How To Hire A Painter

I have had my business of Decorative Artwork since 1992. Over the course of those years I have worked with many painters from different areas. The majority of the time things went well for the client. And for myself as well. But, I have run across some disasters too. Here are some tips for hiring the right painter for your project.

#1…..Get References! Don’t expect a quote over the phone. And for big projects, hopefully you could actually see some of their work. Here’s an example of what could go wrong. –
I had a client a few years back that needed their 2 story family room painted. It needed some patching and in some areas on the ceiling there needed to be drywall tape replaced. My client got the name of a painter from someone she didn’t know but she told me the guy was excited about the job and didn’t mind working on scaffolding. I finished my decorative painting before the painter and his buddy were done. But I had to go back the next day to be paid. When I went back my client was almost in tears. The painters had “finished” and they had been paid. Well, she brings me in to show me what they had done to her family room ceiling. They had used blue painters tape instead of drywall tape to fix the areas that needed it! And the tape was starting to peel off. She had called the painter to discuss it with him only to find out he had left town.
That is the worst I have seen. Most painters are reputable and trustworthy. But…..
Get References!

#2…..When you do find a painter you can trust, if they say they need a deposit, give it to them. After the economic downturn I’ve known contractors that just don’t want to run a tab at the paint store anymore. Probably holds true for many trades.

#3…..I think this may be as important as #1. Let them do their job. Don’t be underfoot and try to keep children busy with other things.

#4…..Pay promptly. Times are different now.

As I said I have worked with many different painters over the years. And now I only recommend one painter. If it doesn’t work for the client then they are on their own finding one. The painter I recommend is
Rick Wehrman….I have known him for maybe 20 years. I not only recommend him because he is a great painter, ( his son right along with him, and sometimes his daughter as well), but they are great with customers. They go in and do their job and do it well. For me, it is important to have a good rapport with the painter on the job. It makes my life a lot easier.

I finished up a portion of a large project with Rick and crew. Here is an example of how he makes my life easier.
The client wanted their foyer tray ceiling done. If I did it it would mean bringing in scaffolding, hiring someone to put it up and then take it down again. Rick has done bits of faux finishing for me before so I asked him if he would take it on and he said he would. The faux that was to be done in the tray in the foyer was the same one that I had done in the dining room tray ceiling.

Besides having good work done, the foyer tray ceiling was less costly because Rick uses an extension ladder to do them. Saves a great deal of time as well. The photos in this post show the tray ceiling in progress and then finished. Doesn’t it look great?!

I hope you consider this the next time you are looking for a painter. It could save you heartache and money.

Have a great week!
Doris

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#1 Choice of 3 Wood Strippers

Refinishing furniture is messy and odorous, no two ways about it. But the rewards can be many. The look of wood coming into a new life, maybe taking on a totally different look even.

The chair I had mentioned previously is one that in some ways has gone very smoothly and in others has been challenging. The biggest challenge has been dealing with all the staples in it. It is an Ethan Allen chair I came across at Goodwill for $7.00, therefor the quality is high.

The products used are shown here along with other items you will be using. I also picked up some cheap toothbrushes which really come in handy for crevices. The container you use to pour the product into should be nonporous, a tin can works well.

Two of the products I tried, whereas they worked okay, they were slower at the actual removing of the finish (which I believe to be 2-3 coats of varnish). Only one of them, the Jasco Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover, actually made the finish bubble up, which in the past was the sign of a great wood stripper. The other one, the 2 Minute Remover, worked about the same without the bubbling. They both had strong odors.

Here is a peak at how the wood looked once stripped. I hope to have the chair completed this week and Reveal it in next week’s post.

Maybe here would be a good place to insert the setup of such a project. Number one is have plenty of ventilation. Make sure the flooring of wherever you are working is covered well with some very protective tarps or papers.
Ideally you will have your own space set up for this task. Unfortunately with my physical condition being what it is I wasn’t able to carry the chair to my workroom.

My #1 product choice is ……….Klean Strip Klean Kutter Refinisher!
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It surprised me really. It is more runny whereas the others were more gel like. The others you brush on, let sit a few minutes, then remove. My choice to remove the finish is steel wool and then old tshirts.

The Klean Strip, however, you apply with the steel wool and start rubbing. It didn’t need a lot of pressure either. I dipped the end of a steel wool pad in the solution being careful of the dripping, I wiped the wood once with the grain, and when I went to wipe again the finish came right off. I was thrilled! So the one I thought I would like the least, actually turned out to be my favorite.

With this project I got a reminder of how much I always enjoyed stripping furniture. Not because of the process by any means, but because of the results. Makes me think of 2 pieces that have been sitting around maybe needing to be refreshed.

It looks to be another good week here in Illinois. Maybe some rain but more badly needed sunshine as well.

Enjoy the day!
Doris

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Fresh Ideas


For about the past nine months I have had a lot of time to think about projects, new ventures and the like. I have had this time due to the fact that I have been laid up for a good part of it recuperating from 2 surgeries. The first one was from a torn muscle in my knee. That began on Memorial Day of last year culminating in surgery to repair it in August. I was able to work sporadically during this time. After 6 weeks of recuperation I went back to work full time only to develop an even larger tear (tears) in a muscle in my hip. Surgery was 2 weeks later and I am finishing up a 3-6 month recuperation from that. Hopefully I will be back to full time in a few weeks.

The knee was a relatively easy fix but the hip has been quite an ordeal. It has given me time to re-evaluate some things.

I have missed coming here and sharing thoughts, ideas, projects and recipes. So I am adding that back into my life. I will continue my painting business, allowing it to naturally slow down. Thinking over the past 2 years with design elements changing course the main thrust of the business has been painted furniture and doing faux metallic ceilings. The ceilings, by the way, fit in quite well with the current design trend. There is always a call for murals now and again seeing as they are customized to the needs of a client. I say this knowing that I am in the beginning stages of a large project where creating a Tuscan look in a kitchen is one part of it. Hoping to post on that as the project progresses.

A couple of years ago I picked up knitting in order to keep my hands busy while quitting smoking. It helped tremendously! It will be 4 years this summer. It can be done! The thing with knitting is that for the most part you need to stay focused and there is a lot of counting involved so your mind isn’t dwelling on things.

I have come a long way with the knitting and feel like I am on a journey with it. I started off with the basics….hats, gloves, scarves. I also had some disasters trying projects that I just wasn’t ready for. But like I said, it is a journey. I now sell knitted items in my etsy shop (dcartwork.etsy.com). Also, something that I am a little proud of, I started creating my own patterns and have them for sale as well. They are also on ravelry.com and craftsy.com. The patterns are geared toward beginners for now but I look forward to when I am able to create some more elaborate pieces.

My goal here is to share ideas etc. I do mean share – I would love to see some of what you are up to. I have a few projects in mind to finish and showcase here. Like the velvet chair I started pulling apart in order to recover and update it. It felt daunting at the time when I pulled some fabric off only to find a gazillion (is that even a word) staples. I now have a plan in mind to deal with that.
Here is a before and after shot of dining room chairs that I painted for a client:

I also came up with new recipes to pass along as well. Well, one isn’t really new to us but I think you will love it.

I hope you all have stayed safe with the crazy weather that has been happening across the country. We have been lucky right here but there sure has been issues around us.

Have a good day!
Doris

Transferring A Favorite Photo

Hello there!

In my last post on transferring images I said that I would show how to do a standard photograph. Well, I decided to do one of a favorite photo that I have and wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to display it. This is a perfect opportunity to use the transfer process.
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Basically you need the same materials as for a painted image. That would be a photocopy of the photo that you want to transfer, gel medium, a preferred canvas, and a sponge.
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Apply the gel evenly to the canvas and lay the copy over it with the image side down. I chose an 8×10 canvas and simply printed a copy of the image off my home printer. If you go to a printer do get your copy, do not use photo paper for this process, use regular photocopy paper. My printer had reassured me that their photo paper was used regularly when customers wanted to transfer images. So I went ahead and used their paper for an order. Wrong. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong so I googled it. What my printer was calling transferring is very different from what I was wanting to do. What they were saying was transferring was in reality attaching a photo, face side up and it is simply “glued” on. That is not what this is about. The reason I settled on their paper was because of the size of the image my customer wanted to use. It was 20×24 and the printer can’t make copies on regular photocopy paper on something that large. Just a heads up to you. If you ever have any questions about it don’t hesitate to ask.
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I decided to crackle the sides instead of putting a standard frame on it. I based it with a medium brown (I used PPG Earthy Ochre, but any medium brown will work), used a crackle medium over this (I only needed a little so I used Martha Stewart’s Crackle Medium), and then painted it with an offwhite called French White, which is a BJM color.

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By the way this makes for great Christmas gifts. A real personal touch to gift giving.

I’m, not sure if I mentioned this in the last post, but when you transfer an image in this manner it will be a reverse of what it shows in the original photo.

So have fun with it and maybe someone you know will receive that personalized gift this holiday season.
Have a great day!
Doris

2014 Cavalcade Of Homes

Hello there!

I have been given the good fortune of receiving permission to report here not only my work in the Cavalcade of Homes, but also to follow along with the construction phase of the 2 models that King’s Court Builders is having in the Cavalcade. I just love this. I love being a part of the great team that is pulling all of this together. I walked the models for the first time the other day with Pete Stefani, President of King’s Court Builders, Joelle Tilche, Director of Sales and Marketing, and Maria Hildebrand, Interior Designer on the project. There is just something about the construction phase that inspires me. My hope is to be able to convey not only the excitement of putting cavalcade models together, but also all of the hard work that everyone puts into it. And believe me it takes quite an effort to pull this off. A strong healthy challenge! Not only for myself, but also for the carpenters, electricians, plumbers, roofers, painters and whomever else I have left out. My part physically is secondary to the workings of it all.
http://www.cavalcadeofhomes.com

Weather permitting I will be stopping and taking the first photos today and posting within the next day or two. I also have another friend to introduce you to. And wait until you see her creations!

Have a great day everyone!
Doris

Finished Chairs!

Yay! The chairs are finished! And I love them! The color is just what I was aiming for and gotten through a little trial and error. But actually, not too much. The glaze color I got on the first mix of paint color.
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I don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but the finish on them gives just the right glow. I used Annie Sloan’s Soft Wax. And I would use that again. In the past I have used paste wax,(the kind for floors) and mixed artists oils with it to get a good glaze color. But this Soft Wax can be mixed with water based paint so I mixed two colors of acrylic craft paint. And it washes up with soap and water.
chairsfinal 002

The wax gives a good hard finish when dried and buffed. It protects against any water stain that may happen.

The wax is also what I used on the painted fabric seats. It not only keeps the paint soft and pliable, it protects it against water and stains. I used the Soft Wax without paint added to it so that I would get some contrast between the fabric seats and the wooden frame.
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Remember how I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for the fabric? Well, I was at Home Depot the other day and I noticed that Behr has come out with their own chalk paint. Something to try for sure as the Annie Sloan’s is rather expensive. I also came across a recipe online for making your own chalk paint that I plan on trying. Let me know if you would like the recipe.

I went with the blue because I like the freshness of the color. The stripe could be painted in any color, of course. Or maybe you would like the seats a solid color with an antique glaze over them? That could be a great look as well.
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So, I have the chairs done, but,……what’s this? There is no blue in the tablecloth? Ah yes, as with many projects that start off small they most likely will grow as you go along. Okay, so, no blue…..I have two ideas and I think I will start with the most common sense one first. And it will give me an opportunity to try something that I have wondered about.

But I will leave that for another post! lol!

Hope you are having a great week!
Doris

Faux Finishing 101

Glaze

Good morning! Today I thought I would chat about water base glazes that are used for faux finishing. Maybe you have been wanting to try your hand at it, maybe you would like to understand what your professional faux painter is talking about, or maybe you are just interested in the process. Whatever your reasons are, I hope that you will find this interesting and helpful.

I specified water base glazes because there are some decorative artists still out there that prefer to work in oils. Water based paints and mediums have come a long way, therefore I prefer working with them over oil based paint. There are several different brands of glazes, the two that I prefer are:

Dutch Boy Dimensions Technique Glaze (available at Menards)
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and

Faux Effects Aqua Creme (available at most fine paint stores)
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So what is the difference? Cost and dry time. The Dutch Boy Technique Glaze is about $30.00 a gallon and the dry time is a little longer than for paint, thus giving you a little time to move and work the paint. I use it mostly for Old World Washes. BTW, the Technique Glaze is really the only Dutch Boy product that I use. The Faux Effects Aqua Creme gives about an extra hour to move paint which is quite a benefit when creating specific finishes. I use it mostly for Colorwashes and when glazing furniture. However, you pay for the extended dry time. Aqua Creme runs about $28.00 a quart. A little does go a long way though.

There is another difference. The Dutch Boy product has a bit of a sheen to it when it dries. The Faux Effects does not, it dries fairly flat. That doesn’t matter really when you are working on something that will end up varnished.

Below are a few sample boards that I have created for a client and will be delivering tomorrow. The first one is an Old World Wash…
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it has what we call “movement” to it.

The other is a colorwash done with Aqua Creme…
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It has a more even feel to the overall look.

I am also making a sample to paint their kitchen island. What I have found best is to get a piece of moulding (this one I got from Home Depot, where they sell it by the foot), and paint it as I would the piece to be finished. On this one you may be able to see how I used different strengths of glaze over it, in order to create the right look for their kitchen. I prefer to use the Aqua Creme glaze on furniture myself. I like to be able to work the glaze a little longer in order to have the correct amount staying in the grooves and corners.
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So, I hope this has been informative and maybe even inspiring. If you have any questions or concerns about a current or future project I would be happy to answer them. And, who knows, maybe you will want to try your hand at a new project during these winter months.

I hope that your day is filled with sunshine!