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Elevating the Design: Decorative Finishes Jolt the Voltage of Upscale Hotel


By Jill M. Speegle

Decorative-painting projects in commercial spaces can present a host of daunting challenges. But imagine creating masterful finishes in a bustling elite hotel in downtown Chicago.

The decorative-painting project at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago was, as one might expect, a unique undertaking, said Devin Cronin, project manager and estimator at All-Tech Decorating Company.

 All-Tech Decorating Company

 All photos courtesy of All-Tech Decorating Company

“I would definitely bid on this work again, but the big difference between this and other hotel projects is that the public areas were never shut down,” he said.

Despite the influx of guests during the project, All-Tech combined skillful technique and an imaginative color combination to produce striking treatments.

The Romeoville, Ill.-based company worked on the ground-level lobby area and the main lobby located on the seventh floor, which included the grand staircase, the living area, the main reception area, elevator lobbies, the laSalle Room, and the gallery.

All-Tech Decorating Company

All of the existing wall finishes were lacquer panels, Cronin said. The majority of the ceilings were previously painted white, with some prefinished lacquer trim.

All-Tech Decorating was charged with applying modern-looking finishes, designed by Brayton Hughes Design Studios (San Francisco), in the spaces. The finishes included Benjamin Moore & Company base coats, Faux Design Studio custom glazes and clear coats manufactured by Minwax, Cronin said.

All-Tech Decorating Company

The wall and ceiling millwork was sprayed with UMA Brand® water-borne bonding primer and sealer manufactured by XIM.

A metallic textured strie effect was produced in the living room and gallery ceiling, Cronin said. The team used a 10-inch, stiff bristle brush dragged through a wet plaster custom mix from Faux Design Studio to create the look. The metallic effect was created using a Cres-Lite metallic rich gold finish, manufactured by Crescent Bronze. The product is a water-based decorative coating that is formulated with pure metal pigments, according to the product description.

The hotel’s wall panels were given a multi-step antique wall finish with an antique rose gold and patina trim, adding an elegant look.

To create the look, the project team first applied a base coat of Benjamin Moore’s Regal® Brand Interior Paint, based on the company’s Advanced Particle Technology® and a proprietary 100% acrylic resin. The trim finish was a custom-mixed glaze from Sheri Zeman at Faux Design Studio, applied with a chip brush and then wiped, Cronin said.

The larger inner panels were cross-hatched. To create this look, the team applied the custom-mixed glaze with a tight roller dragged across the surface with a 10-inch, stiff bristle brush in a vertical and then horizontal pattern, with drying allowed between coats.

Each step was “meticulously masked off at all joining edges so as to not overlap adjacent finishes,” Cronin said. In addition, the finishes were mitered at every corner and each panel and the length of trim were finished as individual pieces.

All-Tech Decorating Company

The decorative painting scheme adds another inviting element to the mystique of the Four Seasons. The setting may be bustling downtown Chicago, but the visitor might feel a sense of solitude amid the artistry encountered in the hotel’s public areas.

So, what do you say? Meet you in the lobby?


Jill M. Speegle

Jill Speegle is the Editor of Durability + Design News. She earned her B.A. in journalism and English as well as her J.D. from the University of Arkansas. In Sketches, Jill shares her thoughts on a number of topics that may be of interest to the D+D community, including architecture, interior design, green building, historic restoration, and whatever else catches her radar.



Tagged categories: Architecture; Color; Design; Green building; Interior design; Restoration; All-Tech Decorating Company; Decorative finishes; Decorative Finishes; Decorative painting; Faux finishes; Hotels

Comment from Lucas Ross, (3/29/2021, 6:51 AM)

This is so great! I love the ceiling designs!

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