Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Archive for February, 2015

Painting Budget Cuts: Something to Work Around, and With!


Tools and supplies: “Buy in bulk.” They cost less that way, normally. And, you will use those brushes and roller covers every day!

Careful! That includes sandpaper, caulking, spackling, masking tape and paper, clean rags, and breathing masks. Oh well, the price has just gone up.


The message here: You can only do so much in order to save and show increased profits. It has always been standard policy to expense out certain unavoidable things that come off the top. If you try and change that equation, here is where “debt” shows its ugly face. But let’s not go there unless we have to do so.


What do you do then?


Every month, you will have fixed costs that have to be paid. Sometimes, there will be “additional” costs that you won’t see coming. Don’t anticipate. Plan!


Make sure you have a “basic” ledger for your accounts. Include “Accounts Receivable” and “Accounts Payable.” Don’t forget accounts for “Petty cash,” “insurances,” and “Taxes.”


Every cost, expenditure, and outlay of cash must be accounted for.


Here are some general guidelines to help you work through those budget cuts.


1. Never assume, or absorb, the cost of the needed project products and materials yourself.

Make certain that those items are paid for up front, by the customer, before the work begins. No cost to you.  Examples: Primer, paint, stain, varnish, wallcovering.


2. Figure in the cost of all related items. Include them in your project estimate or projection presented to, and agreed upon by, the consumer.

Try not to overlook the “small stuff.” It can add up fast, without you knowing it.  Examples: Vehicle gas, oil, and repairs; faxing, long-distance calls.

TIP: Get that agreement in writing, before you start any phase of the project.


3. On a weekly basis, update your ledger. Prepare payments to creditors at the same time. Generate a reliable system that works for you. One with a low margin for error.


4. Properly schedule and “budget” the money for equipment repair and maintenance.

Ensure that the equipment, and more expensive tools, which you count on most to do the work, will operate correctly and efficiently. When you need them! Do not let them become neglected, and inoperable.  Examples: Spray guns and hoses, compressors, power washers, scaffolding, etc.


5. Account for your time. That is the largest part of a budget. Generally, you can charge (1) by the “hour,” (2) as part of your “salary,” or (3) by the project. Whichever method you choose, charge according to the gross and net incomes that you require to provide for your business and personal needs.

6. Figure in  total operating cost, plus 20-30 percent profit; divide by 30. This is the amount of gross revenue that you need to pull in every day to succeed.

7. Pay your creditors promptly, and regularly.

8. Remember: Greed and irresponsibility do not make a good budget.



A painting budget is like most other budgets. Simplify it as best you can.



Build your net profit slowly over time.


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Stay afloat! Budget safely!  Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


Everything Looks Different Up Close – Even a Great Paint Job!

Notice the term, “great” paint job, not “good” paint job.


Up close: The 12-inch appearance surface test.


That means: Up close, the painted surface will look at least as good as it does less than twelve inches away.


That means: Up close, an inspector will see no paint runs, holidays, brush strokes, uneven tones (spread of paint), splatters, roller streaks, etc.


That means: Up close, the pattern of every panel of the wallcovering will match, “magnifying glass close.”


That means: Up close, the wallcovering panels will be smooth. Wrinkles will not be present. Small bubbles will disappear after the adhesive dries and the wallcovering shrinks (2-5 days).


That means: Up close, the seams of side-by-side wallcover panels will be “seamless seams.” No gaps, mismatches, stretching, etc.


That means: Up close, the seams of natural-fiber wallcover panels will show slightly, because of the natural variation of color.


That means: Up close, the patching and sanding of the surface will be smooth, or appropriate, for that surface – and area.


That means: Up close, the touch-up of any patched and sanded surface will blend in with the surrounding surface(s) and area.


That means: Up close, the drywall that has been replaced, taped and mudded will fit flush with the surrounding drywall – on all sides.


That means: Up close, the entire area, when primed, will look – and feel – uniform, even and smooth.


That means: Up close, a textured surface, with an evenly applied coating, will blend consistently with the areas adjacent to a random textured area.


That means: Up close, a spray painted finish on a smooth surface will have a well-blended sheen. The film thickness will be applied evenly, absent of runs and orange peel on the surface.


That means: Up close, wallcovering seams will be tight, blending in with the surface. The pattern will match exactly. No bubbles or paste will remain along any seam line, or on the surface.


That means: Up close, a gilded finish, such as metal leaf, will reflect very little through the surface. The metal leaf will be wrinkle-free, with no tears. And, the surface will be bubble-free.


That means: Up close, the drywall compound will lay smooth, eliminating all ridges from the knife pressure. The overlapping edge of compound and drywall will be ultra smooth.


That means: Up close, the gloss paint finish will be ultra smooth, and show no imperfections in the surface of the substrate – whether it is wood, metal or drywall..


That means: Up close, the body filler application will leave a smooth finish, that is visually non-porous, and shows no high and/or low spots.


That means: Up close, the stain finish will be applied evenly, with no visible wipe or drip marks, or floating pigment.


That means: Up close, a properly sanded surface will show no deep sanding marks. With wood, sanding will be with the grain. With other substrates – eg. metals or painted wood – sanding marks will overlap in a subtle crisscross pattern.



That means: Up close, every time, on every surface, the painter makes every effort to leave behind a great job! Actually, both up close, and further away than 12 inches from the surface.



TIP: “Take your time and get it right!” Brian Santos, The Wall Wizard.


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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Protecting and Preserving Nature’s Surfaces: Aruba

On the rocky, northerly cliffs of Aruba grows thousands of cacti. In one particular spot – a small patch –grows one or two samples of every species of cactus (Cactaceae), now indigenous to the island.


The relatively isolated patch is protected. By the “natives” themselves.


Traditional artists set their easels nearby. They sketch and paint views of the ocean, wildlife, and plants. A growing number of artists are returning to the craft of making their own paints and dyes. With special permission, a small group of them extract the pigment colors from the plants located around that tiny patch of cacti. Never within the patch.


Native–native artists use that small patch of cacti as a reference or guide to the species that are available for tapping on the island, for those pigments. Artists, crafters, writers, photographers, naturalists, etc. use it also for inspiration and subject material.


Hoteliers, developers and wealthy individuals with super deep pockets have tried, for many decades, to get hold of that entire “neighborhood.” But protected lands are protected lands. Particularly, on islands where land is so limited.


Some investors have joined preservationists to limit how much plant life – cacti – can be tapped, or harvested, for dye pigmentation. Similar steps have been taken in every state of the United States – out of dire necessity.


Some local governments, such as in Central Florida, have turned the “cause” of land preservation into a major arm of their “job description.” Committing large caches of taxpayer dollars to the purchase, protection and preservation of large parcels of land. Some of these land parcels are still a part of old family ranches.


In the “islands” – all of them, that’s been an on-going battle for centuries. Families, whose lineages can be traced to the earliest of inhabitants, fight to hold onto their roots. Literally!


That’s the case with that small patch of cacti, and its “neighborhood,” atop that northerly cliff of Aruba. That’s the case with the members of the family that own and cling to that parcel, as though their lives depend on it.


On January 31st of this year, I met a member of that Aruba family. She was participating in the Authors’ Symposium, held at the Veteran’s Memorial Library, in St. Cloud, Florida. The author splits her writing time between South Florida and Aruba. She subsidizes her writing income, by freelancing as a photographer in global hospitality marketing.


The covers on her last two novels feature background illustrations of cacti from her family land in Aruba. The sub-plot in both of those novels touches upon the battle to preserve the precious patches of cacti on Aruba.


Toward that end, one hundred percent of the sales from those two novels, and related activities, goes to help pay legal costs to fight for her family’s land. Their roots. Their cacti!

Protecting and preserving our lands are important tasks. And, everyone can help.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Painting Them: Restaurants, Clubs and Bars in Hotels and Resorts.

Places where people go to relax or have fun vary in theme, design, and atmosphere. They can be uplifting, heart pounding, eclectic, luxurious, earthy and natural, or any other unique effect.


Each atmosphere has a style all its own. And, hopefully, it is appropriate to the type of public the dining and social amenities want to attract.


The design and painting of a “restaurant “can include the following features, depending on the overall theme of the area:


1. Soft earth tones blended with matte black accents.


2. Wood veneer “paneling” and wainscoting with mitered moldings.


3. Ceilings painted in off white or pastel beiges.


4. Faux finishing applications such as gold leafing and marbleizing.


5. Textured wall finishes such as Venetian plaster.


When designing and painting a “club,” here are some suggestions:


1. In a “bright” club setting, bright and flashing lights mean brilliant flashy colors.


2. In a “bohemian” setting, subtle and complementary earth tone finishes set the mood.


3. In an “electrifying” setting, a combination of colors sets the pace – eg. reds with purples, and blues with silvers.


4. Use “high intensity graphics” with simulated chrome appearance, possibly neons and metallic transparent finishes.


The design and painting of a “bar” can incorporate the following options:
1. A bar, which is “relaxing” and conducive to quiet conversation, has a subdued atmosphere. Using darker earth tone colors with moderately dark stain paneled woods is optimal.


2. In a bar full of electricity and a fast beat, use bright and reflective colors.


3. For ceiling styles, consider a “traditionally finished metal pan ceiling.” Nostalgia can provide a very relaxing and comfortable environment.


4. In any case, the bar itself needs to be one “focal point.” Design it with wood paneling, stained in a moderately dark color and finished in a matte sheen of durable vanish or polyurethane. Any molding can be highlighted by finishing with a light oak stain, enhanced by a gloss clear finish.


Atmosphere is everything. Patrons will enjoy their meals or drinks much more where they feel at home, almost as much if they were there.


Design and paint, that are selected, blended and served right, always go well with food and drink!


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Enjoy a little bit of heaven at your favorite spot. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”



Creative Couple Retrofits Hotel for “21st Century Fifty-Plus Year Old Guests.”

On a return flight from London, a relative sat next to the new owners of a South Florida independent hotel. They had settled for coach seats on the “next flight,” rather than wait for “first class” seating the following morning.


The couple spent much of their flight time looking at color chip books from paint and stain/varnish manufacturers. Their attaché also contained photos of wallcoverings and swatches of fabric.


By the time the plane landed at New York’s J.F.K. Airport, the couple had chosen their color scheme for the hotel property. Also, they’d set a “tour and lunch” date with my relative and her spouse.


What fascinated me were the couple’s plans for upgrading the hotel. Especially considering the fact that both husband and wife were in their early forties, versus over 50.


Here’s the list of plans that the couple shared with my relative:


  1. Target market: Guests 50 and older.
  2. High WI-FI connectivity property wide.
  3. All amenities included, and available to all guests.
  4. Acoustical ceilings throughout.
  5. Guest room amenities: Two armchairs, reclining/revolving; adjustable queen-sized beds (phase-in); carpeted bathroom floors, bathtub rails and seats; one-way privacy window shades.
  6. Dining: Dining room and buffet, all meals; “Surf and Ale Pub”®; indoor/outdoor café; F & B Deli and “S & S Snack and Pack.”®
  7. Property-wide public phones and phone service.
  8. Front-Social lobby: Seating clusters; firm-cushioned, 2-seat sofas, arm chairs; reading lamps.
  9. Corridors: Firm-cushioned “park seat” settees.
  10. Small library: For reading, writing, computer use, quiet games.
  11. Billiard and Game Room.
  12. Connectivity and computer room in each building.
  13. “Techy Show and Go Shop.”®
  14. Small movie theatre.
  15. Gift shop: All merchandise home-crafted or home-made.
  16. Exercise and Massage room in each building.
  17. “Children’s Day and Short-Stay”® guest areas: Indoor activity/game/movie room; outdoor playground.
  18. Outdoor bird and nature sanctuary, with pond.
  19. Outdoor amenities: Pool and spa, two tennis courts, three garden parks; small European-style wood/wrought iron game tables; “under-roof” Boule courts, shuffleboard courts, outdoor bowling; archery range; golf putting range.
  20. Small 3-chair Hair and Barber Salon.


By the way, all preparation and finishing products used on the property will be odor-free, fume-free, allergy-free, toxin-free; also quick-drying. All surfaces and areas will be smooth, with minimal reflectivity.


What the hotel would not be offering to guests and visitors:


  1. Full-service restaurants
  2. Special kidsuites and children’s sleeping areas.
  3. Room service
  4. Basketball, volleyball, and racketball courts. (A nearby park offers all three.)
  5. Clothing, shoe and jewelry shops


“We want to accommodate the 21st Century 50-plus year old guests.” The couple said that they want to offer this group of guests what they need at a tropical hotel.


“Then, we want to “nudge them out of the hotel’s doors.” And, into their neighbors’ restaurants, shops, galleries, stage theatre, etc.


“Why have a full-service restaurant in the hotel, when we have at least five in the neighborhood? Within easy walking distance. Even for the 50-60-70-80 plus year old guest.”


This couple’s philosophy coincides with a trend that more hotels, spas, inns, and other lodging businesses are following.


Their focus: Provide accommodations and amenities that guests need and expect.

One of their aims: Be a good business neighbor, by sharing customers.

Their bottom line: Streamline operations, contain costs, and expand capital reserves.


By the way, the couple has a waiting list of over 250 couples, ready to sign in as inaugural guests.


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Have a great day! Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Painting It: Lobbies and Concierge Centre

Most often, it is the lobby that the guest sees, before the room he will be staying in.


As far as first impressions go, it is reason enough to want to present the area in the best possible light. Chances are your hotel’s lobby is already designed and decorated in such a way, that the guests feel welcomed and comforted each time they come.


As well as providing basic comfort, it’s also advisable to appeal to the guest’s other interests, before going to his room. Examples: You can offer kiosks with information about hotel and local amenities, virtual tour plasma tv systems, small reading alcoves, techy communication centers. Little time will be spent in the hotel lobby. So it is important that the guest feels at home.


With respect to the lobby’s aesthetic appearance, there are a number of things that can be done to achieve this.


Here are a few general guidelines:


* Maintain impeccable cleanliness, especially with the floors.


* Encorporate a variety of decorative elements such as colorful paint finishes, textures,

wallcoverings, and also wood as a surface and structural design element.


* Install marbleized columns. Or, apply a decorative marbleized finish to existing columns.

    This provides a historical element, and appearance of refinement. Also, add wood moldings

and panels.


* Apply gilding or (metallic leafing) to provide the highest order of decorating in the lobby

areas. It is best suited for moldings, picture frames and ornamental elements such as

sculptural relief objects and carved ornamentation. When applying this, it is best done



* Develop a decorative paint scheme which includes a random patterned design, along with a

textured appearance and a metallic surface effect. The optimum design would be something

which creates a reflective and transparent look, like a magic trick using chrome and mirrors.


Lobbies and the Concierge Center should make a clear and memorable statement about the hotel’s overall raison d’etre. Its mission. Its value system. Its purpose. Its philosophy. Its people.


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A victorious Valentine’s Day weekend to everyone! 

Look for Victoria’s Valentine, story booklet no. 3 in the Victor (the St. Bernard) series – if you’re on our family’s snail’s mailing list!


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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”



Painting It: Keeping That Hotel Renovation Beautiful!

Once a renovation is completed, what must be done to protect its condition on a continual basis?


Generally speaking, consider how you treat your home. You may have fine furnishings, ornate architecture or highly decorative surfaces. One needs only to remember that all things suffer wear, and are subject to age.


Specifically, anything which is maintained regularly and by using consistent methods will stand the test of time longer. And, of course, more attention means more expenditure.


Are you willing and able, including budget-wise, to do what is required to sustain the look of refinement? If not, a room or property can easily become a dereliction of one’s duties.


Methods for maintaining that new and improved renovation:


* Clean all surfaces regularly to prevent dirt build up.


* Install automated room deodorizer. Some are designed with portability in mind.


* Apply a liquid polish to all clear finished wood surfaces including moldings, doors and



* Touch up paint on surfaces using a small brush or touch up roller. Keep the touch-up

areas as small as possible.


* Repair damage to a surface using a method that will best duplicate or match the existing

surface. Great detail should be paid to surfaces which require a precise match.

Example: Stippled surfaces, reflective surfaces, textured surface, and surfaces with a

noticeable sheen.


* Keep decorative surfaces clean, and unexposed to the UV rays of the sun. This is essential

for maximizing the longevity of the surface’s good condition.


* Apply a clear coat application, for the ultimate in painted surface protection. It has been

proven to add years of service to hotel surfaces.


* Replace anything which cannot be repaired in a reasonable amount of time and effort.

This is the final resort, and the most expensive.

Example: A broken armrest on a chair may be repairable. But will it look as though it was



A restoration takes a great deal of time to complete. There are steps and procedures involved. If ignored, they will show up in the results as carelessness, or a willingness to cut corners where you shouldn’t have.


The same dedication should be given to maintaining what was created initially. For, if it is not, in a very short time, the hotel’s reputation and reliability could suffer – and become questionable.


And, I don’t need to tell any of you what that means!


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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

“The Better Question Changes Everything:” A Painter’s View

In Dan Rockwell’s above-titled blog, posted December 9, 2014, he advised leaders:


“Don’t allow people with clean hands to complain about people who are sweaty and dirty.”


Every professional painter understands the implication of any question, or comment, about his or her physical appearance, and hygiene, on the job.


On behalf of every professional painter everywhere that has gotten sweaty and/or dirty – and been asked or heard about it…


FIRST: Definitions of (1) an implied question, and (2) a better question to ask.


1. Implied question: What a question suggests or means, by the words, tone of voice, and/or look used.

2. Better question: The question that can be asked, and result in a better outcome.


SECOND: Some actual questions that I’ve been asked – one way or another:


Implied question: Why aren’t you clean like the rest of us?

Better question: You’ve had a busy day. Any problem that you need help with?


Implied question: Your hygiene: Don’t you use antiperspirant?

Better question: It’s been a hot, sweaty job. Thanks for your help. Would you like to cool off under a shower? A few others, including I, use the one in Room 120.


Implied question: Why can’t you keep your uniform spotless?

Better question: Thing they’ll ever figure out how to make stain-proof painter’s pants?


Implied question: How often do you change uniforms?

Better question: Has the order for your clean uniforms been put on hold again? Yes? Let me see what I can do about that.


Implied question: Gross! Why can’t you keep mold and bleach off your uniform?

Better question: What can we do to make this better? Any way we can help make this job easier and safer for you?


Implied question: Why does your uniform always look so damp and disgusting by this time every day?

Better question: Wouldn’t it be great to end a work day as fresh-looking as the office people?


Implied question: It’s embarrassing! Don’t you know how to keep yourself clean?

Better question: What might we try to make this part of your job less messy. You’re doing a tremendous job around here.


Implied question: Boy, do you know that you smell like paint?

Better question: That paint you’re using has an interesting odor, doesn’t it?


Implied question: Are you certain that you know what you’re doing?

Better question: Are there other ways to do that?


Implied question: Why does it look like that?

Better question: What will it look like when it’s finished?


Implied question: Won’t that make a big mess?

Better question: That’s a dirty job, isn’t it? Sorry you have to be the one to do it.


Implied question: Can’t you do that any faster?

Better question: That job looks like it’s going to take some time to do. Any idea how much more time you’ll need?


Implied question: Are you going to cover the furniture before you paint?

Better question: There sure is a lot to cover before you start to paint. Do you have enough plastic dropcloths, or old clean sheets?


Implied question: Why did you do it that way?

Better question: Is there more than one way to do that?


Implied question: You won’t leave the room in a mess, will you?

Better question: Would you leave the room as neat as you can when you’re finished?




1. Timing is everything! Is this a better or worse time to ask this question?


2. Location! Location! Is this a better or worse place to ask this question?


3. The tendency is to ask that question now, before one forgets, gets distracted, and/or walks off.


4. Often, it pays to think a minute, beforehand, about what one wants to say? What point does one want or need to make?


5. Often, it pays to anticipate the other person’s reaction or response to one’s question, before one asks it. Does the question need to be phrased differently?


6. Too often, the question that one asks implies something very different from what is intended.


7. Too often, a question is asked before its implication or effect – versus intent – is considered.


8. Many persons don’t recognize the implications of what they have said, until it is too late. Words and actions are not erasable.

9. Sensitivity in the workplace has its place!

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Keep up the good work, everyone. And, thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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