We had the good fortune of connecting with Merri Pruitt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Merri, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started my business out of desperation..I was living in New Orleans, late 70s early 80s, and couldn’t find an art related job ,so I taught myself decorative painting for interiors .
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a decorative paint finisher, who specializes in repainting furniture, and creating and painting other objet d’art de art, such as floorcloths, and mirrors . I want to be known for my creativity, custom painting, and quality workmanship. It is up to me to interpret what the customer wants, selecting the right finish to my clients to choose neutral colors ,or go” over the top” with bright colors, and textures on their commissioned pieces. Some of our special finishes include: faux tortoiseshell, faux malachite, gilding, trompe l’oeil, woodgraining, and distressed finishes. The Pruitt-Littleton Studio , located directly behind my Heights bungalow, is filled with stimulating samples , and many years of photographs to inspire. My freelance decorative painting business was created while residing in New Orleans. I couldn’t find an art related job in 1980 and a neighbor, an Antique dealer on Magazine Street, asked me to stencil the walls of her shop. Commissions followed after her customers saw the decorative paintwork. The business flourished with projects published in national publications, working in grand mansions of the Garden District, hotels and restaurants in the French Quarter. For 25 years, with my husband and partner ,Jimmy Littleton ,we packed our paints and travelled to Tuxedo Park, New York , Natchez, Mississippi, Ilseboro, Maine, Mobile, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama to paint in sumptuous homes. These days, while socially isolating, in our Heights studio, our business has evolved into mostly painting furniture for our loyal clientele. I am surrounded by many cats ,a loud parrot, and one very patient assistant. For me, it’s really not a bad quarantine life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The Museum of Fine Arts Houston …The Menil Collection… Day drive to Roundup, Galveston, Bayou State Park, or Maas Nursery in Seabrook. Restaurants: Ninfas on Navigation, The Afghan Village , Niko Niko, Henderson and Kane General Store, Common Bond in the Heights. Shops : Antiques on Yale , Shops on 19th Street in the Heights, Mecox Garden, Memorial Antiques and Interiors . Things to do : Take a walk in Memorial Park, Shop in Highland Village
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I moved to Houston post hurricane Katrina in 2005, knowing few designers and contacts in the design field in Houston. It was a scary and daunting to start over in a new city, having been well established in New Orleans for over 25 years. I contacted a designer from Louisiana, Rebecca Vizard, of B. Viz Design, who sold her Antique textile pillows, at Watkins Culver Antique shop on Bissonnet. She introduced me to , Nelta Culver and staff, who in turn, recommended me to many well known Houston designers. Many Houston commissions followed. My brother Captain, Randy Pruitt, a first responder, who rescued us after our New Orleans house was destroyed by 6 feet of water post hurricane Katrina. He let my husband and I, 3 cats 2 dogs and a parrot move in with him for 9 months, while getting the decorative painting business up and running in Houston. After a few months in Kemah ,Houston realtor Judy Thompson, found a terrific bungalow and studio in the Heights for us to live and work in. I was ready to start my decorative painting business in Houston!
Facebook: Pruitt-Littleton Decorative Artists
photos by Merri Pruitt