Contact Us

Phone: 651-247-9775

2007 Sargent Ave.
St. Paul, Minnesota 55105

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Swanson Painting and Wallcovering LLC

Since 1920 we have remained a family owned and operated business.

Our moto is always to be ‘the fastest and the best at what we do’ and to ensure a customer ‘is a customer for life’.

Swanson Painting and Wallcovering LLC

"I remember grandpa laughing..." —Bill Swanson

When I was around 12 yrs old I was deemed "old enough to work" by Grandpa and he would bring me to the Nelson and Sholin paint store on Devon Ave on the occasional Saturday to clean paint pots. He had soaked the pots in lye for a few days in the slop sink getting ready for me.

I'd wear rubber gloves up to my elbows and start with wire brushes and end with steel wool getting them back to the bare metal. Of course the lye water ran down the gloves to my arms and hands. It burned like paint stripper. I remember Grandpa laughing.

Swanson Painting and Wallcovering LLC

"Learning the trade..." —Bill Swanson

I apprenticed with his son, my Uncle Howard, for 3 years and then worked another 2 years for the shop as a journeyman painter. An apprenticeship then consisted of 4 days a week working with the painters and 1 day per week at Washburne Trade School.

Learning the science of coatings, color mixing and paper hanging we mixed all our colors on the job. Starting from a white base and with practice I could match a color really fast. I never missed a day, even when things were slow. Eventually I continued the family tradition and started my own business in St Paul. 

Swanson Painting and Wallcovering LLC

"Seventies" —Jim Nelson

I remember Saturday mornings as a young boy when my father, Howard Nelson, would bring me with him to the old Nelson & Sholin paint shop at 2307 West Devon Avenue in Chicago. My father grew up in an apartment above the shop.

My Swedish-immigrant grandfather, John Nelson – who with his boyhood chum Joe Sholin began the business in 1920 -- would always be there, even into his Seventies.

Swanson Painting and Wallcovering LLC

"Do-It-Yourselfers" —Jim Nelson

It was a dank and musty old place, and held intriguing drawers full of red and white lead and rosins – actual paint-making materials like in the old days. Gallons of paint and tins of the solvent benzene – since banned -- lined the walls.

My Dad would sit at a desk in one of the small offices in the back, his fingers cranking endlessly on an adding machine as he worked on estimates for painting jobs while my grandfather worked the front, selling paint and whatever to professional painters and do-it-yourselfers who wandered in off the avenue.

Swanson Painting and Wallcovering LLC

"The Finest on the North Shore" —Jim Nelson

I began painting outsides in the summers for my Dad at the age of 15 in 1971, and worked on and off for him from then until I was 24.

We painted the finest houses and apartments on the North Shore – Ann Landers, Phil Donohue, Barbara Eden and other celebrities were clients.

Swanson Painting and Wallcovering LLC

"The Chicago Stock Exchange" —Jim Nelson

I was lucky in that I got to work on the recreation of the old Chicago Stock Exchange, which was originally designed by the famed architect Louis Sullivan, in the back wing of the Art Institute in 1976 and 1977.

I spent weeks and weeks hanging hand-crafted wall designs there, and always pay a visit when I’m in Chicago.

Swanson Painting and Wallcovering LLC

"Proud Traditions" —Jim Nelson

The old paint shop is a pizza parlor now, and most of those men who worked out of it are gone.

Matthew Swanson is carrying on the proud traditions of his great-grandfather John Nelson, and of the varied and fascinating group of Old World craftsmen that I was so lucky to have worked with in my youth.

What We Do

  • Painting
  • Wallcoverings
  • Wallcovering Removal
  • Wood Finishing
  • Drywall Taping
  • Plaster Repair
  • Ceiling Texturing
  • Flat Ceiling Restoration
  • Window Film
  • Marine Finishes
  • Color Consultation
  • Travel / 2nd Homes and Cabins
  • Protective Wallcoverings / Wall Guard
  • Dry Erase Wallcoverings / Paint

We have all your finishing needs covered.

We've chosen to remain a small and efficient team to ensure every customer gets the quality and attention they deserve.


  • Healthcare / Clinics & Hospitals
  • Church Restorations
  • Nursing Care Facilities
  • Interior Designers
  • Individual Homeowners
  • Commercial & Residential Contractors
  • Schools
  • Office Environments


Swanson Painting & Wallcovering LLC
2007 Sargent Ave.
St. Paul, Minnesota 55105

Phone: 651-247-9775