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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.

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

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

 

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

Painting Them: Indoor and Outdoor Garden Area: Introduction to Care

What makes a garden really stand out consists of more than just flowers and plants.

 

Start with a do it yourself landscape design first. And, let your creative juices flow.

 

“Painting” is usually secondary to selecting the structural elements you incorporate into your garden. These would be a bridge, an arbor, a trellis, a deck, wood fencing, and even signage.

 

Elements of Wood

 

Once the elements are in place, if they are constructed of wood, they will need protection from the environment, wildlife, people, etc. Especially water!

 

For durability and protection from fungus and rotting, I recommend the following:

 

  1. Prime wood with an oil-based product. Apply “two coats” acrylic latex or oil base material.

Apply clear wood preservative (a very effective add-on.) ex. Thompson’s Water Seal or

Sonneborn sealants.

 

  1. Apply “two coats” solid color oil-based stain. Apply a clear wood preservative.

 

  1. Pre-finish the surface with an oil-based primer. Apply elastomeric finish as a top coat.

 

  1. Wood can be finished with a clear waterproofing coating to preserve natural look.

 

  1. For signage, use acrylic latex or oil-based finish, then an acrylic clear finish for protection.

 

  1. For wood products, embedded below grade, I recommend using a creosote or

other tar-based product to reduce the chances of wood rot.

 

Once the garden’s amenities have been installed, set a schedule for their regular upkeep. This would involve cleaning.

  1. Recommended: either a biodegradable cleaning agent, or a bicarbonate solution which is harmless to plants.
  2. When cleaning mold infested exterior surfaces do not use bleach. It will burn the leaves of your plants.

 

In some cases, I would advise using stone for building walkways and bridges, rather than a high maintenance wood product. In any case, you want to use a paint which resists moisture penetration.

 

Then there will be more quality time available to look at the flowers, versus the rotting wood.

 

A garden can be a wonderful place for a painting project. And, one of the most relaxing places to soothe the stresses of the day.

 

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Create a garden spot for others to enjoy with you, and for you to honor alone.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.” Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: 9: Guest WI-FI and Interactive Communication Centers

BASIC FEATURES and AMENITIES of TYPICAL AREA

 

  1. Walls: Preferably, smooth surface painted in white or pastels, non-distractive colors.
  2. Flooring: Preferred light-colored ceramic or vinyl tiles.
  3. Workstation space: Features may include simulated marble or stone surface; cabinetry or natural-stain finish hardwood type oak.
  4. Seating: Soft cushioned seats with strong lumber support and braces.
  5. Lighting: Track lighting preferred, due to its focusing capabilities.
  6. Special features: Dropped keyboard position might also be considered to relieve neck, lower arm and back fatigue.
  7. Other amenities: Eg: All-purpose printer/copy/scanner/fax system; phone access. TIP: Allow for quickest access possible.
  8. Windows/Window treatments: Tinted glass. Window treatments necessary for privacy, or to block luminations from outside lighting sources – eg. parking lot light pole, vehicle headlights, signage/billboards, other buildings, neighboring properties, roadways.
  9. Doors/doorways: Use semi-gloss/gloss white paint, or light-colored stain finish. If not in workstation area, finish as desired.

 

TIP: WINDOW and/or DOOR FRAMES and TRIMS.

 

Paint same color and texture/pattern as adjacent door or wall surface. Intriguing effect: Paint to match nearest floor covering color and texture/ pattern.

1. Creates a flooring “extension.”

2. Can make room appear larger, or smaller.

3. Depends on overall room design, color scheme use, pattern/textile design/layout and size.

4. Well worth the detailing time.

 

COLOR SCHEMES and FINISH SHADES

 

  1. Predominant colors: Whites; pastel blues, greens, yellows, tan, beige, ecru, even light gray.
  2. Accent walls: A good bet! Pastel colors including blue-green, earth-tones.
  3. Walls: White preferred for its light value. Pastel cool colors are second choice: blues, greens.
  4. Ceilings: Flat white preferred. Minimizes glare.
  5. Flooring: Carpeting, tile squares. White or earth-tones; light browns, beiges, greens.
  6. Counter/workstation top: Same as walls or flooring.
  7. Seating: Black preferred. Also, darker and muted tones of green, blue, violet, cranberry.
  8. Furniture: Contemporary dark colors – eg. black, gray, burgundy, dark brown.

 

SPECIAL EFFECTS THAT ADD TO TECHY ATMOSPHERE

 

  1. Apply a wallcovering which has bright background color highlighted by reflective pattern.
  2. Create modern faux finish such as metallic look, or a striped wall.
  3. Install and finish multi-colored wood panels, with varied sheens of clear finish.
  4. Install patterned floor tile design.
  5. Hang photographs to illustrate history of electronic and media advances.

 

PAINTS, FINISHES, WALLCOVERINGS THAT ATTRACT TECHY GUESTS

 

  1. Paints: Multi-colored/textured spray finish; metallic coatings.
  2. Finishes: Gloss clear finishes; custom colored stains.
  3. Decorative finishes: Simulated metal and wood designs; custom hand-applied textures.
  4. Wallcoverings: Textured, metallic vinyls, reflective wallcoverings.

A. Patterns: Ink-printed wall designs, stencils.

B. Textures: See above.

C. Borders: Designed with geometric and/or metallic patterns.

D. Graphics: Bright colored, multi-layered designs, data symbols, social media symbols.

E. Scenics/Murals: Designs that incorporate techy views.

 

Example: In an Orlando area hotel, I installed a 14-foot long, one-wall techy-scene mural. It featured random “photo” frames of techy subjects and scenes, including social networking. Color scheme: Graduated hues, light white-yellow to light yellows. Great look. Background color: White-yellow. Final effect: Subtle, relaxing to eye, non-distracting. Note: The same and similar scenic murals are available in multi-hued greens, blues, greys, browns, and peach.

 

OTHER TIPS and RECOMMENDATIONS

 

1. The design should attract attention in its overview when approached.

This says, “This is exciting. This is the place to be.”

2. Painting and decorating elements should not distract the person, who is trying to use the computer, access and use WI-FI systems, use available printing/copying/scanning/faxing equipment/services, skyp, etc.

 

Staying connected is an essential part of the daily agenda of most hotel guests. Decorating hotel WI-FI connectivity centers in appealing and appropriate ways only adds to guests’ total experience. And, it inspires them to visit again. And again.

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

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