New This Month

Meet the Brothers Behind Portola's Eco-Friendly Paint Colors and Glazes

Two Los Angeles brothers have mixed up an extensive -- and undeniably exquisite -- line of eco-paints, bringing old-world finishes into the new.

Jamie, left, and Casey, in the store their father built, are personally involved with every paint they sell.

"Color is feeling. It can’t always be put into words," says Jamie Davis, who, with his brother, Casey, has been handblending custom shades since 1998 for their Los Angeles company, Portola Paints & Glazes. But their colors may actually speak for themselves. Take how they started out: Their father, Jim Davis, a house builder, was searching high and low for a classic Tuscan finish called lime wash, but no one was making it in the States. Seeing the opportunity to create that and other old-world effects that weren’t readily available, the men worked with a local paint factory to start a line of specialty washes and glazes. Unlike most conventional products, theirs are also eco-friendly, containing little to no harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Within a few years, they had their own factory just 20 minutes from their Hollywood showroom, and the brothers were producing lime wash and other uncommon finishes. “Making our products the way we do is a lost art in the paint world,” says Casey. Most other formulas contain two or three pigments, but they use natural pigments from across the spectrum; even one of Portola’s standard whites contains seven hues. The effect? “A richer, more vibrant shade that evolves as the light shifts around it,” he explains. Every batch is small, each customer gets one-on-one help to find -- or make -- the perfect color, and all work is done by eye, not computer. After all, Casey adds, “there may be 20 ways to make a blue,” but only one feels right—and speaks for itself.

Each swatch is painted by hand.
They make thousands of low-or no-VOC paints.
An example of Roman clay, one of many specialty finishes they offer.

Portola Paints & Glazes

Casey Davis and Jamie Davis
Los Angeles