How to pick your paint: High Gloss, Semi Gloss, Satin, Eggshell, and Flat/Matte

How to pick your paint: High Gloss, Semi Gloss, Satin, Eggshell, and Flat/Matte

Painting is a cost-effective way to spruce up your home, but choosing the wrong paint finish could mean pricey do-overs later. So how to pick your paint is an important question. There are 5 main types of finishes to consider: High Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Satin, Eggshell, and Flat/Matte. Due to their durability, each finish has its own practical location based on the intensity a space is used.

High Gloss:

High Gloss has both pros and cons. Out of all the options, it is the shiniest, most reflective, easiest to clean, and most durable. It’s easiest to think of this as appliance-paint-tough. Due to these factors, it contains too much shine for interior walls and requires the most amount of prep work since it will show every flaw. This finish will require multiple coats to get the smoothest turnout. Practical locations for High Gloss would be on high-use areas such as cabinetry, doors, and trim work.

Waverly Clubroom


Also in the shiny category is the Semi Gloss. While this finish can provide a sleek look to spaces, it can also withstand a lot of wear and tear and is very easy to clean. Semi Gloss will also require multiple coats to achieve the best look. Practical locations would include kitchens, bathrooms, trim work, and chair rails that would be high-traffic and/or high-moisture areas.

Goose Creek bathroom


The Satin finish name is deceiving. While still offering a luxurious feel, this finish is more often described as velvety or pearl-like. It is an easy-to-clean finish that is also good in frequently used areas. The biggest downside with this paint finish is that application flaws are easily revealed and touch-ups are difficult. The most practical places to use the Satin finish are in family rooms, foyers, hallways, and kids rooms.


Eggshell bridges the gap between durability and sheen. Just like its namesake, a chicken egg, there is almost no shine to this finish, but that says nothing about its durability. This finish can cover wall imperfections and does great in spaces that are not as frequently scuffed up such as dining rooms and living rooms.


Sometimes the Flat and Matte finishes are split up, but they are very similar. They have low light reflectivity, meaning that they are friends to walls with imperfections. These are much harder to clean without taking the paint off with the grime, but touch ups blend easily. The best applications for these would be in low traffic areas such as bedrooms, ceilings, and other interior walls that won’t be roughed up.

Rule of Thumb

The best rule of thumb to remember with picking out paint finish is: the higher the shine, the more durable it will be. Knowing how you use your spaces and how much they are used will help with the paint finish decision making process.

Hiring Architectural Associate / Design Professional

Hiring Architectural Associate / Design Professional

Hiring Architectural Associate / Design Professional

Attention Architects and Interior Designers, we are looking for community-focused team members to join our growing team. Gaines Group Architects, an award-winning design firm, continues to grow and we are looking for additional architectural graduates to add to our team. If you are just getting ready to graduate or 5+ years of experience and would enjoy a firm that is dedicated to design that builds stronger communities, please reach out to us. We have positions open in both Harrisonburg and Charlottesville.

Depot Harrisonburg

The architectural designer position will serve to support the development of all types and styles of projects with a focus on healthy, energy-efficient, and durable design solutions. You will get experience in all phases of design as well as client relationship building. We collaborate on everything in our office and work as a team on all projects.

We are looking for someone dedicated to community service that loves all types and styles of architecture. We will help you along the way to learn and grow as a designer. A strong applicant will have a desire to understand building science and constructability of all project types.


We are more interested in finding the right addition to our team than in a particular skill set.

Send your resume and portfolio to

Tasks you may do on a typical day:

  • Construction Documents
  • Rendering
  • Client meetings
  • Job site visits
  • Field Verification

Required Qualifications:

  • Architectural or Interior Design degree from an accredited university
  • Familiarity with AutoCAD, Revit, Adobe, and Sketch-up
  • Reliable, self-motivated, independent, adaptable, and versatile with an enthusiastic collaborative spirit.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), and Acrobat.
  • Excellent critical thinking skills with exacting attention to detail.
  • An ability to manage multiple priorities and diverse responsibilities.
  • Strong verbal, written, and visual communication skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of construction documents and the design and construction processes.

With 36 years of experience in Virginia, this award-winning architecture and interior design firm works hard to deliver excellent service at an affordable price. With offices in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg, Gaines Group Architects can serve design needs anywhere in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, or North Carolina. Constantly looking for the best answer, we work tirelessly to stay on top of the latest trends and best practices in the construction industry. We believe strongly in being in service to our community and the right person for this position will share that passion.

Job Type: Full-time

Pay: Based on Experience

Send your resume and portfolio to

Historic Farmhouse Renovation in Luray

Historic Farmhouse Renovation in Luray

Almost at the end of a dead end road overlooking the South Fork River a beautiful historic farmhouse was deteriorating. The structure had seem many renovations over the years for what I could imagine was a growing family that enjoyed the beautiful setting. A storage room was added, a kitchen was “fit” into a space, some outdoor decks to enjoy the views – but there was never a holistic plan to preserve the beauty and make the home efficient and comfortable. As many of these historic farmhouses do over time, it lost its luster and the owners just could not maintain it anymore. Our clients however, fell in love with the beauty and purchased it with a goal of bringing it back to life and restoring the former beauty. I am pleased to say that this historic farmhouse renovation in Luray is well underway.

historic farmhouse renovation

Our clients have worked hard to balance the costs of renovation while thinking through the building science impacts of an old house. You cannot just “add insulation” for instance without thinking through the impacts of such a decision. Sealing up a house that is used to being able to dry out can be very hazardous to the existing old and very dry structural members. You have to protect the old bones while working to make the home comfortable and durable for many years to come. You also run into those past decisions that are now a challenge to handle, like the wet crawl space caused by a new deck and poor grading or a buried cistern that is now under part of the house that was added without thoughts to how that impacts everything.

We were able to design a functional addition that will blend well with the historic structure, but also consult with the builder, home owners, and insulation contractor on how to deliver the goal of preserving the house on a budget. There is not one right answer that will solve all the issues and not all right answers are right for every home. It takes a team to get it just right and we are thrilled to be part of the team working on this historic farmhouse renovation.

Gaines Group Architects Elevates New Partners

Gaines Group Architects Elevates New Partners

Gaines Group Architects has elevated four new partners to the leadership of the firm: James Halstead, Deborah Smith, Adrienne Stronge, and Paul Tassell. They join Raymond Gaines and Charles Hendricks in the leadership of the firm. Raymond founded the business in 1987 and Charles joined as a partner in 2008. This leadership expansion provides resiliency and stability. Charles says, “This is a huge step forward for the business allowing us to better serve our communities. I am very excited to continue to work with each of our new partners for many years to come. Ray has set up an incredible partnership model for how to do business as friends while serving others. This was an obvious next evolution for the firm.”

Learn more about James here: James Halstead

Learn more about Deborah Smith here: Deborah Smith

Learn more about Adrienne Stronge here: Adrienne Stronge

Learn more about Paul Tassell here: Paul Tassell

About the firm: Gaines Group Architects is a firm that has a commitment to designing for the future. We have assembled a remarkably talented and experienced team of professionals to pull all building elements into a single elegant and functional design. Integrity, budget control, effective and timely communication, and a thorough knowledge of current technology, construction methods, and materials turn our promise and your dream into a delightful reality.

Mission statementGaines Group Architects is committed to designing for the future and having a positive impact on the lives of the people who live and work in the communities we serve.

Why we do it: Because we want our clients to have comfortable beautiful healthy spaces to live, play, and work.

Celebrating 2022 Architecture Fun!

Celebrating 2022 Architecture Fun!

We loved celebrating together in 2022 all the architecture fun things, special days, and events! We are a small team and many of us have been together for many years understanding the overall goals of the firm and joining together to achieve them. We look for ways to infuse fun into every project while supporting our community and each other.

This year several of us kicked off the new year by attending the Young Architect Winter Series. This gathering of like minded designers focused on making us better people so we can be the best architects possible. Read more here.

young architect winter series

January 26 marked National Shelfie Day – see what we have on our shelfs here.


February 9th we joined together to celebrate #NationalPizzaDay by sharing some slices.

February 17th we celebrated kindness on #nationalactsofkindnessday

March 8th we celebrated the women of the firm on #internationalwomensday including Adrienne, Deborah, Annie

In April we celebrated the beautiful spring weather by playing in the Eastern Mennonite School golf tournament.

May 7 we celebrated #NationalTrainday at the Depot by remembering Tinky Bryant.

May 15th we celebrated James for #nationalpoliceweek

Pictures of James to celebrate national police week.

June 17th #nationalmascotday, want to see Charles with the Virginia Tech mascot – a lot of people requested it.

In June, the Harrisonburg Urban Forestry Program partnered with Rocktown Urban wood to host a birdhouse build day and we had the chance to design the birdhouse!

building birdhouses

In June we celebrated Deborah’s graduation from the Harrisonburg Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Leadership traning program: leadership graduation

June 21 we looked back at some of our projects that feature amazing natural lighting #NationalDaylightAppreciation

At the end of June we all gathered to wish Roger well in his retirement.

Ray and Roger

In September several of us attended the Fan the Flame Auction to support our client Eastern Mennonite School.

In September we were able to support Big Brother Big Sisters by playing a round of mini-golf together.

Charles joined other Rotarians to assist with a Give Solar barn raising in September.

Give Solar Barn Raising

Sept 16 Many of us in the office balance being parents and architects and this marked the day to celebrate #NationalWorkingParents

Adrienne holding child while working

Each month of the years from March – December we celebrate local arts with our First Friday gallery openings.

August marked the return of the Sing me high festival hosted at the Brethren & Mennonite Heritage Center – another of our clients.

Oct 3 was #worldarchitectureday and we celebrated healthy and happy designs that build a better future for all.

In October we joined the Rocktown Energy Fair to help cut our community carbon footprint and share energy efficiency strategies with the community.

October featured #teamErika, the team we sponsored for Fake Singing, Real People, supporting a great cause: Any Given Child.

WMRA Book and Brews is held at Pale Fire Brewing company and we sponsor the event. We have had some amazing authors.

We sponsor the Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale each year and Deborah volunteers! So much good food for a good cause.

October Charles joined the EMS We Serve club to pick up trash along Rt. 42.

We had plenty of opportunities to learn more from industry expects while sharing lunch.

The Pints for Polio event was a great time to come together to support Rockingham Rotary Club and help fund Polio vaccinations around the world.

Oct 15 was #universalmusicday and we all shared what we were listening to with Annie compiling it into one playlist.

We also got to visit a Job site this Fall while getting some photos of this beautiful home we designed.

HDR’s Celebration this year took place in November celebrating many incredible people and projects supporting downtown.

HDRs Celebration

November featured a tour of Explore More Museum.

Touring Explore More Museum

Dec 23 we aired our grievances to celebrate Festivus

December Charles stuffed stockings with EMS We Serve club.

EMS We Serve Club stuffing stockings.

Christmas at the Depot was an amazing party again this year!

Finally in late December we all came together for a party with our families! It was a really good year and this was a really good way to celebrate it!

office party with families. People around a pool table