Burr Ridge decorator keeps things fresh with paint and paper
Mike Mangano, owner of First Class Decorating Inc., poses outside a home the company is working on in Burr Ridge. | Michael Jarecki ~ for Sun-Times Media
At a glance
Name: First Class Decorating Inc.
Owner: Mike Magnano of Burr Ridge
Specializing in: exterior and interior painting, wallpapering and photo murals
Serving: Burr Ridge, Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Western Springs and surrounding towns
Updated: December 31, 2012 5:42PM
BURR RIDGE — Mike Magnano knows a thing or two about painting walls and hanging wallpaper.
But even after 33 years, the owner of First Class Decorating Inc. in Burr Ridge said he never stops learning to do things better.
“I don’t like to do the same thing every day,” he said, so he’s always learning to do something new or in a new and better way.
That means keeping up on the latest techniques, trends and tools of his trade.
“Decorating is cyclical,” said Magnano, a Burr Ridge resident who started as a wallpaper hanger.
From there, he learned to paint and to make repairs. When faux finishes became popular, he learned many techniques.
Now, he is seeing the cycle come full circle with a return to paper wallcoverings, especially natural materials such as grass cloth.
Photo murals are a type of paper wallcovering that require a certain expertise. When companies and homeowners are looking for that expert, they often call on Magnano.
“It’s very intricate,” said Magnano, who hung 63 18-foot-tall murals at the Civil War Museum in Kenosha over a 4-month period. “Some were up to 100 feet long.”
“That was like my masterpiece,” he said.
Customers such as Caroline Hawk of Clarendon Hills might beg to differ. She said the dining room that Magnano recently completed in her home turned out beautifully.
“He does an awesome job,” said Hawk. “I am super picky.”
Magnano said it is a rare do-it-yourselfer who can get similar results on their own.
“Everybody in their life has picked up a brush,” he said.
But few have the tools or the patience to properly prepare a room for paint or wallpaper. He and his crew carefully prepare every wall while taking every precaution to protect floors and furniture.
“We go the extra mile, one customer at a time,” Magnano said.
June White, owner of Lifestyle Interiors in Western Springs, has worked with Magnano for 26 years.
“Mike is our go-to guy,” said White, who described First Class Decorating Inc. as dependable, punctual, professional and affordable.
With winter approaching, Magnano’s work schedule likely will get even busier as homeowners spruce things up for the holidays. That makes for an extra-busy season for himself, but he’s not complaining.
“When I finish a job, I stand back and say, ‘Hey, we did that,’” he said. “It’s instant satisfaction.”