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- John Lazar, River Forest
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Archive for July 2010

Combining House Painting, Color Consultation and Million-Dollar Views

We just completed the interior painting of two condos at the Aqua building on Chicago’s lakefront. For many reasons, it was a real pleasure working on this project, one of which was being able to work in such beautiful, air-conditioned surroundings, while Chicago was going through a spell of 90-degree days!

Award-Winning Aqua Building on Chicago's Lakefront

Aqua Building on Chicago's Lakefront

One of the Condo's Many Views of Chicago

One of the Condo's Many Views of Chicago

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a good client: “We just purchased two condos in Chicago. Please help us with color selection and the interior painting.” They purchased a 3-bedroom unit on the 69th floor and a 1-bedroom on the 73d floor. The condos’ floors are stained

Color Scheme for 73d Floor Condo

Color Scheme for 73d Floor Condo

Color Scheme for 69th Floor Condo

Color Scheme for 69th Floor Condo

a dark brownish/blackish color and the bedroom carpeting is a sandy color. The smaller unit is to be occupied by the grown son and the other by the parents and their guests.

In contrast to the traditional décor of their suburban residence, our clients wanted an “urban” look to their condos. This is where the paint color consultation came into the picture. After four hours of consultation with the owners and the son, two different color schemes were arrived at. The son’s painting of John Lennon inspired a “Retro” look for his color scheme, as shown in the picture, with chartreuse, gold and gray as some of his colors. The parent’s condo took on a more “Urban Chique” look, with a rich brown to match the leather couch, taupe tones and gray shades.

Painting in Partnership, a house painting contractor located in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, stands ready to meet the sophisticated needs of its clients in the both the color selection process and the impeccability of the craftsmanship of its interior painting.

Gold Leafing Meets Venetian Plaster

Gold Leafing over Venetian Plaster

Gold Leafing over Venetian Plaster

Gilding is an ancient decorative painting technique. Romans were particularly found of it during the time of Plinius Secundus, around 50 AD: even the ceilings of their temples were gilded. In the United States, gilding found a place in the decoration of the interior of public buildings, the exterior of capitol domes, statues and fine residential interiors. To this day, it continues to be a technique of choice for fine decorative finishing.

Gilding consists in the laying of an ultra fine sheet of metal over an adhesive sizer (tacky varnish). Once applied, the leaves are flattened and made to cover every little bit of the surface to be decorated. The portions of the leaves that are not attached to the sizer are then brushed off. The end result looks like a continuous sheet of metal. A telling sign that something has been gilded is that the square shape of the metal leaves used in the gilding process is still visible when the work is completed.

We just completed a most interesting decorative finishing project that involved the gilding of an artful design onto a venetian plaster surface that we had earlier decorated. A wide array of materials can be gilded: metal, glass, wood, drywall, stone and plasters. Although rarely done, venetian plaster is one of those surfaces, as shown in the attached picture.

Ink Sketch for Stencil

Ink Sketch for Stencil

Lazer-Cut Stencil for Gilding

Lazer-Cut Stencil for Gilding

How did that project come about? The client wanted some artwork next to the shower area, but was concerned about the moisture affecting the art. I suggested gilding; they liked the idea. They showed me an etched leaf design on a lotion bottle which was on display on the vanity table. I asked our muralist to replicate that design as an ink drawing on a piece of paper, as shown in the next picture. I then asked our sign maker to digitize that same drawing, enlarge it to the desired size (24” wide and 36” high) and create a vinyl stencil. By the way, this is the same technique used in painting a sign, except that , in this case, the subject matter was a leaf design, not letters. Once the vinyl stencil was perfected mounted on the wall, we were ready to do the gilding process. Before removing the vinyl, we applied a coat of varnish over the metal leaf to protect it from oxidization.

This was a fun project for both the client, our decorative finishing people and our company. It is always a pleasure for the folks at Painting in Partnership, from the Chicago area, to combine the talents of many people in creating a result that is artful, creative and long lasting.

When Lightning Strikes, Act Quickly!

Lightning strikes and the need for paint restoration pretty much go hand in hand. A couple of weeks ago, we received this email from a client: “Call me. House took a direct lightning hit on Sunday. Fire on roof. Your faux finish is ruined.”

Lightning Strikes on Tip of the Roof

Lightning Strikes on Tip of the Roof

Fire Damage to Roof Beams

Fire Damage to Roof Beams

Lightning struck on the highest point of the house (as shown by the blue tarp) on a Sunday morning. The owners were unaware that the house had been hit. Fortunately for them, neighbors saw the lightning strike. Shortly thereafter, they noticed smoke coming out of the roof and called 911 immediately. The fire department rushed to the scene and extinguished the fire.

In spite of the neighbors’ vigilant eyes and the fire department’s quick response, the house suffered significant damage from fire, smoke and water. All things considered, the damage could have far greater if the response had not been so quick.

The restoration work will involve structural work to repair the roof beams, carpentry, new insulation, replacement of damaged drywall and paint restoration to a number of rooms affected by smoke and water, including about 1,000 square feet of a decorative painting finish in the foyer and halls. During the restoration process, the owners’ belongings will be in storage and they will be living in a rented house.

When lightning strikes, Painting in Partnership, from the Chicago area, stands ready to assist in all aspects of paint restoration, from the repainting of surfaces to the replication of existing finishes.

Natural Polished Plaster Finishes Are a Good Choice for Bathrooms

Lime-Based Venetian Plaster on Bathroom Walls

Lime-Based Venetian Plaster on Bathroom Walls

Venetian Plaster is an excellent choice for bathroom environments for two main reasons. First, Venetian Plaster finishes are breathable. This means that they allow moisture to escape. They do not trap moisture. Second, because of their lime-based nature, they inhibit the growth of mildew.

Venetian Plaster, also known as Polished Plaster or lime-based plaster, is cool to the touch, like stone or marble, because it is made out of stone elements. It has been valued for centuries for its good looks and particular properties. It gives an air of opulence to any surface it decorates. Today, it holds a place of choice among decorative finishes for both residential and commercial uses.

Painting in Partnership, from the Northwest suburban area of Chicago, uses a variety of limed-based plasters and creates a wide array of finishes from traditional to more contemporary effects.

Lincrusta: Still Going After all those Years

The Lincrusta wallcovering is a British invention of Frederick Walton, also the inventor for the Linoleum floor coverings. It was launched in 1877 and was originally fabricated in Sunbary-on-Thames. Today, this wallpaper is produced in Morecambe, in Lancashire, England, using traditional methods and many of the original rollers.

Lincrusta wallpapers met with immediate success and are still used today in the decoration of interior spaces all over the world. Lincrusta is a deeply embossed wallcovering and its reliefs are designed to imitate embossed leather or metal, as well as carved wood and plaster. Part of the reason for its popularity is that it made possible to have the look of very expensive decoration at a reasonable cost. Because of it rigidity and weight, Lincrusta came in sheets and was installed below chair rails and sometimes on ceilings. It was also designed as borders, friezes and dados.

Sample of Lincrusta Wallcovering from 1920's

Sample of Lincrusta Wallcovering from 1920's

The popularity of Lincrusta spread far and wide. It was used in homes, public and government buildings, railroad cars, even steamships like 6 luxury cabins on the Titanic and famous buildings like the White House and the John D. Rockefeller’s house in New York City. The Victorian era absolutely fell in love with Lincrusta.

It could be painted and decorated with glazes, even gold leaf. The ingredients for Lincrusta were linseed oil, resins and wood flour. As it aged, Lincrusta would harden, which gave it exceptional durability. This is why well-preserved examples of Lincrusta can be found all over the world today, like this sample from the 1920’s taken from a Chicago building on Clark street before it was demolished in the 1990’s.

Lincrusta is one of the many specialty wallcoverings that the craftsmen from Painting in Partnership from the Chicago install and decorate for its clients.