Paint Me A Picture!


4 minute read

June 14, 2010

Here’s a feel-good story from the category of, “It’s a small world.”

A good handy-man, mover, electrician, plumber, or painter is always hard to find.

So why not just look back where you first started?  Even if it’s waaaaaay back…


My father is a very loyal man.

It’s the best trait I learned from him, and something that I carry with me in all walks of life.

When I was growing up, my father had his “guy” for every single job.

He had his “tv guy,” and even before the Future Shops and Best Buys of the world were around and we still had Sears and Consumers, my dad insisted on going to his “tv guy” on Mount Pleasant and paying more to get the service from somebody he knew.

He had his “reno guy” who despite not showing up for months at a time and completely disappearing off the face of the earth, would be welcomed back with open arms to build a fence or water-proof the basement.

He had his “lawn guy” who was the only person who could mow the front yard.  He wouldn’t let me anywhere near it…

He had his “floor guy” for several re-finishes of the hardwood; his “travel guy” for our trips; his “ticket guy” for the Jays and Leafs, and a host of other “guys” that he was brutally loyal to.

Every time I go over for dinner nowadays, I hear about his “wine guy” who gives him the newest cabernet, and the “steak guy” who delivers meat through his front door.

Then, there was the paint guy.

You won’t believe this story…

In 1980, a man named “Mr. Miller” painted my family home.

My parents moved into 128 Parkhurst Boulevard shortly after I was born, and they looked for a painter to bring some vibrant colors into the house.  If I’m not mistaken, yellow’s and reds’ were “in”…


Mr. Miller was an older gentleman with lots of experience, and over the course of a week, he painted the entire house from head to toe.

We lived at 128 Parkhurst Blvd until 1992, and then moved on.

Fast forward a few years; well, more than a few years, actually.

In 2006, when we sold my family home, my father dug out an old business card for Mr. Miller with his name and contact information.

Imagine, after almost three decades my father dusted off this old piece of cardboard and was able to look up his long-lost painter!

He dialed the number, adding the “416” since ten-digit-dialing wasn’t even a thought in 1980, and an old lady picked up.

My dad asked for Mr. Miller, and the old lady paused.

“Mr. Miller?” she asked.  “Which Mr. Miller do you mean?”

“I’m looking for the painter – Mr. Miller.  He painted my house in 1980.”  I wonder if my dad realized how silly those words sounded, given that it was now 2007.

I’m not sure if the old lady had a wicked sense of humor, or just called it like she saw it, but she responded: “He’s dead.  And also – he isn’t painting any more either.”

What must have felt like a joke at first, eventually sunk in for my dad, and he didn’t know what to say in response!  What would you say to that?

But before he could muster out a retort, the old lady interjected, “But the boys are still painting!”

“The boys?” my dad wondered.  Who the heck are the boys?

The old lady explained to my father that Mr. Miller would now be well into his 90’s, and his sons, “the boys,” have been painting since they could walk.  She passed along her eldest son’s information, and my father called him.

His name is “Barry.”

Barry was far from a “boy.”  He was actually older than my dad!

Barry painted our house for three full weeks as we renovated and staged the property, and much to his displeasure (or indifference…) the house was bought by a developer and torn down so there was nobody to appreciate his work.

When my sister moved into her condo in 2007, she hired Barry to paint her bedroom, living room, and kitchen.

Later that year, my mother decided to paint her house, and Barry covered about 1800 square feet in Behr’s finest.

Then just this past April, my brother and his wife prepared to move into their new house in Riverdale, and they looked no further than Barry.

If I could sum up Barry in a single word, it would probably be “Kramer.”

Remember the episode of Seinfeld when Jerry get’s his apartment fumigated?

Jerry and Elaine are standing in the hallway of Jerry’s apartment building debating whether or not they could enter – since the unit had just been fumigated!  There was a big sign on the door that said “DO NOT ENTER,” and they stood outside arguing the pros and cons of entering.

Suddenly, the door opens, and Kramer walks out eating a peach.

He reveals that he had been inside for an hour-and-a-half while reading a manuscript, and he thought the DO NOT ENTER sign on the door was just a rouse so that Jerry’s parents wouldn’t go inside when he was with a girl!

A few weeks back, my brother and I were moving some baseboards into his new home, and when we opened the front door, we were hit with the smell of urethane so strongly that it was like a punch in the face.

We backed off, then looked at the floors, and wondered if we could actually walk on them.

Were the floors dry?

Should we actually breathe the air in there?

We took a few steps back and pondered our options.

With no warning, and as if on cue, Barry stepped around the corner and exited through the front door of the house with a coffee and a smoke and said, “Morning, Gents.”

My brother looked at me, then the house, then Barry, then the house, then me again.

We scratched our heads like a couple of cartoon monkeys.

Barry smoothly lit a cigarette and took a sip of his coffee.

“Barry,” my brother asked, “Ummm…..I havne’t heard back from Djuro yet about the floors.  How long have you been in that house?”

“Ohhhh,” said Barry as he slowly sipped his coffee, “About an hour-and-a-half.”

“Is it safe,” my brother asked.”

“Safe, eh?  Yeah, sure. Why not…” said Barry.

It was a classic Kramer moment.

Barry will be painting my condo next week, and that will make all five Fleming’s that he’s painted for.  He actually asked why he hadn’t been asked to paint for me yet!

Barry Miller is reliable, professional, and above all, he’s a fantastic painter.

I highly recommend him if you’re looking for a painter.

Barry Miller

Just know that he’s a bit of a Kramer

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

Find Out More About David Read More Posts

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

1 Comment

  1. JG

    at 8:13 am

    Thats awesome!

Pick5 is a weekly series comparing and analyzing five residential properties based on price, style, location, and neighbourhood.

Search Posts