Saturday, 19 December 2009

Effective Cabernets

I was asked by a Birmingham based Interior Designer for whom I work, to decorate a pair of James Mayor Furniture bedside cabernets to sit alongside a Simon Horn, Louis XVI painted bed.

The cabernets were delivered to me spray sealed white. After undercoating and base coating in Farrow & Ball oil based eggshell, a distressed paint effect was applied in the form of a glaze base with additions of artist oil colours.

The result was "an exact match" and the client was delighted.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Paint effects, decorative paint effects, Birmingham, painter, decorator

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The Best Job In The World

This client first made contact with me via a "DIY" forum - asking for assistance in repairing Lincrusta panels up their staircase. After receiving some very questionable advice from some "would-be Lincrusta installers", I was asked to travel to Blythe Bridge - Stoke on Trent, to complete the necessary renovation. On first inspection, it was apparent that unfortunately the panels were beyond repair, due to the substrate breaking up behind the Lincrusta. (If there is one hint with Lincrusta, the condition of the substrate is key!)

Undeterred, fresh Edwardian dado panels were installed to the repaired substrate. Those of you who are a little geeky, may notice that the Lincrusta dado has been applied along the skirting board to increase the height of the paneling itself.

I cannot think of anyone else who is lucky enough to have a career working with a material that is so beautiful, day-in-day-out. I have the best job in the world!
Lincrusta repair, Lincrusta renovation, specialist decorator, staffordshire, stoke, stoke on trent, Lincrusta Edwardian Dado, west midlands

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A New Working Partnership

I am extremely pleased to announce that M. J. Guest Ltd. has been invited to work alongside James Mayor Furniture - designers and manufacturers of bespoke, hand-painted furniture - and will be offering a tailored painting service to James Mayor's clients to help fulfill a true quality driven "product".

Made in the traditional manner, with rails and panels precision-cut and with tenoned joints, James Mayor's furniture is available in both traditional and contemporary styles, or can be designed as bespoke for interior design projects. Furniture is hand-painted on site after installation, ensuring a beautiful and hard-wearing finish. Each of their kitchen carcasses is made by hand in their own factory in the Midlands where they calculate the dimensions of each unit to fit the space precisely, ensuring the bespoke fit and design that they are famous for. With a nationwide service, you are guaranteed excellent craftsmanship and a fine quality product that truly enhances the value of your home.

For further information about James Mayor Furniture's services and products please click here.

Bespoke, hand made, handmade, furniture, design, painted furniture, quality, high quality, nationwide, national, west midlands, hand painted, uk, united kingdom, england

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Georgian Nouveau

Situated in the leafy suburbs of Birmingham, this Georgian family home was in definite need of a little "TLC". Areas of the ceiling and walls (woodchip, arghhhh!), had been affected by water damage and the original sash windows were showing signs of their considerable age.

The hall, stairs and landing, pictured above, was stripped, porous walls sealed, lime plaster sealed and lined (and cross lined in areas) with MAV Wallrock 55 and coated with Little Greene Paint Company Acrylic Matt Emulsion - a fantastically pigment rich paint!

All woodwork was undercoated and topcoated twice with Little Greene's Oil Based Eggshell.

The area below dado, was, as you can see treated to Lincrusta's Art Nouveau design... the serpentine skirting at the top of the stairs threw up a few "interesting" moments; the pattern needed to be adjusted by 20 - 30 cm in places to allow it to follow the line of the stairs. I'm sure that many will miss these alterations - but I know that they are there, and that the project has been done properly!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Distemper Delight

I was fortunate enough to be recommended to the owner of a beautiful mansion house, dating back (in parts) to the 12th Century. The project was to replace an existing paper on the ceiling of the master bedroom - a Georgian proportioned room.

The room's dimensions were 24ft square and the ceiling was 15ft high - as you can see a considerable amount of "plant" was necessary to gain access to the working area.

The ceiling was stripped of its covering to reveal distemper and lime plaster - words which produce a pronounced "tut" into most sentences used when describing them.

The distemper was treated with a wonderful Zinnser's product and Wallrock 55 was applied to ceiling and above picture rail areas. An Anaglypta was used as the top sheet which was later painted with a Crown white emulsion.

I have been invited back to work on further rooms during 2010.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

"Lincrusta is the ultimate wallcovering used in some of the most prestigious buildings and locations around the world since it was first invented in 1877.

Lincrusta is unique in the home and commercial decorations markets - there's simply nothing quite like it for classical style and durability.

Lincrusta is made today from natural materials in exactly the same way as 1877, even using the same designs and, in some cases, the original rollers.

Lincrusta is a perfect solution for today's interior designers, specifiers and architects as it offers innovative solutions for any design application. Whether you're recreating traditional splendor or wanting to make a contemporary statement or even a fusion of both styles, Lincrusta can be used in any kind of interior design application".

To celebrate the product further, and to panda to my geeky side, I am launching my latest venture, the lincrusta blog... my intention is for it to become a resource for anyone that would like to "dig a little deeper" into the world of Lincrusta.

I will be looking at existing patterns, developments, history, paint effects and general "wrinkles" that I find in my day-to-day life with the product.


Lincrusta specialist, specialist decorator, Lincrusta installer, Lincrusta decorator, west midlands, uk, united kingdom, traditional, exquisite, unique product, opulent, art nouveau, italian renaissance, sophia, amelia, linenfold

Monday, 13 July 2009

John Charles Interiors

In the interests of promoting my network of craftspeople that I work with, I would like to highlight John Charles Interiors of Hagley Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham.

To find out more about John Charles Interiors please visit their website, or alternatively call; 0121 420 3977.

John is kind enough to recommend me to his client base whenever someone wants a specialist finish, renovation of a period wallcovering or the application of Lincrusta, not to mention "general" painting and decorating.

Many thanks for your support John!!!
john charles interiors, interior designers, interior designers midlands,interior designers birmingham, interior design,
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soft furnishers midlands, curtain suppliers, interior decoration fittings, designer fabric suppliers, designer wallpaper

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Traditional Decorating Materials

I have been using A. S. Handover for some years now, and I thought that it was about time that they got a mention here!

Established over 50 years ago, the company were first and foremost hand-made brush manufacturers... to use their own words;

"In response to requests from customers, many complementary products have been added to these brushes over the years and we are now proud to offer a comprehensive range of products to meet the needs of artists, signwriters, specialist and traditional decorators, gilders, pinstripers, stained glass artists and many other craftsmen".

Primarily, I purchase gold leaf, gilt creme, and traditional decorating tools from them... I can't fault their knowledge or their fantastic level of prompt service (often next day delivery!)

It's great to have a supplier that you can rely upon, thanks Handover!

London, traditional decorator, gold leaf, lincrusta, craftsman, craftsmanship, decorating materials

Friday, 10 July 2009

Art Nouveau in Sutton

This substantial property is undergoing a complete and comprehensive restoration and renovation. M. J Guest Ltd. was brought in to install approximately 50 panels of dado height Lincrusta - Art Nouveau pattern.

The newly plastered walls were lined and the product was applied. The Lincrusta was then washed down with white spirit to remove any grease that may still remain from the manufacturing process, and painted with a coat of oil based wood primer.

Following the production of several sample boards for the client to decide upon colour schemes and effects, the Lincrusta was then treated to two further coats of Little Greene oil based eggshell, a further wash of oil based eggshell and a dry brush coat of a darker shade was applied.

To complete the effect, gilt creme was heavily applied and wiped down with 3 varying degrees of white spirit on cloth.

The finished result is stunning - further images will follow, once the client has fitted new carpets and designer radiators, etc.

Sutton Coldfield, Four Oaks, Painter & Decorator, Quality, Craftsman, Craftsmanship, Erdington, Birmingham, West Midlands, Painter, Decorator, Specialist, Master Decorator, Paint effects, Lincrusta, Hanging Lincrusta

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Specialised Joinery

It's rare, but I've chanced upon someone who has a real passion for the quality of their work. Bob Whiles of Specialised Joinery Sutton Coldfield.

Having worked alongside Bob on a beautiful Victorian property in Sutton Coldfield, I have no reservation in recommending Specialised Joinery to absolutely anyone.

Take a look at Specialised Joinery's new website, it's packed with images and further information.

Bob can be contacted on mobile 07973 267814 or 0121 355 0919.

At last, a true Master Craftsman!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Georgian Restoration

We were originally asked if we could provide an insurance quotation to redecorate a dining room in a Birmingham Georgian property that had suffered water damage. The client had been informed by an interior designer that the ceiling was Lincrusta, and felt that we were the obvious choice for advice.

Upon inspection, the ceiling did not appear to be an existing pattern. Following a good deal of research with Lincrusta, English Heritage, The Victorian Society and Birmingham City Council, we were able to identify the covering as "Cameoid", which was an early Lincrusta-like product (C. 1900).

Once identified, the ceiling covering and substrate underwent a full restoration, which basically entailed cutting around the patterns, removing the covering, dressing and restoring the the covering itself, repairing the substrate and reinstalling the covering to the ceiling... the room will then be fully painted in a appropriate scheme by ourselves, in the near future.

The image you see above is prior to restoration.

Salamander, Lincrusta, Cameoid, west midlands, Birmingham, restoration, wallcovering decorator, painter and decorator, painter & decorator

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Posh Paint

I am extremely pleased and proud to announce that M. J. Guest Ltd. has been accredited a "Professional Distributor" of the Morris & Co., Sanderson and all Little Greene Paint Company ranges of paint.

With a real commitment to the environment, These brands offer ranges of paint finishes with unequalled depth of colour and 40% more pigment than many ordinary paints.

For exterior and interior decorating, Little Greene's paint palettes include historic colours researched with English Heritage, and striking compemporary shades. Together they give the true Colours of England.

These high quality paints will be specified throughout my own client work. Additionally, I will be offering a dedicated paint supply facility to the West Midlands area.

For information, please contact me on 07940 111516. or email
Interior Paint Colour, House Paint Colours, Interior Decorating, Wallpaper for home,
paints for home, interior paint, london wallpaper, Little Greene Paint Company,
Sanderson, Morris & Coint Distributor, Quality Paints

Friday, 20 March 2009

Georgian Revival...

The first of a small two stage project, involving the renovation of the guest bedroom in an incredibly beautiful Georgian property (c. 1851) in Erdington.

The room was stripped and part plastered prior to the commencement of the work - the "original" plaster was in a poor state, however, once lined with Wallrock 55 my client was delighted!

The "feature" wall was lined and hung with a Morris & Co., Red House paper (c. 1910) portraying an understated Art and Crafts feel.

The next stage of the project (to be completed in May) will entail renovating the skirting - which is seriously needy - priming and painting the ceiling and walls with a further two coats of emulsion.

To further enhance the "feel" of the room, I will be graining two of the doors to lend an early 1900's fingerprint.

Many thanks to John Charles Interiors in Edgbaston for recommending M. J. Guest Ltd.
Craftsmanship, Lincrusta specialist, Master Decorator, Birmingham, Period specialist, period property, Sutton Coldfield, Edgbaston, Traditional, Paint effects

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Art Nouveau in Walsall

Lincrusta Art Nouveau adorns the walls of this stunning 1920's property in Walsall.

Thorough preparation work was undertaken prior to installation of the Lincrusta; repair, seal and cross line all walls. 60 Art nouveau panels were then applied - complimenting perfectly the original oak parquet flooring.

An oil based primer and 2 coats of Farrow & Ball oil based eggshell then followed with a dry brush effect in a complimentary hue - giving a slightly "antique" look.

The finished project has a real Arts & Crafts signature. The clients' oak furniture and copper ornaments further endorses this story.

A project to be proud of...
Lincrusta, Lincrusta Glue,RD 1961 Gothic Dado, RD1583 Elizabeth, RD1650 Georgian Panel, RD1888 Sophia, RD1956 Amelia, D1960 Acanthus,
RD 1805 Crichton, RD 1827 Lin enfold, RD 1843 Sea Grass Matting,RD 1860 Cordage,RD 1873 Caprice,RD 1893 Chequers,RD 1902 Cane,
RD 1903 Villa Louis, RD 1946 Francesca Frieze,RD 1947 Anne Frieze, RD 1948 Cameo Frieze,RD 1949 Adelphi Frieze,RD 1950 Edwardian Dado,
RD 1952 Italian Renaissance,RD 1954 Byzantine,RD 1955 Adam Frieze, RD 1957 Empire Frieze,Rd 1958 Diana Frieze, RD 1959 Seville Dado,
RD1639 Lincrusta Border,RD1640 Lincrusta Border,RD1951 Art Nouveau Dado, RD1953 Lincrusta Border

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Francesca and the Edwardian

"Francesca and the Edwardian" might well sound like an Agatha Christie novel, but in fact were two components in the renovation of a beautiful 1900's hallway.

The transformation from bare plaster (in poor order) to the above photograph took five weeks; walls and ceilings were repaired, and cross lined with Wallrock 55 then treated to three coats of Farrow & Ball Estate Emulsion. Woodwork and all six doors took four coats of firstly Permaglaze Undercoat and then Crown Full Gloss brilliant white gloss.

Below dado, Lincrusta Edwardian Dado was installed - 30 complete panels, and below cornice Lincrusta Francesca... both patterns were primed with the appropriate primer and received 3 further coats of oil based eggshell.

The complete project is a triumph - creating a modern feel within a traditional setting

Monday, 9 February 2009

Another Satisfied...

Received today from an extremely valued client, on a comprehensive refurbishment;

"Now that you have finished decorating my house, I must write to thank you for all your efforts.

I don't just mean your superb workmanship and meticulous attention to detail, to be honest after the recommendation I had of your skills from Hearnshaws I expected no less - what has impressed me most was your willingness to give your time and expertise about colours, textures and carpets, advising what will work and what will not.

I really have found your advise invaluable, taking a lot of strain out of the whole exercise.

My kitchen, you have totally transformed - no one can believe the units are painted. Everyone is convinced they are new doors. Another testament to your workmanship.

In short you have turned my nice house into an elegant home, for that my hearftfelt thanks.

Apart from all the above you were a joy to have around! No other decorator will be allowed into my home..."

Monday, 2 February 2009

Hall Revival

A tired hall, stairs and landing in Edgbaston, Birmingham, in desperate need of a considerable TLC. All walls were stripped of their original wall covering and horizontally lined in MAV Wallrock, then papered with Italian Classic wallpaper. Woodwork was treated to 2 coats of Permaglaze undercoat and 2 topcoats of Crown brilliant white gloss.

Ceilings were cross-lined and Anaglypta - Armadillo was applied.

Doors were prepared and treated to 2 coats of Permaglaze undercoat and 2 coats of Crown brilliant white gloss.

Carpets were replaced with Brinton. Including barley twist stair rods on stairs.

The finished result was extremely eye-catching, giving a very opulent impression.

Carpets supplied by Hearnshaws (Walsall) Ltd.

Kichen Facelift

Delivering a handcrafted, hand-painted effect at a fraction of the cost of a bespoke kitchen...

Following preparation, all wooden surfaces were treated to 2 coats of Zinnser's 1-2-3 primer, 1 coat of Permaglaze oil undercoat and then 3 final coats of Farrow & Ball oil based eggshell. Farrow & Ball full oil gloss was used for the kickboards. Giving the units the best possible chance of a long and beautiful life!!!

Turning your house into your new home

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Lincrusta - A Totally Natural Product

First manufactured at Sunbury-on-Thames before production moved to Darwen in 1918, Lincrusta is a classic product which has never needed "improving", made from totally natural materials.

Now manufactured in a purpose-built unit at Morecambe, Lancashire, it is produced traditionally using many of the original rollers, with the same care and attention to detail as when it was first made!

Lincrusta, one of the first "eco-friendly" British made products, manufactered since 1877.

Apart from its use in general domestic and commercial applications over the years, Lincrusta has been used extensively in ships, yachts, railway carriages, trams and cars.

Notable uses include 6 luxury cabins on board "The Titanic", Nicholas Cage's yacht, as well as in famous buildings such as "The White House", Roseland Cottage and John D. Rockefeller's house in New York City.

Image; Addition techinique on Acanthus, created at Index 2008, Dubai

Monday, 26 January 2009

The Green Shop

The Green Shop has been selling environmentally friendly paints and finishes for over 10 years - stocking the most extensive selections of natural paints and finishes in the country. Whether for decorating inside or out; walls, floors, woodwork or metal they have products to suit all needs.

If you are trying to reduce your exposure to complex synthetic chemicals and VOC's are concerned about the depletion of non renewable resources and excessive use of energy, or simply appreciate the aesthetic qualities of natural colours and materials, the Green Shop Paint Catalogue probably contains the right paint for you.

For further information about The Green Shop or to request a copy of their catalogue, visit;, call 01452 770629 or visit their new ECO Build extension at The Green Shop, Cheltenham Rd, Bisley, Stroud, Glos. GL6 7BX

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Decorating in Dubai

It seems a lifetime away now, but yes, I did visit Dubai to demonstrate decorative paint effects at Index 2008 at the World Trade Centre in December.

The exhibition was a great success - with a good deal of Interior Designers, Architects, Specifiers and end users making some very encouraging comments about Lincrusta and how it was being finished... to read what Lincrusta have to say about it all, go to Lincrusta's website. You'll also see a picture of a very handsome young man. (OK, perhaps not so young or handsome!!!)

Image; Italian Renaissance, Index 2008 Dubai

West Midlands, Worcestershire, Painter and Decorator, painting, decorating, Midlands, Lincrusta, PDA, EDA, Farrow and Ball, quality, craftsman, master decorator, Brian Yates, Beacon Hill, Carlucci, Colefax and Fowler, Dedar, Fadini Borghi, Fox Linton, Jab International Ltd, Churchill, Jim Thompson, Manuel Canovas, Campbell, Nobilis Fontan Ltd., Osborne and Little, Pierre Frey Ltd., Robert Allen, Troynorth, Voyage, Watts of Westminster, Wemyss Houles, Zoffany

EcoDecorators Association

We are pleased to announce that M. J. Guest Ltd. has been accredited with membership of the EcoDecorators Association. A totally not-for-profit organisation primarily representing Painters & Decorators who already use, or who are happy to use, Eco-Friendly alternatives to the more mainstream (solvent-based) Paints & Wallpapers.

2010 EU Paint solvent Regulations: these EU- ratified changes started in earnest from 2004 & the next big changes due are in the permitted Paint VOC (solvent) levels & are due to take effect in 2010 in the UK & EU.

These 2010 regulations will effectively ban many types of paints, varnishes, stains and most thinners currently sold nationwide in DIY outlets, trade shops, garden centres, etc. Wallpaper manufacture will be similarly affected.

Traditional “Gloss paint”, as you now know it, will, for all practical purposes, be outlawed and will no longer exist.

As a member of the EDA, M. J. Guest Ltd. are informed and in many cases are already working within and exceeding the 2010 regulations.

For more information about the EDA, go to;