Musician, painter, and contractor Tony Jarvis has typically met his clients during downtown gigs. He painted, for instance, the Great Jones Street loft of Robert Becker, the arts editor at Interview magazine in the ’80s, as well as the apartment of Simon Hammerstein, founder of Lower East Side club the Box (Jarvis played there five nights a week for two years when it first opened). And twice Jarvis has used more than a dozen shades of purple to paint a client’s Central Park South home. Sleep No More producer Arthur Karpati — whose home Jarvis painted with a variety of blues and grays — says he is “especially good at making colors work with each other.” Satu and Celeste Greenberg, the sibling owners of Tuleste Factory, say Jarvis is “our first recommendation when anyone needs interior or exterior painting or finish work. When he did our gallery space, he recommended painting our floors with an outdoor black paint instead of a traditional gallery white, and it transformed our sad, worn hardwood floors entirely.” A fringe benefit, his clients say, is that Jarvis can double as a contractor if you need some custom millwork done, kitchen tiles installed, or a wall taken down. “We recently referred Tony for a project in Tribeca [that entailed] some beautiful wall treatments with textured paint, plus finishing work on closets and installing a fairly complicated Lutron lighting system,” Satu Greenberg says (from $1,500 per room, which includes materials).
Since 1985, our annual “Best of New York” issue has named standout services, unique shops, and special spots in dozens of categories. Now that Curbed is part of New York’s family, we have reimagined “Best of New York” as an ever-expanding resource that could rival Yelp in usefulness but feels more like a secret Google doc that gets passed among friends. To find the places recommended on these lists, we polled hundreds of stylish and savvy New Yorkers and begged them to tell us their go-tos. The result: our own Yellow Pages, containing only excellent places.

Architect Peter Feigenbaum found Jonathan Barsness’s name on a painter forum on Brownstoner. A litany of positive reviews (from one: “does good work — and I’m fussy”) convinced Feigenbaum to book him to repaint a spare room in his Williamsburg apartment. The walls had “a lot of patch marks and chips and were an especially ugly color: mustard yellow,” says Feigenbaum. “After Barsness came, all the old crusty bits miraculously disappeared, and the questionable paint-color choice was replaced with relaxing grays.” Barsness’s precision and (relatively) low pricing (small rooms, like a nursery, start at $500, while a bedroom in a brownstone with tall ceilings and historic molding may start at $2,000) mean his customers tend to come back over and over — like Feigenbaum. “He doesn’t need a lot of hand-holding,” he says. “I’ll hand him a swatch, leave him a key, and he takes it from there.”
Musician, painter, and contractor Tony Jarvis has typically met his clients during downtown gigs. He painted, for instance, the Great Jones Street loft of Robert Becker, the arts editor at Interview magazine in the ’80s, as well as the apartment of Simon Hammerstein, founder of Lower East Side club the Box (Jarvis played there five nights a week for two years when it first opened). And twice Jarvis has used more than a dozen shades of purple to paint a client’s Central Park South home. Sleep No More producer Arthur Karpati — whose home Jarvis painted with a variety of blues and grays — says he is “especially good at making colors work with each other.” Satu and Celeste Greenberg, the sibling owners of Tuleste Factory, say Jarvis is “our first recommendation when anyone needs interior or exterior painting or finish work. When he did our gallery space, he recommended painting our floors with an outdoor black paint instead of a traditional gallery white, and it transformed our sad, worn hardwood floors entirely.” A fringe benefit, his clients say, is that Jarvis can double as a contractor if you need some custom millwork done, kitchen tiles installed, or a wall taken down. “We recently referred Tony for a project in Tribeca [that entailed] some beautiful wall treatments with textured paint, plus finishing work on closets and installing a fairly complicated Lutron lighting system,” Satu Greenberg says (from $1,500 per room, which includes materials).
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Over the years, New York City has seen its share of hurricanes, blizzards, floods, tornadoes, droughts, and extreme temperatures. New Yorkers know that you have to be ready for anything to live here, which is also true for the exterior paint you choose. The Big Apple gets an average of 46.23 inches of rain per year and sees precipitation on about 121 days annually. Therefore, your exterior house paint needs to be as tough as you are so that you don’t need to call us back for touch-ups or repairs for a long time.
Brownstones often date back to the 19th century and feature brown sandstone materials, below-ground entrances, and small backyard gardens. Therefore, you may want to stick to period-relevant colors the interior of your brownstone NYC home to retain its historic character. Some New York City buildings are historical landmarks that are required by law to be preserved out of respect for the cultural legacy of our city. When renovating an old brownstone home, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of house painting over the original woodwork based upon the quality of the craftsmanship and the historical significance of the building.
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