At the request of one of HSS kitchen staff, I painted the last column with a Tuscan theme. The bright colors went over very well, perfect for the middle of the room. Notice all the disguised pipes and outlets!
All three columns:
Fixing the AC:
The AC unit, a metal monstrosity, happens to be the first thing you see when you walk in the door. Because repairmen and inspectors need access to nearly all parts of the unit, solutions for hiding or disguising the unsightly corner are limited. I considered painting the whole thing with its various parts, grating, doors, and pipes; but after my own inspection I knew the process would not only be extremely time consuming and difficult, but also it still risked being unattractive. Painting the metal would take multiple coats, and constant temperature changes (hot to cold as its turned on and off) would probably encourage peeling.
As I walked down 7th, however, I noticed this store selling bamboo fences....
With this Sammy's help (he carried the very heavy fence the entire 1.5miles to the center):
and this Sammy's (custodian's) help:
We rolled out the bamboo fence in front of the AC. After that, I painted the small top section not covered by the fence with green bamboo shoots. Much better! We attached it with wire to the unit in a way that can easily be removed when inspectors come. Roll up the fence, and wah la - easy access. The fence wasn't cheap, but the affect is worth it.
A broader view of the room (today's work):
Still to do: figure out something for the other side of the AC unit (same thing?) and bigger mural of China (an area specifically from where many of the residents hail). Also the men's bathroom...