Stroke of genius: Virginia-made paint brightens décor prospects

Photo: Eric Kelley Photo: Eric Kelley

For the last five years, Christy Baker has made herself into Charlottesville’s go-to person for refinishing furniture in bright, unexpected colors as the creative director at Pigment, so it was just a matter of time until she got to the heart of the matter: the paint itself. With Good Bones, her line of durable, low-VOC paints, she’s seeing an idea realized.

“When I opened Pigment I was essentially converting a production paint shop into a publically accessible destination,” she says. “So, when a large stockpile of leftover paint conveyed with the shop, I kept what I could salvage thinking there could be a use for it.” Customers’ requests for chalk-painted pieces led her to mix various additives into the leftovers, but Baker noticed they weren’t performing “as well as I believed a more sophisticated paint could.” So, she and her business partner, Charlie Davis, spent two years developing a paint with a very specific wish list of qualities—water-based, nontoxic, easy to use, strong bond to various surfaces, etc.—and finally landed on the formula for Good Bones.

The paint, which is manufactured in Lynchburg, retails for $39.95 per quart and can be used both indoors and outdoors, on furniture and walls, and it dries quickly, so you can start your second coat almost immediately after finishing the first. What can’t the paint do? Not much.

“One of my favorite [uses] is to apply Good Bones using a wide spackling knife. If left to thicken a bit in an open container, the paint becomes almost like slurry,” Baker says. “I’ve used this technique on tabletops and other pieces of furniture to create a striking, layered texture.”