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Archive for Historical Restoration

The First Step in Creating a Wow Look with New Paint Colors for this Plain Chicago Row House – Part 1

Facade of Historic Chicago Row House - Before

Facade of Historic Chicago Row House – Before

One of our Chicago clients, who is the proud owner of a Chicago historical row house, is poised to transform the appearance of the façade of his building through the use of new paint colors. As house painting contractors, who specialize in historical restoration. we are especially found of working on projects such as this, where we can help beautify a building and fulfill a client’s vision.

Our client has done a wonderful job in decorating the interior of his house in a “Period” appropriate way, while expressing his personality. Our working relationship began last year when he hired our painting company to (install and decorate a Lincrusta wallcovering) below the chair rail in his Foyer/Stairway area.. We will soon be adding stencils to the surfaces above the chair rail to complete the look.

Six-Color Palette for Historic Chicago Row House

Six-Color Palette for Historic Chicago Row House

Last year, we had a brief discussion about his building’s facade, but he was not ready to pull the trigger yet. This year he is! As shown in the attached picture, the façade is very plain currently, which bothers him. He is looking to have it be outstanding on his block! Knowing his need, we scheduled a Color and Concept consultation, to help develop a color palette that meets his requirement and likes. A six-color scheme emerged from a two-hour meeting with the client, as shown in the attached picture.

You may now wonder how these colors will be combined on the available surfaces to create a well-balanced and attractive overall design. This is where the studio portion of the consultation comes into play, in which we experiment with different color placement until we arrive at the desired result. This is the stage where we are at right now. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article showing the completed painted work on the façade of this historic building.

When you Submit a Project for an Award, you Win… Always!

Having entered many projects over the years in national and local competitions, I long realized that there are many benefits to be derived from entering a contest, irrespective of winning an award or not. I will list some of the major benefits.

Restored Chicago Vintage Metal Bay Window

Restored Chicago Vintage Metal Bay Window

1- Probably the least understood benefit has do with building one’s self-confidence. Daring to enter a competitions helps you recognize and defeat disempowering thoughts like: I am not good enough; I will embarrass myself etc. (you get the picture)
2- it focuses your company on quality. Since making an entry requires you to document a project from start to finish, all the steps become important.
3- That message about quality gets across to employees as well: their work and rigor of execution makes a difference. The net result is: Enhanced pride in their work.
4- It helps build your brand as a craftsmanship-oriented company. Making an entry generates pictures and stories that you can then use to populate blog posts, create a video on YouTube or Facebook or a project album on Houzz.
5- An entry becomes a marketing tool.
6- If you want to really impress a client, give them a copy of your entry or a version of it. That will become part of the stories they tell others about their project with your company.

Winning is frosting on the cake. If you do win an award: Tell the world through blog posts, newsletters, mailings, videos etc. You might also be able to get written up in magazines: get reprints of the article. In our case, we have collected four reprints over the years, which we still use today in our presentation folders.

Restored Chicago  Vintage Metal Decoration

Restored Chicago Vintage Metal Decoration

It is also OK to submit your project in more than one competition. You might as well leverage your efforts. On occasion, a dollar amount is sometime attached the top winning entry. Wow, that is a bonus! We have won a couple of those as well. Submitting a project for an award is fun and exciting!

Attached are pictures of our last winning project, which won the PIPP Award for Residential Exterior Restoration. Earlier last Fall, it also won one of the Chicago Painted Lady awards.

Panting in Partnership, Inc. Wins Another Painting Restoration Award

For the twenty-ninth year, the Chicago Paint & Coatings Association has sponsored the “Chicago Finest Painted Ladies and her Court Competition”. The contest is held every year to recognize the most outstanding painted work done on Victorian and other “Period” buildings. The competition is open to both contractors and homeowners.

Restored Chicago Vintage Metal Facade

Restored Chicago Vintage Metal Facade

Restored Chicago Vintage Metal Bay Window

Restored Chicago Vintage Metal Bay Window

Our project won in the category “Best Color Scheme for the Neighborhood”. The building is an 1889 brick Victorian with extensive metalwork on the cornice and two-story bay window. Part of the restoration work involved the fabrication of around thirty pieces of metal decoration that been lost, corroded or fallen apart (as well as the relocation of five bird nests). The metal had not been painted in over twenty years. So, much scraping was involved in the surface preparation. The project also involved the rebuilding of substantial portions of the front porch and the epoxying of many of the window casing and sills.

As far as the color scheme is concerned, we simply reproduced the existing one, which gave the building a regal look and worked well with surrounding buildings. Such projects often involve substantial color consultation and major changes to the color scheme. In this case, we felt the existing colors worked really well.

Chicago is well endowed with such buildings, where shaped metal was used to decorate and beatify their appearance. As painting and decorating contractors, we are privileged to help preserve them and restore their beauty.

“The History of Paint in America” Made its Debut at the School of the Art Institute

On October 8th, 2015, Mario Guertin was a guest lecturer in the Historic Preservation Department of the School of the Art Institute . The lecture was given to a dozen graduate students as part of the curriculum for their class on American Interior Design. The professor for this class is Rolf Achilles who is a luminary in the field of Art History, especially as it pertains to the American decorative arts and architecture. Among other things, Rolf is the Curator for the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows and is Chair on the Board of the Glessner House.

Historical Preservation Class of 2015 - School of the Art Institute

Historical Preservation Class of 2015 – School of the Art Institute

The first part of Guertin’s lecture told the story of how paint evolved from ingredients being mixed in the field by painters to ready-mixed paint in a can, as it is known today. Guertin started his lecture by saying that, after listening to this lecture, they would never look at a paint can the same way again. He then went on to explain how population growth, combined with tremendous technical innovation during the Industrial Revolution created the painting industry and ushered in the era of the “Chemist”.

The lecture also illustrated the use of color from the mid-1880’s to the 1950’s by sharing some of his vast collection of antique paint color cards featuring the actual paint chips for the various colors. The lecture also included a segment on color consultation – past and present. Those were the early days on Interior Design. Out of their need to promote the use of paint, manufacturers also did a lot to illustrate how paint colors could be used and combined to decorate the interior and exterior of houses. Many of those illustrations were displayed in the class.

Guertin wrapped up his presentation by illustrating how his own house painting company goes about doing Color and Concept Consultation for both interior and exterior painting projects. No one in attendance will ever look at paint cans the same way again!

Making Historic Victorian Porches Less Vulnerable to Decay

Rebuilt Victorian Porch

Rebuilding Banister with PDC – Part 1

Rebuilding Banister with PDC – Part 2

As Painting and decorating contractors, we do the maintenance painting and restoration work on many historical and “period” houses in the Chicago area. One of those properties is in Oak Park and is an 1870’s Victorian house. The front porch faces North and is in the shade all day long. Consequently, it is quite vulnerable to the ravages of moisture and weather.

The banisters were made of 10”x2” pieces of lumber held together side by side, tooled and beveled to create a beautiful pattern. Unfortunately, that design created scores of possible access points to moisture due to movement between the boards or the boards and the bottom rail. The bottom posts were equally vulnerable because the moisture would gather at the bottom of the lower rail, next to the posts. Needless to say, the banisters had to be rebuilt on multiple occasions over the years.

The owner of Donatelli Builders , whom we use in all our historical wood repairs, believes in using materials that offer the maximum longevity possible. So he told me about the possibility of using PVC to recreate the banister and posts designs. I talked to the owner about the idea and he all for it since the original design could be faithfully replicated, while achieving greater longevity at the same time.

One word of caution is in order about using PVC and dark paint colors. On the North side of a house, color choices do not affect PVC. However, before using PVC on the other sides of a house, the LRV (Light Reflectance Value) of the colors to be used must be considered. The lower the LRV (darker colors), the light/heat will be absorbed by the color and the higher the risk that the heat will distort the PVC, causing it to loose its shape.

Using modern materials can help prolong the life and beauty of vintage designs, as well as help reduce the maintenance costs to the owners. However, they must be used judiciously.

Rebuilding Banister with PDC – Part 3