Dean Dooley gives a tour of the interior of an Ocean City home on Central Avenue he painted.


Dean Dooley is an Ocean City married father of four and a lieutenant in the Atlantic City Police Department, handling criminal investigations.

And when he is not helping others by making the city streets a bit safer, he finds relaxation in his side business that also helps people – by making their homes beautiful courtesy of DSD Painting, which translates to Dean Scott Dooley Painting.

“I always liked to paint in my spare time, but a friend told me I should start a business,” Dooley said.

With about two and a half years left before he retires after 25 years in law enforcement, word of mouth is gaining momentum and giving Dooley and his team, which consists of his stepfather Mike Smith and sometimes his teenage sons, a full schedule of home painting jobs.

Dooley has years of experience in exterior and interior painting jobs. He has knowledge of different painting methods, which paints work best on different types of surfaces and how to clean and prep surfaces for painting. DSD Painting will go all over for jobs, but mainly focuses on Cape and Atlantic counties, he said.

The blue paint in the home at Central Avenue is called “blue jeans.”

DSD Painting, which is fully licensed and insured, specializes in:

  • Exterior Painting
  • Outdoor Spaces
  • Interior Painting
  • Custom Additions
  • Prepping
  • Green Building
  • Cleaning

On a recent weekday, Dooley was putting some finishing touches on an Ocean City beach house on Central Avenue owned by Jane Custer.

The family home, a coastal-style beach house owned by the Custer family for years, was completely renovated.

Brian Wright, of Wright Coast Construction, is Dooley’s friend who has worked with him in the past. When Wright told Dooley about the job on Central Avenue to paint the interior, he was immediately excited to be involved in the project.

Dooley was hired to do the interior of the residence. The painting included not just walls and ceilings in the spacious home, but also custom built-ins from bookcases and cupboards to a bed.

The entire home was done in two shades. One is called blue jeans, and the other is a light gray, along with white for built-ins and trim.

Custer said she was so pleased with Dooley’s work and noted that he is passionate about painting and did a meticulous job.

“Dean had a lot of great suggestions,” Custer said. “He did such a wonderful job.”

Custer said having Dooley and Wright to do the work on her family home was an absolute pleasure.

“I miss them. I hope they miss me,” she said with a laugh. “They are a nice crew. They did an excellent job. Everybody worked so well together.”

The job included painting each room and the built-ins like this bed.

Dooley also said he liked how the job turned out and enjoyed working for Custer and her family.

“We just came back to do touchup work,” he noted. “I love how it came out. I love how the colors flow from one room to the next.”

Dooley said he often will go back to do extra work for customers after the initial job is complete.

“Sometimes people call and say they moved furniture or a plant and want some more paint work done,” he said. “Or they have another job for me to do.”

Dooley said he always had a passion for painting, but Wright really encouraged him to take it to another level and create a business out of it, one that he could retire into.

A little less than two years ago, Dooley began slowly in his side business. First, he did a couple of jobs and before he knew it, he had a full list of customers in Ocean City, Margate and the surrounding area.

“Being an officer, I wanted to pick something to do in my retirement that I always loved to do,” he said. “Painting relaxes me, and I really enjoy it.”

He even recruited his stepfather, Mike Smith, who works for him in the business full time.

“My stepdad runs the crew when I am working as an officer,” Dooley said.

He also likes seeing not only a great finished product, but happy customers.

He painted one family’s condominium in Margate and they asked him to do a job at their other home in Cherry Hill.

“I said to them, I absolutely would do the job,” Dooley said of driving out of the area for a client. “I love what I do, and I love making people’s homes beautiful.”

With his business growing, Dean Dooley is always looking for new painters to add to his crew. For more information, contact him at 609-501-3968 or visit

Mike Smith, Dooley’s stepdad, is instrumental in the business.