Painting in Partnership listens to our ideas and needs and blends them with their skills to come up with a very unique and satisfying result each and every time.
- A. & C. Yeshwant, MD, South Barrington
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Archive for January 2011

House Paint Catalog, circa 1916

Seroco House Paint Catalog - Front Cover, circa 1916

Seroco House Paint Catalog - Front Cover, circa 1916

In our role as “Custodian” of the painting industry’s past, Painting in Partnership from the Chicago area, has assembled a large collection of paint memorabilia, which we plan on displaying in a “virtual” paint museum in the not too distant future. I would like to tell you about our most recent paint memorabilia acquisition.

An antique book dealer contacted me recently. He had made a rare find: a 40-page, 1916 edition of a Seroco Paints catalog. It was the equivalent of a paint store in print, with a few hundred products, including color charts, tools, ladders and a broad array of paints, clear finishes and sundries.

How did the Seroco name came about? It was derived from combining the first two letters of the name of a famous retailer: Sears, Roebuck and Co. from Chicago. The company offered a complete line of paints from house paints, barn paints, buggy varnishes etc.

Why is it significant that Sears was involved in the paint business? Because of its vast distribution network

Seroco House Paint Catalog - Rear Cover, circa 1916

Seroco House Paint Catalog - Rear Cover, circa 1916

and its huge catalog business, Sears had considerable influence over the color choices of Americans for their homes, inside and out. Another part of the reason is that, from 1908 to 1940, Sears sold over 70,000 pre-fabricated, ready-to-assemble homes. During the Great Depression, because the company was also involved in mortgaging those houses, Sears found itself with a mountain of defaults. In a landmark decision, Sears decided to write off $11 million of those loans, thereby creating immense goodwill among the American public.

For those reasons, Seroco Paints hold a special place in the history of colors used on American homes in the first half of the twentieth century, which are now referred to as “”period” houses in many cases.

For Wood’s Sake!

Wood finishing played an unusual and important role in a recent house painting project. Nineteen years ago, when their townhouse was being built, the owners walked in and saw a massive, twenty-seven foot wood beam holding up the gable of their 2-story foyer/living-room space. They were excited at the thought that this beautiful beam would grace their new home.

Removal of Drywall from Beam Surfaces

Removal of Drywall from Beam Surfaces

When they came back at the end of the day to check on the day’s progress, the owners were shocked to see that the beam had been dry-walled to blend in with the ceiling. From that point forward, the owners quietly mourned the loss of their wood beam. They wondered if the drywall could ever be removed and their beam restored with an appropriate stain and varnish.

Restored Wood Beam - Stained and Varnished

Restored Wood Beam - Stained and Varnished

The owners recently called on Painting in Partnership to come out to look at some water damage around a few windows. In the course of the conversation, the owner confided in me about his long lost wood beam and asked what we might be able to do. I recommended that we test an area to see make sure that no glue had been used and that the drywall could be removed. Since that part of the house had not been painted in a long time, I also recommended that we not only refinish the beam, but also repaint the adjacent areas. The owners gave us the go-ahead with the project!

The testing revealed that no glue had been used and the drywall could be safely removed. The clients were delighted! We then added trim pieces on the edges of the beam to give a really professional look. After the staining was completed, we used a dead flat varnish to enhance the beam’s natural appearance.

A commitment to understand a client’s vision and desires for their home is part of what distinguish us as painting and decorating contractors in the Chicago area. Being of service in this way delights everyone involved in the painting project.