It began with painting on bedroom walls - and parents who didn't flinch when their daughters decided that plain white interiors just were not cool.
Nicole Fischer was nine-years-old when she first dipped a brush into red paint and surrounded her bedroom door with roses. Sister Courtney wasn't far behind.
Enthralled with kittens as a teen, Courtney decided one day that her bedroom walls were an ideal canvas for images of the furry yarn and tail-chasing felines. Who knew the childhood paint-fest, which continued through each new home the family moved into during the Fischer's childhood, would evolve into a lucrative, full-time career.
But that's exactly what's happened.
In a day and age when you can't turn on the television without stumbling across a some sort of redecorating show, the Fischer sisters, based in San Diego County, now run their own business and find themselves in great demand. As partners in Transformations Interiors, the Fischers make a living painting custom faux finishes, Trompe L'Oeil, murals, theme rooms and children's rooms.
"I think we both have a problem with white walls," 27-year-old Nicole Fischer says, only half jokingly, as explanation for the pair's predisposition toward complex painting projects.
Painting - on other people's walls nowadays - keeps Nicole and Courtney busy five days a week, if not more. They have at least three jobs in the works at all times, ranging from restaurant interiors, to offices, to private residences. Not bad for two girls who started out precociously painting their bedrooms for fun.
The transition from childhood hobby to successful profession began years ago. While a student at the Design Institute of San Diego, Nicole worked at a local craft store to help make ends meet. In need of more money to pay the bills, she set her sites on a newly constructed neighborhood nearby - homes full of new, and most likely, white, walls; dozens of blank palettes in need of color.
Fischer, then 17, went house-to-house dropping fliers on the doorsteps, advertising her mural and painting skills. She received six phone calls from that initial effort. Her first mural was an underwater seascape painted in the home of a Marine Biologist.
Not long after that, she scored an enormous job - painting a 30-foot by 20-foot mural in a local rehabilitation center. Business has been steady ever since.
"That's how I put myself through college," Nicole recalled on a recent afternoon. "It paid the rent."