Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Archive for the ‘Consulting Painter and Decorator’ Category

Tips for Black Mold Fungi Infestation Remediation and Mitigation

Intro: Stachybotrys cartarum (atra) – Black mold – is a fungal myotoxin.

Situation: Heavy black mold fungi had produced severe infestation inside the modern, 3-bedroom manufactured home of a retired clinical psychologist and consultant from Ohio. Perhaps only three to five times a year she and her family used the small vacation property, located near a lake in south central Canada.

Question: “What can be done? How should the property be handled at this point?

Here are the suggestions that I gave to our relatives…

Initially, determine the home’s current market value as is, the extent and total cost of repairs needed to get home habitable, and the property’s “sellability” after all improvements.

Then, proceed with caution.

1. Stay out of the mold infested area/building – eg. manufactured home.

2. The spores are airborne, also transferable from fingers, hands, feet, etc.

3. The fungal spores pass to the skin, hair, eyes, ears, sinuses/nasal passages, lungs, etc.

4. Black mold remediation and mitigation must be handled by a certified specialist. The person(s) must be suited up head-to-toe, also equipped with a free-flowing, full-head breathing apparatus.

5. Furniture, fixtures, floor covering, cabinetry, etc. must be removed and disposed of, according to EPA standards, particularly if infestation is 50 percent or more, whether on a washable surface or not.

6. All substrates – walls, paneling, ceilings, flooring, joists, frames, plumbing, A/C units, ventilation ducts, etc. must be removed if they are infested 50 percent or more. In some areas – eg. children’s room, healthcare and rehabilitation facilities – and many situations, infestation of 30 percent requires major removals.

7. Before repairs and remodeling/ rebuilding can proceed safely, the entire area must be completely air dried – including behind and inside walls, ceilings, floors, built-ins, cabinetry, etc. RECOMMENDED: High-velocity industrial/commercial fan set up in each room or area.

8. All persons that will work on the structure – eg. manufactured home – must be notified/informed in advance, and in writing, of the property’s toxic Black mold history, conditions, environment, previous treatment(s), current infestation rating, etc.

9. Canada has EPA-type standards similar to the U.S. regarding handling of Stachybotrys cartarum myotoxins.

10. If any area has been 30 percent or more contaminated, allow at least forty-eight full hours after drying before reentry. CAUTION: Some remediation companies say 50 percent.

11. Make certain that the certified handlers test the environment for (a) airborne spores, (b) surface residue, (c) fumes, (d) air quality, and, (d) certain invisible oils that the myotoxins can produce.

12. EPA WARNING: Frequent exposure to high levels of Stachybotrys cartarum (atra) has been documented to cause moderate-to-severe permanent and irreversible medical conditions, impairments and disabilities: neurological; respiratory/lung; eye/ ear/mouth; skin; cardiovascular, endocrine, hepatic, psychological/behavioral, and, musculo-skeletal and balance.

13. Frequent exposure to high levels of Stachybotrys cartarum (atra) can cause fatalities.

14. These severe effects occur especially when a person is frequently exposed for prolonged periods of time – and in high temperature/heat and high humidity environmental conditions.

WARNING from American College of Neurologists, etc.

Frequent exposure to high levels of the fungal myotoxins for prolonged periods of time, along with exposure to concentrated toxic treatment chemicals such as chlorine bleach, have the strong potential to cause severe neurological damage such as short-term memory loss, cognitive and executive function deficits, even premature dementia. Prolonged exposure also affects blood vessels, arterial and vascular system; brain neurons/cells; and, ischemic brain/white matter (usually plural and concomitant).

Think long-term. How long do you intend to keep the property? Do you ever plan to sell it? Will anyone, who is already suffering from immuno-suppressive illnesses or deficits, ever use the place?

***********************************************************************************************
Watch it! Painters that work in hot, humid climates – even on a short-term or temporary basis.
***********************************************************************************************

Copyright July 28, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights resereved.

Painter’s World: Supporting Your Spine

A painter’s most essential physical asset is his or her spinal column. It serves as the main support for all activities. Examples: Standing, walking, climbing; lifting, carrying, loading, unloading; moving, pushing, pulling; bending, kneeling, crouching; sitting, lying.

 

Ways to protect and strengthen your “painter spine”

 

  1. At work, wear a non-roll back support under your uniform or work clothing.
  2. Wear shoes or boots that fit each foot, and leave toe-room when you’re standing, or walking; also that support every part of your feet, also your ankles and shins.
  3. Minimize use of heavy, cumbersome footwear that limits circulation, dissipation of moisture and sweating, and mobility and balance.
  4. Minimize use of shoes and slippers with little or no support for the sides and back of each foot.
  5. Use ergonomic chairs or similar seating at work, and elsewhere.
  6. Minimize use of soft/cushiony seating – work, home, vehicle, etc.
  7. Alternate your arms when grabbing, lifting, carrying, and moving 5-gallon paint buckets, or any other item requiring only one hand.
  8. Alternate legs used to lead out when stepping out, stepping up, bending at knees, etc.
  9. Vary extensions or stretches of legs when walking, carrying or moving.
  10. When climbing ladders, maintain as straight or upright posture as possible.
  11. Suck in or contract stomach muscles to help maintain spinal disc alignment in your spinal column.
  12. When bending, kneeling, crouching, etc., try not to round the shoulders, hunch over, “roll” your shoulders inward.
  13. Try to keep shoulders and cervical spine line relaxed.
  14. Stand tall when pushing or pulling things – e.g. a service cart.
  15. Maintain a straight posture when driving your golf cart.

 

Exercises that can help strengthen and support your “painter spine”

1. Exercises you can do every day.

A. Brisk 30-minute walk, wearing a soft back brace.

B. Leisure walk at a moderate pace.

C. Floor stretches, lying flat with arms at your sides or stretched outward.

D. Gentle stomach crunches, lying flat and nudging spine to floor.

E. Slow foot and leg raises, done lying on your stomach, on flat surface.

— Raising one foot and leg at a time, then lowering back to the floor.

— Later, raising both feet and legs at the same time, then lowering back to the floor. TIP: Avoid strain and force. STOP if you have any back, hip or leg pain.

F. Leg raises, done lying on floor and using slow, smooth movements.

 

2. Exercises two-three times a week.

A. Deep-lung breathing, lying flat on floor, arms at your sides, eyes on the ceiling. Note: Excellent way to relax entire spine, and body, after physically strenuous day.

B. Wall-hugs, done standing and pushing entire form against wall. Tip: do without shoes.

C. Duo-leg raises, lying flat, breathing deep. Note: Can even out breathing and relax leg muscles.

D. Rib cage-lung deep breathing, done standing straight, exhaling while pushing rib cage/lungs outward. Note: Can restore breathing rhythm after working with contaminants in poorly-ventilated area.

E. Vertical stretches, raising arms above head and breathing deeply, slowly exhaling as arms lowered to front of body.

F. Moves that promote diaphragm breathing, and also regulate breathing.

G. Moves that realign and relax upper and lower limbs simultaneously.

 

3. Exercises you can sneak in wherever you are

A. Standing in line: relaxing one leg at a time, and rotating foot at ankle.

B. Standing: rising on toes, then lowering back to floor/ground.

C. Standing: stretching one leg at a time behind you, then back to normal position.

D. Standing: switching weight back and forth from side-to-side.

 

The whole idea is to turn spinal exercises into maneuvers that stretch then relax muscles, joints and tendons. No strain, no pain.

 

If you already have spinal cord injuries and damage, you want to prevent further damage. You need to reduce the risk of more pain and damage. Yet you want to maximize the attributes your spine still has.

 

If, like mine, your spinal cord is in good shape, you want to keep it that way as long as you can.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: The above suggestions are only that. If you have any health issue, first consult with your physician before even trying these exercises. The spinal column is related, one way or another, to the rest of the body. So, cover your bases. Make certain that exercises are safe for your spine – and body as a whole.

 

Closing thought: I’d rather have a spine weakened by a strong work ethic, and years of first-rate service, than a spine that never learned its worth.

 

************************************************************************************

Many thanks for maintaining high work standards, while protecting your spine.

 

Copyright May 29, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop: Painting in Bad Weather

Heat/humidity. Full sun. Mist/rain/fog. Smog. Dust/dirt. Wind/whirlwinds. Arctic blasts. Cold/frost/ice. Sleet.

 

You know the policy: Paint until you can’t get anything done. Then try to paint anyway.

 

You’ve heard it before:

 

“You can’t let a little bad weather stop you.”

 

“A little rain or wind never hurt anyone.”

 

“Do it anyway.”

 

“Figure it out.”

 

“Just get it done. Now!”

 

Fourteen Tips for Painting in Bad Weather

 

  1. What’s the job? And what do you need to get it done?
  2. Assess your situation and the scene, relative to the project.
  3. How bad are the weather conditions?
  4. Do a last-minute check of the weather.
  5. What can you take care of while waiting for the bad weather to calm down, or clear up?
  6. Who has the final say whether you (a) hold off and reschedule, (b) wait a while, or, (c) do it anyway?
  7. Will you actually save time, money and manpower by holding off till the afternoon, or the next day? Or even later?
  8. Which way will your quality still be there?
  9. What can you do to make things work, even in the bad weather?

A. Can you paint less exposed surfaces and areas first.

B. Or, can you prep and paint sunny, less windy, less affected areas first?

SPECIAL TIPS: Remove all ice, water, rust, etc. from the surface to be painted. Make sure the surface is completely dry and smooth before painting. Use fast-drying primers and top coats; they are less affected by changes in the weather.

10. What can you do to protect you and your crew?

A. Can you partially tent or tarp the work area to cut out exposure to the elements – eg. wind, drizzle, snow, cold?

B. Allow enough air to circulate for the painted surface to dry.

11. What can you do to protect the crew from unhealthy and unsafe over-exposure?

SPECIAL TIPS: Dress for the conditions: warm coat, hat, work gloves, insulated boots. As soon as possible, invest in some waterproof apparel.

12. When is it time to call it quits? NOTE: Continuous high winds combined with rain do not a good paint job make.

13. What tasks are simply too dangerous in this bad weather? Example: Strong wind gusts are moving the extension ladders around, and pulling at the men’s clothing.

14. Is the painting project more important than following your instinct to just respect the bad weather? And try later?

INDUSTRIAL PAINTER TIP: Exterior painting can always be done, if you can isolate the work from the weather.

 

Bottom line: In bad weather conditions, health and safety must come first. No painting task nor project is worth a dollar if it costs anyone an injury, a serious illness, or worse.

 

******************************************************************

Make every job site a “safe-weather situation” for your crew and you.

*****************************************************************

Start your year on a safe footing. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop Policies: Problems with Risk Management

Loss of property costs a business a lot of money. And, it can cost YOUR department more than it can afford. Thus, it’s essential to keep track of all losses and damages, even normal-use ones.

 

  1. Promptly document and report any loss or damage to your (1) supervisor and/or (2) company general manager/superintendent.
  2. Promptly document – keep a log – of any loss or damage that happens under your watch, or that you come upon that happened at another time.
  3. Report the loss or damage to your supervisor. Note: It is his or her job to determine which losses and/or damages should be reported to company management.
  4. Notify management when certain losses or damages occur repeatedly, and after you’ve already reported said incidences to your supervisor. Example: Losses of at least 8-five gallon buckets of new paint continued, for over five months after the foreman painter had repeatedly notified the project supervisor for the contractor for whom they both worked. So, the painter told the company’s superintendent that the losses of needed product continued.
  5. If you continue to suffer larger losses in the Paintshop, even after notification of management, ask your supervisor for a joint meeting with the general manager to discuss possible acceptable solutions.

Tread proactively and carefully when it comes to reporting possible internal, and possibly illegal, transport of products and materials.

Bottom line: Step up to the plate. Report losses and or damages as promptly as possible. And, do not be afraid to extend the reporting to higher-level managers when the standard chains-of-command reporting procedures are not working.

************************************************************************

Thanks for keeping on your toes. Even when it’s tough to do the right thing.

************************************************************************

“Painting with Bob” extends best wishes for your health, safety and prosperity in 2018.

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved

People Make the Difference: Inside Your Own Life

Time, circumstance and preferences change our holiday agendas. What we do, where we go (or stay), and who we spend the season with reflects our current take on life.

 

WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT YOU ARE INSIDE OF YOUR OWN LIFE?

 

Purdue U. friend Paul.

“I’m in a better place than a year ago. Thanks to prostrate scare, I’ve simplified. I retired as dean, and took a part-time teaching post. My wife and I moved back to southern Indiana. We’re within three hours of all of our children and grandchildren. We downsized to a 1,950 square feet English-style villa, from a 3,800-plus square feet, two-story Georgian with five acres to care for.”

 

Arizonan family friend.

“I’m ready to let someone else run this business. I don’t need to be in charge any more. I want to take my son and grandsons to the mountains, and fish…”

 

Aruban pilot pal.

“…leaving the destructive winds was the start of a new life. I sold the tourist charter plane service. I moved back to Columbia, and work with my cousins. At their family coffee plantation. We’ve always gotten along like brothers…”

 

Former PPG manufacturer’s rep.

“I asked for a smaller region. I had to move over 2,000 miles to get one. My wife and I were able to cut our expenses nearly a third. We were ready for a change of scenery. Relaxed life. More time…”

 

Painter friend Alex.

He first sent a Scrooge answer.

“The year’s been tough. I’m not in a good place. Nothing’s going right…”

 

Five minutes later his follow-up:

“Spinal surgery was a success. The doctors say that my son will be walking again by the middle of 2018. His wife, my daughter-in-law, has been able to return to full-time at work. My wife: she’s decorating everything in sight this Christmas…”

 

Southern Indiana cousin.

“Bob, I finally got it when my nephew asked, ‘Are you gonna be here next May to see me get my degree?’ I called my doctor…got my meds figured out… put myself on that Mediterranean-DASH diet…already lost fourteen pounds…”

 

Paleontology expert on Silver Lake region, CA.

“I look at my life as a history in the making. Not better than yesterday, or last year. Merely on track…”

 

My sister, always honest and creative.

“Bob? Who cares? When I get through the day, that’s doing better than when I got up in the morning, and went out the door…”

 

And me?

“Definitely, a no. 9 in the works. Books on course. Moving forward. Painting life in its right place. New hard drive installed; old one on its way to an expert to try to retrieve some special files… And two double batches of those Archway-like powdered sugar-coated Pecan balls, on the cooling racks.”

 

*************************************************************************

Have a blessed and safe holiday week. And thanks from “Painting with Bob.”

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

PAINTSHOP: WHEN GOOD THINGS HAPPEN

Lead painters – paintshop managers – have many good things to report for 2017. Here are a few of the more than 5,900 responses that I received to the e-mailed question:

 

“IN YOUR PAINTSHOP, HOW HAVE THINGS BEEN GOING LATELY?”

 

  1. Regi.

“Owners ordered the property management to purchase and supply engineering with a much safer, and EPA certified, solution to treat Black mold. MoldSTAT Plus Mold Killer.”

 

  1. Alec.

“I found enough tinted paint to touch up all thirteen walls in the upgraded suites.”

 

  1. Danny.

“The air compressor kicked in first try this morning. It’s been malfunctioning. For over three months. No budget to replace it right now.”

 

  1. Pablo.

“The waterproof grout mix is holding all of those tiles onto the uneven surfaces around the pools…”

 

  1. Gabe.

“Management approved chief engineer’s request for a FaceMask breathing apparatus, and accessories before the end of 2017. My boss and I opted for a HobbyAir II, with 80-foot hose.””

 

  1. R.G.

“Starting January 2018, I’ll have a part-time painting assistant three mornings a week.”

 

  1. Brian.

“When I returned from vacation, some of the crew had cleared out the space to lay out the steel beams for me to spray. Over 120, each 80-foot long, need to be done in less than three days…”

 

  1. Fernando.

“Boss is paying time and a half when the shop closes down Christmas to New Year’s Day.”

 

  1. Margo.

“Three more painters have been added to help on the airport project January-February.

 

  1. Bill.

“Delivery date February 1 for my new (one year old) company truck. The old one is barely running. I’ve had to have it towed three times within the last month…”

 

A FEW TIPS OFFERED BY RESPONDING PAINTERS ABOUT REQUESTING EXPENSIVE THINGS 

 

DO before you ask management to invest in an expensive product, tool or equipment:  

  1. Research the item (s) you need.
  2. Contact a regional manufacturer’s rep.
  3. Ask for contact information for three contractors that use the product.
  4. Call each; find out what they like and dislike about the product. Also ask about alternate product (s) they recommend, and why.
  5. Then include all of the above information in your written request/proposal for management.

********************************************************************************************

A painter cannot operate his or her paintshop on management’s good intentions, or promises.

********************************************************************************************

Thanks for pushing for what you need, and for persisting until you get results.

 

Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painter’s World: And, That’s A Good Thing

SOME GOOD THINGS ABOUT A PAINTER’S WORLD

 

  1. Four guest passes to see The Last Jedi. (Thanks, Doc.)

 

  1. Packed cookies all in the mail, folks.

 

  1. I’d saved six of seven manuscripts and related files and setups onto flash drives. (See no. __ below.)

 

  1. Installed new hard drive. Now waiting for copy of new operating system from Microsoft.

 

  1. Old hard drive is on its way for specialist to run analysis, recover files…reactivate.

 

  1. So far, all “readers-en-field” have also written reviews. (And all are very positive.)

 

  1. Online bookseller Curtis is a first-class networker, linking only serious participants.

 

  1. Connection with amazon.com best-selling author Buddy A. is proving outstanding.

 

  1. Artist-sculptor of Neanderthal in cover photo is on board 100 percent. And, with her international connections.

 

  1. Indiana cousin made it to the altar on December 2. (Three months earlier, his spinal cord was severely damaged in a five-vehicle pile up on the interstate.)

 

  1. New outpatient neurologist at CNH/FHMG is a very sharp, wholistic health pro. Very up to date on research, therapies and clinical trials.

 

AND, A FEW NOT SO GOOD THINGS ABOUT A PAINTER’S WORLD 

 

  1. The new hard drive will not open up. Note: I’m waiting for new Windows 7 from Microsoft.

 

  1. I lost all of no. 7 manuscript and related files, when the hard drive failed. Rebooting, etc. a NO GO. Started working on this one in 2011.

 

************************************************************************

Sometimes, even good or not so good things encapsulate the opposite effect.

************************************************************************

“Painting with Bob” is a blog aimed at helping painters and decorators, including contractors.

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

Upcoming Paintshop Posts: November and December 2017

1. Paintshop Software Programs, Aids, Apps, etc.
– Including sources for information

2. Paintshop Policies and Practices: Reporting Problems

A. Problems with products and materials
B. Problems with tools and equipment
C. Problems with theft and/or property damage
D. Problems with teammates related to your job description

3. Painter’s World: How Job Descriptions Have Changed

A. New key words and phrases, and what they mean
B. What term “must be able to do other things” really means
C. Job titles used today
D. Other skills and abilities that painters are expected to have today

4. Paintshop: New Construction Materials that Affect Painter’s Job

A. Examples of new materials used in hotels, commercial buildings, etc.

1) Types of painting and finishing products these new materials require
2) Types of painting tools and equipment needed to apply them

B. Examples of new materials used in residential and commercial-residential buildings
1) Types of painting and finishing products these new materials require
2) Types of painting tools and equipment needed to apply them

5. Paintshop: Techniques and Methods that Painters Need Today to Work on Newer Construction

6. Painter’s World: Painting and Decorating for the Disabled or Handicapped Person

A. What colors work better for the disabled person’s environment
B. What textures work better – and which to avoid
C. What patterns work better – and which to avoid
D. What wallcoverings work better – and which to avoid
E. Why above recommendations or choices are better.
F. Which recommendations actually benefit disabled person – and how, and when.

Happy – and Safe – Halloween!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved

TORNADOES

IN 1946…

At age four, my mother watched a “swirling, dirty gray” funnel approach her at the kitchen window, then lift from the ground. A while later, her father stood outside the farm house. He followed the path that the tornado had taken after lifting.

Directly above that window, the funnel tore off over one-half of the roof shingles. It ripped out red bricks from the chimney. Inside, it popped sections of plaster from the ceilings and walls in every room. Not only behind painted but also wallpapered walls.

The tornado had just missed the family inside the house. But, the “big wind” had pushed in the walls. Then it toppled the big red barn, killing four horses.

In 1993, my grandfather told me that he never figured out where the Billy goat had hidden that day. But, he was the only larger animal spared.

IN 1971…

At age eight, I stood at my third-grade classroom’s span of huge windows, and watched. “Look, Mrs. D., a BIG gray cloud.”

Then, the school’s muffled alarm went off. My teacher shouted, “Hurry, everyone into the hall!” And, next came a deafening and strong WHOOSH! Like a real powerful vacuum cleaner.

The country school was spared, except for windows blown out of four of the classrooms that stood in the tornado’s path.

By the way, from our family’s home located a little southwest of the school, my mother saw the funnel heading for my elementary school. And she phoned the school principal.

IN THE LATE 1980s…

My father had just filled his roller with more paint. A supervisor at the Lever Brothers plant shouted, “Hit the floor, everyone!”

And total chaos hit next. Toppling cases of liquid Wisk laundry detergent. Bottles of Snuggles fabric softener flying and swaying through the air. Steel equipment ripped apart.

It took a while until our company got the call that we painters could return to finish the “safety” paint job. In fact, the project was greatly expanded, because of the major repairs and reconstruction after the tornado struck. Our paint job at the plant got extended over three months.

On September  of 2017…

Decorative painter Jonathan, a friend at Melbourne Beach, secured his one-man paintshop. He hunkered down for Category 3-4 Hurricane Irma’s arrival during the next day.

He’d lived through a number of other major hurricanes and tropical storms. He wasn’t worried. But from experience, he was cautious.

What he had never faced was a tornado.

“I’ll see that twisting and hear that locomotive the rest of my life,” he said on the phone. “My shop is in shambles. All my brushes, paints, templates, etc? Fine.” The 55-year old native of Los Angeles County sounded very shaken. A guy that grew up along the San Andreas Fault Line.

IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE MIDWEST…

Tornadoes are common and frequent.

“We batten down the hatches,” said aeronautical inventor and industrialist George Manis in July of 1960. He’d arrived home minutes before a set of tornadoes whipped across Lake Wawasee.
But too late to help his wife, Mary, and my mother secure the boats tied up at the piers, and move the heavy wrought iron patio furniture.

“Those lakefront homes were all well-built,” my mother said last week. “They were made to withstand tornadoes, as well as the brutal winter snow and ice storms.”

IN THE SOUTHEAST…

Tornadoes are often spawned from tropical storms or hurricanes. Sometimes by electrically-charged lightning storms.

Wherever they occur with some regularity, the residents have learned to heed the warnings. They pay attention. They try to secure outdoor furniture, vehicles, boats, etc. They pack up. They move near a sturdy inside wall.

SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE WITH TORNADOES…

My mother noted that, like those homes hit in Indiana years ago, the ones heavily damaged this month in Central Florida will require major repairs inside and out. “Some reconstruction and restoration.”

Agreed! Many of the Florida properties will also require toxic mold remediation before any repairs can be made. Before any reconstruction and restoration can take place. Before any painter can take a brush, roller or spray gun and apply a beautiful new finish to any surface.

*********************************************************************
Both tornadoes and hurricanes can leave behind irreparable damages,
irreplaceable losses, and unforgettable memories.
*********************************************************************

Stay storm safe and smart. And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

The Pianist, The Painter, The Singer, The Statesman

Periodically, my mother’s interior design class toured Chicago area properties.

On one, day-long tour, they visited three luxury homes that set on Evanston’s high bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan.

One home featured fine examples of classic contemporary design: simple lines, solid colors, smooth finishes, subtle textures, geometric patterns, and sleek woods, tiles, glass, and chrome.

From its trimly landscaped and broadly sweeping circle driveway, to the double set of solid red lacquer front doors, to the nine-foot main hallway that trailed through the house, to the four glass doors at the rear, that overlooked the lake.

The sprawling, one-story structure suited its owners: a concert pianist and conductor, and his wife, an artist and author.

The music room stood out. Its two most striking amenities: the magnificent black lacquer Steinway concert piano and the 12-inch square, black and white marble tiles that covered the floor.

Features also included the following:

1. dome ceiling with a huge globular skylight;
2. solid black marble fireplace;
3. two walls lined with white-enameled bookcases, stuffed with books, bound volumes of sheet music, also wood and ivory artifacts;
4. couches and easy chairs upholstered in matching white-on-white striped damask.

All of the other sixteen rooms featured equally elegant, yet comfortable appointments. It was a home that clearly represented the personalities of the owners, and met their needs perfectly.

Shortly before the design school students’ visit, the owners had decided to retire in that house. And, they’d put their South Florida home up for sale.

Nearly twenty years after touring that home, my mother was led into the luxury apartment of a former opera star, Adeline Arrigo. Interestingly, she had performed with the concert pianist on philharmonic stages throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

Madame Arrigo resided on the second story of a red brick, three-story walk-up built in the early 1900s by her husband’s Sicilian family. The South Racine Avenue building, located on the southeast side of Chicago, set across the street from University of Illinois’s Chicago campus. And, the three-story building had five large apartments – all occupied by “Arrigos.”

The focal points of the two bedroom apartment were the portraits of Adeline and her husband, the late Victor Arrigo. On every wall, every shelf and every table top were representations of the owners famous lives. Adeline, the opera star. Victor, the Illinois statesman that drafted, then championed the Federal Fair Credit and Collection Act. (Note: A stronger version of the law is in effect today.)

The traditional apartment also featured:

1. 12-foot high, white-sponged stucco ceilings;
2. white plaster, also deep red painted, walls;
3. tall wood-paned windows in each of the eight rooms;
4. white marble, wood-burning fireplaces in three rooms;
5. crystal chandeliers;
6. lustrous hardwood floors; and,
7. large oriental area rugs depicting eighteenth century country scenes.

The apartment was appointed with elegant, yet comfortable seating in every room. In the living room: deep red velvet-upholstered sofas, and black leather fireside chairs. In the bedrooms: European-designed settees and chairs, covered in deeper pink or soft rose moiré. Plush velvet upholstery covered the dining room chairs. And hand-sewn satin, moiré, and crushed velvet pillows set on every piece of seating.

The two distinctive period homes – the sprawling contemporary house of the 1960s-1970s, and the large traditional apartment of the 1940s-1950s – provided a very similar peak into elegant yet understated living. In their respective spaces, the owners and residents had created environments that supported their need for creative thought, good taste, peace and contentment. All had surrounded themselves with meaningful symbols of who they were as persons. And, what they represented.

The Chicago area featured many architectural and design masterpieces. I never had the privilege to visit the residences described above. Yet, I have had the opportunity to work on many similar homes. In doing so, the greatest pleasure has been in meeting the unique persons that have lived there.

******************************************************************
Fine design deserves to be preserved with the hand of a fine painter-craftsperson.
******************************************************************
Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Tag Cloud