Traditional LongHouse in the Welsh Countryside

This lovely house located in the quiet Welsh countryside of Carmarthenshire has been one of the most enjoyable traditional painting projects to date. The quality of materials and craftsmanship throughout has worked right through to the end product. Its no wonder that ‘Goetre’ was featured in The World of Interiors.

I was approached initially by Hilton Marlton for the priming of the new windows being made for the property. It wasn’t long after that we had a meeting with Jessica and Jamie Seaton who owned this old farmhouse discussing the option for a lead like finish on the windows to compliment the limewash. (we used Potmolen Linseed Oil Paint)

From there on, we advised and carried out the decorative scheme throughout the house. Using a variety of finishes from limewash and casein distemper to gesso and chalk paint we mixed all colours by eye on site, everything had a traditional hand brushed finish.

In the ‘Blue Bedroom’ we distempered the walls with a base colour and washed over the top with pigment provided by Nutshell Natural Paints. We are experienced with hand finishing kitchens and the unique kitchen unit was a reclaimed lab unit and finished with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and over waxed with different shades to provide protection and a slight patina.

For more images take a look at our earlier posting and if you’d like some advice on a project your working on get in touch on 01792 885173 or try our mobile 07528 467 284. Of course there is also our email, get in touch with us at mail@welshheritagedecor.co.uk

by Matthew Evans of Welsh Heritage Decor

30 Days of Movember

The 1st of November is shave down for millions of gentlemen around the world as they begin Movember. Each Mo Bro begins the month with a clean shave, a developing their choice of moustache over the rest of the month.

Movember

 So with the blessing of my lovely wife I have taken the opportunity grow a Mo. The serious side of Moaffects is to raise awareness and educate about men’s health, so each Mo Bro has a Mo Page (found here) so you can keep track and donate to cancer research.

So, I will be posting pictures on the Movember site showing my progress, I only ask you to check back once in a support and take a look at what you wright be able to do for the cause.

Matthew Rhys Evans Movember

http://mobro.co/matthewrhysevans

Vintage 50’s Magnolia and a fitting Kitchen Green

This kitchen, at a busy family home in Ammanford, was in need of a face lift. Installed at the same time as the house was built around 20 years ago, it was well made with solid doors and didn’t need to be replaced. To record the process from start to finish I set up a time lapse camera, although there were some other trade coming and going so turned it off out of respect while they were working in the room.

A new tile floor and splash back was installed along with worktops a new island with inbuild cooker and extraction, with some updated lighting and sockets to finish off. Then we came in to perform the finishing touches.

Cleaning everything down with Krud Kutter Original is always a pleasure as it cuts through any and all grease you might find. Things were a little awkward as the kitchen was always going to still be in use by a busy family.

With everything cleaned down, our Festool dust free sanding unit was brought in to keep dust to a minimum and at the same time providing a perfect surface to apply our first coat of Zinsser Coverstain.

The chosen finish was Little Greene Oil Eggshell, in 50’s Magnolia and (quite fittingly) Kitchen Green.

Three coats were applied and new handles fitted to complete the look. While we were there there was also a pine welsh dresser and wine rack that now looked out of place. So a little extra time was spent preparing and painting them to the same spec along with two new IKEA stools to match the cooker island.

For a no obligation quote to have your kitchen painted get in touch with us. Phone us on 01792 885173 or try our mobile on 07528 467 284.Of course there is also our email, get in touch with us at mail@welshheritagedecor.co.uk

If you are outside the South Wales area you want to look at UK Hand-Painted Kitchen Specialists on the Traditional Painter website.

by Matthew Evans of Welsh Heritage Decor

Traditional Glazing

Glass contributes a lot to the character of a building, the distortion from imperfections reflect light that modern glass does not equal. Traditionally glass was held in place by lead or a series of nails and linseed oil putty, with old glass panes usually holding air bubbles.

Seed visable and telltale sign of traditional glazing

By the late 17th century sash Windows were becoming popular throughout Britain leading to a rise in demand for glass

  • Cylinder Glass – also known as broad sheet and popular until the first half of the 18th century, was made by blowing a cylinder of molten glass then cutting it along it’s side and flattening it out in the furnace. This gives it a slightly rippled surface and can be recognised by elongated air bubbles, the ‘seed’, in straight parallel lines.
  • Crown Glass – Increasingly popular from the mid 18th century, crown glass is made by blowing and spinning a large thin disk known as a table which is then cut into smaller panes. Thinner than cylinder glass it is also shinier and brighter as it never came in contact with a hard surface while molten. The seed lies in distinctive semi-circular lines with the glass being slightly curved.
  • Plate Glass – using cylinder or glass made from a cast, the glass was ground and polished until smooth.  It was expensive to produce so usually reserved for high status buildings and mirrors. Patent Plate Glass was invented in 1839 and used a thinner initial sheet of glass resulting in more glass being produced from the same amount of raw material.
  • Drawn Flat Sheet – With mechanisation glass production was able to develop methods to draw continuous sheets of molten glass out of a furnace. This was then passed through rollers, cooled, ground and polished.
  • Modern Float Glass – developed in 1959 it is the standard type of glass used for glazing today, made by floating molten glass on a bed of molten tin to produce perfectly flat glass.
Building character with distortion form traditional glazing

Maintaining traditional glass is usually limited to cleaning with a soft cloth and water as abrasive cleaning agents may cause damage. Where putty is needed to be replaced, linseed oil putty has not changed in character or composition and is still widely available and easy to apply. Ensure when painting, the paint overlaps slightly from the putty onto the glass.
Removing putty can be difficult and an infrared heat lamp is invaluable for this procedure. Used to soften linseed putty and ease its removal, this reduces the risk of damage to glazing.

Most types of glass are no longer produced so it is preferable to retain original glazing whenever possible. Small cracks in the corner of panes can be left in-situ unless they allow air or water penetration, larger cracks in very valuable glass can be repaired using epoxy techniques.

Cracked corner of old window glass pane

Crown and plate glass is no longer produced in the UK, reproduction cylinder  glass is along with modern reproduction ‘antique’ glass which may provide a better match to original glazing. But either will not replicate the appearance of older hand made glass.

by Matthew Evans of Welsh Heritage Decor

Treasured Times

Sometimes it is the little things that matter, although this wine storage box is a very nice present in itself, you can make it extra special by adding a personal message.

I was approched recently to advise and applying a gilded message to a box as a gift. Although it was a short timescale and the first box delivered was damaged it was a success for everyone. Nothing looks the same as genuine gold leaf and it really gives a beautiful finish and lustre

by Matthew Evans of Welsh Heritage Decor

Chalk paint just for kitchens?

I do a couple of hand painted kitchens a year and a few more now that we are in an association of UK Hand-Painted Kitchen Specialists. A great product to use if your looking to do some DIY kitchen doors yourself is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, it needs minimal preperation (it can even be applied over wax surfaces) and is easy to use even if your not that skilled with a brush. Good coverage and a real chalky texture its perfect for your country kitchen.

Hand painted kitchen and doors finished with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Fiddes Supreme Wax

Clean down where you are going to paint and carry out your filling and sanding as you normally would and apply two coats of Chalk Paint. But a kitchen is a real work house for your home and you dont want to have something that isn’t durable, which is why we advise to apply a couple of coats of wax to protect your newly painted units in the long term.

You dont have to stop at your kitchen, chalk paint can easily be used on furniture, distressed with sandpaper and as in the picture above we painted the doors to the larder and fridge/freezer to match the reclaimed laboratory unit. This way you get a continuation of colour and finish through the whole kitchen.

Welsh Heritage Decor covers the South Wales area for hand painted kitchens, but if your looking for someone you can trust to paint your kitchen we recommend the UK Hand-Painted Kitchen Specialists for someone local to you.

by Matthew Evans of Welsh Heritage Decor

Traditional Limewash and Linseed Oil Paint

Traditional stone built houses should be cared for slightly differently if you want them to be kept in best condition. You can read some details on our Traditional Decorating service page but to summarize the most important factor is to allow the buildings to ‘breathe’.

Constructed with lime mortar and finished with lime plaster/render, Limewash is the perfect finish for your traditional home. But it does need to be maintained as it weathers, how often depends on how severe the weather is around the building. A coat of limewash every year is the general rule, but often sheltered walls can go 2 or 3 years before needing to be redecorated and exposed areas will benefit from 2 coats. The building will tell you what is needed as the paint weathers

A beautiful addition to limewash is Linseed Oil Paint. A very basic paint it compliments the texture and finish of limewash perfectly. In the video above we finished the windows and doors in a Linseed Oil Primer to give a flat finish, although a Gloss would have ‘dulled’ over time as it weathers.

Like the Limewash, Linseed Oil Paint needs to be maintained slightly differently to your conventional paint. As it weathers, pigment is exposed and the colour changes slightly, new wood will need to be puttied up and touched in if any joints open over the next few years, so make sure you keep the leftover paint. I would recommend an additional coat on exposed areas but for the most part a thin coat of warmed linseed oil will refresh the surface and give you a rich colour again. This can be carried out when necessary.

This system isn’t just for new windows either, it can be applied to existed windows but a complete removal of the exiting coating is advised. We make this simpler by using safe and fast methods of paint removal at the same time fixing problem sash windows to give the benefit that they were made for.

If your interested in a maintenance schedule for your traditional property or in any of the products or services described, get in touch and we’ll work with you to keep your home looking and working its best.

by Matthew Evans of Welsh Heritage Decor

St Teilo’s Church and more at St Fagans Cardiff

I once had the pleasure to carry out some work at St Fagans Museum in Cardiff. Here there was a rebuilt church, taken from Pontarddulais by the Loughor Estuary. Help was needed to recreate the interior to how it was and could have been in the 16th centuary. With colourful wall paintings and decorative gilding on the rood screen and loft. Along with Marc Hare from Cardiff I worked on the par-closed screen and font cover, aswell as some of the other building in the museum like the school house and castle.

A lot of work was put into the recreation and traditional techniques were used from start to finish to create as similar effect as possible. Pigments were hand ground into linseed oil and ranged from Indigo for the dark black areas, genuine Vermillion, Azurite and Lead Tin Yellow, some of these being highly toxic. I recommeded to used loose gold leaf with an oil size but was instructed to use transfer leaf with a japan size which created a very rough gilding.

The whole process was a great experience and I got to talk and explain to the public about what was happening as the work was carried out in St Teilo’s Church while it was still open. If you have a project involving a traditional building which is important to be treated in the correct manner, I’d be happy to discuss and advise on any decorative work required.

by Matthew Evans of Welsh Heritage Decor

Wallpaper Strips

Something that I come across from time to time especially when working on properties that have not been maintained, is old wallpapers. Usually found in multiple layers as they have been applied on top of each other, which although isn’t good working practise it does, to some extent, preserve these decorative beauties. I love finding a splash of colour when stripping back a room for a new wallcovering, it kind of makes the nasty job worthwhile. So a couple of samples that I have kept I shall share with you here, I’m not going to try and tell you any history behind the patterns or colours. But if you have any samples yourself I’d be very happy to see them.

And should you wish to replicate a traditional room setting we’d be happy to help

by Matthew Evans of Welsh Heritage Decor

A Little Makeover

A project that I have had the pleasure of working on in the local area of Carmarthenshire, is that of Grage II Listed Abbeyfield House. Currently being utilised as a residential home, this impressive building was in dire need of some maintinence. So I thought I would share some more images of the project, you can also read a little about the work and should you want to know more then please do get in touch

by Matthew Evans of Welsh Heritage Decor

Its a dirty job… or is it?

Stripping paint from doors, windows, spindles or any surface for that matter is a time consuming job and can get very dirty. Depending on the stripping process it can also be dangerous as toxic fumes can be released from the paint layers, lead paint for example releases fumes at 450 C and being highly toxic. The common ways of removing old paint are chemical paint strippers (including dipping), heat (Blowlamp or torch and heat guns like a hairdryer). Shot or sand blasting can also be used but is not within the relms of most people and required specialist equipment also grinding or dry scraping, there is also another way which technically falls under heat removal but I’ll go into that later.

Firstly lets talk about the dip, and not the one from ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’. Once a popular method because of the speed and simplicity of it, you could remove the doors of your house take them too a guy who would dip them in a stripping solution for a couple of hours possibly overnight. Then possibly steam cleaned and then neutralised ready for you to pick up. Problems occur when the glue is dissolved during the strip and the moulding loosen or pop out. The grain can raise considerably and take a long time to sand back but if it hasn’t been neutralised completely then it is difficult to repaint or varnish again and this process doesn’t work well with water-based paints.

Home chemical strippers like Nitromors are not what they used to be, although the companies will swear they are as good as ever EU regulation have removed the dangerous but effective chemicals that were present. Some products like Peelaway supply you with a plastic cover which stops the stripper from drying out which helps soften multiple layers of paint overnight. Similar to the dipping process the surface needs to be neutralised afterwards, it is an effective method especially if there are lots of layers of paint or an intricate surface, but quite expensive and messy.

Door being stripped with blowtorch, revealing original graining

The most traditional method and still used and loved by lots of decorators is the use of heat. A blowtorch or heat gun is used to soften the paint layers and then scraped off with a sharp knife or hook. Very effective, it can be used easily in the home and on large surfaces, although a flame can char the wood and can cause fires as it works between 400-1000 C. This is minimised with the use of a heat gun, but many will say that it is not as effective as a flame. The biggest problem with this method is the very high temperature that they heat the paint to, this releases gases from the paint that can be harmful especially if lead paint is present. Its is also quite messy but not as much as something like Nitromors as paint can be easily brushed up as it is dry. Also if you are removing paint from windows with the glass still in place, you can quite easily crack the original panes with the high heat from a torch if your not careful.

The method that we employ whenever possible is the use of infrared heat via the Speedheater IR. The biggest difference in this set up is the way it heats the surface to a much lower 100-200 C reducing the risk of fire, dust and chemicals in your home. Because of the low temperature no fumes are released into the air unlike with a heat gun, there is nothing to neutralise on the surface afterwards and there is no dust like you would get with sandblasting or grinding. This system also helps to soften dried out putty allowing us to save the glass when restoring your precious windows and bring them up good as new. It is also faster as it will heat all the layers simultaneously allowing them to be removed in one go.

Of course this process still takes time and a good set of sharp scrapers with plenty of elbow grease. There are no real shortcuts when it comes to paint removal, but I feel this is the best balance of speed and safety. When finished with the dustfree sanding system from Mirka and Festool a high quality surface is guaranteed ready for finishing.

This is not an exhaustive list of processes and there are many products out there that will do the job and are recommended by many people. If you have another method or product that you’d like to recommend then I’d be very happy to hear from you.

by Matthew Evans of Welsh Heritage Decor

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Sneak Preview

I’m working on another movie for a project that has recently been completed, but I’ll give you a sneaky peek at some of the images. Check back for the finished showcase film and a post on the methods paints and problems encountered that we solved. Take a look here for more information on working with traditional buildings.

To get in touch with us about a project your planning try our contact page.