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Archive for July, 2016

Painting It: Hotel/facility painter and custom finishes

Ordinarily, a hotel/facility painter will not be expected to restore or maintain custom finishes applied by fine artists. Example: Front lobby’s faux marbleized columns and fascia, done during original construction.

 

That job might change, however, when:

 

  1. management/owners want the job done, and will not contract for fine craftsmen to do it;
  2. something must be done about area, and the painting/decorating budget is frozen for the rest of the year;
  3. necessary repairs and replacement to the area – due to rain/water leak, major mold infestation, structural aging, fire damage – force a “restorative” level of painting.
  4. major reconstructive/upgrading requires “blending” old, original finishes with newly applied ones. Particularly in high traffic, frequently used areas – eg. luxury suites, conference centers, entertainment room.
  5. Management issues an order for you to maintain, duplicate, or restore custom finished surfaces/areas.

 

So, what do you do, when you’ve never applied a fine finish – not even in apprenticeship school?

 

SIX + ONE + THREE TIPS TO HELP YOU GET THE JOB DONE RIGHT!

 

  1. Create a sample board, made of the same construction material as the surface involved. Do a super job of duplicating the problematic finish on the surface/area. Repair, prepare and refinish by following the same steps you’d use on the real surface.
  2. Once both you and management are satisfied with the result on that sample board, find the most obscure and worst small section of the area to be redone.
  3. Repair, replace and refinish that section using the identical technique, products, supplies, and tools used on that sample board.
  4. If possible, let that refinished area stand for at least five full days. Preferably longer. See how it appears to you. Compare your redone section to the finish on the overall area.
  5. Encourage management and the big shots to take several look-sees. Invite a few very observant teammates to check it out, too.
  6. Get a written “special project order” signed and dated by the hotel’s/facility’s top management officer. Your supervisor’s order to proceed is not good enough. This approved order must include the following:

A. Project scheduling and completion date, based on your availability and regular work responsibilities (that you will still have to get done during this time);

B. List of all needed products, materials, supplies, tools, and equipment – as required;

C. Pre-signed and pre-dated requisitions for delivery of all needed items in “B.”

D. A “no interference and no changes statement,” leaving authority with you.

E. Statement about cordoning/securing entire work area for the time that you require;

F. A “project delay start date”, if management has not had required products, materials, etc. delivered according to agreed upon schedule.

 

ONE SCHEDULING TIP: Slot out time thirty days out from project start date, if possible. This gives everyone the ability to get their respective ducks in a row. You, teammates, supervisor(s), management, purchasing, suppliers, etc.

 

THREE SUCCESS TIPS:

 

  1. Do your best to work ahead on your regular tasks, work orders and projects. Hint: With your supervisor, do a weekly “walk through” to make sure you’re both covering the basics.
  2. One week out: Meet with your supervisor. Include teammate(s) that will be covering for you in getting regular work done. NOTE: By this point, the list of “to do’s” will have been agreed upon between you and your boss.
  3. One week out: Closely check your project inventory. Run through the list of products, materials, supplies, etc. Is everything ready? Has everything been delivered?

 

BOTTOM LINE: Keep in mind that you’re really at the mercy of management. Too often, what they say they want is not matched by their compliance to their part of the deal. Tread carefully, my friends!

 

FINAL NOTE – and CAUTION

I’m a stickler when it comes to “special projects” that flow from the desks of management. I never start one of these projects on the fly. And, I never proceed with any “special project” that everyone involved has not, in advance, committed to in writing!

 

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Certain faux finishing projects need to be redone by the experts.

And, you are not they, if you don’t know a lot about this specialized art form.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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Painter’s View: How a hotel can move more “upmarket”

It can take a big chunk out of the budget to move a hotel into a higher position in the marketplace. Usually, special funds must be allocated for that purpose. And, many independent operations don’t have that kind of capital to invest.

 

Still, they need to do something drastic to appeal to a clientele that will pay more and spend more. And, hopefully, return more often.

 

Thirteen ways that a painter can help move his hotel “upmarket”

 
1. Demonstrate to management what a color scheme change can do, even for just exterior accenting and trim.

 

2. Choose, say 20, rooms to start. And, decorate each with a specific theme.

Example: Countryside – Use template to stamp rose motif on walls, to create fake “dado.”

TIP: Coordinate each theme with the hotel’s overall image.

Examples: nautical, Americana, oriental, European, southwestern.

 

3. A change in color scheme and application of a simple faux finish on one wall costs very little, and easy to do.

Example: Soft tones create a fresh, airy feel.

 

4. Apply a “frottage” effect over dado to team with wallpaper, or the plain painted surface on the lower wall.

Example: Soft green is restful and peaceful.

 

5. Stencil and paint special motifs in hotel’s current color scheme on the walls of children’s lofts or rooms in family suites.

TIP: Printed wallpaper borders work great, too.

 

6. Sand, then stain “distressed” wood furniture pieces in colors that blend with paint colors of walls.

Examples: Headboards, bedside tables, mirror/picture frames, desks, writing tables.

 

PROJECT NOTE: For one hotel, I sanded the heavily scratched and faded wood chairs in the family restaurant. Then I applied a slightly different color of stain on each chair. The effect: An exciting, fun look!

 

7.  Sand, then apply two coats of gloss paint on the tops only of older wooden tables throughout the property. Select complementary colors that, together, will brighten the day for guests and staff.

Examples: Front lobby, front offices, restaurants, foot court, guestrooms, meeting rooms.

TIP: Get very creative. Apply faux marble effect, paint checkerboard pattern.

 

PROJECT NOTE: For one art décor hotel, I decorated some small table tops with a wood inlay pattern.

 

8. Brighten up the pool/gazebo/bar area. Spray paint each table a slightly different hue or tint of the same color, from the hotel’s color scheme.

 

9. Or, keep the tables the same color. And spray paint one chair at each table a slightly different hue or tint of a color, used in the area already.

Example: If the area’s color scheme is “tropical” yellow, lime green, aqua, and melon, paint one chair at each table in a little lighter hue of one of these colors.

 

10. Do you have columns at the lobby entrance, or pool area entrance? On all columns, “wrap around” a stripe in a lighter hue of a color from the hotel’s signature color scheme. TIP: Paint the nearby entrance benches in a slightly darker tint of the same color.

 

11. Apply two coats of gloss paint onto the worn park benches around the property.

TIP: For great attention getters, paint each in a different color, from the hotel’s overall color scheme. The effect: Electrifying!

 

12. Create honor walls in public areas of buildings. Examples: “Hotel’s History,” “Staff Honors,” “Children’s PROArt Gallery.”

Example: Front lobby, corridor to a restaurant, conference center hallway.

 

13. Get hold of a lot of picture frames, different sizes. Paint each one in a striking color, that contrasts with the wall color where the frames will be hung. A different hue of the wall color works great, too.

 

Painter’s Power Point: Many of these touches can be achieved by tinting extra paint that you already have in the paintshop. When your budget is tight, or even frozen, look at what you have. Set aside what you need to keep for basic work orders and projects. And, little by little, liven up the place.

 

PROJECT NOTE: On one project, I actually enlisted the creative talents of two hotel staff members who loved to paint! A housekeeping supervisor and an online sales person. They helped a couple of hours, after their regular work hours, for at least five days. They had a great time, and did a great job!

 

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Staff painters can help “upmarket” their property by treating surfaces to a change!

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Stay cool and calm, everyone. Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter PR: Getting people to “like” your hotel may be easier than you think.

IDEA 1: Capitalize on two of your strengths in a unique way.

Example: Periodically, offer painting shortcuts mini-workshops for guests.

Example: Offer painting workshops for children.

 

IDEA 2: Identify an amenity that few or no hotels/facilities in your area offers.

Example: Convert a large guest room into a “Guest Library.”

Example: Convert a corner of the restaurant into a ‘Tea Room.”

 

IDEA 3: Identify an amenity that other hotels/facilities do offer. But you have a new spin on it.

Example: Create a kids health club next to the adult health club.

 

IDEA 4: Offer a short “Paintshop Tour” for guests.

Example: Hand out a colorful guide of self-painting and paintshop dos and don’ts.

 

IDEA 5: Create several how-to painting videos for YouTube.

Example: Help publicize them to guests and visitors, via kiosks, closed-circuit tvs around the property.

 

IDEA 6: Help set up a small, indoor activity room for younger children.

Example: Use colors to create separate areas for board games, Lego and building blocks, play kitchen/playhouse, racetracks, etc.

 

IDEA 7: Design, paint and erect signs to identify the species of flora and fauna located around the property.

Example: Show the horticultural and common name for each one. Florida Butterfly Orchid, Encyclia tampensis.

Example: Make signs and posts from treated exterior woods.

Example: Use a hobby/craft woodburning tool to letter the signs, instead of painting them.

 

IDEA 8: On “rained out” days, offer “Splatter Painting” workshop for the kids.

Example: Make each child’s canvas board small enough – eg. 8 inch by 8 inch – to fit in a suitcase.

 

IDEA 9: Offer mini-workshops such as the following:

Example: “Picking best paint for your project.”

Example: “Mixing and matching colors, textures and patterns the low-cost way.”

Example: “Decorative finishing with acrylics.”

Example: “Camouflaging flaws, cracks, burn marks, and nicks in wood.

 

IDEA 10: Twice a month, offer “Teammate painting and decorating” mini-workshops.

Example: Regularly, ask for suggestions from teammates about topics.

Example: Cover one specific top during each workshop, and always provide a take-home guide.

 

IDEA 11: With management’s approval, regularly post a “Paintshop Tip” sheet on staff bulletin boards, also on company’s employees only website.

 

IDEA 12: With management’s approval, co-sponsor a painting competition for the staff.

Example: Make it multi-media.

Example: Award winners certificates and food court or gift shop discount coupons.

Example: Exhibit entries around the hotel. Adjacent to each work, affix place card with title of work, medium, artist’s name, and hotel position (optional).

 

IDEA 13: Help create and set up a “Staff Artworks Gallery” along a corridor located in a public area on the property.

Example: Feature multi-media: paintings, sketches, portraits, graphics, photography.

 

SPECIAL NOTE: Whatever amenity, event or activity that you help create or offer, include the hotel’s marketing/promotions/publicity people. Assuming they know their jobs, they will know how to get a lot of mileage out of each effort.

 

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Painters offer a unique way to generate publicity and patronage for the hotel.

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A big thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

MRS. BANKS’s BLUEBERRY COBBLER

Mrs. Banks baked the most delicious Blueberry Cobbler that an eight-year old boy could be served. Its plump, juicy berries oozed from beneath the lightly golden topping. The aroma filling the air in her modest home on Colbourne Street.

 

Over the years, I’ve tried to replicate her Pillsbury kitchen-quality recipe. Coming close, but missing something in my making of the dessert.

 

Several times, I baked a 9 inch by 12 inch pan of Blueberry Cobbler, and took it to the hotel for fellow engineering teammates to enjoy. (In the Midwest, that’s what coworkers did.)

 

The first time that I carried in the baked dish, not one teammate even tried it. I took that a little personally. The second time, two or three large serving spoonsful disappeared sometime during the day. I was encouraged.

 

The third time, several of the men spooned servings of the cobbler into the small Styrofoam bowls I’d provided. And, they’d taken them home for their families.

The fourth, and final time, that I baked it for fellow engineering techs and our boss, the 9 inch by 12 inch Corning baking dish was scraped clean. Hurray!

 

Was I finally getting the recipe right? Or, was the Blueberry Cobbler’s taste and aroma actually starting to appeal to my mostly Hispanic group of coworkers? I never knew.

 

In June, a retired restaurant chef asked me to install an 18-foot long by 7-foot high “Foods Presentation” mural in his naturally lit kitchen on Lake Nona in Central Florida.

 

The morning of installation, I unrolled each section of the mural, side-by-side. And, I took a good look.

 

My breath stuck! Facing me was Mrs. Bank’s Blueberry Cobbler. A picure-perfect reproduction of it anyway.

 

“How did you come to select this scene for your home kitchen?” I asked the chef.

 

“It was the cobbler! A favorite of our restaurant patrons. My boyhood favorite back in the Midwest.”

 

I couldn’t wait to get that mural hung. Then, be able to stand back and remember Mrs. Bank’s

Blueberry Cobbler. One scrumptious bite at a time.

 

*** MRS. BANK’S BLUEBERRY COBBLER RECIPE ***

 

Filling: 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch, 1/3 cup brown sugar, ½ cup cold water, 4 cups fresh blueberries, 2 tablespoons soft butter, 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Biscuit Topper: 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt; ¼ cup soft butter, ¼ cup milk, 1 egg/slightly beaten.

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Filling: Mix first 3 ingredients. Add blueberries. Cook and stir till mixture thickens. Add butter and lemon juice. Pour into 9-inch round or square baking dish.

Biscuit Topper: Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter till like coarse crumbs. Mix ¼ cup milk and 1 slightly beaten egg. Add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring just to moisten.

Drop biscuit topper by spoonfuls atop the hot fruit. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or till the topper is done. Serves: 6-8.

 

If you’re still around: Hi, Mrs. Banks.

 

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The way to a man’s heart can be his favorite recipe when he was a boy!

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Stay safe and cared for. And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserve

GOOD NEWS! GOOD PAINTER ON BOARD!

The best news that I’d received in over three years came from the director of security at Seralago Hotel and Suites, my former work home for over six years.

 

The painter that they’d hired over six months earlier was doing a good job at keeping up the property. That meant he was treating the surfaces right!

 

A related piece of great news: The new painter’s job was being limited to “painting only, and minimal maintenance work.” BRAVO! Taking care of the painting and decorating needs of the historic, 614 room/suite property was a busy, full-time job for one good painter.

 

Also, management had realized that the staff painter did not have the time and capabilities to also handle health-risky and high-exposure work orders and projects such as black mold remediation and mitigation and pest control. So those tasks had been turned over to others.

 

 Five ways for management to protect their investment in that good painter

 

  1. Keep your painter stocked with his or her basic supplies. See that each and every requisition is handled with respect, filled promptly, and as he/she ordered.
  2. Use his or her suggestions often enough, that it’s apparent you’re serious and not just “filling the air waves” with talk.
  3. Respect his or her scheduling needs and limitations. A good painter knows when and what to do to achieve the best results possible.
  4. Unless necessary, avoid switching him or her to other work orders and areas, from time-and-product-sensitive projects already work is underway.
  5. Don’t waste his or her valuable project time with questions, complaints and exchanges that can wait until he or she can spare a few minutes – and give you fair consideration.
  6. Never pull him away from a crucial application procedure. Example: quick-drying paint.
  7. Treat him or her to a quick lunch every six-to-eight weeks, and talk about whatever.
  8. Once a week, do a property “walk through” together. Let him or her point out areas that will need some attention. And, let him or her suggest when and how to take care of each.

 

It’s always good news to hear that a good painter has found his “canvas” – on a property on which I’ve worked in the past.

 

It means a win-win-win for everyone. The people – teammates, guests, visitors, suppliers – have a painter around that they can count on, and can trust. The property has been placed in good hands again. And, rather selfishly, I can rest easier knowing that the surfaces and areas that I’ve cared a lot about are being taking care of RIGHT!

 

Thank you to the folks with Seralago that brought that painting pro on board.

 

By the way, congratulations, fellow painter and decorator, on your upcoming one-year work anniversary.

 

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Good painters place a high value on each other’s abilities – and accomplishments.

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Special thanks to the chief engineers and directors of facility services who treat their painters right – and respect them as professionals and friends.

 

And, thank you, everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop Politics: Is it business as usual when your hotel changes hands?

Even within large companies, shifts in property ownership and management are common. A hotel may be placed under a newly-formed brand, or switched to another existing one. The hotel may be “sold” by one division, and “purchased” by another.

 

A hotel property and business may remain in tact; but it may be placed in the hands of an external management company. A hotel may be “moved” under a corporation’s restructuring, into a “new” company.

 

Through it all, the hotel’s paintshop tends to survive, and conduct business as usual. Or, so it may seem.

 

Take note: Things have changed!

 

Tips for operating your paintshop within the new arrangement

 

1. Verify requisition procedures that you must follow for:

A. products and supplies that you need to keep on hand for completing basic work orders and standard projects;

B. products, supplies and tools needed to complete projects that frequently come along around the property;

C. products, materials, tools, and equipment needed to complete scheduled and budgeted special projects;

D. products, tools and equipment needed to work on a non-budgeted special project.

 

Often, the procedure that you need to follow for the submitting and filling of each type of requisition will vary. According to the (1) priorities set by management, and (2) rules the purchasing department must follow. Often, you, as lead painter, possess little control or influence over this process.

 

2. Verify and establish the project scheduling priorities under the new system. Example: Now, more emphasis may be placed on repairing and repainting guest rooms/suites versus public areas.

 

3. Verify, in writing, your paintshop’s budget.

A. Find out the fiscal year for the engineering/facility services department. Example: July 1-June 30, January 1-December 31.

B. Then, find out the rest of the current fiscal year, and total money available to you for this time frame.

4. Verify how management expects purchasing, engineering and you to divide/allocate that money within the paintshop.

Examples: A. Basic work orders and standard projects; B. scheduled projects that you’re expected to complete within the balance of the current fiscal year; C. troubleshooting work orders and projects; and D. special projects.

 

5. Try to get a tentative written line-item summary for the next fiscal year for the paintshop.

A. Take some time to go over this list with your chief engineer. Some areas may need to be clarified, strategized or agreed upon between the two of you.

6. Try to find out the engineering/facility services department overall budget for the next fiscal year. Your chief engineer will have that information.

CAUTION: Some CE’s believe in the “need to know” rule, and may choose not to provide you with this data.

 

7. Verify the chain of command within your department, interdepartmentally, and also organizationally.

 

8. Verify the policies for communication:

A. directly between you and general management;

B. indirectly between you and general management;

C. directly and indirectly between you and property/business owners.

 

The goals: To save yourself grief, back track time, and budget fiascos. To move your paintshop into the new system with minimal problems and delays.

 

This helps you. It helps your teammates within the department. It helps your chief engineer. And, in ways that you wouldn’t believe!

 

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Paintshop operations are time-budget-people-management sensitive – and worth the effort!

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved

“THE CLEANER”

One of the funniest foreign tv sitcoms, aired in 2014-2015, was “The Cleaner.” It starred an average German named Joe, who ran a small crime scene clean-up service.

 

The problem was that Joe liked to talk. And, he tended to meddle in the lives of whomever may have been on the scene, or involved in the case. Live victims, dead victims’ loved ones, neighbors, police, even suspects.

 

Joe had a very messy job. Horrible working conditions. A big pile of stress. Tight deadlines. Demanding clients.

 

But, Joe was a credit to his profession, and his community. He always left the people on the scene in better shape. Just like the rooms and property that he treated.

 

In April, I happened to notice a Linkedin.com connection to a real crime scene clean up expert. “Jerome” was located in the London area. Unlike with Joe, his services included repairing and repainting of the property.

 

He told me that the restoration services were added in 2008, when his business slowed down. More people had entered the field. He needed to stay at the top of the specialized resource list. Property owners of crime scene properties wanted all signs of the incident eradicated.

 

One of my questions concerned the odors that crimes left behind.

 

“How do you guarantee 100 percent removal of the smells?’

 

Jerome listed four tips:
1. Air out the place for as long as possible. Before you start the clean up, then during the work, and after all restorative work is completed. At least three days.

2. Use one or more of the following products:

A. Disinfectants: Microben, Shockwave RTU, bleach and peroxide.

B. Enzyme cleaners: Viraguard, Metrex.

C. Blood borne pathogens spill kit.

3. Use paint and finishing products that DO leave behind an initial product odor.

4. Repaint or refinish every surface in the area. Do not minimize the need for a complete overhaul.

 

These basic tips make sense in other scenarios. Examples: Small fire, flooding, tornado, hurricane, roof leak, water/plumbing leak.

 

Commercial painters can be called to work on properties linked to some very gross situations.

 

I’ve done more than a few.
1. 3-story /Victorian home of elderly sisters, both found dead and badly decomposed.

2. Lake Michigan 3-story home of a physician, who took his own life in the sun room.

3. 4-bedroom ranch home of Alzheimer’s patient, who had been sheltering over 75 cats.

4. Historic Miami large apartment of noted author and professor, discovered deceased in the middle of wall-to-wall pack rat mess.

 

Restoring purpose to properties struck by crime, or other tragedies, can be very gratifying. To see, smell, and touch the positive changes taking shape as you work is a benefit of value far greater than the fee you’re paid.

 

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Cleaning up someone else’s mess can be a service of merit, and a source of gratification.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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