Homeowners are living in their houses longer before moving. Often this results in the desire to upgrade outdated styles, especially with kitchens. The once popular golden oak cabinets that dominated new construction homes during the 90s are being replaced with white cabinetry. The high price of lumber can make replacing cabinets cost-prohibitive. But there is an affordable solution that many homeowners are turning to so they can achieve a brand new look.
Kevin Clanton is a third generation painter in Elkhorn. His grandfather began his family’s painting business when the city only had 2,500 residents. When Kevin’s father, Scott Clanton, graduated from Elkhorn High School, he joined the family business. Kevin grew up helping his father, which instilled in him a hard work ethic.. He was also an athlete and enjoyed the physical nature painting offered. His mother, Jayne, taught him finances and money management. The combination led him to earning a business degree from UNO. In 2006 he formed Kevin Clanton Painting, focusing at first on new home construction projects.
He quickly learned that when the new construction market underwent a down turn, his business did too. However, his father still maintained all of his previous client relationships, taking even the smallest projects, such as painting a single room. Together they worked on projects for current homeowners. “Through the years we had requests to paint woodwork,” Kevin said. “We got very good at it and became woodwork specialists. Any painter can paint a home’s exterior. But the skill level to be a good woodwork painter is different.”
Kevin said having their own shop really sets them apart. Rather than spray cabinet doors and drawers in a homeowner’s basement or garage, he takes them to his shop in Elkhorn where he has a state-of-the-art spray booth. It keeps paint odor, sanding dust, and time out of the house for the client to a minimum. “The key to any paint job is intense prep work,” Kevin explained. Taping, confining dust, and caulking are all meticulous but necessary steps. “The better the prep work, the better the end result,” he added.
Using the correct products is also important. Kevin has perfected his method of sanding and spraying, using certain primer and finish coats that are flawless. “Since we spray rather than brush on the paint, you don’t see the original wood grain or brush strokes,” he said. “It’s a durable, perfect finish.” An average kitchen takes up to three days in the home, followed by a few days at the spray booth, and then one day back at the home to re-hang the finished doors.
Not only does Kevin transform cabinets, he also does windows, trim, and stair rails. He said the most rewarding part of his business is when homeowners walk in after they are finished and they get the “wow” factor. “Our clients are so happy the first thing they want to do is show their friends and family,” Kevin said. “The continuous referrals that come in from our projects are so exciting and motivating.”
Kevin’s crew includes himself, his father, and two seasoned painters, Gary Swanson and Jimmy Bender. Kevin personally oversees every project and manages all cost, which keeps them affordable. His wife, Andrea, is the company’s full-time bookkeeper while also raising their two children, Canon (2) and Katy (4). His sense of perfection carries through to every aspect of his business. “We are the guys who arrive on time, have our shirts tucked in, don’t smoke, and are trustworthy,” he said. “Many of our clients trust us to go on vacation while we’re working in their home, and we don’t take that lightly.”
Referrals also come from interior designers and realtors. Simply by changing the color of woodwork in a home, Kevin said sellers can immediately increase the purchase price. “There’s a lot of confidence in our ability to transform the home and do it professionally,” he said. Although woodwork is their niche, they will gladly do traditional exterior and interior painting projects, as well as refinish furniture such as tables, chairs, or curio cabinets.
Kevin emphasized that they are the painter to turn to for projects that are affordable, without hassle, have a high-end, quality finish, and are done right. “Our emphasis is to create a very modern looking home on an affordable budget,” he said. “Homeowners love their floor plans, especially their kitchens, they just want them updated.” Kevin also said they get feedback from homeowners that they’re a fun crew. “We love to listen to music, and our clients like that about us,” he said. “And don’t be surprised if you hear me and Jimmy singing along to Frank Sinatra or the Back Street boys while we work.”