Phil’s Custom Painting
Photos/Words by Logan Hall
Felipe Estrada loves painting. Not only does he enjoy it, he does it for a living. Estrada owns and operates
Phil’s Custom Painting, putting coats of color on every-thing from doors and window frames to entire interiors and exteriors. Having lived in Ojai most of his life, he knows the town and the people like the back of his hand. “I went to Mira Monte School, Matilija, and Nordhoff,” he said. “I used to deliver papers to homes that are my customers now. I did my first painting job in Ojai when I was 15. It was a goat pen that we painted at a friend’s house. I said then that I’d never do it again. About 10 years later, I did the same place that had the goat pen. Only this time I did the house.” From there Estrada not only developed a knack for painting, but also found satisfaction in putting that silky smooth final coat on a wall or door frame. It didn’t take him long to see that he had found his career and pos-sessed the skill set to make a living from doing what he loved. “I’ve always been hands on,” he said. “When I painted that house my OCD kicked in and I realized that I need-ed to get every detail right. Getting into it was kind of accidental but then I realized that I liked doing it. I love taking something raw and making it into something really nice. I think you have to love what you do. It makes a big difference.”
When on a job, Estrada never leaves out even the smallest detail. He’ll often meet with clients to get a feel for who they are and what will suit them best.
“I like to ask them what they’ll envision,” he said. “How do you want your home to look and feel? I think that’s a really important part of the process. Color decisions are so important and
I think people a lot of times think they need to hurry up and just pick something. I would rather them take their time and be happy with the results.” In being so detail oriented, there are certain ways he and his crew approach each new job. “Prep work is number one for me,” he said. “I’ll run my hand along each cabinet before I start painting to get a feel for them. When we have an interior job, we have to move furniture and fixtures and cover the things we can’t move. We need to match textures and make sure everything goes together. There are a lot of things involved. You can’t just slap on a coat of paint and walk away. Estrada is quick to point out that he doesn’t take on these projects alone. “For me, my guys are what makes my company move,” he said. “It’s not just a job. Its’ something we created as a crew together. Having a job completed, knowing my guys did it, and the client is happy — it’s just super, super satisfying.” For more on Phil’s Custom Painting check out philscustompainting.com.
Felipe Estrada with his company sign on one of his recently finished jobs in downtown Ojai. There’s always plenty of paint on hand, ready to go in his shop.