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Hand painted kitchen St Helens

Listed under abranet, Blog, hand-painted kitchen, Little Greene Posted Nov 29 2014

A hand painted kitchen St Helens, it started life as a Neville-Johnston limed oak kitchen.

painted kitchen St Helens

From the photos of the kitchen before work commenced, I could see that it was still in good shape after many years of regular use, but it looked a little dated. In addition to painting, there were plans to change worktops and flooring. There was a lot to talk about.

Step one

The property was close by the Haydock Park racecourse. My clients had lived there for years, and before we started talking colours and dates, the conversation turned to the racing. It transpired that they had never been! Not once. So I never got to bore them about a rare excursion to the races in Bath in the early 90’s, when I begrudgingly went with £50 and an expectation of losing every penny. Not only was it a thoroughly fun day, but I won enough to pay for the day out and go home with my £50 intact.*

I know a bit more about painting kitchens than picking horses, which is just as well, as a lot of homeowners are understandably cagey about having their oak or maple or pine kitchen cabinets painted. This isn’t a job for beginners to try their luck.

The heart of the home is worth anything from £5000 on up, (this particular kitchen would have been at least £20k to replace). Can it really be painted to look like a new kitchen?

Within reason, there aren’t many kitchens we can’t prepare, prime and paint successfully, and very economically too, compared to a replacement.

More than paint

In this case, the owners were very committed and confident, and had been looking at new tiles, new flooring, a change of handles and redecorating. They had a budget in mind for the kitchen painting, and when my price came in under their top figure, the details were sorted out and I was booked in.

This was the kitchen before!

limed oak kitchen neville and johnson


Historically, the conventional answer to “how do you prepare a wooden kitchen door?” would have been – clean it down with sugar soap and when dry, key every square inch with assorted sandpapers.

In my experience, by far the most efficient way of sanding and cleaning a surface was how we were taught at college – with wet ‘n’ dry abrasive (the black car body kind) and a bucket of water, a drop of fairy liquid and a sponge. Sand and clean all at once.

Since 2009, however, when the industry started to change for the better with an influx of new innovative suppliers, on Traditional Painter we have tried and tracked many new materials and techniques. We have long been advocates of dustless sanding and specific cleaners for decorating. This combination works even more efficiently than wet sanding:

– An eco cleaner to cut through and remove all grease very fast. (Krudkutter was a popular choice till it was discontinued, so now we have * Fluxaf Pro Clean

– We then abrade with dustless sanding equipment, using assorted abrasives such as Mirka * Abranet , Mirlon and more, attached to a vaccuum extractor. Almost literally dust-free sanding that produces car body smooth surfaces.

Axus tack cloth Once every surface has been cleaned, it gets a thorough wipe down as ever, with a tack cloth, to remove all traces of dust.

As a sign of the times, even Liberon and other “beige” tack cloths have been replaced with Axus large format sticky *blue tack cloths.

A high adhesion primer is needed to create a solid base, followed by fillers. The devil is in the detail and it is not unusual to go round and round a kitchen checking every inch for blemishes.

Finishes tend to be a low sheen eggshell or a satin matt, leaving a tough wipeable surface that doesn’t show every finger mark. This was a 20% sheen oil eggshell finish. (Painted high gloss finishes are quite unusual because of the tendency to show every mark.)

painted kitchen St Helens

If you are in the North West and have any questions about hand painting your kitchen, we are here to help.

* btw: the secret to not losing my shirt at the Bath races was to pick a horse with

a) an interesting name

b) at odds of between 15 and 20 to 1,

c) back it each way.

That’s the sum total of my horse racing knowledge, and I don’t advise you follow that system!

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