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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.

Painter’s View: A List of REAL Presidential Debate Issues

I watched part of the presidential debate televised on September 26. Fifteen minutes into this first face off between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald J. Trump, I knew that the real issues would not be discussed.

 

It had nothing to do with award-winning journalist Lester Holt’s moderating and pre-formulated questions for the candidates.

 

Here were some of the real issues, as I saw them…

 

  1. Health insurance companies sharply increasing basic premium rates yearly, while sharply decreasing life-saving coverage and benefits.
  2. Generic drug manufacturers sharply increasing prices and collaborating with prescription drug insurers, without being held liable, by the F.D.A., for product quality and safety as are brand name pharmaceuticals.
  3. Health insurance companies not being held liable for medical and pharmacological coverage and benefit decreases and discontinuations that cost loss of many lives.
  4. Health insurance companies that knowingly approve claims from large providers, with U. S. Department of Justice judgments against them for major “False Claims” fraud.
  5. Employer group health insurers that deny employees coverage and benefits when diagnosed with advanced stage or terminal illnesses or diseases.
  6. Vehicle insurers jacking up rates every 6-12 months, thus (a) penalizing drivers that obey Bureau of Motor Vehicle license and insurance laws, and (b) charging them for excessive claims’ costs they did not cause.
  7. Employers repeatedly violating EEOC and Department of Labor discrimination laws by adjusting job description and productivity requirements to enable them to disqualify skilled, experienced workers age 49 and over.
  8. Employers ignoring OSHA and EPA standards, thus causing employees to develop chronic, acute, and/or even terminal medical diseases or illnesses.
  9. Employers denying all employee hourly wage increases due to “budget cuts,” while sharply increasing managers’ salaries (and bonuses).
  10. Both employees’ hourly wage and salary merit raises, benefit increases and promotions.
  11. Business owners/employers that sell businesses and dissolve employee retirement accounts, transferring funds into private, owner-shareholder accounts.
  12. Federal government allocating and sending trillions of dollars overseas “for aid,” while taxpayers in the U. S. lose access to help, services and resources that they’ve paid for already.
  13. Utility and phone companies that indiscriminately add surcharges, taxes and other fees that are not regulated by the government, and thus must be paid by consumers.
  14. Local governments that set and increase budgets, then hide allocations and spending that sharply exceed budgets of municipalities of similar sizes and demographics.
  15. Companies not being held legally and financially liable, when (a) awarded huge tax incentives and property pre-improvements to locate within an area, then (b) either not locating there or not providing the number of new jobs as promised contractually.
  16. Federal and state governments’ regular removal of public school systems’ major funding, to pay for charter school systems’ management and operations.
  17. Physicians lack of accountability for treating medical symptoms, then medication adverse reactions, side effects and interactions, but not searching for and treating underlying cause(s) of symptoms and signs, thus causing costly ER visits and premature deaths.
  18. Local-level justice systems’ regular release of repeat felony drug trafficking offenders back onto the streets.

 

Like I said, these were, in my opinion, some of the real issues not discussed in the 2016 Presidential Debate No. 1.

 

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Debates can provide opportunities for exploring the depth of real issues in society.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik

Painter’s View: Olympic-Style Painting

Following the construction of competition sites for the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, I got a free refresher course on specialty coatings.

 

Nearly every event’s set-up required the use of products custom engineered for the surface and area on which it was to be applied.

 

  1. Each event’s physical components required products that would withstand the type and level of exposure, and wear and tear, unique to that event.
  2. All products had to be safe for both the environment and the people, also non-toxic and suitable for the arid climate.
  3. Paint products had to be unusually durable, “colorfast” and water/sun/fade proof.
  4. Paint products had to be 100 percent tint/hue/shade accurate to the Olympic Committee’s color palette for that particular event and site.
  5. All paint products had to be 100 percent suitable for the event and site.
  6. All paint products needed to be aesthetically appealing, complementary to each other, and alluring to the spectators.
  7. All paint products needed to (a) cover their respective surfaces in the minimal number of coats; (b) dry fast to the touch; and (c) require industrial painting experience, but not highly specialized (thus costly) expertise.
  8. All paint products needed to require minimal surface prepping and fast, easy clean-up of the area and tools used there.

 

Watching the different events on TV, I looked for close-up camera shots. Peeks at the finished jobs of Rio‘s local painters and certified application specialists (CAS).

 

My post-Olympics objective via Linkedin.com: Connect with one or more Rio painters that had worked on the event sites. Question: Why hadn’t that crossed my mind during the 9-12 months actual construction time frame?

 

Question for the non-Olympics painters out there: What would you want to know from a Rio Olympics site painter?

 

 

13 – WELL, 14 – QUESTIONS I’M PLANNING TO ASK RIO OLYMPICS SITE PAINTERS

 

  1. What was your greatest enjoyment or pleasure in working on the Olympics project?
  2. What standard products – used on regular commercial and industrial projects – did you use on the Olympics project? In what areas mainly?
  3. What products caused you the greatest application challenges?
  4. What surfaces and areas were the hardest to coat?
  5. What weather problems did you run into? What was your longest down time?
  6. Previously, how many times had you used the specialty products that you used for the Olympics?
  7. What special tools and equipment did you need to use?
  8. What’s the largest quantity of paint that you applied on one event’s site?
  9. Were you under tight time constraints most of the time?
  10. With surfaces to be installed at outdoor event sites, what percentage of the prep and painting had to be done, say, inside a building?
  11. Would you work on an Olympics painting project again?
  12. What advice would you give to any painter looking at working on an Olympics site in 2020?
  13. How should he or she be preparing to handle the job right, and with minimal stress?

 

 

At this point, I don’t know what kind of success I’ll have connecting with a Rio Olympics painter. I’ve put out the word to a few well-known persons in the construction industry in the Rio area – and in Brazil. I’m hopeful.

 

Footnote: In the 1980s, Chicago planned to vie for the next Olympics games. Architect Norman DeHaan was serving on the committee that was coordinating those efforts. Among the groups that he enlisted was the Lake Michigan Region Planning Council (LMRPC). Its membership list read like the WHO’S WHO in architecture, design, engineering, and construction based in the Midwest.

 

At an LMRPC officers’ meeting held over 18 months out, he shared some facts about the greatest challenges facing Chicago’s Olympics planning committee. “Working with, and pleasing, so many special interest groups needed to pull off such an event. It’s mind boggling…”

 

Question 14 for the Rio Olympics painters: Was that how you felt, anticipating going into a painting project of such gigantic size?

 

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Special Olympics-style projects keep us on our toes and focused on top results!

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Thrive at working on whatever special project that you are on.

 

And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

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

Painting and Decorating: Working with Interior Designers – Part I

Painters that work on higher-end commercial and/or residential projects will deal with interior designers. At one point or another.

 

The projects where you will find an interior designer are as vast as the clients that own the properties:

  • 4-5 star hotels/resorts, upscale malls, restaurants, theatres, performance centers, boutique shops;
  • hospital systems, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers;
  • schools, government complexes, corporate headquarters;
  • high rise buildings, luxury homes, private estates, condominium developments, etc.

 

BACKGROUND THE INTERIOR DESIGNER ON PROJECT MAY POSSESS

 

  1. BFA/Interior Design; professional member: American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).
  2. BA/Interior Design; professional member: ASID, IIDA and/or IDS.
  3. BA or BS/Architectural Design; professional member: American Institute of Architects (AIA).
  4. BA/Interior Design or Art; member: International Interior Designer Association (IIDA).
  5. BA or BS/Fine Art or Furnishings Design; member: Design Society of America (DSA) and/or International Furnishings and Design Association (AFDA); affiliate member: AIA, ASID, IIDA.

 

Today, interior designers need at least a BA or BFA and both professional and trade credentials. Some also hold an MA or MS in Business Management, even Business/Corporate Law.

 

OTHER IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT THE INTERIOR DESIGNER

 

  1. Some interior designers are accredited by the Council for Interior Designers (CID).
  2. More millennial designers are opting for accreditation from the newer Interior Design Society.
  3. Most accredited interior designers are members of more than one professional association.
  4. Most are members of at least two trade organizations, also related educational foundations.
  5. Many play an active, affiliate role in their clients’ industries and trade associations.
  6. A growing number of them are affiliated with product-specific manufacturer associations.

 

Nearly all interior designers that work on high-end projects possess extensive experience working with painters and decorators. The designers hold themselves to very high standards. And, they expect the painters, with whom they deal, to do the same. One hundred, or close to, one hundred percent of the time.

 

A few months ago, a professional member of ASID e-mailed. She’d had to insist that the painter on a project be replaced.

 

WHY PAINTER ON INTERIOR DESIGNER PROJECT MAY NEED TO BE REPLACED

 

  1. Personality conflict
  2. Substandard craftsmanship
  3. Mismatched skills and abilities-to-project needs
  4. “Authority” issues
  5. Client/customer conflict
  6. Time, budget and manpower limits
  7. Honesty and security issues
  8. Other reasons – eg. work environment

 

HOW A PAINTER CAN SECURE POSITION ON INTERIOR DESIGNER PROJECT

 

  1. Be yourself. Be honest. Be sincere. Be professional.
  2. Respect the interior designer’s role.

 

That said, also…

 

  1. Treat the designer with respect.
  2. When he or she is speaking to you, please listen. Try to tune out all distractions.
  3. Acknowledge what the designer is telling you – verbally, and with appropriate gestures.
  4. Answer his or her questions, when they are asked – and briefly as possible.
  5. Offer your view, when appropriate.
  6. Ask for his or her opinion, advice or input, as appropriate.
  7. Accept the interior designer’s input with grace.
  8. Hold back from pushing your knowledge or opinion upon the designer.
  9. Hang loose. Be flexile wherever and whenever you can.
  10. Show him or her that you recognize the problems that the project presents. Examples: Client, spatial, budget, deadlines, products/materials, deliveries, schedule.

 

The dynamics between the painter and the interior designer are unique, and curious. They tend to be challenging, and changeable. Two top benefits for each: a first-rate referral and trusted friend.

 

As an award-winning interior and furniture designer once told a group of students at Harrington Institute of Interior Design,

 

“One of your greatest collaborators on any project will be the painter and decorator. The person who executes the very foundations of your design: color, pattern, and texture.”

 

See blog: “Painting and Decorating: Working with Interior Designers – Part II”

 

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

Paint Manufacturer Networking…

 

For over thirty-three years, my father made it a special point to stop by and visit area paint manufacturers’ stores and warehouses. Year-round, the paint shop’s schedule ran bone-tight. And, my father’s schedule allowed little or no time to spare

 

Still, he paid a visit to at least one paint supplier. Every week. He believed in taking a special interest in the persons that operated those stores. The professionals that serviced customers. Like him.

 

He respected them. And, he listened to what they had to say.

 

  1. He picked up special orders, and more products and supplies.
  2. He wanted to ensure that the men had what they needed to do their jobs.
  3. He wanted to ensure that the men could finish current projects as contracted: according to specification, in compliance, and on, or ahead of, schedule.
  4. He helped the on-site and project foremen and crews out.
  5. He requisitioned, purchased, and picked up orders.
  6. He loaded up with valuable stuff, and carried it back to the shop and/or onto our job sites.
  7. Product samples.
  8. Industry news.
  9. Insider notifications about new architectural/construction projects.
  10. Advance announcements of scheduled demonstrations, certification programs, etc.

 

He knew them all. He knew everyone at each store. He knew which company manufactured and sold the better, or best, product for each specific surface, area, and job. Also, the most cost-effective price.

 

He knew who to ask about what. He knew who to trust – who would tell it to him straight. Including both the pros and cons of their own products, materials and supplies.

 

Occasionally, it worked out that I could go along when my father needed to pick up supplies. His main regular stops: MAB, Sherwin-Williams, Glidden, PPG, Benjamin Moore, Duron, Valspar.

 

 

I don’t follow in those footsteps – exactly.

 

I try to stop by a paint store once a month – besides for picking up supplies. My biggest reasons:

 

(1) to visit with the store manager or assistant manager;

(2) to pick a technical consultant’s or manufacturer rep’s brain;

(3) to run into other area painters and decorators; and,

(4) to check on what’s new, changed, discontinued, etc.

 

I’m not as skilled, as my father, at paint store “stop-offs.” I’m not as tuned-in as he was. My stops at local paint manufacturer stores are briefer, and less often. They are more like: “Run in, say ‘Hi,’ visit for five minutes, get what I need, load it onto my truck, leave the experts to their work, and drive away.”

 

Back in August, I was drafting a blog about a special ceiling paint project done over two years ago. Last month, on the same 91-degree afternoon, I stopped at three manufacturer stores, Michael’s Crafts, and  Home Depot to re-check my facts for the products and materials that I’d used on that project.

 

It was good to see that, at the paint manufacturer stores and at Home Depot, painters’ and painting contractors’ trucks filled the parking lots. And painters in their “whites” were shopping inside.

 

At Sherwin-Williams, I re-checked color chip numbers and names for primers and paints.

 

At Gliddens, I watched the live demonstration of a newer commercial clear coat that floats glossy smooth onto any interior surface.

 

At Porter Paints/PPG, the manager rummaged in an old cabinet, and found a color, or “paint chip,” book from 2013.

 

At Michael’s, an artist paint product expert showed me a few application advantages of Liquitex, when painting special-effects “virtual” walls in children’s bedrooms or play areas. Exciting!

 

At Home Depot, the coating specialist got me a sample of Behr’s acrylic resin coating for residential driveways. And, I helped a lady customer understand how to get a visually accurate idea how her selected grey blue paint color would look in her bedroom.

 

The thing is…

 

In 2015, painters’ visits to the actual paint stores are an anomaly. Any supply or sample can be ordered on-line, and delivered to the door. Product information, composition, colors and finishes, pricing, availability, shipping terms, etc. can be researched on manufacturer, distributor and industry websites.

 

Paint stores e-mail their news, announcements, notices, and invitations.

 

You can say “Hello,” “live chat,” and “keep in touch” with paint store managers and reps by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.  You can group-meet by Skypp.

 

What painter and decorator needs to stop by the actual store, like my father and his fellow crafts persons did?

 

Well… ME!   Perhaps you, too.

 

Stop by a paint manufacturer’s local store. Say “hello.” Get acquainted. Check out their product sales. Pick their brains. Tap into their networks. Stay connected. They are product and procedure experts. And, they are still great GO-TO guys.

 

Amazing product possibilities can surface for your next surface-finishing project at a paint store or paint shoppe.

 

Hot Summer Tip: Too hot and humid to put in those long hours painting outdoors? Knock off a little early. And, stop by a paint store you haven’t visited for too long. (A carry-in snack for everyone there might be a nice touch.)

 

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Discovery is a fun part of the work day. A time to get out your goals, and travel forward.

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Thanks to everyone that visits, follows, comments, and critiques “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Estate Properties: Repainting and Redecorating within the Sale Prep Budget

A loved one passes away, and is laid to rest. His or her estate must be settled in a legally acceptable and timely order. The residence – eg. house, townhouse, condo – is a major part of that estate. And, it must be sold.

 

Often, each heir will have a wish list for using his or her share of the monetary proceeds. Each heir expects to get at least a certain amount.

 

The final sale price must be maximized. The property needs to undergo a facelift, before it goes on the market.

 

A Skilled Painter and Decorator’s role

 

A painter, skilled in renovation and restoration – especially of estate properties – can hold the key to realizing a lucrative sale.

 

  1. The painter will be able to accentuate the home’s attributes and advantages.
  2. The painter will be able to upgrade the home’s features to appeal to today’s real estate market.
  3. The painter will be able to camouflage or minimize its flaws – uneven walls, cracked wood.
  4. The painter will be able to suggest or advise the seller(s) about other work to have done, and by whom.

 

The painter can help the estate trustee or administrator work up a total facelift estimate.

Also, the painter/decorator can help determine an itemized budget range for each service that needs to be completed. Prior to listing the property for sale.

 

Painting/decorating tips gleaned from giving an interior facelift to a home prior to listing.

 

Keep the facelift simple. Make it suitable to the home’s architecture, style, worth, and location.

 

  1. TIP: To minimize the pale yellow cast of once white ceilings, custom tint white latex wall a very light yellow-white. This stretches facelift budget that cannot cover repainting of ceilings.

 

  1. TIP: Paint all walls throughout the home the same custom-tinted paint mentioned above. This creates flowing, uniform look.

 

  1. TIP: Repaint the bathrooms in their same original color – in this case soft yellow. This helps contain paint product costs.

 

  1. TIP: Limit repainting in kitchens, breakfast nooks, etc. that often feature tiled wall areas.

 

  1. TIP: Select high-end paint products, known (a) offer better coverage and (b) require only one coat. Especially in older homes, and in certain climates.

 

  1. TIP: Give ample attention to cleaning and prepping all surfaces to be re-finished. Examples: patching, filling, caulking, sanding. Allot enough drying time between steps and applications. Remember: The quality of a finishing job is linked directly to the quality of the surface prepping.

 

  1. TIP: Limit priming to surfaces that really need it. Hint: Areas that will likely stay the same finish color for at least the first year of new ownership.

 

  1. TIP: Apply finish coat to walls, trim, doors, etc. room-by-room. Or, whichever way that will assure ample drying time, a uniform finish throughout, and save in overall labor costs.

 

 

Before you call in a painter. . .

 

Empty the home’s interior to the walls. Here are a few tips to help you.

 

  1. Distribute and remove all personal items. (Follow the terms of the trust and/or will.) This includes all types of items such as furniture, accessories, appliances; china, silver, housewares, cookware; clothing, jewelry; linens, textiles; antiques, collectibles, books, etc.

 

  1. Remove and place remaining valuables in the hands of the best available dealers. Examples: expensive jewelry, art; antiques, collectibles, glass, books.

 

  1. If there’s time, hold a “class act” yard sale for the rest of personal property. Roll out the red carpet bargain-prices. Offer boxed/bagged/packaged group deals. Offer some quality items for free.

 

  1. GOOD NEIGHBOR TIP: If your loved one lived in the neighborhood for years: Invite close neighbors to come and select a few items to keep. No charge.

 

  1. Donate some of the nicer clothing, accessories, linens, etc. to a local church-run thrift shop.

 

  1. Donate whatever is left to the nearest Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army, or similar charity store. Call in advance to make certain they offer pick-up service.

 

Giving a home its final touches of paint and finish – facelift – before its estate sale can be rewarding.

In a way, the painter gets the opportunity to help the family give their loved one’s property a proper send off. And, that may help those left behind find some sense of closure.

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When people know how much you care about them, they care about how much you know.

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Special thanks to supporters through LinkedIn.com and Google+.  See you on the IN-side.

And, thanks, everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

The Best Exotic Majestic Hotel – and Your Hotel/Resort

Young co-hotelier Sonny Kapoor’s Best Exotic Majestic Hotel* in Jaipur, India, receives a new investor, and a new co-manager. And, every surface of the run-down, once budget-starved property receives a fresh new coat of paint. Every area graced by a decorator’s new and distinctive touches.

 

Illustrating the point that even one fresh coat of paint can do wonders for any hotel or lodging property. Performing miracles, in fact!

 
A SPECIAL MESSAGE…
… to hoteliers, general managers, directors of engineering, and painters with older hotels. Properties that are basically sound, structurally.

 

Perhaps, your budget can’t afford to cover for a complete aesthetic facelift – at one time. Like the Best Exotic Majestic Hotel received eventually.

 

You can afford to repaint every public surface. One area… one corridor… one guest room… one activity room… one restroom… one conference room at a time. If need be, one wall at a time!

 

In fact, you cannot afford not to commit to this on-going project. You cannot afford not to budget the funds, time, and staff labor to do this.

 

 

In the short-run…

 

Bringing your property up to speed, little-by-little, places less of a strain on the operations and investment budgets.

 

1. It requires less no-booking time and down time for the accommodations and amenities.

 

2. It demands less use of a staff painter’s clock-time and skills at once.

 

3. And, it reduces guest and visitor complaints, “comps,” and refunds.

 

 

In the long-run…

 

Bringing your property up to speed, little-by-little, leaves only the major projects to budget with large capital commitments. Based on your priorities, plans, pre-set schedules, and availability.

 

 

Three keys to a hotel painter’s quality control…

 

1. Any hotel painter can do a very decent job at keeping his or her property in shape within a continuously-funded paint maintenance budget.

 

2. Most hotel painters can do a satisfactory job at getting his or her property back in good public shape, with a regular basic facelift project budget, at his or her disposal.

 

3. A handful of hotel painters can do a splendid job of pulling off a major facelift, little-by-little. With an inconsistent, unsupported and poorly funded budget.

 

Miracle performers like that do not come along very often. And, they don’t stay. Not even with historic places like the Best Exotic Majestic Hotel.

 

* The Pearl Palace Heritage Guesthouse, in Jaipur, served as a location for both “Exotic Majestic Hotel” movies. Since the production of the first film in 2012, it has enjoyed record-high occupancy. On a consistent basis.

 

Alas, its primary owner has been able to restore the property. He has added many traditional amenities, that make it a favorite stay for Jaipur tourists and visitors.

 

Go! Enjoy! Taste!

 

And, if you time it right, you will be there when a cast or crew member of either the 2012 film, or its 2015 sequel, is visiting, too.

 

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“The only real thing is the thing yet to try…” Evelyn, played  by Judy Dench.

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Many thanks for stepping out, and taking a chance. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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