Chicago couple paints their way out of recession
Considering the economic roller coaster, potential entrepreneurs may be apprehensive to start new endeavors. In 2002, Diana Cavaliere, who previously owned another business, faced similar hurdles, but she didn’t let that stop her from starting her painting company, Creative Walls and Spaces.
“I had my office furniture sales and design business for 30 years, but there was a downturn in the economy,” she says. “I thought it was a good opportunity to start a new business.”
Cavaliere and a friend started the business together using Cavaliere’s retired husband, Tony, as cheap labor. When the other partner left to spend time with her school-aged child, the dynamics of the business changed. “I told my husband he had to work with me full time,” she says.
This Park Ridge company has won the Super Service Award every year since 2003.
Cavaliere feels like she and her husband work best together when they focus on separate tasks. She handles the business end and her husband does the intricate painting for customers.
Sebastian Palmigiani, a member from Lakeview, experienced Tony Cavaliere’s skills when he had his condo painted. Palmigiani’s walls had disjointed a bit and he said Tony was able to conceal the separation completely. “Tony is what I would call an artisan painter,” he says. “Tony put in full eight-hour days and worked straight through lunch. I felt like I was getting my money’s worth.”
Diana Cavaliere’s passion stems from a love for design. She worked a lot with designers and architects when she owned her office furniture business. From time to time, she still gets the opportunity to do some design work.
Wilmette members Burl and Jane Lane had her do more involved design work at their home. Cavaliere helped the Lanes match and mesh colors on several elements of their living room redesign. “Diana walked us through a comprehensive color scheme,” the Lanes say. “She helped blend our newly refinished floors, furniture fabrics, window treatments and three different colors of paint.”
Not all jobs are as extensive as the one Cavaliere did for the Lanes. Many people just need a bedroom or a dining room painted. She says they will paint your ceiling, walls and trim for about $500, depending on the room size.
Cavaliere believes her skill in the color selection process sets her apart from others. “I paint every color my customers choose on poster board for them. People have a hard time seeing color on small samples,” she says. “I sit with them and select colors room by room. I paint it on a poster board so they can move it around and visualize the color better.”
Super Service Award Criteria: Each year, Angie’s List awards this honor to companies that have earned an outstanding service rating, according to our members. In 2012, the criteria included a minimum number of 5 reviews in a category during the reviewing year, maintaining an A average on those reviews, as well as a recent and total overall A, and being in good standing with Angie’s List. The SSA is based on a company’s previous service record, and ratings can change, so be sure to always check the List before hiring.