Picture Perfect

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A diamond-studded bathing suit, a slate shingle from an Irish cottage and an assemblage containing a broken guitar neck and KISS set list–these are a few things Dennis and Maryann Donovan have framed. At their Summerville shop, Donovan’s Custom Framing, they help clients preserve and showcase photos, art, certificates, jerseys, children’s creations and other treasures.

“People sometimes ask if what they’ve brought us is worth framing,” Maryann says. “If it means something to you, then it’s worth framing.”

The Donovans work closely with their clients—most of whom leave as friends—to come up with compelling, innovative and fundamentally customized displays.

“Can you tell we love what we do?” Maryann asks as she and Dennis, in a flurry of creative and collaborative energy, consider an array of matting and framing options for a charcoal drawing.

His 35-plus years framing and her interior design expertise make them well suited for the job.

Their business focuses exclusively on framing, with shadow boxes as a specialty. On-site consultations are available as a service. In addition to residential customers, the Donovans serve commercial clients such as Santee Cooper, Alcoa and the Art Institute of Charleston.

The couple enjoys the variety of projects that cross their doorstep. Notable examples of this variety include an American flag signed by a unit deployed to Afghanistan and the rare “butcher cover” of the Beatles’ “Yesterday and Today” album, valued at $25,000.

“Everyone is, fortunately, different. But, if 10 people came in with the same thing, the piece, quite possibly, would be done 10 different ways,” Dennis says.

“We guide clients in a way that works best for them. If it’s perfect for them, it’s perfect.”

—Kristin Jeffords