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Resolve to Redecorate!

jan 17 blog

I am not one for New Year resolutions myself but I know many people make them and hope I can help some of them come to fruition.  

It is quite common to think about redecorating at this time of year and this is where I can help.  Whatever you are thinking of having done, from redecorating a single room to complete interior or exterior makeover, I have got the expertise and knowledge to get the job done efficiently and to a high professional standard.

I am experienced in all aspects of traditional decorating and am happy tackling ceilings, stairways and halls as well as all rooms throughout the house.

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The Farrow & Ball Story!

december 16 blog

I have mentioned before that I am a great fan of the Farrow & Ball range of paints.  This month I thought I’d tell you a bit about the history of the company and why I think their products are so good.

John Farrow and Richard Ball first met when they working in a clay pit in Dorset.  They soon realised they had similar ideas and proceeded to form the company in 1946.

Bucking the trends of the industry from day one, they abandoned acrylic paints and went back to traditional methods of paint making using natural minerals with high levels of pigments that they still use today.

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‘All White’ on the Night!

I am sometimes asked whether white is a good choice as a room colour.  

There seems to be some confusion as I have been told it can make a room bland or even clinical.  In my opinion it is an ideal colour for creating a room that reflects the individuality of the person living in it.

The argument goes that a white room is a cold room but that needn’t be the case.  Using a shade with a well pigmented base that will play with the light can actually provide warm undertones.

Light is very important when using white.  Some whites might appear to have a yellow, pink or blue hue depending on how they react to the natural and artificial light in a room.  Amber light bulbs can be used to create a warmer feel in the evenings.

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We Don’t Paper Over the Cracks!

In my mind prepping a room for decorating is the one big thing that separates a professional decorator from an amateur.  While an amateur is prepared to cut corners to rush to get a job finished I will always take my time to get it absolutely right.  

Here are some of my tried and tested prepping methods.

1.    Remove the furniture.  It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many people leave furniture in a room and try and paint round it.  You are virtually guaranteed a disaster.  If you do have a piece of furniture that just will not fit through the door, place it in the centre of the room and ensure it is properly covered up and protected.

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What to do with Unused Paint

As you know I am passionate about the environment and recycle whenever possible.  A recent survey by the British Coatings Federation (BCF) highlighted some problems with recycling unused paint.

It is estimated that a staggering 55 million litres of leftover paint is generated in the UK each year.  The majority if taken to Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) is put in land fill or incinerated and only one in three HWRCs actually accept paint.

The problem for the local authorities that run these HWRCs is that incinerating paint safely is expensive and that seems to be the main reason why they don’t accept it.

There is another solution, however.  The BCF has found that sending the unused paint to a paint recycler or remanufacturer can lead to a saving of up to 40% for local authorities.

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Is the Customer Always Right?

I am well aware of the old adage that ‘the customer is always right’. It means in effect that you should always carry out the instructions given to you by a client, no matter what you think about them.


I am a great believer in communication, however, and would rather explore the client’s ideas than follow his instructions to the letter without question.

What I aim to achieve is a solution that the client is completely happy with, even if it involves ideas he would never have dreamed of.

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Barry Bucknell and the Birth of DIY!

I don’t know if you watch those DIY programmes on television such as BBC’s Changing Rooms and DIY SOS: The Big Build. I was interested when I stumbled across an article about the father of television DIY, Barry Bucknell.

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Tidying Up After the Bodgers!

june 16 blogI was amused to read a recent survey which confirmed what I’ve thought for a while – much of my work is completing jobs started by over-confident amateurs.

Armstead Trade, a professional paint brand, surveyed some 2,000 homeowners and found that three quarters of them had had DIY or improvement disasters that had cost hundreds of pounds to put right.

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Why Grey is the New Black

may blog 2016

Or perhaps that should be the new cream or beige, as I’ve noticed grey has become a fashionable colour choice for interior design and decorating. Grey can give a room depth and sophistication, as well as complimenting a variety of strong colours. It works beautifully in both modern and traditional homes and acts as a classic base shade for more adventurous colours.


If you’re a fan of pastels, then pastel greys with soft colours, muted whites and warm neutrals may appeal to you. To give an especially sophisticated yet simple look, you can accessorise with pale wooden furniture and flooring, such as ash, beech or maple.

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Why Should You Hire a Professional?

april blog 2016

You may have heard of Red Adair who was famous as an oil well firefighter in the 1960s and ‘70s.

One of his most famous sayings was:

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait till you hire an amateur.”

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Which Colour for What Room?

march blog 2016

Often I am asked to help with choosing colour schemes for rooms. In my book the customer is always right, although some are more right than others!


Here is a brief guide to what colours suit which rooms best:

Blue – this is recognised as a calming colour, perhaps promoting intellectual thought. As such it is ideal for a bedroom, bathroom, office or study. It can give a room a cold feel though.

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Never Mind Rogue Traders – Meet the Rogue Customers!

cal decs blog feb 2016

I am always interested to read about home owners reactions to tradesmen such as myself. However, the results of a recent survey by Powered Now (an app used by tradespeople) turned up a category of client that I have so far been fortunate to avoid – rogue customers!

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Gloss v Satin v Eggshell – Which to Choose?

january 2016 blogSo which interior paint finish should you choose for your woodwork - gloss, satin or eggshell?

Each, of course, has its advantages and disadvantages.  Here’s a quick summary:

•    Gloss – this will give you a high sheen that is almost reflective.  It used to be the number one choice because it is incredibly hardwearing.  However, there have been great advances in paint technology in recent years and satin is much improved.  A disadvantage of gloss is that it does tend to highlight any imperfections in the woodwork.

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Exterior Paint Peeling - No Problem

peeling-paint-no-problemIt is a damp, dismal day out there, just the type to get your exterior paintwork peeling!

There can be a number of reasons why your paint is peeling, including environmental problems and living in areas with high humidity and rainfall. The problem is easily identified, however, and equally easily rectified.

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Environmentally Friendly Decorating!

Environmentally Friendly Decorating!

envionmentally-friendly-decorating

I am always looking for ways to cut down my environmental footprint.  For example, I will reuse and recycle wherever practical and possible.  One thing I am especially concerned about is minimising the risks of VOCs.

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The Importance of Prep!

cal-decorators-tipsAs far as I am concerned, prepping a room for decorating is one of the most important parts. Anxious amateurs will often cut corners at this stage in a rush to get the job finished but I will always take my time to get it right. Here are some of my tried and tested prepping methods.

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Straw House Gets Perfect Paint Job!

3-pigs-cal-decorators-gloucesterNow I’ve been known to attend a panto or two, but I’ve never actually seen a straw house, whether it’s lived in by the Three Little Pigs or not! However, a terrace of holiday cottages featuring load bearing straw alls has recently been completed at Elmfield Farm, near Canterbury in Kent.

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