End of year decorating news
It’s that time again – looking back at the year that was.
When looking at a job, I tend to write a lot of info down. All the jotting has little to do with being thorough, just compensating for a poor memory! In fact, off the top of my head, the most vivid memory of this year is the recent winter chill – waking up to thick ice day after day, and doing more scraping to get into the car than actually scraping at work.
Just before the weather weather went mad, I do remember an early Christmas-style day out at the national Painting and Decorating Show.
There was plenty to see, but thankfully no auto wall-painter like this one for sale. And I was pleased that no manufacturer dropped one in my Christmas stocking either – I am so chuffed with my purchases of amazing Wooster brushes and rollers, I would hate to have to put them on eBay.
But looking a bit deeper and less frivolously at my old calendar, it has been a productive year for me, and there have been a few developments which might be of interest.
Farrow and Ball out, Little Greene Paint in
Until June 2010 I was a big fan of Farrow and Ball eggshell paint, especially on hand-painted kitchen cabinets and furniture. It had a traditional look, a great colour range, and durable. However, for some reason best known to themselves, Farrow and Ball changed their formula and by the summer had discontinued all oil paint. No more flat oil, no more oil eggshell, what?!!
As an old school painter, the prospect of having to go acrylic filled me with horror, and I was in a bit of a tizz for a few days. But fortunately I was reminded of Little Greene Paint,
Little Greene is a Manchester-based company who have been specialising in English Heritage paint and wallpaper for a couple of hundred years. Speaking to their tech support, the formula for their oil eggshell has stood the test of time, and for sure, from my perspective as an end user, Little Greene provide a traditional oil-based eggshell that I can honestly say knocks Farrow and Ball quality (past and present) into a cocked hat.
You are welcome to take what I say with a pinch of salt, but Little Greene also comes highly recommended by Patrick Baty, acclaimed historic paint analyst and owner of Papers and Paints, a well established traditional decorating store in Chelsea.
And thanks to Little Greene’s supplementary Fred and Brenda colour range, you can even have Farrow and Ball colours in a traditional paint formula! I can assure you that the colours are so close, you really can’t see the difference. And the biggest advantage of Little Greene acrylic matt over Farrow and Ball and even Dulux – you can touch up deep colours without leaving a mark. Priceless qualities.
So if you value a traditional durable oil paint finish with all its depth and variation in different light, now you know where to go.
If you have any DIY projects in Cheshire, I highly recommend a trip to Broken Cross in Macclesfield to get your Little Greene Paint, or from Papers and Paints in Chelsea.
Hand-painted kitchen cabinets
In between general decorating work, I specialise in hand-painted kitchens – painting cabinets from new, or refurbishing old pine, oak or laminate kitchen cabinets.
In my first year in Cheshire, I had 6 kitchen and furniture painting projects, and since then the demand has grown considerably – I have completed 6 kitchens plus assorted pieces of furniture since September, and it looks like this side of my business is set to continue to grow next year. This explains how I paint a kitchen and the feedback has been very pleasing, to put it mildly.
As an idea for budgeting purposes, count the number of doors and multiply by £100. That is currently the maximum total price to prepare and paint a complete kitchen (drawers, cornices, end panels etc) with 4 coats – primer, undercoat and 2 topcoats. There are plenty of options to refurbish a kitchen
Historic colour matching
If you have a historic colour scheme to match or devise, or you need to analyse the coatings on a historic property, the best person for that discipline is definitely Patrick Baty.
1 – Designers Guild – Nowadays there is no shortage of stunning wallpaper from designer labels, but not all papers are created equal. I would say that Designers Guild ticks the most boxes in that their ranges are full of striking patterns and technically, the papers seem to be really high quality product.
2 – Ralph Laurent patterns are eye catching, and the paper is pretty good quality too. The sizing can be confusing though! They are US papers, and the basic unit is a “single roll” which is 5.5 yards. However, they are sold as “doubles” which means they come in what Brits recognise as a normal length roll – at twice the price of the quoted “single roll” price!
3 – Feature walls are still popular, but you need to realise that strong colours alter the proportions of a room. So in smaller rooms a dark paper can make the walls encroach dramatically, whereas in a large scale space, strong papers can enhance the grander proportions.
4 – Online wallpaper suppliers If you are struggling for ideas, check out Wallpapers Direct I recommend them for many reasons: variety, ideas, convenience and price
Painting walls and ceilings
My emulsioning technique is pretty good, but over recent months I have been studying the rolling skills of US decorator, Jack Pauhl, who is the most knowledgeable and efficiency-driven painter I have ever come across.
I recently purchased the final pieces of Wooster equipment and in tandem with Little Greene acrylic matt emulsion, it’s a wow Win-win combination for plaster walls now.
I have been very pleased with how my business has developed online, and Twitter has been a particularly useful, informative and entertaining resource. (I’m @acmasterpainter!)
It is a simple concept: you network with like-minded folks in the same industry as you, as well as people with a similar sense of humour, shared interests. Everyone passes on information and news that they think might be of interest to fellow tweeters, and the circle is complete when online friends actually chat by phone, and eventually go as far as meet-ups (aka tweet-ups!), recommend reliable specialists, send business each others way…
I have also been working on the website and posting regular decorating articles to explain how we work, issues we have to deal with, new products. The upshot is a regular stream of enquiries for work, and equally important, a few reliable and trustworthy buddies to call on for help and advice as required. So 21st century!
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