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Archive for the ‘Paneling’ Category

PAINTING AND DECORATING: THE HOTEL PENTHOUSE

A Central Florida hotel gave me the choice of three redecorating projects:

 

  1. larger penthouse,
  2. front lobby, or
  3. outdoor children’s play-town.

 

I opted for the penthouse. The other two projects were put on hold by the property management company.

 

Why the penthouse project got my vote: The diversity of creative decorating opportunities.

 

  1. Interior work – A/C, controlled environment.
  2. Fine finishing surfaces: paneling, columns, furniture.
  3. Lots of wallcovering installation, including mural.
  4. Custom color matching: paint-to-patterned wallcoverings.
  5. Faux finishing.
  6. Minimal traffic
  7. Management’s style, commitment and candor.

 

I scheduled the project into twelve main phases:

 

  1. Needs assessment by room, area, square footage, surface conditions, and preparation requirements.
  2. Products, materials, supplies costing-to-budget allotment; selection and coordination; quantity estimating and computation; requisitioning to purchasing.
  3. Wood furniture and woodwork stripping or bleaching.
  4. Wallcovering removal.
  5. Ceilings, walls, doors repairing, patching, filling.
  6. Wood repairing, filling, sanding, sealing.
  7. Ceilings, walls priming.
  8. Woodwork, doors, furniture re-staining and light sanding.
  9. Painting.
  10. Woodwork, doors, furniture finishing.
  11. Wallpaper and mural hanging.
  12. Faux finishing.

 

I was responsible for all aspects of the project except:

 

  1. delivery delays of custom wallcoverings and murals,
  2. purchasing department delays, errors, etc.

 

The one twist: The hotel president’s wife, a retired ASID member, would be included in the selection of the wallcoverings, and murals. In reality, the lady showed up on site once a week during the entire project. She put herself “to work.” She helped whichever hotel maintenance technician may have been assisting me on that day.

 

The project moved right along.
Complete shutdown was needed only two days – carpenter, plumber, tile man. The flooring people installed new carpeting after I completed my work. Note: I waited to re-install the re-finished baseboards until after the flooring was installed.

 

A FEW TIPS FOR ANY SIMILAR PROJECT THAT YOU MAY BE CONSIDERING

 

Before you sign on, you might want to do the following:

 

  1. Find out where the hotel’s purchasing manager orders the bulk of paint products and wallpaper materials.
  2. Clear with management – get it in writing – for YOU to be the person that visits the paint store and communicates with product/material representatives.
  3. Set it up so that YOU are the person that puts together the actual requisition order schedule and lists, for the purchasing manager to follow.
  4. Get a list – in writing – of all other work that will be taking place in the area. See that it includes the approximate “schedule blocks” of work days for every other craftsperson. Examples: carpenters, electricians, plumbers, tile installers, drywall installers.

 

BEST CASE SCENARIO:

 

  1. Hotel management sets it up and authorizes YOU to actually do the ordering from suppliers.
  2. You work under ONE member of management.
  3. You have access to other members of organization – supervisors, managers, staff – as needed.
  4. Feedback from managers is limited, and direct. No filtering through a chain of people.
  5. Project inspections are limited, and conducted by person(s) with authority to assist and act.
  6. “Sightseeing” visits by managers and staff members are kept to minimum, even discouraged.

 

HOW THINGS WENT:

  1. The hotel’s staff was friendly, helpful and totally enthusiastic. Especially the staff painter, and the engineering department, as a whole.
  2. The project came off without any major glitch – eg. shipment delay of custom wallcoverings.
  3. The project came in under budget – a surprise, even to me.
  4. The project was completed one week early. (Another surprise.)
  5. The carpenters, electricians, plumbers, drywallers, and tile installers stuck to the master schedule – and theirs. Great teams!
  6. Final inspections came off with only minor changes.
  7. The hotel management company signed off promptly.
  8. The hotel’s principal owner flew in for a final walk-through – and “staff only open house.”

 

Would I pick that “penthouse project” again? Yes! Though it was the first one that I’d worked on solo. And, it was the largest: over 4,000 square feet, including the veranda.

 

TIP FOR TOP QUALITY INTERIOR FINISHERS:

 

Ask around. There’s bound to be a hotel, resort, or residential penthouse somewhere that needs your special, fine touch. If nothing else, offer to help the staff painter get it into shining shape again.

 

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Special thanks to everyone that has helped others do a great job at their chosen work.

And, thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting Projects: “Let’s Do It” and “Let-Me-Think-About-It”

Every project features certain elements and parameters that must be considered before it’s taken on by the painter/decorator.

 

Every project requires certain resources for the painter/decorator to achieve satisfactory results.

 
Ten “LET’S DO IT” Projects.*

 

* Projects classified by crew size needed to do job.

* Projects require definite deadline; doing projects around other things unfeasible.

 

“Let’s Do It” Projects – Crew size: 1  (Basic stuff, piece of cake!)

1. Refinish picture frames.

2. Caulk cracks in ceiling edges, and wall corners.

3. Paint an accent wall.

4. Apply wallpaper border.

5. Wood-grain a metal door.

6. Do a simple faux-finish to wall, using sponging or rag rolling technique.

7. Paint ceiling in large office.

8. Paint metal door frames.

9. Hang wallpaper in room, or office.

10. Refinish pieces of wood furniture.

 

“Let’s Do It” Projects – Crew size: 2 or 3 minimum (Need to do project safely!)

1. Paint exterior of home or office building.

2. Install commercial wallcovering in offices.

3. Paint concrete floors vs. floor.

4. Refinish large number of wood doors.

5. Paint interior walls of office/business complex.

6. Repaint acoustic ceilings.

7. Apply texture to interior walls of housing development, or business complex.

8. Apply faux finish to walls in 8 or more large offices, or multi-housing complex.

9. Hand-paint large wall mural.

10. Repaint residential development exteriors.

 

I’ve worked on each of the above projects, start-to-finish, on my own, also as part of a crew. Upon completion, every project received an “excellent” rating.

 

RELATED TIPS:

  1. Always begin a project with all of the necessary products, supplies, tools, and paint equipment readily available to you.
  2. Avoid need to leave the job multiple times. It can distract you, and slow production.

 

 

Five “LET ME THINK ABOUT IT” Projects.*  

 

* Projects classified by crew size needed to do job.

* Most projects require definite deadline; doing project around other things unfeasible.

 

“Let Me Think About It” ProjectsCrew size: 1 (Take a closer look, some red flags! )

 

1. Refinish antique furniture in faux finish application.

2. Apply stencil design to bathroom.

3. Clean and paint driveway surface.

4. Apply faux plaster finish to interior  walls in very large, older residence.

5. Texture ceilings, presently with smooth surface.

 

“Let Me Think About It” Projects – Crew size: 2 or 3 minimum (Check out closely. Might not be a good idea to take on!)

1. Paint exterior of multi-floor building.

2. Remove ceiling tiles, and paint ceiling metal grid.

3. Repaint moldings and doors in multi-housing complex.

4. Repair, prep and repaint all walls in residential or business complex.

5. Paint accent colors on walls throughout entire office or business complex.

 

 

I’ve worked on each of the above projects, start-to-finish – on my own, or as part of a small crew. Every project, upon completion, received an “excellent” rating. So, it can be done. Still, especially if you have a choice. . .

 

Food for thought: If any painter/decorator’s “Let-Me-Think-About-It” list is longer than five, he or she might want to consider specializing – whether he or she works for someone else, by the project, or for himself or herself. Or, re-think this career choice.

 

A painter and decorator needs to manage and operate his or her “project career” (my term), according to a basic set of rules and limits. One that works for that person. That includes working on projects with elements, parameters and requirements that coincide with the painter/decorator’s rules and limits. And, his or her innate value system.

 

This modus operandi, especially in the long-term, benefits everyone concerned. The guest/ visitor/ customer. The client/property owner/stakeholder. The employer or contractor. The staff or employee group. The paint team/crew. The painter and decorator.

Creative Couple Retrofits Hotel for “21st Century Fifty-Plus Year Old Guests.”

On a return flight from London, a relative sat next to the new owners of a South Florida independent hotel. They had settled for coach seats on the “next flight,” rather than wait for “first class” seating the following morning.

 

The couple spent much of their flight time looking at color chip books from paint and stain/varnish manufacturers. Their attaché also contained photos of wallcoverings and swatches of fabric.

 

By the time the plane landed at New York’s J.F.K. Airport, the couple had chosen their color scheme for the hotel property. Also, they’d set a “tour and lunch” date with my relative and her spouse.

 

What fascinated me were the couple’s plans for upgrading the hotel. Especially considering the fact that both husband and wife were in their early forties, versus over 50.

 

Here’s the list of plans that the couple shared with my relative:

 

  1. Target market: Guests 50 and older.
  2. High WI-FI connectivity property wide.
  3. All amenities included, and available to all guests.
  4. Acoustical ceilings throughout.
  5. Guest room amenities: Two armchairs, reclining/revolving; adjustable queen-sized beds (phase-in); carpeted bathroom floors, bathtub rails and seats; one-way privacy window shades.
  6. Dining: Dining room and buffet, all meals; “Surf and Ale Pub”®; indoor/outdoor café; F & B Deli and “S & S Snack and Pack.”®
  7. Property-wide public phones and phone service.
  8. Front-Social lobby: Seating clusters; firm-cushioned, 2-seat sofas, arm chairs; reading lamps.
  9. Corridors: Firm-cushioned “park seat” settees.
  10. Small library: For reading, writing, computer use, quiet games.
  11. Billiard and Game Room.
  12. Connectivity and computer room in each building.
  13. “Techy Show and Go Shop.”®
  14. Small movie theatre.
  15. Gift shop: All merchandise home-crafted or home-made.
  16. Exercise and Massage room in each building.
  17. “Children’s Day and Short-Stay”® guest areas: Indoor activity/game/movie room; outdoor playground.
  18. Outdoor bird and nature sanctuary, with pond.
  19. Outdoor amenities: Pool and spa, two tennis courts, three garden parks; small European-style wood/wrought iron game tables; “under-roof” Boule courts, shuffleboard courts, outdoor bowling; archery range; golf putting range.
  20. Small 3-chair Hair and Barber Salon.

 

By the way, all preparation and finishing products used on the property will be odor-free, fume-free, allergy-free, toxin-free; also quick-drying. All surfaces and areas will be smooth, with minimal reflectivity.

 

What the hotel would not be offering to guests and visitors:

 

  1. Full-service restaurants
  2. Special kidsuites and children’s sleeping areas.
  3. Room service
  4. Basketball, volleyball, and racketball courts. (A nearby park offers all three.)
  5. Clothing, shoe and jewelry shops

 

“We want to accommodate the 21st Century 50-plus year old guests.” The couple said that they want to offer this group of guests what they need at a tropical hotel.

 

“Then, we want to “nudge them out of the hotel’s doors.” And, into their neighbors’ restaurants, shops, galleries, stage theatre, etc.

 

“Why have a full-service restaurant in the hotel, when we have at least five in the neighborhood? Within easy walking distance. Even for the 50-60-70-80 plus year old guest.”

 

This couple’s philosophy coincides with a trend that more hotels, spas, inns, and other lodging businesses are following.

 

Their focus: Provide accommodations and amenities that guests need and expect.

One of their aims: Be a good business neighbor, by sharing customers.

Their bottom line: Streamline operations, contain costs, and expand capital reserves.

 

By the way, the couple has a waiting list of over 250 couples, ready to sign in as inaugural guests.

 

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Have a great day! Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Painting It: Lobbies and Concierge Centre

Most often, it is the lobby that the guest sees, before the room he will be staying in.

 

As far as first impressions go, it is reason enough to want to present the area in the best possible light. Chances are your hotel’s lobby is already designed and decorated in such a way, that the guests feel welcomed and comforted each time they come.

 

As well as providing basic comfort, it’s also advisable to appeal to the guest’s other interests, before going to his room. Examples: You can offer kiosks with information about hotel and local amenities, virtual tour plasma tv systems, small reading alcoves, techy communication centers. Little time will be spent in the hotel lobby. So it is important that the guest feels at home.

 

With respect to the lobby’s aesthetic appearance, there are a number of things that can be done to achieve this.

 

Here are a few general guidelines:

 

* Maintain impeccable cleanliness, especially with the floors.

 

* Encorporate a variety of decorative elements such as colorful paint finishes, textures,

wallcoverings, and also wood as a surface and structural design element.

 

* Install marbleized columns. Or, apply a decorative marbleized finish to existing columns.

    This provides a historical element, and appearance of refinement. Also, add wood moldings

and panels.

 

* Apply gilding or (metallic leafing) to provide the highest order of decorating in the lobby

areas. It is best suited for moldings, picture frames and ornamental elements such as

sculptural relief objects and carved ornamentation. When applying this, it is best done

conservatively.

 

* Develop a decorative paint scheme which includes a random patterned design, along with a

textured appearance and a metallic surface effect. The optimum design would be something

which creates a reflective and transparent look, like a magic trick using chrome and mirrors.

 

Lobbies and the Concierge Center should make a clear and memorable statement about the hotel’s overall raison d’etre. Its mission. Its value system. Its purpose. Its philosophy. Its people.

 

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A victorious Valentine’s Day weekend to everyone! 

Look for Victoria’s Valentine, story booklet no. 3 in the Victor (the St. Bernard) series – if you’re on our family’s snail’s mailing list!

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

 

Painting It: Keeping That Hotel Renovation Beautiful!

Once a renovation is completed, what must be done to protect its condition on a continual basis?

 

Generally speaking, consider how you treat your home. You may have fine furnishings, ornate architecture or highly decorative surfaces. One needs only to remember that all things suffer wear, and are subject to age.

 

Specifically, anything which is maintained regularly and by using consistent methods will stand the test of time longer. And, of course, more attention means more expenditure.

 

Are you willing and able, including budget-wise, to do what is required to sustain the look of refinement? If not, a room or property can easily become a dereliction of one’s duties.

 

Methods for maintaining that new and improved renovation:

 

* Clean all surfaces regularly to prevent dirt build up.

 

* Install automated room deodorizer. Some are designed with portability in mind.

 

* Apply a liquid polish to all clear finished wood surfaces including moldings, doors and

furniture.

 

* Touch up paint on surfaces using a small brush or touch up roller. Keep the touch-up

areas as small as possible.

 

* Repair damage to a surface using a method that will best duplicate or match the existing

surface. Great detail should be paid to surfaces which require a precise match.

Example: Stippled surfaces, reflective surfaces, textured surface, and surfaces with a

noticeable sheen.

 

* Keep decorative surfaces clean, and unexposed to the UV rays of the sun. This is essential

for maximizing the longevity of the surface’s good condition.

 

* Apply a clear coat application, for the ultimate in painted surface protection. It has been

proven to add years of service to hotel surfaces.

 

* Replace anything which cannot be repaired in a reasonable amount of time and effort.

This is the final resort, and the most expensive.

Example: A broken armrest on a chair may be repairable. But will it look as though it was

not?

 

A restoration takes a great deal of time to complete. There are steps and procedures involved. If ignored, they will show up in the results as carelessness, or a willingness to cut corners where you shouldn’t have.

 

The same dedication should be given to maintaining what was created initially. For, if it is not, in a very short time, the hotel’s reputation and reliability could suffer – and become questionable.

 

And, I don’t need to tell any of you what that means!

 

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Retrieving, Recycling, and Retrofitting Commercial Products and Materials.

Built-in bookcases lined the walls of a writing studio. They were constructed of expensive vinyl-laminated shelving, removed before redecorating an upscale store in Southlake Mall. After 20 years, they showed no signs of wear or give, even under the weight of over 5,000 books.

 

The bookcases represented a small example of the many creative ways that various previously-used, or remnant, commercial products and materials had been retrofitted into the property.

 

Long time area residents stopped by periodically to see what else had been done to the property. My classmates’ relatives were fascinated with the transformation of the circa 1930 concrete block rural service station…then antique/repair shop…into a sprawling contemporary home.

 

Here’s the short list of products and materials that found a new home. Approximate cost of each is shown. Most “FREE” materials required prompt removal from the construction site or property. (“COST: FREE*”)

 

1. Item: White vinyl-laminated shelving, heavy-duty steel slat strips, brackets.

Where installed: Writing studio, bedrooms, upstairs closets.

Original use: Mall clothing store.        COST: FREE.*

 

2. Item: Slide-by casement windows, wood frames, triple-pane. Brand: Andersen

Where installed: 20 ft. by 40 ft. second story great room; also 1st story.

Original use: Extra inventory of luxury home builder. COST: $40 each/construction auction.

 

3. Item: Slide-by vertical windows, aluminum frames, triple-tracked. Brand: Pena.

Where installed: 1st and 2nd story bedrooms and studio.

Original use: Lake Michigan/Ogden Dunes home.         COST: FREE.

 

4. Item: Countertops, laminated wood-grain, block.

Where installed: 2nd story kitchen and gazebo bar.

Original use: Left from kitchen project, industrialist’s new home. COST: FREE.

 

5. Item: Countertop, red leather, 72-inches long by 36-inch deep.

Where installed: 2nd story gazebo/bar.

Original use: Left from Colonel Sanders Restaurant, new construction.   COST: $5.00.

 

6. Item: Cabinetry, natural dark oak and pine.

Where installed: 1st story bathrooms, 2nd story kitchen.

Original use: Customer rejects, luxury home builder.   COST: $20 per unit/section.

 

7. Item: Hardwood flooring, 3 large boxes.

Where installed: 2nd story kitchen.

Original use: Close-out, flooring sales and installation store.       APPROX. COST: $25 total.

 

8. Item: Commercial solid wall vinyl: 8+ textures, 10+ colors; approx. 360 yards.

Where installed: Every room, including foyers, halls, baths. (Approx. 300 yards used initially.)

Original use: Left overs/projects: Hotels, restaurants, schools, hospitals, offices.  COST: FREE.*

 

9. Item: Cork panels, 10 boxes, 18-inch by 42+ inch panels; over 60 panels.

Where installed: Cut into 18-inch squares, glued on two walls, quiet alcove off great room.

Original use: Left from Casual Corner store, new construction.  COST: FREE.*

 

10. Item: Redwood shingles, interior rough-sawn; 5 boxes, approx. 100.

Where installed: 2nd story gazebo/bar canopy.

Original use: Left from Applebee’s Restaurant, new construction.  COST: FREE.*

 

11. Item: Natural grasscloth wallcovering, custom, imported; approx. 5 full rolls.

Where installed: 1 wall, Master bedroom; 1st story halls.

Original use: Left from U. S. Steel Corporation president’s office suite.   COST: FREE.

 

12. Item: Louver doors, full, solid wood; 7-feet ht. by 24-inch width each; approx. 12.

Where installed: 1st story linen, bath and utility areas.

Original use: Extra inventory, upscale development’s contractor.    COST: $5 each.

 

13. Item: Doors, solid pine, interior; approx. 20, extra wide.

Where installed: 1st and 2nd story rooms, closets, etc.

Original use: Extra inventory, general commercial contractor.    COST: $10 each.

 

14. Items: Brass hardware, door knobs and hinges, etc., approx. 400 pieces

Where installed: 1st and 2nd story.

Original use: Construction auction.    COST: $35-40.

 

15. Item: Ceramic tile: 1-in. by 1-in., 8 box; 3-in. by 3-in., 14 box; 12-in. by 12-in, 9 box.

Where installed: Bathrooms, 2nd story kitchen.

Original use: Construction auction.   APPROX. COST: $70/all.

 

16. Items: Half beams, rough-sawn, 1800+ running feet; rough-sawn finish lumber, 500+ feet.

Where installed: Ceilings – Great room, 3-story foyer, living room, 2nd story bedrooms, studio.

Original use: Left from mall store redecorating job.   COST: $50.*

 

17. Item: Moulding and trim, Cherrywood, approx. 3000 running feet.

Where installed: Throughout house.

Original use: Left over from Applebee’s Restaurants.   COST: FREE.*

* TRIVIA: In 1993, Harpo Production’s director of security and wife purchased remaining 500+ running feet, for their “small unfinished Wisconsin lake cottage.”  Perfect spot!

 

18. Item: Red brick, solid; approx. 3000 bricks.

Where installed: Exterior: New planter half walls, large front drive planter/half wall.

Original use: Left over, large commercial project.   COST: FREE.*

 

Remember: This is a partial list of the products and materials that the designers and builders – property owners – retrieved, recycled and retrofitted.

 

Within the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to visit five hotel properties, where similar and very unique architecture/design/build/retrofit project work was being done. On a large scale. With astounding results!

 

You get the idea, I’m sure. By the way, anyone can do this!

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

 

A Painter’s View: The Collector’s 7,000 – and Home of Fine Woods!

At my first-ever “yard sale,” I sold an original soundtrack album of Star Wars I, to a major collector. As a result, the Central Florida man invited me to his home. It had been designed, specifically, to display, and preserve the integrity of, the amazing collection of “sci-fi, adventure and fantasy-themed pieces.”

 

Included in the collection were soundtrack albums, DVDs, CDs, videos; ad posters, banners and trailers; autographed photos, letters and books; costumes, masks, make-up kits, and props; pens and paperweights; plates, mugs and trays; toys, dolls and games; jackets, t-shirts, caps, and jewelry; paintings, drawings, sketches; set and scene models. Even a vehicle.

 

The 7,000 plus piece collection “lived” in a climate-environment controlled atmosphere. Marble, natural woods, glass, and special plexiglass were used extensively. Commercial wall vinyls covered non-wood areas such as closets, pantry and storage. Metals such as brass and chrome were seen in few areas.

 

What captivated me most was the hardwoods and veneers used throughout the home. A tasteful, colorful blending of temperate and tropical hardwoods, as well as a few softwoods.

 

“R”, the engineering department’s assistant supervisor at the Seralago Hotel & Suites, would have gone speechless. A carpenter craftsman and finisher, he would have been fascinated with the selection, combination, and use of the various woods.

 

The hardwoods and veneers carried your eye from room-to-room, and area-to-area, in a smooth and effortless way. Master woodcrafter at work. Paneling, built-in shelves and cases; cabinetry and cutting blocks; general and decorative mouldings, trims and joinings; doors and frames, windows and trims; flooring; furniture, work stations, picture frames, etc.

 

Here is a list of the woods used. For non-wood craftsmen and wood loving readers of this blog, I’ve tried to include a brief description for each:

 

TEMPERATE HARDWOODS

 

1. Ash (white) – Colors: Pale honey. Properties: Good working and bending, fine finish.

2. Beech – Colors: Pale brown, flecked. Properties: Hard, good working, finish.

3. Oak (European) – Colors: Pale/Dark brown, with growth rings and silver rays. Properties: Hard to work, strong, durable.

4. Elm (European) – Colors: Brown, with twisted grain. Properties: Attractive, hard to work.

5. Sycamore (American) – Colors: Light brown, with straight grain-lacewood.

6. Black Walnut (Virginia Walnut) – Colors: Dark brown, with purple tints. Properties: Coarse grain.

 

TROPICAL HARDWOODS

 

1. Rosewood (Brazilian) – Colors: Dark brown, with variegated streaks. Properties: Attractive. Use: Veneering. Note: Product now banned from international trade.

2. Cedar (Brazilian) – Colors: Dark to Mahogany-colored heartwood. Properties: durable, resinous.

3. Cocobolo (Nicaragua Rosewood) – Colors: Dark brown, with colorful streaks. Properties: Tough, dense, lustrous.

4. Kingwood – Colors: Brown to Violet, even-textured, variegated. Properties: Lustrous. Uses: Turning, veneers.

5. Mahogany (Brazilian) – Colors: Light to dark reddish brown, with straight/even grain. Properties: Stable, good finish.

 

VENEERS

 

1. Walnut – Colors: Grayish to dark brown, with dark streaks and tints (eg. purple), wavy-grains. Uses: Veneering, Burring

2. Pommelle-grained – Colors: Dark brown. Uses: Veneering.

3. Birds-eye Maple-grained – Colors: Light yellow/tan. Uses: Veneering.

 

SOFTWOODS

 

1. Douglas Fir – Colors: Yellow to Pink brown. Properties: Coarse, dense, durable.

2. Ponderosa Pine – Colors: Yellow white, with delicate figure. Properties: Sable, excellent finish.

3. Scots Pine – Colors: Pink-Red heartwood. Properties: Resinous.

 

Comparatively few homes will feature so many woods under one roof. For it to work, everyone involved in the design-engineering-build-decoration-finishing process must be on the same page.

 

They must know the customer well. What he or she says and points out – and what is left out, accidentally or intentionally.

 

They must know woods. Each one’s unique color, tints, grain, streaks. Each one’s unique properties and characteristics. Each one’s uses, and limitations.

 

Then, every specialist, and every craftsperson, must cooperate and collaborate from pre-Phase 1 to post-Phase 10/20/whatever. Until way after the complete project is done.

 

I would have loved to be the finisher/painter/decorator that worked on the collector’s home. Many aspects of the project would have offered immense opportunities in fine wood preparation and finishing. I’ve worked on a few similar properties. A maximum of seven types of woods, excluding furniture, were installed.

 

Whatever you collect…whatever size your home may be, invite fine wood into your life.

 

Even a little wood will do wonders for your living style, your spirit, and your soul!

  

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Painting It: Upcoming Mini Blogs for Hotel and Facility Painters

 

1. Fences and Gates

 

A. Cleaning Agents

B. Prepping: Metal/anodized tubing vs.

C. Coatings: Low cost, low coverage, low durability vs. higher cost, much greater coverage, superb durability!

 

2. Skylights

 

A. Temperature variations

B. Surfaces

C. Atmosphere – eg. air

D. Problems: Leaks, paint cracks, mold/mildew, moisture

E. Preps

F. Paints/coatings – eg. durable oil-based

 

3. KidSuites and Children’s Rooms

 

A. Designs/themes that kids wants

B. Fun atmospheres

C. Colors appealing to kids

 

4. Children’s Play and Activity Areas

 

A. Designs using animation, cartoons, surreal images

B. Pastel paint colors

 

5. Game Rooms

 

A. Wall colors conducive to activity – not distracting

B. Special effects

C. Simulations

 

6. Teen Clubs and Computer Rooms

 

A. Colors that teens want

B. Special effects

C. Very TECH-Y

 

7. Front Desk and Reception Areas

 

A. First impression of hotel – and people that work there

B. Unique  applications, products, colors, effects

C. Hotel theme colors

 

8. Lobbies and Concierge Centers

 

A. High-end applications – eg. high-quality wallcoverings

B. Decorative finishes

C. Custom materials, textures, colors

D. Consistent finishes, colors throughout areas

 

 9. Guest Connectivity and Communication Centers

 

A. HIGH-LIGHT colors

B. Accent walls

 

10. Indoor and Outdoor Gardens and Rest Areas

 

A. Colors best suited – Complementary-to-au naturale

B. Walking trails – Colors of paint/stain and varnish on benches, signage,etc.

C. Seating areas – Paint vs. wood stains and varnishes

 

11. Pool and Spa Areas

 

A. Problems: High-moisture, high-exposure, high-sun

B. Paint colors

C. Paint types: Oil-based vs. epoxy

D. Gazebo – Colors, tints, special effects, “blend-ins,” etc.

E. Pool Huts – Colors, textures, accents, reflectives

 

12. Outdoor Recreation and Sports Areas

 

A. Special needs: lines, symbols, signage, striping

B. Durability  and environmental exposure

C. Graphics and “planned graffiti”

D. Special colors/blends

 

13. Restaurants, Clubs and Pubs

 

A. Creating atmosphere using color, texture, “overlays,” etc.

B. Murals and scenic

C. Complementing other elements, surfaces, finishes

D. Themes

E. Cozy and relaxing vs. earthy vs. energetic vs. romantic vs. pure luxury!

 

 

14. Food Courts and Snack Bars
A. Colors – Brights, subtle touches

B. Graphic designs

C. Geometrics

D. Illustrations

 

 

15. Theatres and Entertainment Areas

 

A. Colors that complement

B. Low-dim-dark lighting ranges

C. Wall carpeting

D. Problems with paints

E. Wood finishing

F. Toning down other surfaces – eg. chrome, fabric, flooring

Painting It: Chaotic Office with a Million Dollar View

The office overlooked South Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan. It was located on the fourteenth floor of the historic sixteen-floor Conservatory of Music Building. And, it came as part of the package agreement for the woman to manage the literary services division of Cosmopolitan Translation Bureau (CTB).

At first glance, it appeared that the view was the space’s only asset. The 15-foot by 42-foot open space featured very tall, unobstructed windows; a 15-foot high, discolored white ceiling; faded light green walls; chipped wood molding and wainscoting; and, badly scuffed green asbestos tiled flooring.

Discarded, outdated office furniture crammed the space. Every piece showed signs of extreme wear. Bulky steel, also antique wood, desks, chairs, file cabinets, and bookcases. Hidden behind and under some of the clutter were two leather sofas, fireside chairs, and two large upholstered arm chairs.

Before the work could start, the space had to be emptied. Most of the furniture was sold, or donated to smaller tenants on other floors of the building. Also, the building’s janitorial crew went in and thoroughly swept, cleaned and mopped the floor to get rid of built-up dust, dirt, sticky substances, etc.

 

PAINTING IT: CTB’s founder Professor Steen hired my father to re-paint the space. Four Saturdays, he drove into the Loop. He supervised the painting and decorating of the office. It turned into a modified restoration.

My father’s “crew” consisted of (1) Armando, CTB’s senior translator and an Encyclopaedia Britannica consultant; (2) Ed, CTB’s resident security officer and delivery/pick-up person; and, (3) me, the “go-for.” (I was ten.)

The project was divided into four Saturdays, and ten phases. Each work day ended with a clean-up of the area. All products, supplies, tools, etc., that would not be used again on the project, were packed up, and removed from the space.

 

SATURDAY No. 1

 

  1. AM. Cleaning and washing: Ceiling, walls; doors, windows, frames, sills; molding, wainscoting, dado, baseboard; fixtures.

Products used: Degreaser in warm sudsy water; vinegar in warm clear water.

 

  1. PM. Prep work: Spot patching, caulking, filling; two light, gentle sandings.

Products used: Restoration fillers, shellac stopping (eg. wax fillers), animal glue (for wood repairs), extra fine sandpaper (320 grit to 400 grit).

 

* End-of-day Clean-up. During the following week, the building’s janitorial crew went into the work area. They vacuumed, then mopped the tile floor again.

 

SATURDAY No. 2

 

  1. AM. Priming: All surfaces, previously painted.

Products used: Painted surfaces – custom-composition, thinned paint blend, developed by my father. Note: In the paint can, the product looked nearly clear. It went on like a white watercolor. By the way, commercial products were too costly.

 

  1. PM. Staining/sealing: Wood doors and frames, window frames and sills.

Product used: Special stain (formulated in 1887) used for furniture restoration; also large or built-in wood amenities. My father “thinned” the product using a formulation used by restorers with the Museum of Natural History.

Color: Edgewood Walnut.

 

* End-of-Day Clean-Up. Then, area was sealed off till Saturday 3.

 

SATURDAY No. 3

 

  1. AM. Light sanding and buffing: All surfaces, except ceiling.

Product used: Sheets of finest grades sandpaper (gotten through friend at Museum of Natural History), attached to sanding block on extension poles. Note: Very labor intensive; required very controlled light touch.

 

  1. AM. Surface dusting: All surfaces and areas.

Product used: Clean, very soft cotton t-shirt fabric. (My mother purchased a bolt from fabric store.)

 

  1. PM. Finish painting: Ceiling, walls.

Products used: Ceilings – Antique white; walls – Mint green.

 

* End-of-Day Clean-Up. Then, area was sealed off till Saturday 4.

 

SATURDAY No.  4

 

  1. AM. Finish painting: All molding, trims, wainscoting, dado, baseboard.

Products used: Sherwin Williams Antique white, special blend, semi-gloss; artists brushes, ½ to 2-inch brushes.

 

  1. PM. Finishing varnishing: Doors, frames; window frames, sills.

Products used: Clear, low-gloss varnish; polishing mop (brushes).

 

  1. PM. Painting and decorating clean-up.

Much of the clean-up had been done on Saturdays 1, 2 and 3 after each work day. Still, the final clean-up took time – and special care.

 

The varnish was still drying. And, some of the trim paint was “sticky.” So, we had to watch that we didn’t kick up any particles (eg. dust), or touch any of those wet surfaces.

 

On-site tool and equipment cleaning was kept to a minimum. Used paint and varnish brushes were wiped off with clean cotton rags. Then, they were placed into their respective wet-solution carriers. Paint and varnish cans were wiped clean, and sealed tightly. Materials, supplies, tools, and equipment were packed up, and placed on carts in the hallway. Dropcloths were folded carefully and also put onto the carts.

 

One week later: Moving Day!

 

The following Friday, A&S’s managing editor moved into the office space. Already in place were the furniture pieces that had been rejuvenated or restored by the furniture crew.

 

The pieces included one leather sofa (forest green), one arm chair (dark green slipcover with white piping), both leather fireside chairs (black), three wood desks with pull-out typewriter shelves (mahogany-stained oak), three swivel office chairs (repaired by Ed), two smaller bookcases (mahogany finish), two floor lamps (circa 1950s), and, two table lamps (one of them a Tiffany, retrieved from an unused office next door).

 

Two faded 12-foot by 12-foot oriental area rugs appeared one week later. Professor Steen sent Ed out to purchase a solid area rug (dark green) for the narrower entry area. Ed donated a wood-trimmed upholstered settee from his apartment on the 16th floor.

 

Over seven years later: Law firm moves in!

 

The space kept its restored look for over seven years. At one point, Professor Steen sub-leased the space to a young law firm. By that time, he needed to retire. And, A&S had been merged into a full-service communications firm, located two blocks north.

 

The law partners turned the space into a modular-type office suite. They maintained the restored ceiling, walls and trim. Plush wall-to-wall carpeting – a soft blue-green – was laid throughout the space. Then, they used a custom, wood-grained paneling wall system to create four lawyer’s offices – two with that Lake Michigan view. A secretary’s office and front reception set near the front entry.

 

The “million dollar view” from those tall, tall windows was preserved. The open window treatments featured dark green velvet tie-back drapes, with matching cornices and tie-backs.

 

Final note: Eventually, the building owners (Conservatory’s board) invested in the total restoration of the historic property.

 

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This blog is dedicated to my father – and to the historic Conservatory of Music building, South Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

Thanks, everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Painting It: Painting in Office Ingenuity, Inspiration and Integrity

What office style and environment motivates and inspires you?

Before we worked in modular work stations, we functioned within offices. Rooms with visible walls, soundproof ceilings and windows with views. Spaces that accommodated real wood desks and bookcases, and allowed them to be rearranged when we wanted or needed a change. Environments with a sense of atmosphere, individuality, privacy, and permanence.

The private office settings described here existed prior to 1993. Three of them set in office complexes, that included modular work stations. Each of the spaces had been personalized with photos, drawings, cartoon drawings, travel souvenirs, vases of flowers, candy containers, etc.

 

1. Whimsical and Productive

The director of production, Kiver Communications, sat in a custom-designed pink and white office. Hard-core corporate clients melted when they entered. Every year, the employee helped her technical publishing company exceed its sales record of the previous year.

Two features stood out in her office. One was the thick, cotton-candy pink carpeting. The other was a huge white rocker in which sat a life-sized Miss Piggy.™ A custom-made gift from Anita’s boyfriend. He had gotten special permission from Muppets’™ creator, Jim Henson, to have Piggy re-created.

Painting it: Regularly, a staff painter cleaned, then touched up the office. Every two years, he gave the two-room suite a fresh paint job. The 12-foot high ceiling was sponge-washed, then re-textured in bright white interior enamel. The walls got a fresh coat of light pink interior latex. The baseboards, doors, and door and window frames were sanded lightly, and repainted with interior bright white enamel.

 

2. Subdued and Professional

The founder and ceo of SHS, Inc., a health industry recruiting firm, watched from his blue-gray office, as boats cruised by on the Chicago River. Sports memorabilia and framed photos of his young family added personality and warmth to the large modern suite on West Wacker Drive.

Few of his pharmaceutical and health communications clients visited him in the office. The persons that he was recognized for recruiting – marketing, advertising, communications, and public relations job candidates – visited his office only when necessary, and convenient. The atmosphere was always welcoming and friendly, yet very professional.

Painting it: Painters, employed by the property management company, maintained the high-rise office building. As needed, they touched up the walls, woodwork, and trim. Especially in the front lobby and offices. Every three years, they repainted the high white ceilings, and soft blue-gray molding and trim. The commercial wall vinyl required only a periodic washing down with warm, sudsy water and a sea sponge.

My sister visited the office once during a school vacation. She seemed more excited about the recruiting professionals and “creatives” that she met there. Less impressed by the expansive size of the suite, and its contemporary décor.

 

3. Corporate and “Welcoming”

The director of sales, Marriott of North Michigan Avenue, seemed relaxed in his office appointed with classic soft gold, burnt orange and brown paint, and matching commercial wall vinyl. Photos of family, favorite vacations and hobbies set in his area of the sales suite.

Among them were framed newspaper and magazine clippings of his sister at Academy Award and TV Emmy events. (Already, she was a rising star.) At times, he shared his two-door, “Grand Central Station”- atmospheric office with sales associates. All seemed comfortable working amidst their director’s photo gallery. They had their own desktop personal photo and memorabilia displays.

Painting it: One of the hotel’s full-time staff painters kept the office suite in pristine condition. The commercial wallcovering, that had replaced the semi-gloss paint, always looked fresh, clean and uplifting. Quite a feat for one of the busiest offices on the hotel property.

 

4. Opulent and Ostentatious

In complete contrast, Mr. Kutner sat behind his imported, hand-carved antique desk on the top floor of the original Continental Bank Building. The colorful, and most-published, international attorney was the author of “The Living Will,” and “granddaddy” of the World Habeas Corpus Law.

He surrounded himself with black walnut paneled walls, plush crimson red carpeting, matching red velvet draperies, and marble fireplaces. His open lobby was appointed with polished black and white marble floors and carved walnut “courtroom” banisters and railings. Ornate bust sculptures of Aristotle, Plato, Strauss, and Beethoven set on marble-topped, hand-carved pedestal tables. The door to his nearby private vault set open when he was in the office.

Painting it: Once a year, two commercial painters and decorators, contracted by Continental Bank, revived the entire 4-office suite, lobby and private baths. They repainted the 12-foot white ceilings. Above the wall paneling, they painted the crown area in a softened crimson. They cleaned the stained glass windows in each office. They gently cleaned and linseed-oil treated the paneling, doors, window frames, woodwork, and trim. Also, the desks, lawyer’s bookcases, tall hand-carved Romanesque chairs, and carved frame of the cut-velvet settees were revived.

A retired painter that worked on the picturesque property called it “classic luxury.” He said the office suite maintained its original beauty and style. “The same as when Mr. Kutner still served as chief counsel for Continental Bank… He had many famous clients…”

 

5. Extravagant and Colossal

Real estate magnet Arthur Rubloff set a gold standard in extravagant office design. His “taste for the best” in everything carried over into the concept of first-class designs in executive offices.

Often, these offices took over one-half to an entire penthouse-level floor. Their private lobbies and elevators were decorated in paneling crafted from rare, imported woods, or wallcoverings. The wallcoverings were custom-designed papers, flocks, foils, textures, woods, or expansive, scenic murals. The brick, stone, steel, and glass/granite structures often housed a major real estate corporation and its staff. Fortune and Inc 500 companies took up most of the space.

Painting it: A specially-trained team of painters kept the Rubloff office suites, at each location, looking like prime real estate. The decorators re-coated the  accoustical textured ceilings. They cleaned, repaired and replaced the wallcoverings. They cleaned and treated the wood paneling with a special-formulated oil from Europe. They redecorated the lobbies, executive secretaries’ offices, and also private bath suites. They restored the interiors of each elevator.

The painters and decorators paid special attention to the unique cabinetry in each suite. It had been built to house a part of Mr. Rubloff’s world-famous collections of miniatures and crystal paperweights. (See Chicago History Museum and School of the Art Institute exhibits.)

 

The environments of closed-wall office spaces always differ from the open-walled ones. Aesthetically, they tend to be much more personalized, private and cordial. Physically, they lend themselves better to open communications. Even with their private entry doors left wide open.

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Enjoy your space! Enjoy your life!  Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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