Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Archive for the ‘Revitalizing properties’ Category

TORNADOES

IN 1946…

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

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

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

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

IN 1971…

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

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

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

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

IN THE LATE 1980s…

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

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

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

On September  of 2017…

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

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

What he had never faced was a tornado.

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

IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE MIDWEST…

Tornadoes are common and frequent.

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

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

IN THE SOUTHEAST…

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

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

SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE WITH TORNADOES…

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

The Pianist, The Painter, The Singer, The Statesman

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

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

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

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

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

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

Features also included the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The traditional apartment also featured:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHY PAINT?

Artist Bob Ross used to say, “Painting should not be agony.”

I agree.

Over the years, I’ve met and/ or worked with construction industry painters that fit into one of these categories:

1. Some painters loved what they were doing; and it showed in their work, and their attitude about life.

Example: “Bob, the Painter,” my father, smiled a lot on the job. And often he stopped to admire others’ workmanship… to watch a bird in a nearby tree…to double check his own work.

2. Some painters, overall, liked to paint, and seemed to be fine with the likelihood that they’d be doing it for years in the future.

Example: Jesse hummed on the job… drank, and tried to share, cantaloupe juice made by his wife… took on any task that needed to be done.

3. Some painters liked to paint and did a good job; but they wanted to do something else career-wise, and to earn a living.

Example: Larry and Wayne wanted much more independence than a foreman painter had. So both went into contracting, and demonstrated that they were okay with the added responsibility that entrepreneurship required.

4. Some painters really didn’t like to paint; but they lacked the will, nerve and resources to try anything else.

Example: “W” dreamed of doing something where he could visit more with others on the job, and get paid for it. But, he had no real support system in the U. S. to help him try something new.

5. Then there were a few painters that had an intense dislike for painting, and much associated with the trade. And, increasingly, they demonstrated their disdain and discomfort.

Example: W.R. complained about everything, it seemed. He showed up intoxicated… violated safety rules…put crew members at risk…misused products.

What each of those painters knew about their jobs was complemented, or contradicted, by their respective attitudes about painting, and their own lives.

Which painter would you like to work with on a regular basis?

Into which category do you think that others might place you?

Into which category do you believe that you really fit?

Something to think about, right?

**************************************************
Whatever you do for a living, including painting, give it your 100 percent at least 85 percent of the time. The remaining 15 percent? Take a good look at how you’re doing, and why.
**************************************************

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Kathy’s Creative Carpeting Solution

Kathy U. needed new living room carpeting. With five active children and a busy contractor husband, the stone-fireplaced area took a beating.

 

Big problem: The family’s budget couldn’t cover that size of expense.

 

Challenge: So, the Porter County artist, homemaker and volunteer got creative!

 

Solution: Basically, here’s how Kathryn re-carpeted the room with a Currier & Ives picturesque view of the countryside.

 

  1. She selected a basic patchwork quilt color scheme.
  2. She designed a simple block pattern of squares and rectangles.
  3. For months, she haunted area carpet stores, warehouses, installation companies, etc. and purchased, or was given, over 150 remnants with similar fibers, weaves and backing
  4. She sorted the remnants by color-hue family, into large separate cardboard boxes.
  5. Next, she laid the pieces onto the bare floor, by this time stripped of the original worn carpeting. She paid close attention to placing colors and pieces so they complemented each other. And, their weaves all went in the exact same direction.
  6. Settling on the color-pieces arrangement, she consulted with the family. “Yes,” they agreed. It was a “GO, Mom!”
  7. Starting at one corner, she turned over each piece and wrote a number on its backing.
  8. Based on each remnant’s size, she drew a grid on the room’s floor space, using a carpenter’s pencil.
  9. On grid paper – 1-inch equals 1 foot – she transferred her remnant pattern. Inside each block on the grid paper, she wrote (a) its length and width and (b) number of remnant to fit there.
  10. She purchased many spools of heavy carpet thread through a carpet installation business.
  11. Starting at the far, lowest traffic corner of the floor, she replaced each numbered remnant on its matching numbered grid block. She made certain that the weave/grain of all pieces went in the same direction.
  12. On the backing of each piece, she drew its grid measurements, allowing a ¾-inch “seam” on each side.
  13. Using a carpet cutter, she spliced each remnant along the marked cutting lines.
  14. As she cut each piece, she replaced it to its numbered spot on the gridded floor.
  15. After all pieces had been cut and laid out, she double-checked for proper dimensions, color conformity, and weave direction. (See no. 11 above.)
  16. Over a period of six months, she hand-stitched the carpet pieces together. Note: A very tough job. Kathy said it was “hard on the fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, and back!”
  17. Word leaked out about the woman’s unique creative project: the hand-sewn patch quilt carpet. Area media took photos of the newly carpeted room, and published or aired stories on Kathryn U.
  18. Friends, neighbors and relatives appeared for the open house when Kathryn unveiled the beautiful hand-stitched, wall-to-wall carpet.

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

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but a creative soul is the mother of true art.

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

Thank you for taking a pause to visit “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: Covering Substrate Flaws with Decorating Finishes

Decorative finishing can cover a lot of flaws in a substrate. Or an entire area, for that matter.

 

It is an ideal solution for improving or enhancing the aesthetic appearance of a wall, furniture piece, fixture, etc.

 

. You can get very creative in the choice of color(s), patterns, and finishes.

. You can produce amazing results within a limited time to do it – and a limited budget.

. You can use up extra paint in the paintshop, that otherwise might go unused – and go bad.

. You can add a new look, theme and spirit to the total atmosphere.

. You can even increase the value of the property.

 

I rely on decorative finishing – especially faux – to add new life to walls, trim and baseboard, window frames, built-ins, cabinetry fronts (eg. wood), and even floors and doors. It works wonders on furniture, fixtures, mirror and picture frames, decorative accessories, even faded and scratched appliance shells.

 

I’ve seen a faux finished piece or area give residents in assisted living facilities or nursing homes a tremendous lift in mood and attitude, new energy, and new interest in life. I’ve been amazed at how it can renew a sense of hope and motivation in high school students at a low-rated, run down school. I’ve watched as young, mentally challenged children in a hospital smiled and cheered when led into a colorfully accented, faux finished playroom.

 

The possibilities are practically endless. Limited only by you and your readiness to experiment, to create, to invent.

 

 

12 Tips for Creating Decorative Finishes that Float Flaws Out of Sight.

 

  1. Select a faux design or technique that will add to, not detract from, the overall design and purpose of the room, piece, etc.
  2. Uncertain what will look great, versus a visual mistake? Take a little time; and apply each finish you’re considering onto separate sample boards.
  3. Choose an easy design/technique and one color hue when you want or need fast results. Examples: colorwashing, sponging, spattering.
  4. Is your budget real tight? Choose the paint color of a product already in the paintshop.
  5. Choose a paint color that you have when both the base coat and faux glaze must closely blend with the established color scheme of the property, office, home, etc.
  6. Choose a glaze two or more hues brighter when you want to achieve a sharper contrast effect.
  7. Don’t be afraid to mix two or three faux techniques together on the same surface, or even on different parts of, say, a furniture piece. Example: Combing on table legs and feet, sponging on side panels, ragging on top.
  8. For ultimate fun, apply the same technique/design to different parts of a wall, using different colors of glaze over the same base coat color. Example: Red, rust, copper.
  9. Is the table top bruised but the rest of wood piece is okay? Choose base coat in same or darker tone of current wood finish. Then, apply glaze in dark color, that’s close to base color. Or, apply a subtle color that contrasts with the base coat.
  10. Is the front of lobby’s wood counter heavily nicked, scratched, gouged, and even cracked? Apply base coat that’s darker than the wood finish on entire unit. Then apply two colors of glazing using wood grain finish.
  11. Is the top of the general manager’s or president’s large walnut desk have ink and water stains, also burn marks? Apply black base coat. Then apply dark green, royal blue or wine glaze using marbleizing technique.
  12. When the paint amount available is limited, use dry brushing to create a textured effect.
  13. When the area is smaller, use dragging technique to create clean, striped effect.

 

 

You get the idea. There are few substrate and surface flaws that cannot be camouflaged with one or more faux finishes.

 

There are faux finish techniques available to treat nearly every surface appearance problem of a substrate.

 

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

Take the time to learn, to try, and to use faux finishes to cover flaws

of otherwise great surfaces, areas, and pieces.

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

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

 

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

Remodeling, Retrofitting and Redecorating for an 81-Year Old “Roommate”

 

A literary agent, with whom I’ve become acquainted, lives in a hotel penthouse in Manhattan. She calls it the smartest investment that she’s ever made.

 

The woman protects her investment by self-paying for the remodeling, and the painting and decorating, of the 4,500 square foot property.

 

She keeps a small, by comparison, 2,000 square foot apartment in South Florida. On the top floor of an ocean front hotel. She self-pays for the painting and decorating of that property, too.

 

Both homes are decorated in light-toned natural woods, fibers and colors. And relaxing patterns.

* Woods: Oak, pine, olive ash, and sycamore.

* Fibers: Leather, chenille, chintz, and cords.

* Colors: Ivory, ecru, soft coral, muted lime green, and pale turquoise.

* Patterns: Narrow stripes, one-half to one-inch checks, and small block prints; subdued geometrics, pastel floral garden prints.

 

Both homes are furnished and accessorized with an eclectic collection of pieces from the Midwest. Some have been inherited or “gifted” from relatives. Others have been purchased from small antique and second-hand shops in western Ohio and eastern Indiana.

 

What stands out about the person is what also stands out about her homes. (And her office.) A practical, understated and low-stress approach to business, relationships, and life.

 

In 2015, the 30+ year publishing veteran started to remodel both her New York City and Miami homes. They are being retrofitted to accommodate her new roommate: her 81-year old mother.

 

The younger woman runs three miles every day. The older woman hand-pushes her wheelchair or walker around every foot, every day.

 

In some ways, their lives couldn’t be more different. In most ways, starting now, their schedules couldn’t be more in sync. And, their needs and preferences couldn’t be more unique.

 

The same woods and colors are being used, as before. Some fibers will change.

 

All structural impediments are being removed: steps, stairs, raised/lowered floor areas, landings; protruding walls, sharp corners, barriers, protrusions. Doorways are being widened to at least 42 inches. All doors will open outward, from whichever side a person is approaching. Also, they will open by a touch pad, or remote-controlled beam.

 

What the literary agent calls “ballet bars” – actually padded safety bars – are being installed along every walkway, wall, base cabinetry unit/section, etcetera. Also in every bathtub and shower, the outdoor patio, etc.

 

All plush carpeting has been removed, and will be replaced with tightly-woven commercial grade floor covering. Like you find in fine restaurants, hotels and resorts, hospitals, business complexes.

 

All sinks, cupboards, countertops, appliances, fixtures, commodes, etc. are being lowered or raised to ease their use.

 

All upholstered pieces will be outfitted with washable, rubber-backed, and soft snugly-fitting slipcovers. All window treatments and systems – shades, blinds, curtains, drapes – will be controlled by remote, or by hand. So will all fixtures – eg. lighting, faucets. So will all cabinet, drawer, closet, and appliance doors.

 

The idea is to help make both homes as livable as possible for both “roommates.” To make accommodations for impairments, special needs, and even future limitations natural and easy to use. While making the preferences of each resident an important part of the “blended lifestyle”!

 

As the daughter and homeowner puts it, “I want to provide a very safe and secure home. And a sanctuary for now, and the future. For both of us…”

 

On the day that I stood inside the Florida apartment, rain pelted against the French doors, that led to the extra wide patio. Through the haze, I could see the ocean waves rolling into shore.

 

“It’s all so beautiful,” a soft voice, weakened by age and illness, remarked from beside me. “A very different, but good beautiful from our old home in Ohio.”

 

The lady sat in her wheelchair. A fleece-lined pants and hooded jacket in soft daffodil yellow kept her cozy. She peered through her new pair of binoculars.

 

“What a place! If Daddy (her husband) could see us now!”

 

“Wait till our Florida place is completely remodeled, retrofitted and redecorated, Mom.”

 

What an honor to be a part of such a special project.

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

Accommodating for others’ needs and preferences also accommodates for our own.

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

 

Thanks for being a part of the world of “life” and for visiting “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.

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

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

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

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.

 

Tag Cloud