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Archive for the ‘KidSuites and Children’s Rooms’ Category

Welcome to Palmer’s Hotel for Children!

The Palmers lived in a 20-plus room, white-framed house at the edge of Valparaiso, Indiana. Its three-story structure stood at the top of a long, hilly lane surrounded by tall, sturdy shade trees. (Perfect for climbing, by the way.) At least three dormers rose from both the front and back sides of the roof.

 

Seven days a week, the place became “Palmer’s Hotel for Children.” And, it served as a fun and safe place to “visit” for young people between 3 months and 13 years of age.

 

The “Palmer’s Hotel” had every amenity that a child could possibly wish for:

 

  1. Huge, grassy back yard with lots of room to roam.
  2. Dogs, cats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, goat, lamb, ponies.
  3. Swing sets and Jungle Jims.
  4. Roomy, enclosed tree house with two sturdy ladders, with deep and generous steps.
  5. Basketball hoops, small softball diamond, badmitten net, crochet sets.
  6. Moveable play house.
  7. Vegetable garden and strawberry patch.
  8. Fruit trees and berry bushes: apple, peach, apricot; blueberry, blackberry, raspberry.
  9. Grape arbor.
  10. Two large plastic wading pools and long garden hose for hot days of summer.
  11. Small wagons, carts, tricycles, 2-wheel bikes.
  12. Two sandboxes.
  13. Games and more games.
  14. Boys and girls toy chests and stuffed animal baskets.

 

Oh, did I mention food? Sandwiches (your choice of filling and bread-spread); veggie sticks, homemade cookies, juices.

 

Of course, “Palmer’s” best amenity was Mr. and Mrs. Palmer. The adopted grandparents that every child would dream up for himself or herself.

 

The biggest treat was staying over night. My sister and I got to do that only four or five times. Usually, while our parents attended a special Saturday evening function, in the community or in Chicago.

What was so great about a sleep-over?

 

Saturday nights were party time at the Palmer’s Hotel for Children.

 

  1. Walt Disney movies, board games, card games, floor games.
  2. Huge bowls of freshly-popped corn setting on every table.
  3. Choices of fruit juices and Kool Aid flavors.
  4. Home-made Kool-Aid Popsicles.
  5. Ice cream and cake or cookies to celebrate a child guest’s birthday.
  6. Cozy-like, dorm-style sleeping space – including a doll or teddy bear if you needed one.
  7. Pals – other guests – to play with.
  8. Lots of arts and crafts supplies to make things to take home.

 

One Saturday afternoon, Mr. Palmer wanted to talk with my dad when he dropped off my sister and me. Mr. Palmer asked Dad to come by at a later date, and give him an estimate on painting the exterior of that huge house.

 

My dad offered to volunteer a paint crew to do the job. The terms: Mr. Palmer would purchase the main paint supplies. And, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer would feed the crew some lunch on paint day.

 

The date was scheduled. I got to go along and “carry water” to the men. We all ate lunch at the picnic tables where we children ate our snacks when we were “visiting.”

 

Silently, I promised that, once I could drive, I’d go by The Palmer’s Hotel and volunteer to help out with their young guests. (I did several times.)

 

Silently, I promised that, when grown up, I’d go by and volunteer my adult skills to help out once in a while. (I did once.)

 

Eventually, I entered the IBPAT apprenticeship program, and began my painting career. I promised that I’d go by and volunteer my painting skills and crew to repaint the Palmer’s Hotel for Children.

 

It was that great of a place. Mr. and Mrs. Palmer were that great of a couple. Final Note: By the time I started painting for a contractor, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer had closed down their hotel for children. And, they had retired.

 

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All grown up now? Who can you help that enriched your life as a child?

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob” today.
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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PAINTING THINGS FOR SMOKEY THE BEARS

SmokeyBears
Since childhood, I’ve been collecting “Smokey the Bear” stuffed animals. The collection includes two first editions. One made in the late 1960s, the other in the early 1970s.

 

All except two of the forest ranger bears were manufactured by Knickerbocher in New York, New York.

 

Over the years, the “Smokeys” received treatment deserving of such “naturalists.” They had their own custom-designed furniture, crafted from oak and pine woods.

 

. Park bench – 20-inches high by 36-inches long by 8-inches deep.

Description: Painted forest green, semi-gloss latex, Mfgr,: Sherwin-Williams; “Smokey” belt buckle etching on front cross-brace of back, 50 percent grey matte acrylic, Mfgr.: Liquitex.

 

. Side chair – 18-inches high by 10-inches wide by 8-inches deep.

Description: Clear primer/sealer, low-gloss clear polyurethane finish, Mfgr.: Minwax. Carved poinsettia back panel, painted crimson red and tinted forest green acrylic, Mfgr.: Liquitex.

 

. Bunk bed – 21-inches long by 12-inches wide by 18-inches high.

Description: Mattresses, posts painted Bright white semi-gloss latex; Mfgr.: Sherwin-Williams. Curved headboards, painted light bark brown background, with the “Smokey” logo name painted custom-tinted blue-grey acrylic; Mfgr.: Liquitex.

 

Young neighbor children liked to play “gently” with a few of the “Smokeys,” while their mothers stopped by to discuss a problem with someone.

 

Most of the Smokey the Bears sit safely, in a display wall cabinet.

 

On Halloween, “Smokey No. 7”, a custom designed, handcrafted 36-inch high model, sits in a white captain’s chair at the front door. Holding a large aluminum bowl of trick-or-treat candy in his lap. Even the teenagers grin, when they see “Smokey,” and they help themselves to two or three snack-sized candy bars.

 

In December of 2014, six of my “Smokey the Bears” were donated to Goodwill Industries for a fundraiser. They were clear-wrap sealed in pairs, to generate higher prices.

 

A running search on e-Bay and Google+ for another original edition of “Smokey the Bear” is checked at least monthly. Like with any collectible, the “Smokeys” turn up some interesting people. And stories.

 

My most recently purchased “Smokey,” circa 1975, came from the Los Angeles area. A lady who was once in the film industry. I’m waiting for a “Smokey” to arrive from California. Given as a birthday gift to a gold record musician, the 1972 bear is being given as a birthday gift to me.

 

Per agreement with the seller, this “Smokey the Bear” will remain with the rest of the group here. And, the entire group will be donated to a Central Indiana community’s local historical museum. “When the time comes…”

 

Bears, it may be time to build a bigger park bench.

 

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“Only you can prevent forest fires.”     “Only you can prevent wildfires.”

                                                                                                                  …. “Smokey the Bear”

Note: Smoke the Bear is the trademark property of the National Park Service.

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Have a safe September, everyone. And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

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

PAINTING IT: NIGHT SKIES OVER BED

Retired sign designer and painter Steve and his wife, Sara, were going legally blind. Their shared passion, since college, had been astronomy.

 

One of their prized telescopes was an ED 127MM Apochromatic refractor. A favorite for its astrophotography capabilities. Steve and Sara’s model had been equipped to capture, enlarge and edit what they were no longer able to see clearly, even with corrective lenses.

 

Trying to look at narrow framed close-ups was not the same as gazing at the panoramic span of the heavens. Especially at night. From their back porch.

 

So, two years ago May, the couple convinced me to paint the night skies onto their 18 by 24 foot bedroom ceiling. They knew that, at the time, my vision wasn’t much better than theirs. (I still had problems with focus, blurriness, redness, and burning caused by repeated exposure to toxic levels of mold, and concentrated chlorine bleach solution.)

 

The “Skies the Limit” Layout Decision

 

Steve and Sara thought about extending the “galaxy grid” down each wall, 8-10 inches. I questioned the idea. “Too dark…could cause sensations that the ceiling/roof/sky was falling in…”

 

To help them decide, I convinced them to allow their son and me to stretch dark king-sized flat bed sheets across the entire ceiling. For one night. By eight o’clock the next morning, at least half of the sheets had been taken down. Steve said, “The walls were shrinking in on us…”

 

Pre-Painting Step: Gridding in the Galaxy

 

As a template, I used the big enlargement of a photo taken by Sara for Steve’s 60th birthday. When both of their green-eyed sights were perfect: 20/20 vision.

 

Using her MacBook Pro and a projector, Sara transposed the image onto the ceiling. That helped me to “grid” and mark the location of stars, planets, etc.

 

The Painting Process

 

Note: Unless noted otherwise, I used Sherwin-Williams paint and finishing products.

 

1. A thinned-down coat of color no. SW 6565, Rarified Blue matte latex ceiling paint was rolled on, serving as a primer. Allowed natural drying time: 24 hours.

 

2. The ceiling was “feather-sanded” with no. 400 sandpaper. A thorough “rag-wipe” followed, using absorbent NEW cloths.

 

3. Next, I rolled on a base coat of Cosmos Blue semi-gloss latex paint, to which I’d added 3 drops of Iridescent Ivory Black acrylic. Liquitex artist paint. Allowed natural drying time: 3 hours.

 

4. Then, I damp “feather-sanded” the ceiling, working toward each galactical marking. Drying time: until the next morning.

Note: To preserve those galactical markings, I covered each with an uncut stencil, made from poster board. Each stencil was grid-numbered, and affixed in place with a small, finger-rolled strip of blue masking tape.

 

5. With the stencils back in place, I sprayed a thin coat of Indigo (midnight) Blue semi-gloss acrylic latex. Used sometimes for set/scenic painting. Drying time: 4 hours.

 

6. Using artists brushes, I detailed in all of the stars, planets, rings, etc.

A. Undercoat paint: Cadmium Yellow,* high-gloss mixed with Gesso.

B. Overcoat paint: Iridescent Titanium White,* semi-gloss.

C. Linings/indents: Yellow (deep) Gold matte.* Also used: Hansa Yellow Light.* Manufacturer: Liquitex heavy body acrylic paints. Note: Excellent for experimental techniques. Natural drying times: Under coat, overcoat – 3 hours each. Lining work: 18 hours.

* Note: This process took only two-and-a-half days, surprisingly. (My eyes watered and ached, though I used, at all times, either safety eye goggles and a breathing mask, or a full-face breathing apparatus.

 
7. Next, I rag-wiped the ceiling. Fabric: 12 by 12 inch squares, Natural muslin, used in quilting.

 

8. Stars Finish Detailing: Using artist brushes*, I dotted and dabbed Iridescent clear glitter into each star. Glitter mixed 4-to-1 parts with Hansa Yellow Light (tinted with Iridescent Titanium white low gloss. Mfgr: Liquitex acrylics. * Detail brushes used: No. 2 bright; Nos. 2 and 4 Filbert; No. 2 flat.

 

9. Feather finish: Using artist brushes,* I blended three colors of Liquitex heavy body acrylic paints from outer edges of stars, planets, etc. into surrounding skies. Colors used: Cobalt Blue Dark; Cobalt Blue Light; Ultramarine Blue. * Detail brushes: Universal angle 1-inch flat; 2-inch flat; 1-inch Universal flat freestyle.

 

10. Ceiling finish coat: Spray painted a fine coat of Clear semi-gloss latex Into the paint pot mixture, I’d added 5 drops of Iridescent Rich Silver.

 

Technique used: I sprayed with a pin nozzle. I used a subtle arc movement with my arm. And, I released the spray gun’s lever, for a few seconds, over each galactical element. I did not spray with any steady back-and-forth motion.

 

THE EFFECT:

Beyond imagination! Reflective, with sensation that either the stars and constellations, or the viewers, were moving or rotating slightly.

 

SARA and STEVE in 2015.

Sara is totally blind. Every evening before bed, she and Steve sit together, in their leather Lazy-Boy loungers, or in bed. Under their stars.

 

Hotel/Facility Painter/Decorator Footnote:

This ceiling treatment can make an awesome addition to any ceiling in a hotel. Examples: KidsSuite, “Honeymoon Suite,” club/entertainment stage, game room. That is, if the budget allows for the purchase of the variety of products and supplies needed. And the hours of detail work by a creative, detail-oriented staff painter can be justified.

 

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Friends’ favorite rooms deserve special treatment from friends.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.” Copyright 2015. Robert Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

SHORT STROKES: CREATIVE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

1. An inn in the southeast installed a “rock climbing” wall, to keep active 2-3 year olds occupied. Its features include:

A. Solid oak construction, dimensions: 4-feet high, 9 feet long, 3 inches thick.

B. “Wall” screwed into 2-inch by 4-inch wall joists, 8-inches apart, behind finished drywall.

C. Random rock pattern hand-painted on oak surface, then clear, vinyl-coated.

D. “Rock ledges,” 4-inches wide by 6-inches deep, formed from heavy, smooth rubber tires.

E. Numerous vinyl-coated gripper handles placed on either side of each “ledge.”

F. Grey foam pad, 10-feet long, 8-feet wide, 3-inches thick, stretches out at foot of wall.

 
A retired playground designer created the wall. At the request of the inn’s owners: his sons and daughters-in-law. The need for a safe, indoor “energy” outlet apparent. Between them, they had five children.

A sturdier “rock climbing wall, for older/larger children, ages 4-6, is under construction. Completion date: October 2015.

 

2. A rescued 110-room Days-Inn features a do-it-yourself kitchen and snack bar, for children 5 to 10 years old. It features:

A. Child/young junior sized appliances – all with clear, see-through doors, globes, surfaces.

     . Refrigerator    . Smoothie/Blender    . 2-Burner, built-in cooktop

     . Microwave      . 4-Slice toaster, battery-operated

     . Portable mixer, battery-operated

     . Utensils: coated, non-sharp, non-serrated.

B. All food products are fresh, frozen or baked.

C. All foods are gluten-free, no-sugar/no-salt added.

D. Cost: Free – all food products, cooking privileges, and “classes.”

E. Hours: 9-10:30 am, 12-1:30 pm, 4-5:30 pm, 6 days a week.

F. Cooking and baking “classes” – supervised assistance – 5 days a week.

G. Kitchen is supervised by at least two hotel kitchen workers, specially trained for the job.

H. “Rain days” – Innkeeper’s version of his “snow days” in Michigan when schools were closed.

 

3. A third-generation fishing cottage business, on Lake Michigan’s western shore, has its own mini-ice fishing “pond,” for guests 4-8 years old.

A. A 70-feet diameter shallow fishing pond is frozen solid, November to February.

B. Eight, 2-person fishing “huts” are pulled onto the ice.

C. Construction: One-half inch plywood sides, floor, roof, joist frame; shingled roof, insulated walls; 2 eye-level windows/cased; wood doors.

D. Paint/Exteriors: Walls: Color- Bark brown, satin finish; Doors: Color – Bright red, high gloss finish. Both products: Sherwin-Williams Heavy-Duty latex.

E. Interiors: Built-in double seat; fire-proof portable heater/battery; clear plexi-6-inch high encasement around fishing “hole” in floor.

F. Cost: Free to child guests.

G. Fishing contest: Alternate Saturday afternoons, November – February. Free: Guests. Open to local children, 4-8 ($2.00 entry).

 

A Central Florida M.D. told me that he used to take his family to the Lake Michigan site. “We were young, and on a tight budget. Natives of the Sheboygan area. What you’d call ‘millennials with a marriage license, and kids.’”

 

He oriented me to the following 21st Century hospitality facts about millennials:

 

1. Millennial guests may have children, too.

2. Millennial guests expect the hotels where they stay to accommodate their children.

3. Millennial guests expect the hotels to provide their children with qualitative, safe, and age-appropriate full services. Commensurate with those offered to the millennials themselves.

4. Millennial guests’ budgets come in all sizes, and credit cards with all levels of buying power.

 
A hotel/facility painter’s millennial tips:

 

1. Treat millennial guests well, like guests in any age group deserve to be treated.

2. Treat the children of millennials special. Like guests in any adult age group want their children/ grandchildren/ great-grandchildren to be treated. Whatever the children’s ages.

3. Remember, the millennial guests’ children are away from home. In a different environment.

4. Say “Hi” to millennial guests’ children. Smile naturally. Look them in the eye.

5. Ask them what they like about your hotel, and their stay there. Ask nothing personal.

6. Encourage them, from a distance, to watch you paint. Ask, “Have you ever painted anything?”

7. Chat briefly with them, while you work. Tell them what you are doing. Point out to them the WET PAINT sign you’ve posted nearby. Explain why wet paint should never be touched.

8. Encourage them to ask you a few questions. Always answer them, briefly and respectfully.

9. After a reasonable time, encourage them to move on. To check back in with parents or family.

10. Say goodbye. “Thanks for stopping.” “Have a great vacation.” “Have a good trip home.”

 

Recently, I stopped to watch a hotel painter. He was applying a bright cranberry exterior enamel to a park bench in a children’s outdoor play area. Several children and a young family watched him work.

 

Everyone else moved on eventually. I asked the painter if he enjoyed his “little audiences.” He grinned. “They make my days. Make it all worthwhile.”

 

Yeah. “Go ahead and make my day.”  Clint Eastwood.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.” Copyright 2015. Robert Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: Game Room Fun

When a person plays a game in an arcade or game room, he or she pays little attention to what the walls or other surfaces look like. One sees how the space is designed, and what colors have been used,. Whether entering the room, or standing back from the game equipment and devices.

 

The games attract the primary attention. Thus, the overall decorative scheme is never crucial to the enjoyment of the amenities there.

 

Add a few special touches. And, your game room will appear more exciting to the average player, and the novice, too.

 

The following touches are sure to raise some eyebrows:

 

* Paint the ceiling a Chalk White. It reflects light, and makes it easier to see the games.

Special effect: Add glitter to quart of the white paint. Then, use 2-inch brush to create “streaks” across the ceiling. Example: On one project, I ran “streaks” from the center ceiling fixture, outward to corners and half-point.

 

* Paint the walls a dark color. Examples: Royal Blue, Violet, Hunter Green. It creates a subdued, laid back effect.

Special touch: Add glitter to the walls. Create a cosmic-like effect. Note: Do walls OR ceiling.

 

* Paint the walls Bright, Snow or Soft White. Use semi-gloss or gloss paint.

Special touches: Paint stripes and/or graphics. Create an energizing sports design.

 

* Apply a decorative finish to add special benefits. Example: Create a multi-layered effect, or textured surface. Game playing becomes very imaginative, because of the visual effects in the room.

 

* Get creative with the floor covering. Choose a design and color combo that adds excitement to the overall theme, and purpose, of the room.

 

FIVE FUN WAYS TO USE CARPETING:

 

1. Install carpet tiles in alternating colors, monochromatic or complementary.

Example: A Central Florida hotel turned to this solution, when the game room carpeting needed replacing, after a surprise water pipe burst and flood. They purchased boxes of left-over carpet tiles from three different floor covering stores.

 

2. Create “game trails” by laying solid tiles in one direction of the room, and striped tiles in another.

Note: This trail was laid out in one of the game rooms in a children’s hospital.

 

3. Install both solid and geometric tiles, in alternate or random pattern.

 

4. Create a “space walk” effect.

Example: Install carpet tiles with Medium-to-Dark Blue and silver iridescent fibers, woven into a cosmic/space pattern. Note: This “walk” was surrounded by a mass of solid dark blue tiles.

 

5. Run a “walk” or “trail” up one long wall, turn left or right, wind it a few feet, then “move” the “walk” or “trail” back down to the floor. And, tie it into optical “ground.”

Note: This fun volunteer project, that I designed, was pulled off by using remnant carpeting, that we cut into square, oblong, and angular tiles. A major design/measure/cut/layout accomplishment!

 

Floor covering is more expensive than the average paint job. Combined with the wall finish, carpeting or tile adds immense value and atmosphere to the entire area. Its acoustics tend to be superb!

 

YES! A game room needs to include modern games, which are familiar to the guests and visitors.

 

A well thought out design and color scheme adds to the enjoyment of the area. It’s a smart investment.

Guests and visitors will thank you for it.

Guests, visitors, staff, and management will be motivated to “recommend” or “like” your hotel, spa, resort, or inn to others!

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Painting It: KidSuites and Children’s Rooms

Children want to have fun. And they need to be in an environment which enables them to do so. This is true, whether it is at home or on family vacation in a hotel or at a resort.

 

So, in what ways can a kid’s or children’s room be designed and painted that will create a great fun, and safe, atmosphere? While also keeping a child from becoming bored?

 

Here are some essential ingredients to liven up a kid’s or children’s room:

 

* Use multiple bright paint colors on the walls, ones shown to have a calming effect on children.

Examples: Sky Blue, Kelly Green, Hot Pink, Sun Yellow.

 

* Hang pictures of cartoon characters, action heroes and sports figures on the walls adjacent to the child’s bed.

Examples: Curious George, Pokémon, Hernandez.

 

* Create an area in the room, where children can draw and express themselves, and you can still protect the surfaces from damage.

Example: Dry erase board.

 

I have found that children tend to draw on anything within their reach.

 

* Install simple games, which are fixed to a surface, and have few small pieces that can get lost.

 

* Create an interactive character window, where children can play act and be photographed as some famous person, or cartoon character.

Examples: Mickey Mouse, cowboy, astronaut.

 

Designing the space is not enough!

 

What types of paint or finishes are formulated to hold up the best under the energy of children? I recommend the following:

 

* Ease of washing and abrasion resistant: Gloss enamel or gloss acrylic latex. Either is the best choice when considering ease of workability.

 

* Superior durability: Gloss epoxy. Notes: This product is more difficult to work with; and the odor can be overwhelming.

 

* Wood as the finished material/surface: Satin varnish, or polyurethane clear finish is the most suitable choice.

 

* Hand-painted murals as part of decor: Use sign painter enamel finishes; then a protective clear coat to ensure a lasting quality.

 

Making a children’s room a fun place is hardly new.

 

To make it happen, the approach involves one or more creative adults, and/or talented teens.

 

There is one prerequisite, really, to get started: Ask the children! Usually, they have definite opinions about what makes for a fun environment. Including in their bedrooms. And, they know how to bring that fun environment idea to life!

 

Use lots of color! The more the better. Add some unbridled artistic talent, too.

 

Painting for kids can be great fun.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidosiously fun!
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Two KidSuite-Children’s Room True Tales:

 
1. Two children had gotten very creative in their KidSuite. On two walls, they had drawn and painted in favorite cartoon animals: Curious George, Dinosaur Rex, Rolo the Dog, etc. Over half of the “filling-in” had been done with permanent markers. (Artistically, the 1st grader and preschooler did a great job!)

 

I used a soft scrub sponge to gently clean the surface with mild sudsy soap and warm water. After the family checked out two days later, I went back and used a “kids-safe” and odor-free latex paint to repaint the entire KidSuite.

 

Less than a month later, the walls in the same KidSuite had to be scrubbed again, and repainted. Three children, one only age three, had gotten super creative. With a large set of permanent markers, they had “painted” a “mural” along the walls, across bed frames, over the TV-dresser console, etc.

 

The children were very funny, and lovable. But way too creative and energetic to be holed up, on a rainy day, with nothing to do.

 

 

2. A Cocoa Beach hotel engineer told me about this problem, while his department was still trying to resolve it…

 

Here’s what the housekeepers, and painter, found when they entered a vacated family suite.  Crayolas, permanent markers, paints, colored pencils, colored chalk, and make-up had been used to draw and paint on nearly every surface in the children’s sleeping area, and one-half bath. Also, on two walls in the main sitting area.

 

The painter and an engineering tech worked on the area an entire day with minimal luck. The engineer asked me for suggestions to deter “future creative repeats at this level…” I suggested either of the following:

 

  1. washable, wood-look wall paneling, or
  2. washable, wrap-around kids paint-it mural, or activity paper.

 

Children hotel guests do not set out to damage room/suite walls, furniture, etc. They set out to have lots of fun. To entertain themselves. To get unbored.

 

Children’s hotel rooms and KidSuites need to make room for their energy, creativity, and curiosity.

 

And, the people who operate, clean, paint, and maintain these “special-guest” rooms and suites might want to explore – and install – more user-friendly surfaces!

 

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Children are people, too! So were we adults when we were their ages.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

 

 

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