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Painting Them: Inns and Bed and Breakfasts on Rue de les Fleurs. Part 1: Exteriors

An inn or bed and breakfast (chambre d’ hôte) occupies every building on the row of this Haute Alpes village, in southeast France. Each property’s owners live in a third or fourth story attic, or a small apartment behind the kitchens. Originally, each property was what we might call a “row house.”

 

Jean-Paul, my mother’s cousin, e-mailed about the property owners’ problems. “All of the buildings are in disrepair. Business is très mal (very bad). Soon, travelers will stay in other villages, or in the city.”

 

He e-mailed a detailed description of “les maisons pour les touriste stays” (houses for tourist stays). He drew a mental picture of the condition of the seven, tightly sandwiched structures. Cell phone photos followed. Red roofs canopied the five towers.

 

“What can we do?” he asked. “I’ve staged original productions in small theatres, including here. These touriste stays must not crumble to ruin. Tourism is the village’s main source of revenue.”

 

At first, I had no clue how to answer Jean-Paul’s question. How could we help? That French village was located over 4,480 miles away.

 

Then, an image appeared of the Seralago, a historic hotel in Kissimmee, Florida. Scaled down and reconfigured, it could have been the buildings on Rue de lès Fleurs. Their red-painted tower roofs announcing their formidable presence in the community.

 

The Seralago became the inspiration for an idea that sparkled with possibilities.

 

In June, I brainstormed with two painters at different Marriott-managed hotels. I mentioned the idea to my mother. (Caution!) And, she and Jean-Paul took it from there.

 

OVERALL PLAN – A Capsule Version

 

1. Designate two project leaders. One, for the exteriors of the buildings; the other for the interiors. Each will work with the owner(s) of each row house, to oversee and help with every phase of the exterior, or interior, part of the project.
2. Arrange for photos to be taken – before, during, after each phase of the project. And, with every row house.
3. Hold a “Rue de les Fleurs” la fête (party) to launch the restoration project. Publicize the event, and the project. Contact the media.

 

SELECTING EXTERIOR PAINT CREWS – A Capsule Version

 

1. Find a very skilled and agile commercial painter in the area.

A. Engage him to give the tower roofs a fresh coat of red paint. Urge him to donate his services.

B. Try to get his employer – l’contracteur – to donate the paint.

C. Let the media know about their generosities.

2. Line up the work crews – all local villagers:

A. Paint crew. Persons skilled at using a paint brush, and at least two able to use a roller.

— Find one or two skilled in using a spray system. Five able to work on ladders, and scaffolding.

B. Repair and prep crew. Fit persons: out-of-work, retired or unoccupied. Men and women.

— Include a few that are able to work on extension ladders.

C. Ground crew. Teenagers and adults, willing to help with work on the street level.

 

NEW LIFE FOR EXTERIORS OF BUILDINGS

 

1. WALLS. Clean. Scrape off old paint and loose masonry. Patch and/or fill all areas that need it. Lightly sand surfaces when dried.
2. FRONT DOORS. Clean, and scrape off old paint. Sand, patch, and paint all. Paint each door a distinctive and complementary color. TIP: Alternate deep bright blue, extra white, and crimson red (or, colors close to those of the nation’s flag).
3. HARDWARE-FRONT DOORS. Clean and polish each door’s hinges, knocker, and handle. (In the photos, they look like brass.)
4. WINDOW FRAMES, INSETS, and CORNICES. Clean, scrape, patch, sand, and reseal frames and insets of all windows. Also, window cornices and ledges. Paint to match the respective doors on street level.
5. WINDOW SHUTTERS. Remove from the buildings. Be sure to mark each shutter for building, window, and side of window. Clean, patch, fill, and sand. Paint the shutters to match the respective doors on the first story. TIP: Spraying shutters produces a much better finish, and longer-lasting coatings.
6. FLOWER BOXES. Put a few retired carpenters to work building a flower box for every window, including on each end of the row. Paint to match the respective front door on street level.
7. SEATING. Find a park bench for each front entry. Used ones are fine. Repair each, as necessary. Scrape off loose, old paint or finish. Sand till smooth. Paint all with gloss black. Or, paint each in the color that matches the respective door.

 

NOTE: Area steps 3 through 7 have entailed more than what’s outlined here.

 

PROGRESS ON THE RUE DE LES FLEURS.

 

Work on the row of inns progresses. Jean-Paul says the spirit of villagers grows. “Like the crops on surrounding farms… The townspeople prepare for a busy touriste stay season. And, the little theatre will be ready to reopen on October 16. Très bonne.”

 

PLEASE READ: Painting Them: Inns and Bed and Breakfasts on Rue de les Fleurs. Part 2: Interiors.

 

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“Buildings, like persons, deserve special care – outside, and inside.” Jean-Paul.

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

 

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Upgrading Your Painting Team Skills and Abilities: Keeping Pace with New Trade Standards and Property Changes

Introduction:

Adapting to changes often requires a versatile outlook. A project such as remodeling or renovation is a capital improvement, designed to increase the value of the property.

In painting, it is desirable to possess specialized skills and abilities such as applying wallcoverings, decorative finishes and custom textiles. The location does not depend on your skills.

Skills and abilities which are innovative fill needs that the average painter is not able to offer. My suggestion: Seek out specialized training. Learn about the advances in new building products and materials, finishing products and coating systems. A background in one or more of these areas will ensure that you are diversified in a competitive market.

1. How the painting trade standards have changed – eg. IUPAT.

A. Regulations on product use ensure the safe implementation of the application.

B. There is an expectation to use low VOC products for clean air provisions.

C. Regulations and implementation of hazardous chemical containment has been increased.

D. Lead abatement has become required for presence of pre-existing lead-based paint materials.

E. Rules established for disposal of used paints and solvents are more specific – and stringent!

2. How commercial/facility painting job descriptions have changed.

A. Jobs specify experience in multi-surface preparation, methods, techniques, etc.

B. Jobs specify experience in application of surface/substrate products, materials, etc.

C. Many employers seek persons with electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and tiling skills.

D. Descriptions are broader, allowing for more diversified experience and abilities.

E. Jobs require more flexibility in scheduling, budgeting and costing-out, product use, etc.

3. What experienced painters need to learn today.

A. Popular new paint products: How to apply Zolstone, Multi spec, Venetian plaster, acrylic glazing techniques, hand-texturing techniques.

B. Less known new paint products: Metallic glazing, low odor two-components, epoxy, urethane; moisture-cured polyurethane, water-based alkalai resistant primers, moisture-cured zinc primers, water-based interior/exterior solids and semi-transparent stains, water-based varnishes.

C. New finishing products: Water-based rust inhibitive primers and dryfall coatings; 2-component polyurethanes, mark resistant interior latex paints. Check Gliddens, PPG, Sherwin Williams, etc.

D. New, preferred methods to use: HVLP is preferred over standard, conventional spray painting.  You have reduced material use, and much less overspray. Depending on the spray gun selected, a finer spray pattern can be achieved with HVLP.

E. New supplies: Plastic or plastic biodegradable dropcloths, long-release masking tapes, paintable siliconized caulking, cageless roller frames.

F. New tools: Purdy and Wooster paint brushes are considered the top two brands. Whistler (made in Great Britain) and Sympthony stand out as the two best in decorative finishing brushes.

G. New equipment: Graco, Sharpe, Devilbiss, Iwata (Japanese), and C-A techniques provide the most advanced spray finishing equipment available.

4. How to help experienced painter(s) on your team/crew upgrade their skills.

A. Hold training sessions in areas of surface finishing – eg.painting, wallcovering, decorative finishing, texture applications.

B. Make available the basic, necessary tools and supplies for the particular upgrade.

C. Create work areas where new skills can be used.

D. Provide reference materials to use as guides – downloadable apps, DVDs, books, e-books, manuals, tip sheets, etc.

5. How to help experienced painter(s) on your team/crew adapt to, and welcome, changes.

A. Tell the painters they are not expected immediately to create new skills. Being proficient takes time.

B. Allow each painters enough time, daily or weekly, to exercise a new skill or technique.

C. Require that everyone, who will paint, will know the proper way to finish each surface they will, or might, be required to work on.

6. How to help experienced painter(s) on your team/crew ask for help, feedback and resources.

A. Let each team member know that he or she has the support of supervisors, coworkers, and management.

B. Create open dialogue within the department, and organization, where suggestions can be offered freely, without reprisal or offense.

Closing Comments: The more diverse that one’s skills are, the more you can offer the employer, and hope to guarantee you will be needed in the future. Requirements are always changing. And, a painter must be able to adapt so that any given situation is readily manageable, or solved to meet the needs of the market.

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Paint with spirit! Live with soul! Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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