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 anniesloan.com 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

Kitchen Planning: How to Choose the Perfect Flooring

Wallpaper news from Little Greene

News From Little Greene


New Wallpaper Collection – ‘Painted Papers’


On 23rd January we will be launching our new wallpaper collection ‘Painted Papers’, a definitive compendium of striped wallpapers produced using traditional printing methods.
More than ‘just plain stripes’, all eleven designs in ‘Painted Papers’ have been reworked from historic patterns sourced from several archives, including those at English Heritage and Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery. Faithful to the period in which they were designed, and with many of the colourways also boasting an authentic historic provenance, the wallpapers are nonetheless highly relevant for the 21st Century interior.

Each wallpaper has been produced using traditional surface-printing methods, which originally would have applied paint rather than ink, the production of these papers reflects very closely that used in previous centuries: it also gives them their delightfully tactile feel and slightly textured appearance.

Managing Director, David Mottershead expands on the collection: “In reviving these historic designs we have tried to create a collection to serve homes of all ages and decorative styles. There are also offerings from the early and mid-twentieth centuries, in colourways to suit both the timeless and the cutting-edge interior. As with our previous wallpaper collections, we have judiciously selected paint colours to coordinate or complement each design and tone, to aid selection and encourage the end user to be adventurous.”

‘Painted Papers’ will be launched at Maison et Object on 23 January 2015. The collection will be available nationally and internationally through our network of distributors, via telephone (0845 880 5855) and online (www.littlegreene.com).

Read more about each wallpaper design below:

A classic ‘Roman’ or Regency proportioned stripe, originally produced in the early 19th Century using the ‘open trough’ method. Using this technique, stripes were created by bands of paint seeping through holes or slots in the bottom of a wooden trough onto the surface of the paper as it was pulled beneath. Striped wallpapers manufactured in this way are characterised by a brushed finish which was later superseded by a flatter print achieved with 19th Century rollers, as can be seen in these papers. The grand scale of this par-ticular stripe is tempered by the restricted use of colour – in each case the stripe sits on a softer ground of the same hue, creating a wallpaper that brings a relaxed structure to a room, without being too formal.

The original wallpaper that inspired this design, found at a property in Carlisle Street in Soho, London, is actually a much more complex pattern than the ‘Painted Papers’ design that has been extracted from it. By removing the solid stripes and extraneous leaf trail, what remains is a wallpaper that achieves all-over pattern but, at the same time, highlights an elegant stripe.

In keeping with its sister wallpaper ‘Marlborough’ from Little Greene’s London Wallpapers II collection, the age of the paper on which this design is based is perhaps misleading in terms of its provenance. Dated at 1965, this particular fragment emerged during English Heritage’s restoration work at Marlborough House on Pall Mall, London, though this paper itself was undoubtedly based on a much earlier original. In Little Greene’s in-terpretation, the motif – which was in fact a flock – has been completely removed to leave a cleaner, more versatile stripe. In keeping with authentic methods of production, the background strié effect is achieved using a horsehair brush, with the stripe and gilded edges printed on top.

This design is an accurate reproduction of one of several wallpapers found in a private residence in St James Place, London, dating from around 1840. Its ornate, decorative detail gives it a subtle artisan quality, and the original, richly-coloured blue and red colourway, faithfully reproduced for this collection, is very typical of the Regency era.

Taking the exact proportion and structural quality of Broad Stripe, each band in this more complex version comprises 42 ‘pin stripes’, creating a sharper, more contemporary look that appeals at first glance and offers even more on closer inspection. Given its finer proportions, this design would have been virtually impossible to print before the arrival of the surface print roller in around 1840.

Very much a 20th century design, this is a 1950’s English pattern found at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. A band of fine, white stripes over flat grounds, it is actually the space between stripes that creates the subtle optical movement. The more complex striped versions contain an additional three ground colours each, and the ‘plain’ versions are produced in matching colourways to coordinate specifically with the different elements of the stripe, offering a highly flexible range of papers to be used in combination in traditional and contemporary homes alike.

PAINT SPOT (c.1830)
This design is a faithful reproduction of an historic French wallpaper. Perhaps surprisingly, the original hails from 1830 and was printed in a bold combination of yellow and pink. Particular attention is paid to the paint reticulation (also known as the seaweed effect) evident within the printed spot element, in giving orientation – there is a definite right and wrong way up for this paper to be hung!

Another 20th Century stripe, each of the papers in this design contains a judicious balance of six tightly packed colours, giving every one an overall theme and several opportunities for picking out painted walls and trim. It has been inspired by the way designers would ‘tag’ colours together when referencing interior design schemes, and as a consequence is inherently close to the way colours were handled by the fashion industry too.

Originally produced as a design on fabric, the larger scale production of this classic 19th Century stripe was a natural development from the early ‘open trough’ printing method referred to in ‘Broad Stripe’. Its name is taken from the Regency fashion of hanging fabrics in a room to create a ‘tented’ effect. The proportion of the elements within these stripes was typically fairly consistent, but the scale on which they were reproduced (and used) varied considerably. Having been shown extensively in its own right as a stripe, the design was subsequently popularised as a background to a range of larger overprinted designs, including French damasks.

THAMES (c.1851)
Faithfully reproduced, but increased in scale, from an eye-catching piece in the English Heritage archive, this historical panorama of the capital was published by London Illustrated News in 1851. The hand-drawn, hand-painted scene depicts the buildings and landscape along the river Thames at that time: it has subsequently been re-mastered to include a repeating section, meaning it can be now hung as a continuing frieze. The original would have been shown at cornice height, but for rooms of a more ‘conventional’ scale, it has been created to sit comfortably at dado or skirting height as well.

Little Greene Wallpaper