We have used many contractors. Your company is by far the best to work with across all fields.
- Kim Ekrote, Long Grove
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Author Archive for Mario

What if you Are Tired of Your Mural, but Still Love your Decorative Finish?

Wall with Trompe L'oeil Mural

Wall with Trompe L’oeil Mural

Restored Texture and Decorative Finish in New Color

Restored Texture and Decorative Finish in New Color

Room Displaing the New Wall Color and Recreated Strie Texture

Room Displaying the New Wall Color and Recreated Strie Texture

A client from the North Shore of Chicago recently had a problem with the decorative finishing in her living room. The problem was two-fold: she was tired of her fifteen-year old trompe l’oeil mural, but still loved the strie texture and softly mottled glazed finish on her walls. She was also looking to change the color of the wall from a blueish green to a yellowish green. The main challenges were to make the mural completely disappear, including its painterly texture, and recreate the strie texture in the surrounding walls.

A strie finish is a traditional finish that is generally created by dragging a brush, a comb or steel wool through a glaze, thereby creating a vertical or horizontal pattern (sometime both). In this case, the strie pattern was created not by dragging a comb through a glaze, but the basecoat instead, which made for a very subtle texture. In order to prevent the finish from closing back on itself, we had to thicken the basecoat with an additive. To complete the finish, we softly mottled a white glaze over the wall surfaces. The overall effect was subtle and beautiful, as shown in the after pictures. The old look of her living room was faithfully recreated, with the modifications the client had requested.

Matching a decorative finish can be daunting task, especially old finishes. The original paints are no longer to be found, even if they were still usable. Additionally, the technology of paint has greatly evolved, which means that today’s products do not perform the same way. In our painting and decorating company, we are committed to using our knowledge and skill to meet the challenges of projects such as these.

Mural Painting: A Way to Express a Fantasy – Part 2

Part 1 of this two-part series described how a sand-painting inspired the creation of a four-wall panted Murals. This article illustrates how the client’s profession inspired the creation of a Fantasy Mural. Giving life to our clients’ dreams and decorating fantasies is part of what we do as painting and decorating contractors in the Chicago area.

This client lived on the sixtieth floor of a condo building. He had a two-story view of Chicago’s downtown area and Lake Michigan. When people walked into his place, he wanted them to look at his 2-story view of Chicago and say: Wow! He then wanted them to turn to their left to look at one of the murals and say: Wow! They would then turn to the right and say: Wow, looking at another of the murals. That was his decorative fantasy. It was the first key our client gave us about what he was looking for.

Painted Mural 1

Painted Mural 1

The other key piece of information that inspired the concept for his mural was the nature of his work. He was in the travel incentive business. His work was about organizing exotic travel all over the world as a reward to the best performing employees for his clients’ companies. You might say: How was his work an inspiration for his mural? He already had a two-story view of Chicago. What he was missing were key Chicago landmarks that he could show off to his visitors in the comfort of his own home, like one of the tours he helped organize in his business. The concept of his mural was born!

The next step was to develop an oversized sample board. The client loved it! The concept included a foggy glazed background. The landmarks included The Willis Tower, the Aon Building, the old Stock Exchange Archway, the John Hancock building, Marina City, Chicago River bridges and many others. I remember our muralist telling us that this project “had pushed all of her Envelopes!” Pushing on the envelopes for the sake of a happy client is totally worth it. She agreed wholeheartedly.

Painted Mural 2

Painted Mural 2

Painted Mural 3

Painted Mural 3

Mural Painting: A Way to Express a Fantasy – Part 1

Navaho Sandpainting

Navaho Sandpainting

Mural painting can be gateway to express an idea, a fantasy of sort. You need an inspiration source. You also need to release your creativity.

One day, I came across a picture of a Navaho sandpainting with tall characters called “Medicine People”. I affectionately called them “Blue People”. I said to myself that, one day, Painting in Partnership, Inc. of the Chicago area will produce a painted mural with the “Blue People”. I attached a copy of the original sandpainting for your review.

I few years later I the right opportunity came along. I was asked by a designer to come up with a theme for a painted mural that would cover four walls: two in the kitchen and two in the adjacent laundry. The client’s favorite color was blue. I said to the designer that I had an idea for the mural that would involve the 4 walls. I proceeded to tell her about my idea:

1- Three Warriors Doing a War Dance in the Night Sky
2- The Peace Man
3- Farmers Tending a Corn Field
4- The Rain Man’s Dance

I still remember the process of working with my muralist like it was yesterday. We divided up the work. I was responsible for the background work: base color and the cloud formations in the sky. I was also responsible for a good part of the masking duties. My muralist did the rest of the work. I remember the creative process to be so much fun for the two of us.

Mural painting can preserve a memory, express a fantasy and open a path to unleash one’s creativity. In my painting company, our slogan is: “We Paint in Partnership with YOU”. That slogan is especially true for the mural work we do.

Night Warriors

Night Warriors

Peace Man

Peace Man

Farmers

Farmers

Rain Man

Rain Man

A Bad Case of Mildew on the Eaves of your House? – A Proposed Diagnostic and Solution

Mildew on the Eaves of a House

Mildew on the Eaves of a House

Mildew is a particular type of mold. On the exterior of a house, it is most commonly found on the North side, away from the sunlight. To survive, Mildew needs darkness, food and moisture. Power washing alone does not kill mildew. A bleach solution (coupled with a cleaner) has to be used. This is our standard approach to effectively deal with mildew.

The attached picture shows a bad case of mildew. At best, it makes the house look dirty. At worst, it makes the surface look downright bad! I saw the house in the attached picture earlier in the week. At first, my recommendation, after killing the mildew, was to use two coats of a proven mildew-proof paint on the eves to prevent or delay the future growth of mildew – the client seemed really interested. However, upon second thought, I asked myself: “will my paint solution get at the root of the client’s problem?” I had to answer NO! I then proceeded to ask the client if his bathrooms were venting into the attic. His answer was yes! He also said that the last painter painted his vents shut.

I advised my client to consult with a contractor about rerouting the venting for his bathrooms and getting new vents for his eves. The client may still decide to use mildew-proof paint on his eves, but his long-term problem will now be solved. Looking for the client’s long-term interest, we call that in my company “Taking a Custodial View”. We believe in that approach.

Advise from a Painting Contractor on Selecting Paint Colors

HAPPY EASTER!!!

HAPPY EASTER!!!

Dressing up your house with color can be a challenging task. Over our twenty nine years as painting contractors and color consultants, we have discovered a few tools and ideas that can help people make good color choices and end up with a pleasing result.

1- Ascertaining Personal Style
Zeroing in on your style is important because it influences your choices. Looking through magazines for pictures you like (or dislikes), gathering color swatches etc. can help you give some definition to your style.

2- Inventory of your House
A- Taking the Temperature of every room from 1 to 10 in terms of what works and does not work for you. As an example, if a green room is an “8”, perhaps changing the color to a more yellow/green will do the trick. If a green room is a “2”, you need to change the color.
B- Now take an Emotional Inventory:Function (what is room used for)
Who uses the room
Placement of furniture (decide before painting)
Change (is anything going to change?)

3- Re-assess your Pictures
Separate wishes and fantasy from what is more realistic. What do you really like about your room and what would like to see? What is in that picture you really liked? Was it the high contrast between the trim and the wall color or was it the color on the ceiling?

4- Look at a Fan Deck – Distinctions about Color
A- Cool Colors: Have a component of Blue: Blues, violets, purple, blue-green
B- Warm Colors: Have a component of Yellow or Red: Yellow-Green, Pink, Peach, Maroon, variations on Red and Reddish Whites
C- Neutrals: Can be cool or warm
Gray-Blues are coolGray-Browns (Taupe) are warm
Yellows in a color warm up the color, like tans and camel

5- Choose Color(s) – Decide on Tint
– Do you want just a “Hint” of the color
– Do you want “Contrast”, like dark walls and white trim
– Dark walls do not necessarily make a room look smaller. It can be the
opposite, like a brown room
– Want to create a more intimate feeling, paint the ceiling something else
than white.

Our experience shows us that color matters to people and that small variations can make a big difference. On occasion, color consultation gives an extra level of comfort in making those color decisions,