Pretty As a Picture

A mother and son duo bring framing expertise to South County


Jan Bertwell might be new to the neighborhood, but she’s hardly a stranger to the business of custom framing. For 31 years, she has operated Finishing Touches Custom Picture Framing, now with her son Evan. But this year it was time for a change, and Finishing Touches relocated from rural Richmond to 311 Main Street in Wakefield last month.

At Finishing Touches, Jan claims they can frame “just about anything” from your everyday pictures and posters to needlework and three-dimensional objects. She says, “We love to frame collections,” such as children’s artwork, sports jerseys and coins. With years of expertise in framing other people’s artwork, the Bertwells are artists themselves – skilled framing artists. However, their reputation doesn’t come without hard work. Mother and son attend framing conferences every year to make sure they can offer the absolute best to their customers. “The best thing about the conferences is continuing our education. There’s so much in the framing industry that’s changing, and new materials are being developed all the time,” Jan explains. “We like to stay up on things like that.”

As an extension of their commitment to education, Jan runs a blog and sends out a monthly newsletter to customers who subscribe. Here, she says, is where they spotlight one or two projects they’ve worked on throughout the month as a source of inspiration to patrons of the store. They also include upcoming events and feature new framing techniques such as glass cleaning and preservation to ensure their readers will continue to get the most for their money.

Perhaps you have a vivid artistic vision of the way you want that blank space in your living room to look, or maybe you just have some family heirloom in the basement collecting dust that you think you’d like to display. Either way, Finishing Touches is up for the challenge. Jan says, “We like to work very closely with our clients; a lot of times, people will have a really clear idea of what they want, so we listen to their ideas and fine tune it. Sometimes they come in and have no idea whatsoever, so we start with the fundamentals.”

Finishing Touches offers custom framing consultations by appointment to accommodate customers who might not be able to stop by during regular business hours. With the holiday season fast approaching, this is key. Jan says, “Family pictures are really popular gift ideas... We have a good reputation in needlework as well,” especially considering her primary background is in needlework framing. Jan believes what separates her business from others of its kind is that personal added touch. “People really appreciate the fact that we take the time to help them, and we enjoy doing it.”