What is in a Kitchen Painting Toolbox

Ok, this might not be a specific kitchen painting toolbox but I do take it on every kitchen painting job I do in South Wales. It just so happens that it comes on every job I do regardless. The tools are also not permanent, some fall out of favour, some become much loved and refuse to leave, some look like bits of rubbish but I swear they have a use.

For a more audio and visual experience you can watch the video, but if you prefer to read my words and not listen to my voice continue reading and find some links to products. Some links are affiliate, some not but all. Every tool were bought by myself and there is no sponsorship or marketing

Cleaning Festool Systainers

First off the cleaning process, I used a diluted ViroSol solution, this is the same cleaner i use on kitchens and it works great. It comes concentrated and you add water to the mix that is required, I have used it neat on some stubbon grease build up around ovens and extractors but would normally dilute it around 50-75ml into 1L of water.

So empty the contents, give it a quick hoover, then spray and wipe the containers and toolbox to get them minty fresh.

They have come up great, almost like new. The interesting part is what is inside though, I’m always curious as to what people carry with them and what they prefer to use. So lets start at the top Festool Systainer SYS-StorageBox SYS-SB (catchy I know) the Festool Systainers are expensive for what they are and I don’t know if starting again I would go with them. They are lightweight, click together really securely and with a little thought and effort can be customised for what you need. But they are expensive for a plastic box and at times feel a little flimsy, that said in the past 12 years I have not had one break on me.

Top compartments for your most used tools

On to inside, once everything was clean and dry I put back all the tools, found out what I needed to replenish and removed some of the stuff that was hanging around. Lets start with the general bits in the top section on the left

Putty knife from Hamilton still going strong I will be adding another as I don’t always get on with the shape, the curved Bohle looks interesting if anyone has used it let me know

Linbide Scraper great for removing flaking paint, runs and levelling 2pack filler/resin

Various wrenches, pliers, nail punch and pincers

The string has a weight at the end and is used to re-cord sash windows (called a mouse)

Finally a tool for opening tubes of silicone/caulk and snipping the nozzle, its ok to use no better than a knife

Onto the top section on the right, a bit more decorating tools but they do need to be restocked

Plastic scrapers I use sometimes for filling 

A couple of rollers, I tend to carry a few different kinds foam, flocked, medium pile and short. Depending on what paint and the surface that is being painted, so I need to get a few more here

Ear pods, I like to listen to podcasts rather than the radio and usually only put one in unless I’m using the sander and extractor

Tape measure, and disposable gloves for cleaning down/protection

Toys for Decorators

I love a gadget and something extra I have picked up is a ColorReader from Tikkurila, handy to match colours while on a job and capable to assess the accuracy of a colour from a sample or between surfaces. I think it is going to come in handy, there is a ColorReader Pro version available for around £250 which can be used without a smartphone. Benjamin Moore also have a branded one which will be useful

In the lower sections I carry mostly brushes, I use the Royal Langnickel for laying off with some various pencil brushes, general work I tend to go between Purdy and Picasso brushes. Then in the other side I have door buffers for kitchen doors after painting, cling film if I need to wrap up brushes or rollers, folding rule and I now use prescription safety glasses. I got tired of scratching up cheap glasses so decided to get a proper pair for work, they wrap around and have a detachable foam seal and strap. 

Top Drawer Tools

The next toolbox is a Festool Sortainer SYS 4 TL-SORT/3 (bet you didn’t guess that) the top drawer from left to right

  • Measuring devices – Lecia Disto D2 I was surprised how accurate it was and it stores, calculates and can connect to your phone.
  • Infrared temp sensor helps to assess surfaces and work out any problems and a moisture meter as you need to know what you painting is ready for painting.
  • Different tapes, electrical, double sided, duct tape and super glue to get out of trouble.
  • Syringe and needle for wallpaper or adding colour/water to paint.
  • Olfa knives including the shark fin is invaluable along with some pens, pencils, markers
  • Hidden there is a glass scraper and a wet film thickness gauge to ensure a coating is meeting the required thickness

Middle Drawer

  • I like to use an apron rather than overalls, this was made by my wife (thank you @Zolly )
  • Blades and snap box for knives
  • I carry Olfa and NT Cutter blades. Axus Tack Cloth is great for getting those final bits of sanding dust off surfaces.
  • Wera Kraftform Kompakt screwdriver, top quality and holds 6 bits in the handle.
  • Charger cables for phone and EarPods.
  • Glass cleaner and razor blades.
  • Mirka Shark blade made of carbide steel and to remove nibs and runs, I use it sometimes but not often.
  • Finally ear plugs because after a couple of hours of using a RO90 with extractor your ears will thank you for the protection
  • Bottom drawer mostly abrasives and a bit of filler.
  • Granat blocks and fine hand sanding paper. Hamilton 3 knot dust brush and a tool I made up to get into some tight spaces.
  • Mirka Goldflex 150 and 240 grit with some Hamilton Perfection Filling Knives which I have had for over 10 years and still think they are the best knives around, finally Helmi fine finish filler

Like I said at the beginning all these tools get moved around I add somethings and take others away but generally this is everything I will need for most days and these 2 boxes stay with me all day. I will bring in a specific masking toolbox, filling toolbox, drill driver or sander but then take them back to the van when finished


Painters Book Shelves

I wouldn’t consider myself a book collector by any means, I enjoy my work and enjoy reading up on all aspects of decoration, design and architecture. Thus I have amassed a little collection, some older books that have been passed on to me. Others found in bookshops or even charity shops, of course there are the one sourced from amazon and abebooks. So I thought that much like looking in a toolbox, browsing someones book shelf can open doors and prompt questions, helping to exchange information.

Lets start with two shelves, I won’t go through every book as some are just for reference and I haven’t read them cover to cover. But if anyone would like a bit more information before maybe buying one for yourself then I’ll try my best to go into some more detail. These are my actual book shelves and all books are purchased by myself (or given by family/friends) I have not been asked to review or promote anything here. With that in mind not all will be about painting and yes I know the shelves are not great, they were a temporary system (for the last 3 years). There are a couple of Links through to Amazon and Abebooks on the decorating books but please do support your local bookshops they can source many items if you ask. 

Traditional and Faux

First shelf we have has a little mix but mostly decorating material. Excuse the Spooky Fun and I picked up Kevin McClouds 43 Principles of Home out of interest. It has a few nice ides but to be honest I’ve only skimmed it and not really picked it up in the past few years. I’d say the Lego book was for my children also but its probably just as much for me. Decorative Stone is a nice resource for marble and stone I picked up when I was in college and the Elements of Style is an interesting read into the classical orders. 

Historic Paint Research 

Two really great books into traditional decoration and painting trade books are by Ian Bristow Interior House-Painting Colours and Technology 1615-1840 and Architectural Colour in British Interiors 1615-1840. Laying the groundwork for historic paint analysis they are a great pair, unfortunately the former if out of print and would be my recommendation for tradesmen. I fortunately had the change to attend a course with Ian Bristow and he kindly signed my copies.

Another two books from my college days are Pierre Finkelstein’s The Art of Faux fabulous book with step by step information on faux painting and techniques and Kevin McCloud’s The Complete Decorator similar but with some great information and recipes for simple paints. The hidden book underneath is Building the Georgian City by James Ayres a wonderful book covering the mass produced components for the emerging consumerism coving architecture and building craftsmen. Another of his books will appear later which is a very good read if you are interested in traditional builds. Pais Haute Couture was a gift to my wife as she enjoys sewing and Essential William Morris is just pretty self explanatory for anyone looking at art and craft style. Snuggled in-between is 1984 by George Orwell, much has been said and I don’t think that I can add anything more, not an emotional pick me up but not one you can psychically put down.

Eclectic Style

Our second shelf starts with The Art and Craft of Signwriting by William Sutherland, a wonderful vintage reprint with fabulous pales depicting letting styles and embellishments. Then a photography book too big for the shelf (I do need to find somewhere better for the bigger books) Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell, Make Stuff and Vintage Home are all interesting books with takes on style. Cloth by Cassandra Ellis holds a great array of projects and information of material. Then some travel and Vintage Fashion Complete is exactly as it sounds and is a very interesting book.

The next book is The awesome Book of Hand and Chalk Lettering which has some nice guides and samples to follow. The little red one is How to Win Games and Beat People, perfect for family gathering and board games if your competitive, Norwegian Wood is all about wood, how to chop, store, stack, burn and is more interesting than you might think. Modern Furniture Classics depicts items of modern furniture and their history, then we have a few more craft/making books. Both the Sherlock Holmes puzzle book and Gone with the Gin were presents.

Welsh Faux Decoration

Finally we have The Life and Times of Ernest Dobson, which really doesn’t look much and unfortunately is not in colour but the information inside is fantastic. Full of graining and marbling techniques, even in black and white you can see the amount of skill in the work. Introducing Houses of the Welsh Countryside shows the development of traditional welsh buildings and their regional style, along with The Welsh House by Ioewerth Peate who was the founder of St Fagans Museum. It goes through the regional welsh buildings and the conservation arguments.

What next?

Now I do have a couple more shelves to go through but I thought this post might be long enough for now. There is no structure or order really, everything is placed where they fit at the moment, maybe once I’ve finished all organise the lot. There are a couple of Links through to Amazon and Abebooks on the decorating books but please do support your local bookshops they can source many items if you ask. If there is anything you’d like more information on then please do getin touch

See you next time. M

Covid-19 Policy

COVID – 19 Working Policy

We are a responsible and respectable Company and follow official guidance, advice and best practice. The following workplace adjustments will be taken, alongside good normal hygiene practices. We will regularly review and update this policy in order to keep employees and clients safe.

Respecting 2m social distancing

Appointments with potential clients will be via Video Conferencing Software (WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype, Cisco), where possible, to minimise contact time.

We are not being rude. But, we will not shake hands.

If necessary, we will remove ourselves from the working area, if you (or anyone from your household) needs to be in, or walk through, the working area – if the 2m social distancing rule cannot be met.

We will provide our own refreshment so as to minimise any contact. Payment, where possible, to be made by direct transfer.


We will wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). These items will be changed during the day, as necessary. Used items of PPE will be removed from your home and disposed of appropriately.

Work environment

We will keep work area/room well ventilated – opening windows as necessary.

Where possible we will remove items such as doors and drawer fronts and work on them in our workshop. This minimises the length of time at your property and maximises our ability to “work from home”.

In the event of illness

We will notify you if any member of our company has Covid-19 or develops Covid-19 symptoms.

You must notify us if you have been in contact with anyone with Covid-19 symptoms.

Traditional Painter’s Health and Safety position during ongoing COVID-19 crisis

We are not medical professionals but we have consulted with front line nurses, fast response paramedics and various trusted contacts in the NHS. We are tracking the progress of containment and quarantine around the world.

At this time, it appears that little has changed prior to lockdown, except we all know Covid-19 is here, it is a pernicious virus and its spread was slowed down by quarantine.

The UK Government’s guidelines currently allow for kitchen painters to travel to work as long as they abide by social distancing rules, wash their hands and wear appropriate PPE. We don’t think there’s nearly enough detail in there.

To keep our clients and our members safe, Traditional Painter members adhere to the extensive Covid-19 protocol above.

Until the Government has issued nationwide and reliable testing for COVID-19, and until we understand how immunity to the infection works, it is at the discretion of Traditional Painter members to decide if it is safe to work.


Glass Gilding Llanelli

As you walk down the road, viewing the frontage of houses, one may notice the odd sparkle above the main entrance door. Nothing shines quite like gold and the gilded glass sign written panes above front doors are something to admire. Traditional sign writing is not as widespread as it once was, but is still widely available and one aspect that is worth the investment is a traditional written fan light above your door with the added embellishment of some genuine gold leaf. For a short video on the production of gold leaf scroll to the bottom of the post.

This project was carried out in Llanelli and wanted to reintroduce the house name to a newly installed door. The style was a recreation from a neighbouring property, and was drawn out to scale for approval before the outline was painted to the glass. When writing on glass everything is reversed, as it is meant to be viewed from the other side. Not difficult to understand when it comes to some simple lettering but more complicated when using multiple colours with highlights and shadows. You start with the work looking like a paint by numbers.

The lettering is applied using sign writing enamel from 1Shot and sable writing brushes of which I have collected a few over the years. I don’t get to use them as often as I’d like but hopefully will be able to get a bit more of a chance soon as I have a few panes of glass waiting for treatment. For the gilding 2 layers of 23.5 crt extra thick gold leaf was used, 2 layers gives the best finish. It gives a deeper shine and ensures that there are no faults or misses in the leaf before being protected from the reverse with another layer of sign writing enamel

The final finish of Gold Leaf really is second to none and you cannot compare genuine gold to imitations like paint apart from cost, but the longevity of gold will outperform any paint. I am unsure if there are any producers left in the UK but for some information on the former production of gold leaf see the video below. For an insight on traditional sign writing there is quite a nice documentary available on iTunes


Wallpaper on the Ceiling?

It might be called wallpaper, but there’s another place this decorative material can work wonders, and that’s on a ceiling. OK, papering up there is a little trickier than on a vertical surface, but the effects are well worth the extra effort (and statement ceilings are set to be a huge trend this year).

Wallpapering the ceiling can add character, appear to adjust a room’s proportions for the better, or bring pattern into a scheme even when you’d thought the feat was impossible – among other neat tricks.


Chalk Paint Distressed Furniture

This bedroom set was a dark wood finish and was a little bland, but with the help of Annie Sloan and her high quality chalk paint along with a little creativity we can transform it for a longer life. Chalk Paint is an extremely versatile product, it can be used over multiple surfaces, mixed together for whatever colour you like, thinned, thickened and more with a ultra matt finish

Chalk Paint can be applied to surfaces without sanding first and you can get creative with fabrics but in this instance we were revamping this bedroom furniture set and the customer wanted a distressed finish and was happy for guidance

A grey base was mixed to suit the bedroom decor and applied to the surface. For protection and distressing the surface is protected with a clear wax with a black wax in appropriate areas over the top. With a final application of a silver gilt wax to bring out the highlights it really has transformed the drawers

The handles were also treated to an uplift with black paint and silver gilt wax again to tone in with the rest of the distressing

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is available worldwide from some interesting independent retailers who are very happy to guide you in the right direction visit to find your nearest stockist and to get some tips and techniques


Pure Morris

A new range of wallpapers, I say new but they are traditional patterns in new colour ways including the use of beading and crushed glass. This Pure Morris line is mostly neutral in tone but experiments with scale and texture from some original collections.

The beautiful Morris designs get a little contemporary feel and work well in a modern home as well as a country cottage. Wallpaper always give a room impact and an instant homely feel. Applying wallpaper can be tricky but as a specialist decorator I use all the correct tools and procedures to a give a top quality result.


Oak Kitchen Painting in Bridgend

When you have a well fitted, good quality kitchen in your home like this oak example in Bridgend between Cardiff and Swansea, then it really would be a shame to replace as it really is still in full working order and well made to boot.

This solid oak kitchen has been working perfectly well for years but the colour has taken a shade of orange that makes the room look tired and dated.

Oak Kitchen Bridgend


The clients asked about a painted finish and replacement of the handles, something to make it look more modern. This was entirely possible and I could see the kitchen would be transformed at the end of the job and give many more years of service for a fraction of the cost to replace it with a similar quality kitchen today.

To equal the standard of construction, kitchen painting a professionally applied finish with thorough preparation was going to be called for. A good clean down and fine sanding of all surfaces set the tone for our primer. The kitchen had been looked after and with a little fine surface filling I was ready for some colour to be applied.

Kitchen Protection


It was decided that the over mantle was to be stripped back and refinished to retain some of the wood and the island unit to be painted a shade of green to compliment the soft furnishings in the kitchen and adjoining lounge. The main units were finished with a designer creamy off-white with the new handles attached I’m sure you’d agree that the room has been transformed.


Hand Painted Furniture

Not only that but now that the doors have had the correct preparation and finished to a high quality, it makes the whole process easier in the future. Should a change of colour be wanted or even a glaze or distressed finish applied to the existing finish it would be less time and cost less.

Little known fact

A little discussed advantage of my kitchen refurbishment service is that once a well made older wooden kitchen has had the correct preparation and been finished to my high standards, the whole re-paint process will be a lot easier in the future.

For instance, the units are unlikely to need replacing for many years, making it perfectly feasible to go for a game-changing change of colour, or even have a glaze or distressed finish applied to the existing finish in a few years’ time. I can do this efficiently and cost-effectively: less time = less cost.

In other words, this approach, when done correctly, of course, on a decent wooden kitchen, really is a good investment.

If you are interested in having your kitchen painted in Swansea or anywhere in South Wales please do get in touch and we can provide you with a no obligation quote

For details as to what happens next see How to get you Kitchen Painted



Repainted Kitchen


How To Get Your Kitchen Painted

So you’ve decided to go about painting your kitchen, great idea, not only does painting a well fitted kitchen save the upheaval of fitting new units it can be a more cost effective option (you can use the saving to update appliances, worktops etc) But what do you need to do now?

You might like to take a look at some the the examples on this site, as a guideline to what can be achieved I also have a time lapse video of the full kitchen painting process.

So, what to expect with a professional decorator



Step 1.

I will always advise you to the best of my abilities but I need a couple of things from you first. A short description of the kitchen along with photos showing all elements, this helps me price everything up and make suggestions on aspects that might benefit the kitchen. I am also happy to call out and take a closer look with if you prefer.

Step 2.

You will receive a quote via email or post detailing the process and any additional services involved. If you have any question at this point I am only too happy to help answer them, if you are happy with the quote and would like for me to visit with colour cards and samples we will arrange a convenient time

Kitchen Protection


Step 3.

With your quote you will have an acceptance form to return along with a small deposit, this will secure your booking as I sometimes book work up to 3 months in advance. From now on it is decision time, I ask you to narrow down your colour choice to 3 and provide large brush out samples to view in the natural and artificial lighting in your kitchen

Hand Painted Furniture

Step 4.

After viewing the colours and deciding on the final scheme, I will arrive on day one and begin the work starting with masking up and cleaning down. From now on you will see the change each day and in a short period will feel like you have a new kitchen


But everything doesn’t have stop there, furniture can be painted to compliment your new kitchen and I’m happy to freshen up any other rooms in the home

If you have any questions or would like a quote then you can get in touch via the contact page


Painted Pine Chairs

Your old pine chairs are still perfectly useful and functional, but if your looking to update your pine furniture and they be turned into painted pine chairs and matched to other pieces of furniture. Of course they can and that is what I was asked to do by a customer in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.



They were purchasing a new dining table from Neptune and wanted their current dining chairs to match, painted in their French Grey. It is pretty straight forward painting pine chairs and furniture, but without patience and some skill the finish can stand out next to a factory finished piece of furniture.

As we were painting pine chairs and matching a colour and finish to a table they were going to be located directly next to, using the same paint would continue the finish and colour seamlessly. Having not used Neptune paint before and very little information on their website I had to get my hands on some before I could see how it was going to perform.



Getting your Painted Pine Chairs

Once the paint was here and after some test panels I was quite happy that it was going to perform well. It took a bit of scratching before marking, levelled off well and flowed smoothly of my 7 year old PAL Legend brushes. It also adhered well to my Sikkens BL primer that I tested it on, being a very good quality water based primer that sticks extremely well to prepared surfaces. So it was time to get these orange pine chairs transformed to painted pine chairs.


The full painting process is very similar to that of my hand painted kitchens, which is a great way of updating your kitchen and less disruptive then refitting.

As you can see they sit beautifully with the factory table and make a big difference to the overall look of the room. Painted pine chairs and furniture can give a new lease of life to you home. It also means that your painted furniture is bespoke to you and your interior.


kt.color Barbican Update

If you had seen my previous post about the Barbican flat that was decorated in a special paint with a colour range designed by LeCobusier, then you might be interested in a little update.

The clients wanted some touch ups and repainting of one wall in the same paint from kt.color, nothing major, but having carried out the previous decoration, being familiar with the paint and very nice people to work for I was more than happy to make a special journey from Swansea to London.

London Flat Before

Feature Wall


As a quick an update on the performance of the paint, it has lasted well considering it is a vary flat matt, obviously some scuff marks here and there but with a wipe and touch up with the original paint everything looked good. The trim finish has also lasted well and was smooth to reapply where needed. The depth and intensity of colour is very impressive and there is a softness to the finish that you rarely see away from a distemper.

Blue Feature Wall ktcolor


The wall being changed was going to a very nice grey to compliment the opposing blue on the other side of the room. Two coats were sufficient but the warm dry atmosphere meant that damping down of the wall (similar to painting lime wash) was required. Again everything was layed off with a soft synthetic brush creating a beautiful finish.

If you have any unique paint or wallpaper requirements then please do get in touch via our contact page