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Posts tagged ‘refinishing’

Painting Them: Camouflaging Beat Up Walls, Doors, Trim

The 85-year old hotel showed its age. Though well maintained, its 240 guest rooms needed a major face lift.

But the group of employee owners could not afford it.

Yet, to fill their rooms – to keep their doors open, they needed to improve its appearance. Also they needed to repair the essentials.

In early 2016, I stayed in one of their best rooms. It needed a lot of work.

In December of 2016, the hotel’s painter demonstrated his face-lift plan to the chief engineer and general manager. Both men pushed for the group of owners to authorize the plan.

Here’s the painter’s plan, in the order that the respective area(s) would be redecorated.

1. GUEST ROOMS
A. Patch, then lightly sand the surfaces of the wall in the worst shape.
B. Next, apply a base coat in the room’s darker main color.
C. Then, apply faux finish glaze – eg. sponging – in same color tinted 2-3 hues lighter.
D. Option: Apply base coat in main color lightened three hues. Then apply glaze coat in color 3 hues darker.
TIP: Save even more time and money. Forget the fresh base coat. And apply only the faux finish glaze – eg. sponging, dragging, or ragging – in same hue as base color, or lighter or darker.

2. GUEST ROOM BATHROOMS
A. Thoroughly wash and rinse the worst wall. Let dry.
B. Lightly sand area so all streaks and gouged edges fake into surface.
C. Paint wall in same color used as glaze color on Guestroom wall.
D. Bonus: Paint contrasting 3-inch border along top of accent wall, across from adjoining wall leading to bedroom’s refinished wall.
E. TIP: Repaint all trim and molding in base coat or Vanilla cream.

3. PUBLIC RESTROOMS
A. Patch, then lightly sand the vanity/sink wall.
B. Repaint in bright hue that contrasts with room’s main color.
Example: If main color is light gray, repaint sink wall in Light Aquamarine, Lime, or Berry.

4. CORRIDORS
A. Patch, then lightly sand walls on both sides.
B. Repaint upper walls in tint of lightest color used in hotel’s main color scheme.
C. Repaint lower walls in darker hue of same color.
D. Repaint baseboard/trim in same light color as upper walls.
E. Repaint end wall, if nicked, in contrasting color.

5. LOBBY
A. Grid worst wall into vertical stripes.
B. Patch, then lightly sand the surface.
C. Paint stripes in alternating colors: Predominant color in the room, then same color tinted 3 hues lighter or darker.
D. Option: Apply one of the colors in faux finish – eg. dragging, flogging.

The objective: Recoat the surfaces so that they would pass even the “UP CLOSE” test.

The goal: Enhance the amenity’s appearance so that the guests say “Wow!” when they walk in.

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“Painting with Bob” aims to present a side of painting that makes your job easier, and enjoyable. On a daily basis.

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

Painting in Purple: Rooms for Three Pals

Within a two-block radius live three elementary-age girls. Each is being reared by her natural father or grandfather, or an adoptive step-grandfather.

 

They’re the type of children for whom you want to do what you can to brighten their lives. And, they have the type of guardians you want to help, too.

 

So, what can a painter do for remarkable neighborhood girls like them?

And, how can a painter help out their caring and hardworking parental figures?

 

WELL, HE OR SHE CAN PAINT!

 

All of the girls lived in rented duplexes. Thus, redecorating needed to conform to the tenant rules of the respective property owner. Paint colors and products had to be selected and used that would be (a) easy to recoat when the current tenants moved, or (b) color-compatible with a new tenant’s needs.

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And, the products had to be child-safe. Non-toxic, non-flaking, non-flammable, non-“rub-offable.” Washable, too!

   

STARTING POINT: CHOOSING THEIR COLORS

 

All three girls loved the color “PURPLE!”

 

All three girls chose their paint colors from Glidden’s® “Make It Magical with Disney” line.

(For information: www.disneypaint.com.)

 
Girl No. 1’s Room:

  1. WALLS: Base Color no. WDMN05, Color name: Minnie’s Gloves (white).
  2. Special effects: 3 horizontal wrap-around stripes, two adjacent walls. Top/4-inches: Color no. WDMN04, Color name: Adorable Daisy. Middle/6-inches: Color no. WDMN08, Color name: Bow-tique Beauty. Bottom/12-inches: Color no. WDMN09, Color name: Purple Cuteness.
  3. DOORS/TRIM: Color no. WDMN04. Color name: Adorable Daisy.

 

Girl No. 2’s Room:

  1. WALLS: 3 walls: Color no. WDFY04, Color no. Vidia Purple; 1 wall, bookcase and closet: Color no. WDPR03 (white), Color name: A Wave of the Wand.
  2. Special effects: 4 to 8-inch diameter circles, positioned in shooting star effect from white wall onto adjoining right-hand closet wall. Color no. WDFY05, Color name: Fairy Flight; Color no. WDFY09, Color name: Pixie Purple.
  3. DOORS/TRIM: Color no. WDFY05, Color name: Fairy Flight.

 

Girl No. 3’s Room:

  1. WALLS: 4 walls: Color no. WDPR03 (white), Color name: A Wave of the Wand.
  2. Special effects: 2-inch wrap-around border: Color no. WDFY09, Color name: Pixie Purple.
  3. DOORS/TRIM: Color no. WDFY09, Color name: Pixie Purple.
  4. WOOD FURNITURE: Color no. WDFY03 (white), Color name: A Wave of the Wand.

Special effects: Tops of desk, 2 nightstands, 6-drawer dresser: Faux Swirl Pattern: Color no. 1: WDFY05, Color name: Fairy Flight (pastel lilac); Color no. 2: WDFY01, Color name: Tinker Bell (mint green); Color no. 3: WDFY09, Color name: Pixie Purple.

 

Paint and finishing products

 

Paint products: Semi-gloss and Gloss latex. Manufacturer: Glidden’s.

Stain and finish coat products: Miniwax.

 

First Things First: Scheduling and Clearing Out Rooms.

  1. Painting schedule: Week days (for each), when respective family gone for day.
  2. Clearing out: Adults (household and friends) removed wall posters, banners, pictures. They also removed table lamps, small chairs, mirrors, small shelving units; toys, stuffed animals, games; clothing and personal stuff; bed linens, pillows, curtains, small area rugs, etc.

 

Paint Project Process for Each Bedroom.

  1. Vacuuming: Room and closet. Thoroughly! Also, cleaning/dusting all furniture to be painted.
  2. Prepping: Minor patching, filling small cracks and nail holes; light sanding.
  3. Finish painting: One coat.
  4. Paint method: Smooth.
  5. Desired finish effect: Fresh, color-chip match; distinctive. New!

 

Special touches for each girl’s room, donated by groups of neighbor ladies.*
* New coordinated and washable cotton blend curtains.

* New quilted coverlets or bedspreads, and decorator pillows with removable covers.

* Two complete sets of coordinating bed linens, and 1 set of bath linens.

 

Large area rugs, donated as follows:

Girl No. 1’s Room: 9-ft. x 12-ft., Donors: Out-of-town relatives.

Girl No. 2’s Room: 12-ft. x 12-ft., Donors: Deceased mother’s aunt.

Girl No. 3’s Room: 12-ft. x 15-ft., Donors: Group of grandfather’s friends.

Biggest reason to take on a joint project like this?

Three girls starting out in life, and their three guardians who are willing to sacrifice a lot help them take each step into the future.

 

Thanks for doing what you do, including painting, to make life better for someone else.

 

Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting It: Susika’s “First Real Bedroom”

 

Susika was a ten-and-a-half year old when we met. Her aunt and U. S. Marine uncle had brought her home with them, after the mass family funeral in the Middle East. On the plane, they promised her a “real bedroom.”

 

Uncle “J.J.” and several handy friends knocked out a wall to add six feet to the small 10-feet by 9-feet space.

 

Here’s how they outfitted what Susika called her “first real bedroom.”

 

  1. On 15-feet window wall: Built in a window seat, with bookshelves on each end, and two roomy, half-cupboards underneath.
  2. On each side of window seat unit: A roomy closet: one for clothes, the other for her “stuff.”
  3. On other three walls: Wall rails and one-half wainscoting.
  4. Floor covering: Wall-to-wall, commercial grade carpeting: Colors: Pastels in pink, rose, cranberry, mint green, forest green. Pattern: Splashes and Swirls.
  5. Bed Furniture: Wood twin bed, 6-drawer dresser, 2 night tables. From uncle’s elderly neighbors.
  6. Old wooden desk and chair. Shared by her mother and “J. J.” as children.
  7. Small arm chair. Once used by older cousin, now in college.
  8. Toy chest. Originally belonged to her uncle.
  9. Bean bag chair, vinyl. Color: Hot pink. New. A gift from that cousin in college.
  10. Four-shelf, three-drawer unit. For stuffed animals and dolls. Yard sale purchase.
  11. Bulletin-White board. For hanging above desk. Purchased at Wal-Mart.

MY JOB: Paint and finish coat everything paintable. And, there was a lot.

 

Susika chose her new room’s paint colors from Glidden’s® “Make It Magical with Disney” line.

(For information: www.disneypaint.com.)

Color scheme: Soft white, pastel pinks and greens, also tinted forest green.

Paints used: Interior semi-gloss and high-gloss latexes; also artist acrylics.

 

SURFACES and AREAS, COLORS

 

Ceiling: Glidden Color No. WDPR03. Color: A Wave of the Wand. Finish: Popcorn textured.

Upper and built-in walls, closets: Color No. WDPR03. Color: A Wave of the Wand (tinted Pink).

Rails, vertical wood wainscoting, doors, trim; also window and cupboard doors: Color No. WDPR08. Color: Fairest of Them All.

Furniture: Color No. WDPR10. Color: Water Lily.

33-year old 4-shelf/3-drawer unit: Base coat Color No. WDPR03. Color: A Wave of the Wand; Glazed Top coat: Color No. WDPR10 Color: Water Lily. Faux application: Random sponging.

Tops of dresser and night tables: 2-coat Faux glaze. Coat 1: Color No.: WDPR10. Color: Water Lily; Coat 2: Color No. WD FY05. Color: Fairy Flight. Faux application: Sponging, Ragging.

Built-ins and Window Seat Wall: Natural Stain; Sealer/Finish coat: Low-gloss polyurethane.

 

The entire painting project took a little more than a week. I used a large, cleaned out shed to re-finish the furniture pieces. It was equipped with central A/C. All other surfaces and areas were primed and finish-coated inside of the room.

 

PRODUCT MANUFACTURERS
Paints-Primers, finish coats: Glidden’s “Make It Magical with Disney.”

Stains, finish coats: Miniwax sealers, stains, varnishes, polyurethanes.

Artist Paints/Detailing: Liquitex Acrylics.

 

Painting and decorating children’s rooms is a lot of fun. Especially, when the painter is included in the project from the theme, design, color, and pattern selection stage.

  1. Every project is different. Every child’s preferences and needs are unique.
  2. The elements – theme, design, color, pattern – vary a lot.
  3. The products and materials used, in combination, are always one-of-kind.
  4. Working creatively within the budget draws on untapped energy, imagination and resources.
  5. A special sense of satisfaction bubbles forth as a child’s “special space” takes shape.

 

ABOUT SUSIKA
Susika’s completed room was very special for an added reason. She was a war orphan, legally adopted by her only living adult relative: an American military officer. Susika’s mother, the military officer’s sister, was an American educator that taught the children of enlisted officers stationed in the Middle East. Her father was a U. S. educated Middle Eastern professor and administrator.

 

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“My own room! It’s like having my private place in Heaven.”   Susika

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Thank you, fellow painters and decorators, for brightening the lives of others.
And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting It: Restoring an Antique Finish

If you are looking to retain the value of an antique, do not restore the finish. Leave it as it is.

 

If the future dollar value doesn’t impress you, a new finish, if done properly, will revive an old and worn out look into a complete marvel. Just don’t take it to Antiques Roadshow.

 

Primarily, I recommend “refinishing” to those individuals who have no intention of selling or trading off their antiques. When a particular item is to remain in your home, its condition sould be of significant importance.

 

Too, you may be interested in restoring it to preserve the integrity of the piece.

 

In order to judge it properly, you will need to assess the exact needs of the object. Examine the following:

 

  1. Are there any structural repairs that need to be done? Examples: wood- veneer replacement, re-molding fabrication, joinery, etc.
  2. What is the condition of the hardware? Examples: glass, handles, knobs, hinges. Do they need replacement or reconditioning?
  3. Does it need a thorough cleaning? Recommended: Citrus type cleanser or mild detergent.
  4. What is the condition of the stained, clear-finished surface? Is there an uneven stain pattern? Are there defects in the clear coat (crazing, alligatoring, cracking, etc.)?

 

METHODS OF ANTIQUE SURFACE RE-FINISHING

 

You can remove aged or failed finishes in one of two ways:

  1. Dry sand surface, using # 80-#120 grit sandpaper, depending on the roughness of surface.
  2. Apply varnish remover to loosen all layers of finish. Key here: Treat the surface gently. Try not to scratch the wood at all, or too deeply.

 

BASIC STEPS FOR REFINISHING AN ANTIQUE SURFACE

 

  1. Clean the surface. Use lacquer thinner, or another high evaporating type solvent. Let this dry thoroughly.
  2. Determine the color of stain that you wish to use. Based on the lightness of the stain, you may have to bleach the wood so that the new product can penetrate the surface evenly.
  3. When the surface is dry, apply stain using a two-coat application with a rag and/or sponge. Let dry between coats.
  4. After 24 hours, apply multiple, thin coats of sanding sealer or shellac using spray method. Sand surface between coats, and use tack cloth.
  5. Select either a solvent-based varnish or polyurethane, or an acrylic clear coat as a top coat.
  6. Apply several finish coats by using an HVLP spray system. Lightly sand between each coat. At this point, you can use either a # 400 grit sandpaper, or emery cloth.
  7. After the surface has cured 48 hours, you may apply a polish or wax, specifically designed for wood.

 

In refinishing quality antique pieces, try to prevent scratching the wood surface. The general idea is to remove as little of the existing finish as is necessary. TIP: If a stain color change is planned, the bare wood tone after stripping must be as uniform as possible.

 

Also, by selecting a matte varnish or polyurethane finish, you will be able to camouflage any minor imperfections in the wood.

 

As a form of Nuveau furniture design, separate pieces of wood can be finished with completely different colors of stain and finish. Few people try this. But, the end result exceeds all others. It is highly decorative. And, it has similarities to the Folk Art style.

 

Finally, if you want to retain the full retail value on the antique market, don’t do anything to the piece, other than clean it. And do that very carefully!

 

Final notes: As I’ve learned, each antique piece presents its unique set of signs that it should not be refinished. Each piece presents its unique set of challenges to the person that will be refinishing and/or restoring the piece’s integrity. It is always wise to listen to both messages.

 

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Wise is the painter/finisher who respects the true, and deeper, character of each antique piece.

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Thank you for each visit that you’ve made to “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painter’s World: Painting Unusual Projects

What are the most unusual paint projects that you’ve ever done?

 

10 Unusual Paint Projects Worked on By Other Painters

 

  1. Exterior and interior of Doberman’s custom dog house
  2. Tennis equipment storage of retired athlete
  3. Children’s-sized 3-room playhouse
  4. Garage interior room for small antique tool collection
  5. Miniature apartment interior for training city dogs “how to live in an apartment”
  6. Built-in notions and supplies closets for professional designer and seamstress
  7. Huge storage closet for tech geek
  8. Children’s 2-level treehouse
  9. Agri-seed museum
  10. School’s double flagpole and connecting platform

 

10 Unusual Paint Projects that I have Worked On

 

  1. Sandblasting and spraying vinyl coating on structural steel frame for train scale
  2. Painted geometric graphics in fluorescent colors in day care center
  3. Applied genuine grasscloth wallcovering to entire room – ceiling, walls, doors
  4. Painted piping and talk system that was being shipped to China
  5. Sandblasted and painted semi-tractor wrecker
  6. Stained woodwork for molded panel ceiling
  7. Painted church dome with Metallic Gold
  8. Sandblasted and epoxy-painted Olympic-sized swimming pool
  9. Applied foil wallpaper to large ceiling
  10. Brush and rolled steel tub frames for Wild West display

 

Probably, my father’s most unusual painting project was the interior of an underground bomb shelter. In particular, he painted the vertical wood panels inserted into the walls of the pre-cast 12-feet by 18 feet vault thick steel shell. The agri-businessman’s wife refused to even step in the security structure unless it “looked inviting and homey.”

 

Unusual painting projects tend to stretch our creativity, agility and patience. They also give us the opportunity to have lots of fun. To use colors in exciting, unexpected ways. To reach into our greater selves as craftspersons and artisans.

 

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Unusual painting projects can open the door to new, specialty career opportunities.

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Thank you for including “Painting with Bob” in your busy day.

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

Painting It: How to Achieve a Superior High Gloss Finish

First of all, starting out with a smooth surface is essential. With a rough surface, you will have to add exceedingly more hours of labor to even reach a starting point.

 

Metal, fiberglass or hardwoods are the substrates of choice when considering an ultra smooth surface.

 

In this instance, I will use metal as the example. No matter what the situation, the proper procedure in achieving a gloss finish includes:

 

  1. Initial metal preparation – Acid etch surface, orbital sand with #80 grit sandpaper.

 

  1. Dry and wipe surface clean with lacquer thinner, then use tack cloth.

 

  1. Using an HVLP spray system, apply multiple thin coats of high solids epoxy primer or acrylic lacquer. Let dry thoroughly. Orbital sand between coats with #400 sandpaper; then, wet sand with #600 sandpaper.

 

  1. Apply urethane sealer using two thin coats. When dry, wet sand using #600 sandpaper.

 

  1. Apply urethane basecoat using three thin coats with a 60% overlap in spray pattern.

 

  1. After two to four hours of drying, color sand using #600, then, #800 sandpaper. Wash surface with soap and water. Rinse with warm water, and let dry.

 

  1. Reapply urethane basecoat using three thin coats.

 

  1. After drying time, wet sand with #800 grit sandpaper. Wash and rinse surface. Dry and tack cloth.

 

  1. Apply multiple thin coats of urethane clear coat. Let dry.

 

  1. Wet sand with #1000 or #1200 grit sandpaper. Rinse with warm water. Let dry.

 

  1. Apply final clear coat. Let dry.

 

After all that time and preparation, you should be able to see your face in all that shine. What is paramount in order to reach such a high level of finish is a person’s skill at spray painting. No beginner can ever hope to achieve such a finish.

 

Typically, there are five elements involved which you must have:

 

  1. A well seasoned professional with comprehensive knowledge of all the modern finishes.
  2. A well equipped spray booth with positive flow ventilation.
  3. A client who is willing to pay for the best, and has patience.
  4. A preparation team who is dedicated to producing the finest finish imaginable.
  5. All those involved should have a basic knowledge of OEM and aftermarket paint material and solvent compatabilities.

 

Producing a fine finish at a hotel, on a client site, or in your home can be accomplished. You do not have to follow all of the rules above. Just keep the following ideas in mind:

 

First, wet sand or dry sand in decreasing grits #220-#320-#400.

Next, make sure that, after sanding, the surface is tack clothed. If you do not, you will have debris in the finished paint job.

Third, always apply thin multiple coats. With heavy coats, you may have runs, sags, and cracking. You absolutely want to avoid this.

Final step, set up a spray booth.

 

Also, provide adequate ventilation by (a) using fans, and (b) wet the floor to keep dust at a minimum.

 

And, if you are interested in wood finishing, some of the same methods can be used. Just keep the surface dry and dust free until completed.

 

A superior finish is all about knowledge and talent. It is about looking at such a finish and wondering, “Who could have done this? It’s magnificent!”

 

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A superior high gloss finish starts with a super skilled finisher.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting Them: Food Courts and Snack Bars

A commercial food facility, above all things, must serve food and beverages that are widely known, and appeal to the diverse tastes of the public.

 

What type of atmosphere works best to stimulate that hunger for food, or thirst for a beverage?

 

Do you have an established theme? The 50s décor with its juke box, vinyl-cushioned booths and roller skating servers, was a popular style in its day. A well-established theme will keep the patrons, guests, and visitors interested. Coming back for more! And, create a great place for conversation and socialization.

 

Most food courts, whether at a hotel or a mall, are designed for guest comfort. The design should correspond with the surrounding décor. It should incorporate some of the same elements in décor, color, textures, tone, etc. And, all elements used should stimulate the appetite.

 

“Spaces” within the food court: Eating/drinking, socializing, studying, resting.

Special construction elements: Solid woods, steels, metals, laminates; glass, heavy plastic; slip-proof flooring; one level, no steps.

Special features: High traffic, specialty clusters in bigger space, opps. for lots of mingling.

Special needs: Smooth surfaces and corners; no residual fumes/odors; pleasing aesthetically; high durability; easy cleaning and sanitizing; obstruction-free traffic areas;

Exposure: Water, cleaning agents, grease, high heat, etc.

Design elements: Graphics, stripes, geometrics; inlay pieces; food-inspired paintings/murals; original paintings; illustrations.

Color schemes: Bright accents; subtle touches. Inviting, and conducive to dining. Welcoming! Uplifting, cheerful, and relaxing. Also, great for conversation, reading, listening to music.

 

Bring life to your food service area. Here’s how!

 

1. Utilize scenic paintings or photos related to leisure and travel. People love to envision themselves there.

TIP: Hang printed and enlarged photos of enticing scenes on the hotel property. Flowers, plants, brook, fountain, rest area, etc. Hang small paintings found/donated by staff members.

 

2. Paint wall graphics to increase the element of creativity, and to reduce blank wall space.

HINT: An original wall graphics was hung on the walls of two adjoining restaurants, and corridor that connected them. It was the creation of a local paperhanger/patron.

 

3. Vary wood tone colors used on tables and chairs.

TIP: Tables in light oak with laminate, tile, or block tops, chairs in dark oak or even painted.

 

4. Use track and neon lighting with various combinations of colored lights to create mood appropriate for area’s theme. Examples: Friendly, business-like, folksy, formal, romantic.

TIP: The right lighting also enhances the appearance and appeal of the food and beverages. And, the entire area!

 

5. Heavy-textured vinyl wall covering adds to the atmospheric mood.

TIP: Commercial-grade wallcoverings clean well. They’re very durable. They retain color and finish/texture longer.

 
6. Surrounding guests with a sense of memorabilia tends to instill sentimentality and comfort.

HINT: Old kitchen utensils and cooking pots, laundry aids, photos, tools, small implements, etc. lined the walls of The Wagon Wheel in Merrillville, Indiana. Eating there was like eating at a grandparent’s circa 1800s kitchen table.

 
7. Convey a sense of realism by using a system of murals.

TIP: Continuous murals are fun. Example: A walking trail, or farmer’s market, or big garden.

 
8. Refer to the “psychology of colors” to see what colors stimulate an appetite best.

TIPS: Red – Hot foods, romantic drinks; Blue – Cool foods, relaxing drinks; Green – Nature.

 

Above all, you want the food court and/or snack bar to make every patron feel comfortable, and unrushed. Totally welcome there!

 

It’s all about atmosphere. The service. And, definitely, the food, beverages and snacks.

 

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“Food without atmosphere is like tacos without spice.” Rdh

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.” 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.

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.

 

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

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.”

Dream Project: The Billiard Club Restoration

For over twelve years, I’ve toyed with the idea of opening a “Billiard Club.” Most recently in 2013, when a sizeable space became available – in a local small shopping mall.

My only question: Could a billiard hall, located in Osceola County, Florida, generate enough income to sustain itself? To cover basic operating costs: licenses and permits, insurance, rent, utilities, taxes. I never thought about earning enough to cover my own basic living expenses.

A recent job posting reminded me of that dream. In a big way. The expansive resort boasted over 1500 rooms and suites – and featured a “Billiard Club.” Originally designed to replicate the mid-1800s men’s billiard clubs of western Europe.

The private posting stated that the “Billiard Club” was slated for restoration, and some upgrading. And the painter’s first major project would entail (1) repainting all painted surfaces; (2) refinishing all wood paneling, trim and built-ins; (3) installing custom wallcovering – period flock, floral, stripe, frieze – in every room of the club; and (4) hanging a wrap-around mural in the main rotunda.

With a click, I was taken on a virtual tour of the property. My first main focus: that “Billiard Club.” I was neither disappointed nor discouraged at what I saw. If anything, the close-up tour reminded me why I’d chosen painting and decorating instead of medicine.

At every turn and every click, I saw the marks of age, and signs of improper treatment. Unusual considering the exclusivity and location of the resort.

The club’s “lobby” looked drab and tired. Its crimson-on-ivory flocked paper was faded and discolored, also torn in more obscure spots. The fox hunting mural in the “Cloak Room” looked washed out and cleaned inappropriately. The wrap-around mural – a complement to the hunting mural – behind the front desk, showed signs of past major mold and mildew damage. And, cleaning with chemical solutions that had been too strong for old wallpaper.

Views of the individual billiard rooms – five of them – showed signs of surface abuse. Expensive ceiling-to-floor wood paneling – walnut, cherry, ebony – bore water damage, uneven and “spot” re-staining, long scratches, and even gouges (from billiard cues hitting into walls?).

In one room, it looked like sections of the wood chair railing had been scraped with steel wool or a wire brush. Once exquisite wallcoverings had been cut, torn, even frayed. A one-wall mural, that depicted a boat scene on the Siene River, had odd vertical shiny areas. Like clear, yellowed varnish.

The main and largest room – the “Billiard Gallery” – appeared in fairly good condition. Still, the paneling needed restoring. The wallcovering needed to be removed very carefully, then replaced.

The rotunda ceiling mural – actually a hand-painted scene of The Themes River – needed a thorough cleaning before any repairs and restorative painting could be done.

The “Tea Room and Lounge” and the three bathrooms appeared to need the most work. Color-coordinated wallpapers and decorative finishes covered the walls and ceilings of each of these rooms.

In the “Lounge” area, the half-wall cherry paneling and built-in bookcases needed to be stripped, filled, sanded, re-stained, and wax-treated. The burgundy-on-ivory flock paper needed a soft, damp rag cleaning.

The muted forest green houndstooth-patterned wallpaper in each bathroom was very faded and worn – not worth saving. In fact, much of its nubby texture was simply gone. All of the frieze-faux ceiling designs had been damaged by water leaks, in some areas more than others.

As it turned out, neither the “Billiard Club” nor I were to get the opportunity to benefit from each other. About 9 am one morning my letter of interest, resume and photographic samples of my work reached the hands of the resort’s director of engineering and facilities. He called. We discussed our mutual interests and goals – including “billiard clubs.”

On the same day, about 4 pm, he called again. Clearly disheartened. The resort corporation’s president had notified him that, at two that afternoon, the board had voted to (1) close the “Billiard Club” and two restaurants; (2) cut the facilities management staff by one-fourth; and (3) reduce all departmental budgets by 25-30 percent.

The resort painter position was to be eliminated by May 30, 2014. The remaining “maintenance team” would be expected to take care of all paint-related duties and work orders.

On the same day that I drafted this blog, the same director of engineering called again. He said, “I checked you out with a hotelier friend in Miami. He met you when you worked on an Art Deco hotel restoration on Lincoln Avenue. You didn’t mention that in your résumé.”

Trying not to sound complacent, I explained that the project had been done over twelve years ago. His response to that was enlightening. “These resume people and tracking system people are losing people like me a lot of great workers.”

We exchanged a few humorous “billiards” stories. And, we agreed that, the next time I was in his neighborhood, I was to stop in and introduce myself.

I wanted to tell him, “It’s a shame we won’t be able to go upstairs and enjoy a short game of pool – billiards.” But, frankly, I didn’t have the heart to say one word about “The Billiard Club.” That type of conversation was reserved for between friends. Especially at a time like that.      

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