Each room was unique to itself and yet all were connected in harmony. Our home became a warm, inviting and comfortable place.
- Charlotte and Michael Paull, Kildeer
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Archive for February 2013

Converting a Closet Into a Wine Cellar, Complete with a Painted Mural

Over the years, a few clients have dreamed of converting a closet in their home into a wine cellar, complete with a wine-inspired wall mural, even some seating for comfort and other accessories. We were there to facilitate their dream with our decorative painting and mural painting skills! In this article, we will tell you about the stories behind two such projects.

Wine Closet – Mural 1

Wine Closet – Mural 2

Wine Closet – Mural 3

One of them involved a closet six feet wide by five feet deep. In this space, our client already had 2 wine coolers and a chair. He was looking not just for one, but two wine-inspired murals. During the consultation, we ascertained that he had pictured scenes from a vineyard and a cellar as part of his creation. He also wanted the rest of the walls and ceiling to have the feel of masonry. So, we troweled on a light texture, which we painted and distressed with a color wash. Upon completing the painting, the client brought in the glassware and a throw for the chair. Voila!

Another project involved a larger closet, already outfitted with its own air conditioning and shelving. A few years earlier, those clients had gone on a trip to California to celebrate their anniversary. The highlight of their trip was a sumptuous dinner they had in the cellar of Merryvale Winery in Napa Valley. They wanted to preserve that special memory in a mural for their own cellar. To complete the mood of the room, we created a masonry finish for the rest of the walls. The floor was painted and distressed to give it the look of concrete. The same look was created on the floor of the mural. The entrance door to the closet was a French door, which we grained and distressed to make it look like it had accumulated a lot of patina over the decades. As a hint for what this room was about, we painted vines above the exterior doorway, leading into the interior cellar walls.

A house-painting project as personal as this sometimes calls for equally personal touches. Two years earlier, this client had lost his beloved sixteen-year old Golden Retriever. In discussions with his wife, we decided to surprise him by painting a portrait of his dog walking about in the cellar. Oh, by the way, one of the barrels bears a brass plaque with their family name on it!

Preserving memories and fulfilling dreams for one’s environment is what we do as decorative painters and mural artists in the Chicago area. What dream do you have to beautify and personalize your environment?

Another Collection of Paint Memorabilia Was Preserved

For over twenty years, I have been collecting (and salvaging) paint memorabilia. Over time, I have gained a reputation as a “custodian” of the industry’s past. Much of the items in my collection were donated to me, sometime days away from being discarded.

Oil, Paint and Drug Reporter, Circa 1871

This past week, I received a call from Tom Whiting, the Managing Director at G.R. O’Shea Company, a distributor and rep of ingredients for the paint industry. James, his dad, had acquired the business in the early 80’s. James had been a member and leader in the Chicago Paint and Coatings Association his whole career. Following his dad’s passing, Tom was looking to downsize the office. Time had come to let go of his dad’s collection of paint memorabilia and industry books. Wanting to make sure his dad’s collection would be preserved, Tom contacted me and said “take everything you want”. So, I did!

Rare Book on Paint Questions

I want to highlight a couple of the items I received from Tom. First, there was a framed reproduction of an 1871, one-page edition of the weekly Oil, Paint and Drug Reporter, which had been republished by The Chemical Marketing Newspaper in 1971. As show in the picture of the top portion of the journal, that issue described the market trends and prices for a variety of oils, ranging from linseed, cottonseed, palm, to a wide array of animal oils like whale, cod, castor etc.

Then, there was a book entitled 1995 Paint Questions answered published in 1919 by The Painters Magazine. Here are a few questions taken at random:
– How do you finish white pine in the “Natural”?
– What is the effect of frost on fresh oil paint?
– What is the effect of sanding the old paint layer for the durability of the next coat?
– What is the best way to kill knots in wood?
– What is the effect of vines on paint?
– How do you do a permanent job of porch floor painting?

I believe that understanding history empowers our future as a person, people and industry. Additionally, much wisdom can be gained from understanding history. Plus I find it fascinating!

Creating Painted Arts and Crafts Designs that Fit a House’s “Old Bones”

As decorative painting specialists serving the Chicago area, we are occasionally called on to create original painted decorative motifs that are flattering to the “period” or architectural style of a building. In this article, we are presenting two designs that we created for Arts and Crafts and Craftsman style houses.

Arts and Crafts Painted Design

Craftsman Style Painted Design

The first one is our equinox archway, designed to mirror the equinox pattern in the stained glass window in the background. The slanted and curved archway seemed like the perfect place to emphasize the delicate design of the large leaded window in the adjacent room. Coming up with the original design for the archway turned out to be the easy part. The execution of the painting was actually more challenging. First, there was the challenge to adjust the design to the geometry of the curved, slanted archway. Then, there was the added challenge of the textured plaster substrate. To meet those challenges, we used stretchable tapes of different widths. Needless to say, in order to produce a flawless result, we needed to touch up many areas where the paint had seeped around the texture and under the tape. In all, this painting project took about a week.

Another of our original designs was conceived to adorn the two coach lights on each side of the garage door for a large two-story Craftsman-style house. The garage being detached from the house, the owners did not want it to compete with the more elaborate color scheme of the house. However, they wanted the find a way to bring the full color palette of the house to the garage structure in a subtle kind of way. This design hit the spot for our client! The substrate for our painting presented similar execution challenges as the project described previously.

Finding ways to embellish and flatter the architectural features of Chicago’s vintage buildings, through the use of our decorative painting skills is part of what we love to do at Painting in Partnership.

Using Decorative Finishing to Replicate the Look of Artwork on Adjacent Walls

We have been using our skills in decorative painting to meet our clients’ requests all over Chicago and the suburban areas for nearly twenty-five years. Using our knowledge of paints, glazes, techniques and tools, we are able to meet the most demanding and unusual requests from our clients.

Decorative Finish to Mirror Artwork in a Room

For instance, a client showed me a painting in his master bath. It was about six feet long and five feet high. The painting revealed the naked body of a woman frolicking in the water. The painting had a gray band at the top and bottom and a large band of vibrant aqua, mottled with gray and cream tones to give the feel of water. The client’s request was: “Can you replicate the colors and feel of the painting around the room, as if the painting bursts out of its frame? After taking a closer look at the painting, my answer was: yes, Painting in Partnership can do this for you!

The first step in a project like this always consists of preparing a sample board to ensure good color and style matches. After the client approved the sample, we painted the walls the same shade of gray as in the painting. We then rehung the painting and established the exact height of the color bands and used a laser to spread them around the room. We then used a combination of four glazes: teal, cream, white and gray to replicate the look of the painting. We used brushes, cheesecloth and a badger brush as our main tools.

Over the years, our client’s requests have inspired the development of some of our most creative work and finishes. Decorative painting gives us a wonderful array of options to meet our clients’ most sophisticated requests.