One time it was a sword. Another time, a custom-made rock star costume, complete with electric guitar and giant shoes. Mostly, though, Bob Nadeau and Efraín González frame art—everything from high-end masterpieces to your preschooler’s handprinted hot mess. At Art Home Company—a space they share with their sweet-natured tabby, Emma—they bring a combined 50-plus years of framing experience to every work of art that comes in (along with some pieces that may not even qualify as such—see above). The couple, who arrived in Portland from Florida 22 years ago, have been at their NE Everett location for nine years. They treat each piece with reverence and a keen aesthetic eye, noting details like the art’s proposed location, the customer’s personal style, and budget. The real draw? A warm and deeply personal reception for everyone who comes through the doors of Art Home Company. As Nadeau points out, “it’s not unusual for us to become friends with our customers,” he says, nodding at González. “It’s his personality! He’s a warm, fuzzy kind of guy, and he knows his craft.” Says González: “We’re artists at heart. I don’t have time to paint, so this is my outlet.” We asked the pair for their best advice.
Use acid-free materials. “If there’s acid content in the paper and acid content in the materials you’re using to frame it, it will deteriorate the art faster,” says Nadeau. Acid-free framing materials “will slow the progress of the acid that’s in the art already.”
Don’t glue your kid’s craft project onto a MATTE yourself. “Let us do that for you!” says González. When customers glue things themselves, “everything shrinks; it’s bubbly everywhere.” The frame shop will make sure everything stays in place without affecting the work.
Don’t frame your art for your couch.
“People bring a beautiful piece of artwork in and say they want to do a nice job framing it, but they want it to match the mauve sofa,” says Nadeau. “It’s not going to do justice to the art. My advice is always frame a piece for the art, and it will shine no matter where you put it.”
Tight on funds? GET a ready-made frame and pay the experts to do the rest. “Have an acid-free mat put on it, add a good backing, and you’re good to go!” says González.