Throughout the process I felt that achieving the 'right look' for a high-end architectural products showroom was just as important to you as it was to me.
- Richard S. Cohen, Feather River Wood, Wilmette
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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,

Stenciling as a Period Touch for this Historical Chicago Row House

Vintage Stairway Motif

Vintage Stairway Motif

This Row House dates back to 1890’s. Yet, to the owner’s credit, he created a wonderful Mid-Century décor for its interior. In such a house, the foyer and staircase takes a disproportionate volume of space. The owner wanted to do something special for the walls of that space. He took his first step about two years by having us install a Lincrusta wallcovering below the chair rail and then painting it and glazing it to create the perfect look. But the owner was not done.

There was a carved motif in the newel post of the staircase that inspired him, as shown in the first picture. He felt that the space above the chair rail was begging for a stencil that would be reminiscent of that motif. So, he set out to look for a design that would be appropriate for the task. He went online and found a motif he liked. From this point forward, we did the design, planning and execution work on the project, making sure the client was approving of our work every step along the way.

Stencil in Foyer Area

Stencil in Foyer Area

The steps in the execution included the following:
– Enlarging his original motif to the appropriate dimension.
– Ascertaining the desired placement and pattern density.
– Protecting adjacent surfaces before painting
– Cutting the stencils.
– Creating the actual layout on the walls.
– Finally: Stenciling!
– Clean up.
– Voila!
In the second picture, you can see one of the foyer walls, which also shows the Lincrusta wallcovering. The other picture shows the landing area and the two motifs we created for the project. The motif above the picture rail consisted of an enlarged segment of the original design.

Stencils in Landing Area

Stencils in Landing Area

The key to the successful execution of a stenciling project is the precision of the layout and the consistency of the stenciling, with some “adjustments” here and there to enhance the aesthetics . At times, such adjustments are made necessary to correct defects on the walls. For instance, the picture rail was one and a half inch from being level. Making such adjustments ensure a successful project.