HJ/EDApril 24, 2006

Ottos doing wall makeover on KARE-11

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

Theresa and Paul Otto are to be featured on an upcoming segment of KARE 11 TV with Belinda Jensen, the date still to be determined, demonstrating a wall makeover.

This is the latest in a series of achievements that have made this couple’s life a whirlwind of activity, and their business, Creative Impressions, very successful.

It began four and one-half years ago when Theresa, rural Lester Prairie, began working for Boger’s Hardware in Winsted. She was fascinated with mixing paints. Later, when she began to work at True Value in Mound, it became a passion.

As an employee of Mound’s True Value, she took a six-week course on color theory in Minnetonka. She learned so much from those classes that she decided to take additional classes in St. Louis, Mo., where she studied the art of decorative painting, and then took week-long classes in Chicago with instructors who were from Italy.

Her reputation grew as word got out about her unique wall designs, and her business, Creative Impressions, began.

Paul decided, about a year ago, that he would like to work with Theresa in the business. He quit driving truck, something that he had been doing for about 10 years.

Working well together, they have turned their basement into a laboratory of paints, glazes, plasters, and tools. Theresa experiments with all of her wall designs on temporary strips of Sheetrock, nailed to the basement wall, and special canvas.

Determining the perfect color to compliment the walls, Theresa looks at the area she will be working with. She looks at flooring, wood tones, furniture, fabrics, art work, and, last but not least, the client themselves, and what clothing they are wearing.

Some of the designs she has produced look like marble, brushed aluminum, old world textures, and European plasters.

Medallion Cabinetry in Waconia has featured Creative Impressions in its spring catalog, 2005 National Kitchen and Bath Trade Show last May in Las Vegas, and in its 2006 Dream Book. They have been doing all of the backdrops for Medallion trade shows.

The business has put Ottos in some very exciting situations.

The most recent is KARE 11 asking them to do a demonstration of applying applications of Venetian plaster (steps pictured in this article) on its Saturday morning television show. KARE 11 will also video tape them at one of their jobs in Wayzata, showing what the overall finished Venetian plaster looks like.

Theresa also shared a few other stories like the townhouse in Wayzata that required them to work on a 27 foot scaffolding, and how they worked after 8 p.m. in a beauty salon in Wayzata so the salon could stay open during the day.

“People lined up outside of the building watching us,” Theresa said.

Another job in Wayzata began with a building contractor calling for help in completing a home in a day and a half. His problem was that they had a home they had remodeled, and were unable to match the plaster and decorative glazes that had been applied. He asked if she would be able to help.

When she arrived at the home, “it was as large as Holy Trinity School, a medieval castle,” Theresa said. The room she worked in was huge, with rounded ceilings, but she was able to get the plaster to match.

The owner found out that she had done the work and asked her to come back and do another room for him.

Clients are very appreciative when they see the final results of the Otto’s efforts.

“The creative wall designs are so unique, many times it has the affect of remodeling an entire room,” Theresa said. “Some of our clients have thanked us with champagne, apple pies, and dinner.”

Hanging from 27’ scaffolding and working late at night would be challenging for someone half their age, but Paul and Theresa Otto are not only in excellent physical condition, they seem to be getting younger.

They have been married for 36 years. Their home and business is located on the same property that Paul grew up on.

Theresa is originally from Montrose. They met at the Blue Note because they both love to dance.

They have raised three daughters, Deborah, 36, Michelle, 35, and Kimberly, 32; and a son, David, 27.

They also have 11 grandchildren, ranging in age from two to 16 years.

Both Theresa and Paul are very inspired by their business and are looking forward to its future.

“My husband and I have made this into something we do together. It’s hard work, but so enjoyable and creative.”

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