Published on Thu, Mar 8, 2001
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Home care is a family affair

By Meg Olson

“Now we have room to grow,” said Pacific Building Center co-owner Bob Christianson, stretching out in the new store on Bell Road at Peace Portal Drive. “The first thing we did was decompress. Now our aisles are wide enough to meet code!”

After four years cramped into a leased space at the Blaine International Center, the Christianson family bought the Crystal Palace tavern and banquet hall. After an extensive remodel, they moved into the shiny new store in November 2000 with the help of 40 friends and community members.

“We’ve had nothing but enthusiasm,” Christianson said. “We had everything at the other store but nobody knew we had it. Now people know what we have and they can see where it is.” He added the store’s new location put them in the center of their market area, as easily accessible to Birch Bay and Semiahmoo as it is to downtown. “I’ve known for years this would be the perfect spot. Since we’ve been out here, our traffic count is up almost 25 percent.”

The new store’s bright interior offers more space and the three-acre property has room to expand. “We’re expanding in all directions,” Christianson said, pointing to a nearly complete 2,400-square foot warehouse that will house everything from moldings and sheet rock to conduit. The building center has added concrete and masonry products and is bringing in new dimension lumber products.

“We’re a do-it-yourself center for homeowners,” Christianson said. “We’re trying to make sure we have everything they need, so people don’t have a reason to leave Blaine.” He added they provide small-scale material pick-up for local contractors. “We can bring in pretty much anything but we aren’t about to start unloading packaged houses.”

A true family business, Pacific Building Center offers the expertise of four Christiansons. Bob’s wife, chamber of commerce president Pam Christianson, has a special knack with wallpaper and window treatments, but defers to daughters Stephanie and Kim on paint. “They have a better eye for paint,” she said. Kim also manages the office work, while Stephanie is the store’s delivery driver. “We all do a little bit of everything,” Bob Christianson said.

While the building center has plans to add landscaping materials in coming months, Christianson said they have no intention of bringing in plant material, a role he said Spooner Creek Nursery already fills. “In a little town we’re far better off working together and networking,” he said. “If someone needs something for their chainsaw, I send them to Mather’s Mowers. If they need plants, I send them to the nursery.”


Painting tips from the pros...
Masking Tape On Glass
Don’t do it. Chances are you won’t get it off. Go ahead and get paint on the glass, and take it off later with a single-sided razor.
Closing A Paint Can
Get the excess paint out of the rim first. (Some people punch small nail holes in the rim so the paint drains back into the can.) The more paint you have there, the greater the amount that’ll go flying out when you pound the lid back on. (And paint in the rim also makes removing the lid more difficult later.) Pressing it with your palm is usually all you’ll need to do; definitely cover it with a rag if you’re going to pound it shut.
Tape Screws To Hardware
You won’t lose the screws for your wall plates, and any other fixtures you remove, if you keep them together.
For Heat Registers And Grills
A small-size flexible foam paint pad comes in handy to reach the crannies. Aerosol spray painting works well on them too, when they’re not blowing air at you, of course.
Don’t Overbrush Enamel
It will harden full of ridges. Apply generously with light strokes and avoid brushing over it again once it’s on. Don’t procrastinate on finishing. For strong adhesion between coats, don’t let more than two weeks go by between applications.
Old Newspapers vs. Drop Cloths?
If using newspapers was any good, there wouldn’t be such a thing as drop cloths.
Use Roller Sleeves One Time
They’re inexpensive. And they’re ineffective once they start disintegrating, which is likely to happen if you try washing them. Make sure you’ve got plenty around if you’re going to be doing the work piecemeal over a number of days.
Be Firm With Your Four-Footed Friends
Careful, or your Siamese cat will become a calico and your baseboard will have a beard. Much as you love having your little sweeties around, and well-behaved as they might be, a room with paint trays and wet walls is no place for animals. So make sure they’re secured in another part of the house while you’re working, or that wagging tail might hit the wall and become a hapless paintbrush. In homes with small children the same advice holds true (but if you have small children you already know that).
Courtesy of www.pacificbuilding.com


Easy steps for a bright new look
Follow these basic steps to paint your interior for impressive results.
Step 1: Prime time
Unless the existing finish is flat, you’ll need to apply a prime coat to make the new paint adhere. On flat-painted walls with minor repairs, you may simply choose to spot prime. For walls with larger areas of patching plaster, it’s advisable to use a sealer or primer/sealer. Priming doesn’t require as much care as painting, but it’s done the same way; follow the next three steps, which you’ll repeat with the paint after the primer dries
Step 2: Ceiling brushwork
Start with the ceiling, first covering the perimeter and unpainted areas around the fixtures.
Step 3: Ready to roll
You’ll want to begin with the ceiling (moving widthwise), in sections about six feet square. Use a series of overlapping “W” strokes from right to left, then back from left to right. If using any other finish than flat, go over the entire ceiling (for very large ceilings, two square sections at a time) once again with one-directional, overlapping, non-diagonal strokes to blend the paint. Next, repeat the same steps with the walls, covering to within 1 1/2 inches of all edges; the final non-diagonal strokes here should be from top to bottom.
Step 4: Wall brushwork
Unless you’re very skillful or you’ve got an edging tool, mask the perimeter of the ceiling with painting tape and paint the upper perimeter of the walls, as well as all areas that cannot be covered with the roller.
Step 5: Back for seconds?
If the ceiling and walls need a second coat, you can do it after the first coat dries; check the label for the manufacturer’s recoating guidelines.
Step 6: Trim, baseboards, doors, and windows
With painting tape or a paint edger, protect newly painted wall surfaces while you paint the woodwork. Doors can be wedged open with a rolled-up newspaper; be sure to put a drop cloth underneath them. A roller saves time on a flat door; a door with panels requires a brush. With double-hung windows, pull the top sash down and paint the bottom part of it first; push it back up and paint the top part of it, then the bottom sash, then the jambs and frame.