For over 30 years, Badilla Painters has been the preeminent custom residential painting company on the East End. Joe Badilla, who founded the Bridgehampton-based business with a paint brush and a commitment to high quality finishes, has grown his company to become a resource for top designers, respected builders and the most discerning clientele from the Hamptons to Manhattan, as well as Connecticut.
Badilla attributes his company’s success to staying ahead of the curve and adapting to meet the needs of clients. While keeping busy with traditional painting, wall covering, cabinet refinishing and plaster, for the last two years Badilla has been
perfecting the art of eco-friendly technology and decorative metallic finishes with the use of liquid metal and spray-on reflective technology, two divisions of his company honed for residences.
“We are constantly looking for products and we do research in a way that we get a sense of where the market is trending,” Badilla says. Working so closely with designers over the past three decades, “We kind of get a sense of what it is they’re looking for them to create a ‘wow’ factor and provide their customers with new tools.”
Through research and innovation, Badilla Painters collaborates with designers to showcase their skills and ideas using the company’s finishes. Liquid metal offers the unique, natural look and feel of real metal, while being more cost effective than solid metal, Badilla says. The thin metal-skin — it’s only a 64th of an inch and a fraction of the weight of real metal — is also remarkably durable.
“We manage to coat any surface that is paintable with metal, such as brass and copper,” he says, adding that it has been used on kitchen cabinets, walls and headboards.
Plus, there are more than 15 color options available.
“It looks like metal and it feels like metal because it is,” he explains of the thin membrane made of real metal, applied to almost any surface that can be polished or patinated. “It is real copper, it’s real brass, it’s real zinc, it’s real aluminum.” Even the touch will feel cold, he adds.
The water-based liquid metal can be sprayed, rolled, brushed, applied as a texture, troweled, stippled, and combed. It can be applied right on-site and provides seamless, joint-free surfaces.
Meanwhile, the spray-on reflective technology adds the look of chrome to any object, from furniture to art pieces and even woodwork. “There are a lot of products out there that offer the “wet look,” which is high gloss, but they don’t reflect in the way that our finishes do. That is the main difference,” Badilla says of his product, which “is like looking at yourself in the mirror.”
“The way we do it, we manage to get above and beyond what the industry standards offer in terms of paint products,” he adds.
Both the metallic finishes and spray-on reflective technology features very low volatile organic compounds (VOCs): the gasses emitted into the air from certain products or processes, especially when it comes to building or maintaining houses.
“I think the technology is going in that direction. So we try to look for products that can give the same finish, but they can be adapted to the residential use,” he says. “Especially with so much happening in the atmosphere . . . we don’t want to
contribute to any of it.”
What started out as an idea two and a half years ago, was not simple to implement. Badilla and his team had to travel overseas just to learn one of the techniques now employed by his certified applicators. Then, though the product chosen after extensive research came from Europe, Badilla managed to come up with his own highly innovative process for residential painting.
Designers have responded very well. They have worked on several designer showhouses, including two this summer in the Hamptons. At the 2023 Hampton Designer Showhouse in Southampton, benefiting Stony Brook Southampton Hospital and opening Saturday, July 22, Badilla’s innovation is on full display in the billiard room designed by Melanie Roy. An accent wall features a metal skin, and he applied a spray-on reflective metallic finish to the crown molding.
The final look would have been hard to achieve with “regular paint products that you sell to the local stores,” Badilla says.
“One thing that we noticed is how designers, they look for something that actually echoes from some other finishes. Like for example, when you use brass and chandeliers . . . it’s always nice to have the same finish also in metal so that it can be applied to some other areas.”
Badilla says the finishes are often used for a pop of color that is consistent with a color used elsewhere. “It’s something that regular paint will never be able to accomplish.”
“That is something that has been welcomed by them. The fact that we can use some of those metal finishes and just use them in different sections of the house.”
Of course, it depends on the designer.
“I would say, because some designers, they like to have fun. And with those designers we notice that they tend to be more bold with colors. They look for more vibrancy and there are other designers that are a little bit more, you know, reserved and they tend to use metals that are probably a little more quiet, like on fireplace mantles. They tend to be more like aged metals.”
The decorative finishes enhance both a modern or classic look.
At one large project he is currently working on, the house is extremely traditional and they are using metallic finishes. “Copper finishes is a very old traditional look,” Badilla says. “Maybe they want the metal not to feel flashy or high gloss and they want the copper to be a little aged, but they will use the copper finish.”
Badilla’s metallic finishes are mostly used on the interior, though they can be used outdoors, such as on a sculpture. At the 2023 Holiday House Hamptons — a designer showhouse that opened earlier this month in Bridgehampton that raises money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and the Ellen Hermanson Foundation — they used a rose gold Badilla finish on a life-size breast cancer awareness ribbon on the porch.
“We are thrilled by their reaction and level of excitement,” Badilla says.