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Another month in the life of a kitchen painter

Listed under Blog, Graco, hand-painted kitchen Posted Nov 04 2020

Another month in the life of a kitchen painter continues on from a previous newsletter article about various discussions between Traditional Painter members. It has been another interesting journey.

More to kitchen painters than paint

Kitchen painters can, and if allowed, will chat all day about the ins and outs of kitchen paint. And it wouldn’t end there. How about abrasives, drying v curing, spray v brush, waterborne v water-based? However, we realise that beyond the broad brushstrokes of our work processes, most of our clients, and potential clients, aren’t so interested in the minutiae of kitchen painting. We are a rounded bunch though, and can offer plenty of other conversation for the right moments. I think it is down to the nature of our work.

Interesting clients make for interesting painters

Fortunately, over the course of painting kitchens, Traditional Painter members get to meet several hundred new clients a year between us. Our clients come from all walks of life, and we hear many fascinating stories and insights across a whole range of topics. A perk of the job, I guess. Obviously we are discreet and won’t share private details and conversations, but it is fair to say that we are lucky to meet an endless stream of customers who are true pros in their professional fields or areas of interest outside of their work. Some have high public profiles, 99% keep an even lower public profile than their own kitchen painter!

From banking to indecent camera work

Recently someone shared professional insights about prospective changes in their high flying world of banking. It made us think about the role of cash, gold, and all that good financial stuff.

An accountant I was working for once told me, the financial world is like a big curry house. If you cross them, banks are like korma, HMRC is a madras and Customs and Excise are a Vindaloo and then some.

Other weeks we learn something new about the medical profession, the arts, security, motor racing. Other clients are passionate about their hobbies, music, travel, you name it. Variety is the spice of life.

The topic of cameras came up too. Not SLR’s and how great is the new 3 lenses iPhone, but spy cameras! Who knew so many people had security cameras, and even focused cameras on their kitchen painter! That brought up a round of chat on disclosure and rights to access recorded video footage. It also provoked a whole string of disturbing personal stories about dodgy hotel management, and convicted peeping tom builders.

A great leveller

It can seem like a mad world, but I think we painters are lucky to learn early on in this trade that few people and families are normal. When I started out working in other peoples’ houses, I was still living at home. I was one of 4 teenage kids, a grandma with dementia, plus chickens, rabbits and cats. All of us were also surfing the ups and downs of a struggling family furniture business. It was somewhat reassuring to learn that you are not the only one who lives in an apparent mad house. In my case, after a few jobs, it was very reassuring to know that compared to some, you are actually pretty well looked after by loving parents, even if they are stressed out their minds!

You quickly learn that at some point, anyone can get stressed and they can bring that stress back into the home. You have to learn to read people and know when to keep a low profile or keep chipper. When to say “I don’t think so”, and when to make an extra effort.

Service provider beware

Money seems to be a reliable source of stress. Ordinarily people assume that builders and painters are the sole source of scams and financial angst in the construction industry. But it is not great when a client suggests adamantly that they won’t be paying the VAT on an invoice, you will scrub out the VAT element and accept cash for the rest. Experience quickly tells you how to react. You know that this does happen, but is not at all normal. You also know there is no need for drama, just a polite au revoir will suffice, and you don’t do the job on those terms. There is certainly always another client who will be delighted to have a call to say their kitchen can be painted a week or two sooner than they were expecting, if convenient.

And back to the minutiae of painting

Within a few short conversations we all learnt this week that the Graco Ultramax hand held airless spray unit really isn’t as robust as the price suggests. Convenience comes at a high price! That is an observation that applies to almost everything, even the water in your tap.

It was agreed that Benjamin Moore Aura is a superb satin/eggshell finish. If applied generously, it will cling to edges like a champ, won’t sag in the process, and is very durable.

And although we don’t generally volunteer our services to paint outsides, Tikkurila Everal is a proven exterior paint. It should be specified much more than it is.

It also appears that Traditional Painters will still be able to adhere to work schedules for the foreseeable future, as long as our clients are happy with our Covid Working Policy.

When Traditional Painters are at work, mostly they paint kitchens

These are a couple of kitchens recently completed by Traditional Painter members. Many homeowners are still not sure of the potential of a hand painted finish on their current pine or oak kitchen. If that is you, scan through our many case studies with before and after shots. They always look better in real life!

Kitchen painted in N Wales by Mark Roberts
Kitchen painted in N Wales by Mark Roberts
Kitchen hand painted by Mark Nash
Kitchen hand painted by Mark Nash

Believe it or not but we paint every imaginable colour. However these two examples happen to have been chosen by clients at either end of the country for kitchens painted more or less the same week.

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