Features: The Ultimate Philadelphia Dream House: Get That Special Touch

We asked designers where they go to make their homes one-of-a-kind. They didn’t want to tell us, but we wormed it out of them. (We have our ways …)


Bob Gore’s Custom Painting,
1408 Diamond Drive, Newtown; 215-579-6946
SPECIALTY: A decorative artisan who specializes in gilding, Venetian plaster, murals, trompe l’oeil and color washing. He spends half the year in Europe, perfecting his craft and painting his way through homes there. Clients are from everywhere from Palm Beach to Center City to France.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE IT: The Yardley Inn’s foyer floor.
COOL PROJECT: At the Dorchester in Center City, he fashioned a pure silver gilded ceiling, using 3,000 three-and-a-half-inch-square silver sheets.
WHO LOVES HIM: Susan Taylor, of Black Eyed Susan in Yardley, says, “He’s a fine, fine artist. He’s there to make sure you love what he does.”
PRICE: From $3.50 to $125 a square foot for a simple glaze to fine-art painting.

Charles Dickey, Inc.,
15 Lark Lane, Perkasie;

SPECIALTY: Dickey is a multi-craft artisan. He makes decorative concrete countertops (would you like coins sprinkled on them?), bars and tabletops (some with granite insets) sealed in ceramic. His other specialty is conversion varnish, a durable, scratch-
resistant cabinet finish.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE IT: Dickey’s responsible for the concrete sunroom tabletops and the breakfront, cabinetry and hostess desk, all in conversion varnish, at the Yardley Inn.
COOL PROJECT: For Yardley designer Susan Taylor’s home kitchen, he painted over her cherry cabinets with black varnish, layer after layer, leaving rub-through colors to make them look old-world. He then sealed them with a durable factory furniture finish.
WHO LOVES HIM: “He’s really an expert in conversion varnish,” says Taylor. “He’s great—he always wants to be the hero.”
PRICE: From $600 for a small bistro table in concrete; a dining room table with granite inset starts at $5,000. For conversion varnish, from $5,000 to $12,000 a kitchen.

Great Finishes Design Studio,
812 North Easton Road, Doylestown; 215-348-5002

SPECIALTY: Co-owner Kelly Papinchak specializes in paint techniques on walls and furniture that involve glazes, metallics and plaster. Head to the showroom (open Wednesdays and Saturdays) to see what she and partner woodcrafter Chris Galdieri can do with wood and a paintbrush—European vintage lights, fireplaces and furniture. They’ll refinish a bed, make custom headboards, or turn a rustic armoire into a more contemporary one.
COOL PROJECT: For the owners of Crossing Vineyards and Winery, they made bedroom cabinets with a stain mixed with metallic paint. “It looked like it had always been in the house, yet it was elegant and sophisticated,” says Papinchak.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE IT: In Washington Crossing, the Crossing Vineyards banquet room, with layers of patina, metallic and wine-colored stains on the walls.
WHO LOVES THEM: “We love that they can do both woodworking and excellent faux-finish work for us,” says designer Celeste Callaghan, of Bucks County.
PRICE: Wall finishes are $1,800 to $4,000 for a dining room; $4,000 to $13,000 for kitchen cabinet refinishing.