As craftspeople, we have many skills, and invention is one of our most important. We repair, prepare and paint many different types of surfaces. Often, we find ourselves faced with a challenging project. Other times we start a project that presents as straightforward at first, but then challenges develop as we work.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of working on a unique project with contractor Mike Sander, of Sander & Co Inc, and the team at Jill Litner Kaplan Interiors. Together we helped transform a beautiful home in Weston and turned a large living room and office into a fresh new space and gave it a brand new identity. The room is quite elongated with multiple entrances. The woodwork was stained oak- from the dental crown moulding and mantelpieces, to the full wall of built-in cabinetry that extended the full length of the room. Our job was to convert the walls and ceiling from stain to paint. We were also tasked with making all the trim uniform and consistent by spraying them with a semi-gloss, waterborne alkyd paint, a paint that binds more readily to the cracks and crevices of moulding and trim than other types of paint.
This home is occupied and the room is used daily as a pathway to other areas. The challenge was to organize forty-nine cabinet doors, which had to be removed for painting, and arrange them in that same space in a manner that would allow for completely hands-free painting. We had to ensure that the homeowners, other contractors and, of course, we ourselves would have ease of movement with our spraying equipment throughout this space. There were times when the room, although large, was bustling with our team, the homeowners and the designers. The paint surfaces would be vulnerable to contamination with all of the comings and goings of different people. How could we complete this project, get it done right, and conform to best industry practices? This was a true puzzle that would be impossible to solve in the usual way people approach painting challenges.
Tasso, a member of our team,created a clever invention. Using his idea, we built a structure in the center of the room to use as giant scaffold for hanging the cabinet doors. Roughly constructed from 2×4’s, the structure was about eight feet high and spanned a perimeter of 10′ x 20′. A labyrinth of doors of all different sizes hung from wires all around and throughout the structure, giving our painters access to both sides simultaneously without having to touch one door while painting.
The maze of doors took a few days to build and hang, but it was essential for efficiency while we sprayed the doors. Tasso’s invention ensured that the cabinet doors would have a smooth final finish. It also helped keep the space clean every day. It kept all painted surfaces off the floor, eliminating paint contamination. The team’s ability to assess the needs of the situation and then see how every inch of airspace could be used was completely inventive. Our approach to this project showcased our team’s remarkable ability to problem-solve.
After we built the structure, we covered doorways, floors, cabinet interiors, and the stone fireplaces with heavy plastic to protect from the mist of primer and paint produced by the sprayers. We thoroughly sanded and cleaned all surfaces and then sprayed two coats of shellac-based primer. The team filled holes and imperfections, and caulked endless seams. The primed surfaces were then sanded and cleaned again. After a week and a half of prep work and priming, the finish coats were applied. Once dry, the team disassembled the structure and put the doors back in their proper places. Painting the walls and ceiling came last.
Our customers’ space is now a completely different room. It has become a more sophisticated backdrop for the owners’ unique collection of artwork and sculptures. Our invention made the process smooth and enjoyable for them, us, the other contractors and the designer team. We did the job right following all of the criteria for best industry practices. There was no mess, little inconvenience for the family-a perfect job.
We are not afraid to invent, create, and use our every ability to make a project happen. Every challenge has at least one solution. Our team brings a diverse set of skills and abilities to turn those challenges into exciting opportunities to explore, discover, and turn our customers’ dreams for their homes into reality.