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Posts tagged ‘restoration’

The Painter, Franzen, and Church Restorations

“ ‘Margret clung to the side of the overturned wood row boat. Knowing that her grip could not last much longer. Knowing that she would not make it. And the enraged waters of the North Sea would swallow her.

 

“ ‘Then, she felt a powerful hand grab her arm, and force her frozen hand from the boat’s rim. Encircling her chest. Then pulling her backward. Into the churning waves. Was she, in fact, being washed away? Or drowning?’ ”

 

These were the opening words of the true account written by the victim’s oldest brother, Franzen, in an e-mail to me. A native of Amsterdam, the third cousin was a “restoration painter of churches.”

 

“That’s why I became a painter of holy buildings,” he wrote. “To give thanks to the priest that saved my baby sister over thirty-two years ago.”

 

At a later date, Franzen took me on a virtual tour of the church in Bratislava, Slovakia that he’s been working on. It is a small structure, compared to the grand cathedral projects that he has completed in Europe and Canada. And, it holds a significant place in the painter’s life, perhaps in mine also. The church is the home parish of a group of Haytovkas originally from old Austria.

 

“Presently, I sandblast the upper spires on the roof. There are twelve of them, representing the twelve apostles. I push to finish spray before the heavy snows come. It is dangerous part,” the painter emphasized. “So high from the ground, over 4419 cm (145 feet) up. One slip of the foot. I worry. Then I remember Margret. The arms that saved her…”

 

Franzen said the upper exterior of the church had not been touched in over forty years.

 

“The surfaces were pitted by thick, pebble-looking layers of grime and pollutants from the large manufacturing plant located less than 1.6 kilometers (one mile) away. Underneath, most of the paint was chipped off. Brass was badly tarnished, and coated with sea salts and bird droppings.

 

“It was in much worse condition than the church officials believed. Much removal and repair work…”

 

Franzen said that he has been doing restorative painting since age twenty-six. Previously, he worked for a contractor that repaired and redecorated older homes, apartment buildings, shops, and large flats. My cousin explained that most of the properties were “…owned by the rich.”

 

For two years prior, he “studied the painting craft” at a trade school run by the Netherlands government. He called the training very intense.

 

“This church will be my last high project. I will be fifty-nine in December. My feet are not quite as sure as they were. I make plans to retire at sixty. Muriel and I take Gordon to cottage by sea.”

 

By the way, Franzen and his wife are caregivers for their son Gordon (28). He has severe traumatic brain injuries from a work accident in 2009.

Something tells me that both Gordon and the historic church structure, built over 250 years ago, are in very good hands.

 

Point to Ponder: A true craftsman preserves the lives of impaired persons and old buildings with equal dedication and selflessness.

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

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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.

Painter’s View: Modifying Your Hotel’s Color Scheme

Supposedly, residential painters possess the greatest creative latitude in using color. Their palette is color wheel sized.

Hotel and facility painters tend to be confined to the master color scheme established for the property. Then, specific surfaces, areas and amenities on the property.

That said, they can expand that palette. They can give the property, and people, a huge boost!

 

My suggestion? Start on the right foot.

1. Be certain that you have identified the exact color scheme currently approved by the owners.

2. Check out where what colors are used.
Example: Sherwin-Williams Yellow crème. Front road entrance and lobby/office building.
Example: S-W Chinese Red. Front entrance and lobby building fascia.
Example: S-W Deep Mint Green. Exteriors of guest buildings.
Example: S-W Bright Gold. Exterior doors of guest rooms.

3. Confirm with the owners their preferences and limitations for making color use changes.
Q. What colors in that color scheme can be modified?
Q. What new tints, hues and/or shades are acceptable?
Q. On which surfaces and areas can what specific new colors be applied?

TIP: Get sample color swatches approved in advance. In writing!

 

TEN TIPS FOR MODIFYING COLOR SCHEMES

1. Building exterior fascia and trim. Be consistent.
Example: If the front lobby building is trimmed in S-W Chinese Red, then trim all buidings on the property in the same color hue. The finish may need to be varied, depending on the surface.

2. Option: If color scheme features, say, six colors, use all six at front entrance area. Then, paint the fascia and trim on each building in one, or different hue from color scheme palette.

3. Then, paint other exterior surfaces on or near respective building in that hue.

4. Select one color from the color scheme. Mix two-to-three tints closely related to that color. Choose two-to-three types of surfaces and areas around the property to paint in those different tints.
Example: Park benches, signage frames, litter collection boxes. Paint in S-W Medium Mint Green, one of the new tints.

5. Select two colors from interior color scheme. Mix two-to-five tints closely related to those colors. Then, choose two-to-five types of surfaces/areas to paint in those new tints.

6. Choose two different tints from the same new one above. Paint two areas in the office area in those tints to liven up the workspace.

7. Choose the mid-level tint from that 2-5 that you mixed already. Create accent wall in sales director’s office. Paint darker tint on bottom half of the wall. Then, tint that color two levels lighter. Use that color to apply decorative finish – eg. vertical stripe – to upper half of wall.
Added touch: Paint a long narrow section of wainscoting/trim a darker tint of same color. And install it mid-point horizontally.

8. For the G.M’s office, use the darkest tint that you mixed. Create an accent wall by applying decorative finish on entire wall.

9. In main hallway to a restaurant, brush on a light tint of one of the lobby colors from the color scheme. Added touch: Paint wainscoting/trim section in same tint, or two shades darker.

10. Fitness room. Paint three-foot wide vertical stripe on both entry walls. Use one of lighter colors from master color scheme.

The idea is to build on the color scheme that you already have in place. Wherever possible, you want to extend and accentuate that theme. You want to unify the overall aesthetic appearance of painted and decorated elements on the property.

And, ultimately, you want to strengthen and solidify the guests, and teammates, overall perception and connection to your hotel.

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A painter’s role includes the enhancement of what’s already there!
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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting It: Public, Private and Special Collection Libraries

Working on a library project offers some unique opportunities for a skilled painter and decorator to really stretch himself or herself to the outer limits.

 

I’ve worked on over nine libraries. Four of them were new construction projects. Five were major renovation or restoration projects.

 
1. Smallest library. A 2-story, 14,000 square feet brick building dating back to the 1820s. Originally a mansion, the structure had gone through several previous major repairs and conversions since being donated for the county public library.

Project: It involved a carpentry crew ripping out over 40 percent of the structure’s walls. Then they reconfigured that space to accommodate for the current and projected patrons’ changing needs and preferences.

My job: I helped install commercial wall vinyl on 75 percent of the walls. On the remaining walls, we installed carpet tiles, custom cut to a template design. Also, we repaired and filled, then re-stained and re-varnished all of the wood (mostly walnut) surfaces. That included cornices, dado, wainscoting, carved moulding and trim; stair railings and banisters; elevator exteriors and interiors; built-in seating areas and bookcases in special collection rooms.

 
2. Largest library. A 3-story, 48,000 square feet steel and glass framed university structure. The new construction project featured an interior atrium hallway on each level, between the outer shell and outer walls of every interior room.

Project funding: Two unrelated alumni had donated 60 percent of the total cost.

My job: I helped install nine wrap around murals. Also, three of us hung over 30,000 square yards of commercial vinyl. And, we painted or stained and clear coated just about every other surface. Mainly interior trim and molding, and cabinetry.

 

3. Most unique library. A special collections private library. Housed in a 2-story limestone and mortar structure, the 32,000 square feet original structure, built around 1897, had been used as a private children’s boarding school.

Building features: 12-to-16 feet high walls and many rotunda/recessed ceilings with hand-carved wooden insets; miles of mahogany and dark oak wood in dismal disrepair, and water damaged; built-in wood/glass display cases with carved pediments and stationary shelving, fully paneled enclosed mini reading/study rooms; five larger meeting rooms – paneled walls.

My job: Mainly, I repaired wood surfaces and areas, then re-stained and clear varnished.

Fun element: The children’s playroom had been preserved. The new owners of the library contracted separately three of us to fully restore the 18 feet wide by 42 feet long room.

 
4. Most beautiful library. A private law firm’s office, 2-story, approximately 26,000 square feet. Major remodeling project.

Features: A lot of expensive Cherrywood paneling, columns and arches, decorative moulding, dado (chair rails), and ornately carved bannisters.

My job: Our 2-men crew prepped and finished all surfaces. We installed three large rotunda custom murals – all forest and wild animal scenes; stained and clear coated large built-in cabinetry, also two paneled elevators (interiors/exteriors).

 

5. Most challenging library. A very large public high school.

My job: Our 3-men crew removed over 15, 000 square feet of wall vinyl, then reinstalled new five monochromatic colors of “Pebble” vinyl including inside 15 built-in, lighted display cases.

Note: During summer break (about six months later), we were re-contracted to go back and spray a high-gloss, rust and scratch proof enamel on all metal book shelving.

 

Being an avid reader and a lifetime library patron, I’ve enjoyed working on every library. Regardless of its type, size, condition, and complexity. Of course, some of the projects stretched me much further than I’d bargained for.

 

Bottom line on library projects: Know what you’re doing. Take on detail and finishing work surfaces and areas you are confident in handling. Push for the best quality supplies, tools and equipment that the budget will allow. And, don’t let anyone – especially the client – push you into applying products and materials faster than the manufacturers advise, and that you can guarantee quality results!

 

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Painting and finishing libraries can put your industry knowledge, application patience and surface wisdom to the test.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

 

A True Antique Story: Pub Back Bars and Front Bars

Greek immigrant and saloon owner, Mr. Bates, owned the largest, l-shaped parcel of land that surrounded our wooded property. On the land set a gold mine of Sothby’s-quality antiques.

 

Some pieces set inside and under the vacant, dilapidated cabin in the dense woods adjoining ours. Some were hidden inside the tunnel of an underground bomb cavern.

 

Most of the antiques were crammed into the two huge boxcars. Both set in an untilled field, camouflaged by a dense overgrowth. Located less than one thousand feet from our fence line.

 

The cabin site housed dozens of wooden cigar boxes. They were filled with old currency from the U. S., Greece, British Isles, etc. Some boxes were stuffed with matured U. S. Savings Bonds – over one hundred of them.

 

Ceramic, porcelain and earthenware dishes, pots, pitchers, vases, and trays set on the floors in both rooms. Also, many old pieces of flatware: sterling silver, silver-plated, gold-plated.

 

Old saloon and bar furnishings filled the boxcars. That included three complete bar sets; fixtures, mirrors, picture frames, wall mural panels, etc. Also china, crystal, glassware, and cooking accessories.

 

One boxcar contained eight or nine rolled up imported oriental rugs. And, over six wooden crates of fine tapestry.

 

The other one housed two complete front and back bar systems. Both were constructed of rich, solid mahogany, and similar in design. Each back bar measured at least 21 feet in length, and 17 feet in height.

 

The Back Bars featured inset twin beveled mirrors, fluted columns, intricate relief carvings, and built-in drawers. Also, small cupboards and three glass cases. Both were appointed with brass trim, hardware and railings. One unit included built-in steps to reach those higher areas.

 

The Front Bars of both sets featured a brass beer drain board and a polished counter top. And, each included brass boot rests/bars.

 

Over the years, the heavy key locks on each boxcar were broken or cut off repeatedly by thieves, or “snoops.” Little was ever taken. Perhaps because most of the pieces were so cumbersome. And unusable somewhere other than inside a bar or pub. Or, a huge residence, or museum.

 

At some point, the attorney for the elderly property owner engaged our closest neighbor and us to keep a close eye on the property. And, its contents. We were “enlisted” to watch out for all trespassers. (A little more about that follows.)

 

The hardest part of that job was spotting the intruders that snuck onto the wooded section. First, they had to slip or sneak through our woods. And, the entire wooded area was unusually dense, even in the winter. Also, hunters wandered – trespassed – onto the back of our property, then onto the neighbors.

 

Another problem: Some of the intruders were the grown nephews and families of old Mr. Bates. And, reliable sources had informed us that the three nephews eagerly awaited their inheritances.

 

But, a funny thing happened as their greed grew. The owner set up an interesting system of trusts for his entire, massive estate.

 

The nephews would receive access to the estate only after the youngest child of any nephew reached eighteen. And, at the time of the owner’s death, the youngest child in the group was under age one.

 

By the time Mr. Bates said his earthly goodbyes, his attorney faced a much easier job of settling the estate.

 

The elderly owner had already sold off most of his real estate in town, including the saloon. Nearly all of the antiques had been lifted from the boxcars. The cabin and underground cavern had been looted, and fallen apart from gross neglect. (Too, the most forceful nephew had died of a heart attack.)

 

Even at the end, our family possessed special access to the Bates tales. From school days, my father knew the attorney. And, my mother and the attorney’s wife belonged to the same philanthropic sorority, Tri Kappa.

 

Still, I was not prepared for the trivia that hit my e-mail Inbox last week. One of the “authorized looters” of those boxcars was a young Greek bar owner in South Florida. The furnishings that he had lifted were shipped to Florida, and set into his family’s pub in the early 1990s.

 

Today, that pub is owned and operated by his two Baby Boomer sons, and their adult children.

 

Thanks, Mr. Bates. What a fantastic idea for the plot of a mystery novel!

 

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Own your day, and value its contents.  rdh

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

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

The Best Exotic Majestic Hotel – and Your Hotel/Resort

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

In the short-run…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

In the long-run…

 

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

 

 

Three keys to a hotel painter’s quality control…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Go! Enjoy! Taste!

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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