In early spring 2010, our traditional Painters and Decorators in London and Essex were fortunate enough be selected to redecorate the interior and exterior of this 16th century period cottage in Brentwood, Essex. We had worked at the Grade II listed property the previous year and the hand painted conservatory at the rear elevation had survived the winter and still looked brand new, the owner had been very pleased with the end result of the conservatory and now wanted to bring the rest of the house up to date. See the project here: Hand Painted Conservatory in Brentwood.
Work commenced to the upstairs of the property in April 2010 and we began the remedial work to the original horse hair plaster and the old paint splashes were carefully removed from the 500+ year old oak beams. The property is currently being used as a Bed and Breakfast and so we had to schedule the painting and decorating works around bookings. The conservation of a period property such as this is delicate and meticulous work and such a project should be avoided by the inexperienced painter and decorator or DIYer.
When the preparation and remedial work was complete we applied two coats of Polyvine Acrylic Wax Varnish to all the oak beams; this varnish (as the name suggests!) has a very silky, wax like finish and is far easier to apply than traditional wax products. The reason we waxed the beams first was so that we could easily wipe off any paint splashes or overspray from the emulsion work to the walls and ceilings.
The colours that had been selected for the four upstairs bedrooms of the period cottage were all from different manufacturers and we were able to use a few products that our Painters and Decorators don’t very often get the chance to use such as Fired Earth, Sanderson’s and Paper & Paint Library.
Once the decorating to the upstairs was complete we headed downstairs to the living room and dining room to begin the prep work to all walls, ceilings and woodwork. A new parquet floor had been laid in the living room just prior to our arrival and we took extra care to protect it properly using cardboard, polythene and dust sheets. Again we waxed the beams first before tackling the walls and ceilings. In the rooms on the ground floor we used a paint that our decorators are very familar with; Little Greene acrylic matt emulsion, this is probably our favourite product for walls and ceilings due to the beautiful chalky matt finish, the selection of colours and because it is a fantastic paint to apply.
With the inside of the property complete our Painters and Decorators headed outside to begin the external painting works to the property in Essex. There were several windows that had developed rot and with the theory that every painter and decorator should adopt when working on a listed building of ‘repair not replace’ we repaired all of the rotten timber using the Repair Care system and replaced all of the glazing putty on the windows before priming with Zinsser Cover Stain and applying three coats of Sadolin Superdec.
In keeping with traditional decorating methods the weather boarding was painted using refined coal tar from Bird Brand. Barn style buildings were traditionally painted with tar, according to Kevin McCloud from Channel 4’s Grand Designs, this is largely because the farmers that owned the barns used to get tar for free from the refineries. Refined coal tar is toxic stuff and the correct PPE should be worn at all times; masks, goggles, hooded boiler suits and gloves. It is mutagenic and carcinogenic and should only be used by a trained and competent painter and decorator.
This project was completed over the course of three weeks and is still being used as a Bed & Breakfast in Brentwood. Click the link to find out more information.
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