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A period property decorating labour of love in Tamworth Staffordshire

Listed under Blog, Martin Dunn, period property, Polyvine, wallcoverings Posted Mar 17 2015

Martin Dunn in Staffordshire relates a recent period property decorating labour of love.

No, not a dodgy album by UB40 ( Ok Many rivers to cross is a classic, but Red red wine??! surely not). This all about a house in Tamworth, Staffs and the work carried out for the owners Brian and Ruth.

Sycamore House Staffordshire

Sycamores House is an old farm house which would have stood alone on the top of a hill on the old roman road of Watling Street in days gone by. Sadly now it has become surrounded by houses as the land was sold off to developers, but it is still an impressive dwelling.

Gras a lacquer on front doorFor the last 12 months we have been working on both the interior and exterior of this property. You may remember the prestonett gras lacquer trial we did on the front door – looks a bit different now its finished, doesn’t it?

The exterior was fully scaffolded out so work could take place on the roof and chimneys. It also enabled us to burn off the windows and prepare facia, sofits, barge boards ect.
Once prepared and primed, they were finished in Sandtex flexi gloss (windows) and Sikkens XD ( barge boards, sofits, facia, downpipes)

The inside decorating story

Every room inside the house has been gutted and extensive remedial work taken place, but a lot of the original features have been kept. Some of it we still haven’t seen, like the original Victorian entrance hall tiles which have been under wraps all the time we have been there.

Once we had stripped away layers of old wallpaper, we could see the areas that needed plastering, and other areas where fibre lining paper would be required.


A lot of the original ceiling papers were kept, as requested by the home owners, but every room, except the kitchen, received finishing wallpaper to the walls.

fibre liner

Lining provides a perfect smooth base as well as assisting with application, slip and slide.

The papers ranged from a simple blown vinyl in a spare room to traditional anaglypta in one of the bedrooms.

Some were very in keeping with the house, like the William Morris papers in the dining and morning room. And some were very in keeping with Ruth’s taste and love of owls!

Up and down stairs

The stair case was our biggest challenge. The doors and trim were simple enough – finished in white crown oil eggshell, same as the rest of the doors and trim throughout. The bannister rail was stripped back and later finished in work top hard wax oil from Howdens – a lovely satin finish.

waxed bannister rail

The landing walls and top half of the stairs and hall walls were already finished in supaglypta (the background to the bannister rail photo shows you the supaglypta and the dark oak stained Lincrusta panels.

The Supaglypta was damaged and missing in places. We were soon able to get a match to the original and hang where required. This was then painted with acrylic eggshell from Sandersons.


In the entrance hall and up the stairs there was Lincrusta (Georgian panels RD1650).


Brian and Ruth were very keen to keep this but it had been stained a very dark oak by previous owners.

They wanted a light / medium oak look, so because it was so dark we needed to get it back to its original look.

We decided to prime it with Johnstones multi surface primer tinted to a light cream. We then based out the walls with one waterbased undercoat and two waterbased eggshells in a cream to give us the look of unpainted eggshell.

Then it was a case of playing around with a mixture of colours and stains added to polyvine scumble to give us the required colour and effect. This was applied to the panels by brush, mottler, mini flock rollers and paint pads ( oh yes, Peter Paint Pad has his place!)

base for mid oak effect on Lincrusta

We treated the area as one huge panelled door by bringing in all the panels first followed by the stiles and rails.

mid oak effect on Lincrusta


mid oak effect on Lincrusta

Carpet is now going down and furniture coming in and I think Brian & Ruth will be hopefully moving in by Easter.

If you have any questions, please ask over on the period property section of the discussion area, and there are more case studies of similar involved projects I have carried out in the Staffordshire area.

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