You have nice art. Too bad you can’t see it,” or, “It looks like you’re in an auditorium instead of a living room.” Their mission is to make the home intimate. They charge by the project; on a 4,000-square-foot house, the bill will run between $3,000-$8,000. Their service area is up and down the Tollway –Frisco, Plano, Park Cities, Rockwall, as well as Arlington.

Champion Electric
2308 Spanish Trail, Irving. 972-790-7133.

Brothers-in-law Abel Cardenas and Keith Applegate worked together at another company before forming a partnership in 1985, to provide electrical services and lighting systems primarily in high-end homes in the Park Cities. They do everything from fixing plugs that don’t work to setting up wireless programmable systems such as RadioRa, a one-touch, control that turns lights on and off from anywhere, including your car. The latest trend is party lighting—vignettes throughout the house that can be set in advance for drama and mood. They also do retro-fittings and gallery-style lighting for homeowners art collections. They charge by the project, giving customers estimated costs in advance.

Globe Electric Service
11315 Jupiter Rd. 214-321-1511.

You can call master electrician Don Grubb if your dryer’s petered out, you need a line to run a computer, or you require power for the A/C or cooktop. They also do elaborate commercial and residential work. In addition to basic electrical services (you’ll see the trucks around Dallas neighborhoods), Globe works with architects and interior designers on the installation of lighting, electronic, and dimming systems for custom homes and large residential remodels. “I worked for my father’s electrical company all my life till I went in the service,” Grubb says. “I rejoined his company when I got back in  ’69, became a partner in ’74, and then finally bought the business when he retired.” Eight field electricians service the entire city, though the bulk of their work is in the Park Cities and North Dallas. They charge two ways: for time and material, at $60 an hour for an electrician and $35 for a helper, and by the project, for which they’ll provide estimates in advance.

John’s Home Center
3601 Amber Ave., Rowlett. 972-475-0611.

A dead circuit, a burned-out switch, a sparking panel box —Craig Keiffer to the rescue! This crackerjack journeyman electrician replaces fuse boxes, fixes ceiling fans, traces circuits, installs security lights, and retrofits aluminum wiring. His father, a master electrician, started a home center business 25 years ago. When Keiffer took over in 1997, he refocused the business on electrical repair work. He serves the area north of Northwest Highway from Plano Road to Midway all the way up through Plano, McKinney, and Allen. He charges an $85 service fee for the first half hour, and $85 for each additional hour. But wait! If the customer on the end of the phone is handy, Keiffer will talk him through the repair, gratis. For instance, if your outdoor outlets are dead, there’s a good chance your GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) needs re-setting, especially if it’s the rainy season. Keiffer will have you check your garage and other areas for a tripped breaker.

McLeod Electric Co.
4427 Lawnview Ave. 214-388-1246.

Talk about a trooper! Billy McLeod started this business in 1961 and still hits the office each day at 5 a.m. He does paper work until 8 or 9, joining his men in the field afterward. Billy cut his teeth working with his electrician dad at the old Ford Motor Company on East Grand and wiring runway lights and rocket storage conduits at the Naval base. For 25 years he and his father did all the wiring for a small outfit on Main Street called Frito Lay. McLeod handles residential, commercial, and heavy industrial lighting, but his firm’s specialty is remodels, primarily in the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, and North Dallas. He’s worked for one leading contractor since 1954 and installed and maintained the lights in the Strait Lane home of one of the city’s most colorful residents for years. (These days he’s busy wiring this dear friend’s new office complex in Plano.) “Of the 13 electricians in his employ,” McLeod says, “I’ve had the best of luck with these guys: one of them has been here 22 years, another 20, and another 18.” One competitor called this Texas treasure unequivocally, “the best electrician in Dallas.”

Park Cities Electrical Co.
3703 Fondren Dr., Ste. 102. 214-373-4607.

A degree in medical technology in hand, the late Lee Ann Harris bought this business from her beau in 1978 and proceeded to get her master electrician’s license. She incorporated the business three years later as a sole proprietorship, bid out jobs, managed a staff, and did the after-hours electrical work herself. She even copper-coated the aluminum wiring in her secretary’s home. After Harris suffered a fatal bicycle accident in 1993, that same secretary, Jean Brown, took over and kept the business going. They specialize in anything pertaining to lighting, including installing low-voltage halogen bulbs to produce clearer, whiter light; xenon cove lights, which operate at a lower temperature; and computerized dimming systems such as LiteTouch. For paintings and objets de luxe, they use lights with differing beam spreads to show off the true colors. The preponderance of their work is in the Park Cities, though they cover most of Dallas. Longtime members of the Better Business Bureau, their slogan is: “The difficult takes time; the impossible just takes a little longer.” The rates are based on either a free-estimate project basis or time and material, charging a minimum one-hour rate of $90 and $22.50 for each successive quarter-hour.

Texas Illumination & Electrical

Award-winning master electrician Jerry Gibson started his company in 1980. It’s the only business he’s ever been in, and he’s passionate about it. Full electrical contractors with 37 electricians on board, they provide basic electrical service as well as designing and building lighting systems, working with a variety of architects and lighting designers. Gibson likes to keep abreast of industry innovations, attending training sessions offered by Lutron and LiteTouch. Almost all of their work is within six zip codes, rippling out from 75205, but they’ve worked on estates from Fort Worth and San Antonio to Santa Fe and Charlottesville, Va. For the ranch owned by one celebrated Dallas oilman, Gibson’s team installed a chiller (an electrical-drawing, cold-water system that makes A/C seem antiquated). Like yard maintenance workers, the company services their large roster of clients on Thursdays and Fridays, changing out light bulbs and seeing to it that systems are up and running. (No mean feat; some of these homes have 100-150 lamps, many with differing beam spreads to accent a piece of art or sculpture or wash a table.) Gibson’s electricians work on both a time-and-material and a project basis.

Wade Electric
7212 Parwelk St. 214-631-4820.

After college, master electrician Jerry Wade taught school and coached basketball, but he didn’t want to be a principal or an old coach, so in 1974, he joined the business his dad founded 30 years before. When his father retired in 1980, Wade took the company from wiring offices to wiring large residences, working either directly with homeowners or through architects, designers, and builders. They’ve just completed a 48,000-square-foot home in Hickory Creek, and they’re currently working on an 11,000-square-foot flat in The Claridge with world-class lighting designer Craig Roberts. They’re not above small jobs, either, and will install lights over paintings, for instance. “We make certain that the job is completed to the builder’s and customer’s satisfaction,” Wade says. “We try to make a customer for life out of everybody we work for.” They charge both by the project and for time and material at $78 for the first hour and $68 for each additional hour.