SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND – “I want to show you something,” says Stanley Firth, staff painter at Kingston Interiors. He approaches a mahogany bookshelf in the company office and pulls out a leather-bound copy of Dickens. The shelf slides to reveal a hidden room.
Inside, the walls are lined with dozens of coveralls hanging from polished brass coat racks. Some are tweed with shrunken leather buttons. Others have golden cufflinks and monogrammed handkerchiefs. “These are our uniforms,” he says solemnly, touching an impeccably tailored set of painter’s whites.
“Not many people know what really goes on at Kingston,” Stanley says. He glances at a glass display case arranged with regal-looking paintbrushes and wingtip work boots. “There’s an elegance to what we do.”
Known for their reputation as high-end interior painters, Kingston employs only the suavest applicants who can pass their interview with a convincing British accent.
“While other contractors slap paint onto houses, we go inside and do the finish work.” He brandishes a brush with a handle made from lacquered oak. Before leaving, Stanley dons a pair of tailored wool breeches. He pauses in the doorway and selects a black umbrella from the rack. He winks. “You never know.”