Stephen Kallai

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Master’s Touch Decorative Painting & Murals © 2014

About us
• HISTORY of The Master's Touch by Stephen Kallai, principal

I first noticed the art of the decorative finish while working as a painting contractor on the restoration of an elegant turn-of-the-century Victorian hotel in San Francisco.  The ornate lobby featured a number of Corinthian plaster columns that we painted black.   Not long after they were finished, I watched with amazement as two artists began applying a translucent green liquid over the black base, and began daubing this glaze with sponges, rags, feathers, and artist brushes. In a matter of a few days, the formerly simple black columns were transformed into striking green and black marble with white veining.  I was amazed by the effect and this incredibly clever use of paint, and I knew I had to try my hand at decorative faux painting.

At first, faux finishing just seemed like something fun to do.   I didn't realize until later that decorative painting, as I learned it was called, was a highly respected trade with a long tradition. As I learned more, I decided to dedicate myself to mastering the craft. 

In my early experiments, I soon discovered that I had a very good eye.   In fact, in my painting business I had always taken an interest in color and had mastered the difficult art of mixing and matching colors.  Successful faux finishes require precise control of color, and one must possess the skill to create the entire palette necessary.   One simply cannot use paint off the shelf of the local paint store. 

When I combined that special skill with my new understanding of the concept of glazing, the whole world of faux paint finishes just opened up.  Soon my newly acquired decorative painting skills, combined with my talent as a colorist, made my services so much in demand that I was able to devote my full attention to this new craft.  It's hard to believe, but that was more than twenty years and countless faux finish and decorative painting projects ago. 

Today, Master's Touch Decorative Painting & Murals is a San Francisco Bay Area legend and a full-scale decorative arts painting company.   We can execute a tremendous range of techniques and complete your project with precision, professionalism, and creativity.