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Archive for December 2012

Holidays, Family and Pets

At Holiday time, my family’s pets play an important role in our festivities. We include them in any way possible. Our dog Abby likes to dress up and pose for the camera. We give her many opportunities to showcase her talents. Below are three pictures we just posted on one of our boards on Pinterest . We call it the “Abby Christmas Trilogy. We hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we do.

On our Pinterest board on Pets, you can also see a picture of her in her business attire. After all, she is Painting in Partnership’s Staff Writer for the company’s newsletter column on pet safety!

Happy Holidays and a great New Year to all of you.

Abby’s Christmas Trilogy

Keys to Hand-Painting Kitchen Cabinets Professionally

Since the beginning of the last downturn in the housing market, refinishing kitchen cabinets has become a very worthwhile and cost effective alternative for consumers. There are numerous options. They range from toning previously stained/varnished cabinets to painting them and perhaps adding a glaze to accentuate the contours, with a lot of options in between.
An increasingly popular cabinet finish is the hand-painted look. Those are some of the most expensive cabinets in the market today. When hand-painting cabinets, brush marks are created, which is part of the appeal. However, the key for producing a professional result is to manage the brush marks, so that they are uniform, light and follow the grain patterns of the cabinet components, while avoiding blemishes such as sags and misses. Based on our long experience at refinishing cabinets in the Chicago area, here is a list of ten professional techniques we use to produce the best possible result.

Professionally Hand-Painted Kitchen Cabinets

– Use 350-grit sandpaper to avoid creating scratches.
– Since the primer and paint are likely to be waterborne, we recommend the use of a vacuum cleaner, instead of tack-cloth, to avoid
surface contamination after sanding.
– The profile of the cabinet doors will dictate the size brushes to use. Brushes as small as one inch may have to be used. Two-inch
brushes are the largest brushes we recommend. Larger brushes load too much paint on the surfaces.
– Four-inch mohair rollers can be used as paint applicators on flat surfaces., which are then lightly brushed out.
– A bonding primer should be used to ensure maximum adhesion and then lightly sanded.
– Maintaining a wet edge is critical during painting. Wiping off edges may be necessary to avoid creating overlaps.
– The primer and paint should be applied from the center panel, outward.
– Waterborne paints dry quickly. It may be necessary to strain the paint if debris is detected in the paint.
– Cleaning brushes every two or three hours will also reduce the risk of paint contamination from flaking paint.
– Use an abundant source of natural light when painting to ensure a uniform, flawless finish. It is important not to rush the process.

Refinishing kitchen cabinets is not only economical, but is also good for the environment. Producing a professional hand-painted look for cabinets adds panache and flair to your kitchen.

Being a Friend to Old Houses

As a painting and decorating contractor, we specialize in the historical restoration of the paint finishes of vintage buildings in the Chicago area. Many of the buildings we work on have not been designated as “historical landmarks” structures per se. However, their owners treat them as such. They view the preservation and beautification of their houses and buildings as part of their custodial responsibility. They are committed to do the right thing for their “piece of history”.

Building owners like these value the expertise and knowledge of professionals who can assist them in preserving their old houses. They would prefer to hold off for a while, rather than doing the wrong thing. Sometime, they are concerned about developing a more accurate and flattering color scheme and finishes. They are always concerned about preserving the original materials or authentically reproducing them when they cannot be saved. Longevity of the work performed is also very important to them. The trust they build in their service providers is critical.

Glessner House Christmas Fireplace Lighting Ceremony

One such owner has been our client for twelve years. Over twenty five years ago, they purchased an 1864 Victorian house in Chicago (survivor from the Great Chicago Fire) and completely renovated and restored it to its original splendor (and beyond). For this client, we have been their trusted custodians for the interior and exterior paint finishes, and wallcoverings. We just completed paint restoration to the elaborate mural in the powder room next to the kitchen. There were many nicks and an unsightly crack in a very visible spot on the mural. Now restored, the mural should be good for another twenty five years!

And then, there are those Chicago area buildings that are so extraordinary, they have been declared National Landmarks and turned into house museums or preserved for posterity in some other way. Such a building is the Glessner House on South Prairie in Chicago. When you have such stature, a building gets to have its own parties and commemorations. My wife and I attended such an event in early December. It commemorated the 125th anniversary of the first lighting of the house’s main fireplace. The evening was followed by dinner and a presentation by the house’s Curator on the life of Frances Glessner.

To us, working on such vintage buildings and historical homes is most satisfying and a true privilege. We look forward to working with clients who are such a friend to their “Old House”.