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The Painter, Franzen, and Church Restorations

“ ‘Margret clung to the side of the overturned wood row boat. Knowing that her grip could not last much longer. Knowing that she would not make it. And the enraged waters of the North Sea would swallow her.

 

“ ‘Then, she felt a powerful hand grab her arm, and force her frozen hand from the boat’s rim. Encircling her chest. Then pulling her backward. Into the churning waves. Was she, in fact, being washed away? Or drowning?’ ”

 

These were the opening words of the true account written by the victim’s oldest brother, Franzen, in an e-mail to me. A native of Amsterdam, the third cousin was a “restoration painter of churches.”

 

“That’s why I became a painter of holy buildings,” he wrote. “To give thanks to the priest that saved my baby sister over thirty-two years ago.”

 

At a later date, Franzen took me on a virtual tour of the church in Bratislava, Slovakia that he’s been working on. It is a small structure, compared to the grand cathedral projects that he has completed in Europe and Canada. And, it holds a significant place in the painter’s life, perhaps in mine also. The church is the home parish of a group of Haytovkas originally from old Austria.

 

“Presently, I sandblast the upper spires on the roof. There are twelve of them, representing the twelve apostles. I push to finish spray before the heavy snows come. It is dangerous part,” the painter emphasized. “So high from the ground, over 4419 cm (145 feet) up. One slip of the foot. I worry. Then I remember Margret. The arms that saved her…”

 

Franzen said the upper exterior of the church had not been touched in over forty years.

 

“The surfaces were pitted by thick, pebble-looking layers of grime and pollutants from the large manufacturing plant located less than 1.6 kilometers (one mile) away. Underneath, most of the paint was chipped off. Brass was badly tarnished, and coated with sea salts and bird droppings.

 

“It was in much worse condition than the church officials believed. Much removal and repair work…”

 

Franzen said that he has been doing restorative painting since age twenty-six. Previously, he worked for a contractor that repaired and redecorated older homes, apartment buildings, shops, and large flats. My cousin explained that most of the properties were “…owned by the rich.”

 

For two years prior, he “studied the painting craft” at a trade school run by the Netherlands government. He called the training very intense.

 

“This church will be my last high project. I will be fifty-nine in December. My feet are not quite as sure as they were. I make plans to retire at sixty. Muriel and I take Gordon to cottage by sea.”

 

By the way, Franzen and his wife are caregivers for their son Gordon (28). He has severe traumatic brain injuries from a work accident in 2009.

Something tells me that both Gordon and the historic church structure, built over 250 years ago, are in very good hands.

 

Point to Ponder: A true craftsman preserves the lives of impaired persons and old buildings with equal dedication and selflessness.

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Renovating It: 108-Room Hotel

Cousins in the Indianapolis area purchased a 108-room hotel that needed a complete renovation. Structurally, both buildings were solid. No rotting, cracks, holes, breaks, etc.

 

The improvements could be made in stages. So the new owners decided to follow the wild suggestion of the drywall foreman under the construction management company:

 
“Replace nothing that still works, or can be restored. Unless it does not meet code…”

 

STAGE ONE: Bringing the entire property up to code.

 

This has required a large outlay of capital.

  1. New roof on the two building.
  2. New plumbing (copper tubing.
  3. New wiring, switches, sockets, plugs.
  4. Replacement of all A/C window units, and repair and rebuilding of main A/C systems on roofs.
  5. Replacement of stair and corridor steel railings and banisters.
  6. Resurfacing of pool and replacement of heaters.
  7. New security system, including videocam surveillance and computer systems.
  8. Replacement of one half of all wall joists and drywall in each front office.
  9. Replacement of two-thirds of all wall joists and drywall in each of seventy guest rooms.
  10. Repair and replacement of kitchen equipment.

 

STAGE TWO: Getting the hotel ready for occupancy.

  1. New carpeting in guest rooms and all public areas.
  2. Ceramic tile cleaning, repairing and polishing in 108 guest baths.
  3. New wi-fi wiring and routing system.
  4. Furniture repair and refurbishment in all guest rooms and public areas.
  5. Cabinetry and counter repair and re-laminating in all guest rooms.
  6. Fixture cleaning and restoration in all guest rooms, public areas and meeting rooms.
  7. Landscape revitalizations: clearing out, pruning, replanting, etc.
  8. Re-asphalting, striping and marking of parking and no-parking areas.

 

STAGE THREE: Repainting and refinishing of all exterior and interior surfaces.

  1. Cleaning and repairing of al wood and concrete surfaces.
  2. Prepping all surfaces: filling, patching, sanding, etc.
  3. Priming all metal surfaces, new lumber, bare metal, and stripped surfaces.
  4. Priming all new drywall and floating seams between new and existing drywall sections.
  5. Spray painting exterior walls, floors, doors, etc.
  6. Spray varnishing and clear coating all exterior wood decking, benches, built-in seating, fences, railings, signage frames, etc.
  7. Brushing or rolling of all fascia and trims.
  8. Popcorn spraying interior ceilings of front lobby, halls, offices, restaurant, public rooms, and meeting rooms.
  9. Spray painting all interior ceilings, walls, doors and trim in guest rooms and public areas.
  10. Brushing/rolling interior trim, wainscoting, baseboard, etc.
  11. Refinishing all wood cabinetry, shelving, mirror frames.
  12. Refinishing all wood furniture in public areas, also restaurant and two meeting rooms.

 

STAGE FOUR: Decorative finishing and covering of select areas.

  1. Marbleizing tops of tables in lobby, office reception area, meeting rooms’ central lounge.
  2. Installing wallpaper on back rotunda wall of front desk area.
  3. Faux finishing one wall in each bathroom of front office wing.
  4. Installing commercial grade wall vinyl in all public restrooms.
  5. Installing Indy-500 3-D scenic mural on main corridor of wall entering restaurant.

 

The 108-room hotel will reopen on November 1, 2017, in time for the holidays.

 

Several new, alluring amenities will grace the premises:

  1. Cyber library and graphics studio.
  2. Children’s WI -FI, 3-D “Pit Stop” studio.
  3. Self-service snack/night bar = foods, non-alcoholic beverages.
  4. Self-service laundry and dry cleaning center.
  5. Enclosed meditation flower garden and bird and butterfly sanctuary.

 

Terry, the oldest of the cousins in this new venture, becomes very animated when he talks about the hotel. At 54, he says that he has been learning many new lessons during “this exciting process.”

 

A few facts: Approximate cost of Stages 1-3: $2.1 million:

 

Construction management company: Over 30 years hotel/resort renovation experience.

Subcontractors: Selected per industry recommendations. No bidding.

Project tradespersons: All hired through respective local union offices.

New staff painter/decorator: Selected from painting crews that have worked on the project.

 

Question: How many other smaller hotels need a fresh, new start in life?

 

My belief: Older commercial properties hold just as much promise as older houses.

 

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Revitalizing and reusing older properties and structures deserves more of our attention.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop: Selecting Paint Colors Using Online Chip Catalogs

Shopping for the best paint color for a surface or area is only a CLICK away. Via the internet, you can search any major or specialty paint manufacturer’s website.

 

And, you can access their complete color chip catalog, including each color’s name and product number.

 

Usually, the paint chips will be organized by color family. Also, they will be categorized by certain criteria.

 

  1. Surface – interior or exterior.
  2. Substrate – e.g. wood, masonry. Metal.
  3. Paint sheen/finish – e.g. flat/matte, eggshell , satin, semi-gloss, gloss, high-gloss.
  4. Paint type – e.g. latex, oil-base, acrylic latex, primer/finish duo.
  5. Environment/climate – eg. dry, wet, humid/tropic, cold.
  6. Unique features.
  7. Paint quality – e.g. good, superior, premium, heavy duty.

 

October and November tend to be the ideal time to CLICK on a paint manufacturer’s site for news about the new colors for the next year. Each color and each color combination will be shown in appropriate product-color-surface applications. By room or area.

 

EXAMPLE: Sherwin-Williams “Poised Taupe SW 6039.”

 

  1. Living room setting: The color may be shown on an accent wall.
  2. Dining room: Color may be used on the upper part of a dado wall, or old wooden chairs.
  3. Entertainment room: Color may be applied in alternate vertical stripes on a wall.
  4. Master bedroom suite: Color may be used on a recessed wall or alcove.
  5. House masonry exterior: Color may be used as predominant color, or trim color.

 

For real excitement, try the virtual, or 3-D visualization, capability available on most paint manufacturer’s sites.

 

  1. CLICK on the chip of color you are considering.
  2. CLICK on the type of room or area in which you want to use the color.
  3. See how the color might actually look.
  4. See how your chosen paint color might be combined with other colors for total effect.
  5. See how your color might look in rooms of different styles or with decor – eg. traditional, provincial, contemporary, eclectic.
  6. See how your color might look under different light exposures – eg. full sun, partial sun, partial shade, or full shade room or wall.

 

In my opinion: Nothing beats the visit to the paint store to find the exact color that you need.

 

Still, shopping online first can save a lot of time and money. And, when the color needs to be approved by someone else, a few strategic CLICKS and PRINTs in color can save you a lot  of grief – and repainting – later on.

 

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Chip away at correct color selection by first CLICKing on paint chips.

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Many thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: Accent Colors Change Appearance and Enhance Amenities

Every four years, a small chain of London area boutique hotels changes its color on the accent wall in each guest room. The owners believe that their clientele, largely repeat visitors, appreciate this gesture.

 

“They like the uplift,” emailed the company’s senior painter. “We are careful to select a color that is just coming into vogue.”

 

For 2017, the hotels’ owners have authorized their (three) staff painters to also apply the new accent color to the vanity alcove and nearby walk-in closet in each room. “This blends the different areas together…” the painter added.

 

The guest reviews have been very positive. Examples: “Lovely effect when entering bath area.”  “Most inviting color unity.”  “Pleasant add-on.”  “Delightful change.”

 

The senior painter ended his e-mail by saying, “I recommend the accent wall for any room or area. It enhances appearance and updates the décor at minimal cost…”

 

 

10 ADVANTAGES TO ADDING ACCENT COLORS TO DÉCOR

 

  1. It changes the overall appearance of the specific area, and entire room.
  2. It changes the overall “feel” of the room.
  3. It freshens the overall look of the entire room or suite.
  4. It enhances the benefits of the standard amenities in the room or area.
  5. It upgrades the overall design of the room or suite.
  6. It updates the color scheme in the room or suite.
  7. It expands the standard color scheme’s customer/guest appeal.
  8. It expands the area’s marketability.
  9. It offers positive visual change at a marginal cost.
  10. It offers a way to use up premium paint in colors no longer a part of color scheme.

 

 

10 UNIQUE APPLICATION TIPS FOR USING ACCENT COLORS

 

  1. Reverse the “apply accent color to the wall” rule. Apply the accent color to the trim, doors and frames, and window sills located on one wall.
  2. Spray paint the ceiling in the new accent color.
  3. Use accent color to faux finish a 3-inch border around the parameter of the ceiling.
  4. Create a vertical stripe effect by alternatively painting the accent color every 2 or 3 inches over the wall’s existing color.
  5. Create a drop ceiling effect by applying accent color in a 3 inch border around ceiling, then down 3 inches at the top of all four walls.
  6. Paint accent color on the worst-condition wall and/or trim surfaces in a room.
  7. Paint accent color adjacent to the surface in the worst condition – eg. dents, poorly matched to touch-ups, gouges, minor water damage.
  8. Hardwood and/or tile floors? Paint “pathway” from inside entry doorway all the way to the bathroom’s tub area. Note: A clear over coat may be advisable.
  9. Create draped canopy effect on bed wall by painting accent color in alternate space, from marked vertical center.
  10. Paint 3-inch block border around one wall in room, painting alternate blocks in accent color.

 

You get the picture. When it comes to applying accent paint colors, your options are wide open!

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s View: Keeping Connected After the “Compensated” Connection is Gone

One full year after my grandfather retired from his pastorate, he began to rekindle the closer friendships built, over twenty-five years, with certain people and families in that parish. While still maintaining a separation from them as members of the church family, he moved forward with his personal bond with them.

 

Moving forward…

 

Nearly nine years after his death at age 93, his descendants continue some of those connections with the members’ descendants. We exchange e-mails, letters and phone calls.

 

One of them is a commercial painting contractor. His oldest son is a staff painter on a Marriott property in the Washington, D. C. area. All three of us are experienced painters and decorators. Yet, we seem to be more drawn to each other by our connection through that church parish in southern Indiana.

 

Question: In the business or professional world, is it appropriate to keep connected?

 

Is it acceptable to keep in touch with former coworkers or teammates, supervisors and managers? At all times respecting their prevailing positions as staff members of your previous place of employment?

 

  1. Some companies maintain a policy that, once an employee leaves, he or she is prohibited from any and all contact with anyone there. And, they strictly enforce that rule.

 

  1. Some companies maintain a policy of marginal latitude. They allow current and former employees to keep a limited connection to each other. Trusting that both sides will preserve, respect and honor the employee’s current contractual terms with the employer. Especially in confidentiality areas.

 

  1. Some companies rely on their current employees to use sound judgment, fairness and cordiality when dealing with their former coworkers. And, they trust them to set suitable, reasonable terms in sustaining those relationships.

 

  1. A handful of companies, by comparison, actually promote qualitative, mutually beneficial connections between and among current and former employees. The view of leaders and enterprises is:

 

“What’s good for their people can be very good for the business.”

 

Within which policy framework do you, as a former coworker, do you function?  Within which framework do you, as a current coworker, function?

 

Question: How does it strengthen your ability to be a top quality worker? And, a fulfilled, well-rounded human being?

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: Painting Unusual Projects

What are the most unusual paint projects that you’ve ever done?

 

10 Unusual Paint Projects Worked on By Other Painters

 

  1. Exterior and interior of Doberman’s custom dog house
  2. Tennis equipment storage of retired athlete
  3. Children’s-sized 3-room playhouse
  4. Garage interior room for small antique tool collection
  5. Miniature apartment interior for training city dogs “how to live in an apartment”
  6. Built-in notions and supplies closets for professional designer and seamstress
  7. Huge storage closet for tech geek
  8. Children’s 2-level treehouse
  9. Agri-seed museum
  10. School’s double flagpole and connecting platform

 

10 Unusual Paint Projects that I have Worked On

 

  1. Sandblasting and spraying vinyl coating on structural steel frame for train scale
  2. Painted geometric graphics in fluorescent colors in day care center
  3. Applied genuine grasscloth wallcovering to entire room – ceiling, walls, doors
  4. Painted piping and talk system that was being shipped to China
  5. Sandblasted and painted semi-tractor wrecker
  6. Stained woodwork for molded panel ceiling
  7. Painted church dome with Metallic Gold
  8. Sandblasted and epoxy-painted Olympic-sized swimming pool
  9. Applied foil wallpaper to large ceiling
  10. Brush and rolled steel tub frames for Wild West display

 

Probably, my father’s most unusual painting project was the interior of an underground bomb shelter. In particular, he painted the vertical wood panels inserted into the walls of the pre-cast 12-feet by 18 feet vault thick steel shell. The agri-businessman’s wife refused to even step in the security structure unless it “looked inviting and homey.”

 

Unusual painting projects tend to stretch our creativity, agility and patience. They also give us the opportunity to have lots of fun. To use colors in exciting, unexpected ways. To reach into our greater selves as craftspersons and artisans.

 

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Unusual painting projects can open the door to new, specialty career opportunities.

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Thank you for including “Painting with Bob” in your busy day.

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: How to Achieve a Superior High Gloss Finish

First of all, starting out with a smooth surface is essential. With a rough surface, you will have to add exceedingly more hours of labor to even reach a starting point.

 

Metal, fiberglass or hardwoods are the substrates of choice when considering an ultra smooth surface.

 

In this instance, I will use metal as the example. No matter what the situation, the proper procedure in achieving a gloss finish includes:

 

  1. Initial metal preparation – Acid etch surface, orbital sand with #80 grit sandpaper.

 

  1. Dry and wipe surface clean with lacquer thinner, then use tack cloth.

 

  1. Using an HVLP spray system, apply multiple thin coats of high solids epoxy primer or acrylic lacquer. Let dry thoroughly. Orbital sand between coats with #400 sandpaper; then, wet sand with #600 sandpaper.

 

  1. Apply urethane sealer using two thin coats. When dry, wet sand using #600 sandpaper.

 

  1. Apply urethane basecoat using three thin coats with a 60% overlap in spray pattern.

 

  1. After two to four hours of drying, color sand using #600, then, #800 sandpaper. Wash surface with soap and water. Rinse with warm water, and let dry.

 

  1. Reapply urethane basecoat using three thin coats.

 

  1. After drying time, wet sand with #800 grit sandpaper. Wash and rinse surface. Dry and tack cloth.

 

  1. Apply multiple thin coats of urethane clear coat. Let dry.

 

  1. Wet sand with #1000 or #1200 grit sandpaper. Rinse with warm water. Let dry.

 

  1. Apply final clear coat. Let dry.

 

After all that time and preparation, you should be able to see your face in all that shine. What is paramount in order to reach such a high level of finish is a person’s skill at spray painting. No beginner can ever hope to achieve such a finish.

 

Typically, there are five elements involved which you must have:

 

  1. A well seasoned professional with comprehensive knowledge of all the modern finishes.
  2. A well equipped spray booth with positive flow ventilation.
  3. A client who is willing to pay for the best, and has patience.
  4. A preparation team who is dedicated to producing the finest finish imaginable.
  5. All those involved should have a basic knowledge of OEM and aftermarket paint material and solvent compatabilities.

 

Producing a fine finish at a hotel, on a client site, or in your home can be accomplished. You do not have to follow all of the rules above. Just keep the following ideas in mind:

 

First, wet sand or dry sand in decreasing grits #220-#320-#400.

Next, make sure that, after sanding, the surface is tack clothed. If you do not, you will have debris in the finished paint job.

Third, always apply thin multiple coats. With heavy coats, you may have runs, sags, and cracking. You absolutely want to avoid this.

Final step, set up a spray booth.

 

Also, provide adequate ventilation by (a) using fans, and (b) wet the floor to keep dust at a minimum.

 

And, if you are interested in wood finishing, some of the same methods can be used. Just keep the surface dry and dust free until completed.

 

A superior finish is all about knowledge and talent. It is about looking at such a finish and wondering, “Who could have done this? It’s magnificent!”

 

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A superior high gloss finish starts with a super skilled finisher.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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