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Interview with Dylan Rose

Read our interview with Dylan Rose, who specialises in restoring properties naturally using KEIM.

Photo credit: Dylan Rose

Instagram: roserestorations

How did you come to your current position?

One of my earliest memories is mixing various paints together with my mum in search for the β€˜perfect pink’ to paint the flat I grew up in. Ever since I’ve held a fascination for colour, effects and finishes within the home space. I moved to Cornwall to study contemporary crafts, taking on paint jobs alongside my studies. Through those years travel was a great source of inspiration, developing further my passion for painting. Experiencing the vibrancy of India I began to produce colourful murals and later on discovering Moroccos affinity with natural pigments I explored the process of creating paints from a variety of substrates. After my degree and travels I pursued an apprenticeship to further my experience and qualifications within the profession. Following this I was blessed to be traditionally trained, working on the restoration of heritage estates. It was this experience- contributing to the history and preservation of a place, in honour of every craftsperson that had gone before and supporting the ones that will follow, that a true calling for these works took hold. Restoration became my speciality, repairing old yet well built structures and bringing the spaces back to a state of wellness.


What is the process of preparing a project? How long does a project take on average?

Working in restoration every building presents different needs and requires a tailored approach. Preparation is certainly where the majority of time is spent on a project, tending to surfaces through scraping, sanding, gouging hairline cracks, filling, more sanding, sugar soap and rinsing. The actual paint application is the slightest slither of what’s required to achieve a stable, beautiful and durable finish. Its difficult to offer an average of time for these works as they’re all so very unique! If lucky enough to work from freshly rendered walls prep is drastically reduced and replaced with the application of layering primers and paints that will provide a secure adhesion to the surface.


What type of projects do you work on?

Throughout my career I have been exposed to many styles and eras of buildings. Increasingly I am drawn to projects that are concerned with environmental conservation- utilising both traditional and modern natural building techniques that are sympathetic to the locality of the building, using materials that work with the landscape and not against it. Allowing buildings to be living and breathing things that are not solely a place for security but also innovation. The goal for me is supporting the wellbeing of these spaces, working alongside eco builders such as Hempcrete Cymru- a natural insulation team who also provide organic breathable renders for buildings, I support these works with the use of natural and breathable paint finishes.


What are the biggest challenges? How do you overcome them?

When working in old buildings you are almost certain to discover generational works and modifications that are incongruent with the buildings original design- the use of building materials that are unsupportive to the needs of the structure. An obvious example would be painting a building in a non breathable paint when it would have originally been designed to breathe. In effect this suffocates the layers within the build and proves detrimental to the living quality within that space as symptoms such as condensation, damp and mould begin to present themselves. Restoration works are not dissimilar to a detective investigation through time, to identify what improper works have taken place to then action a remedy to rectify the problems created.

What has been your best project so far?

That’s a tough question! With so many wonderful restorations to choose from… From a creative and ethical point of view I think it has to be an eco build that dwells in the Snowdonia region. From the crumbled stone ruins of a Welsh barn we assembled the layers required to build a home using almost exclusively natural building materials sourced from the UK. Local trees provided the timber for framing along with other features such as kitchen and flooring, hempcrete insulation followed by breathable lime render, clay flooring sourced locally. Then I was granted the privilege to create my own paints, again using the local clay along with a range of natural pigments. To be a part of the whole journey, creating natural, breathable paints to the satisfaction of application, the whole project was an awakening to another form of approaching restoration and has given me great respect for the paint manufacturers that advocate the use of natural materials.

What do you like most about you work?

Many aspects! Job satisfaction is a major factor, experienced through the whole process of a project from the problem solving, preparation, detailing and the finish itself. I paint traditionally using brush work for entire spaces. This is like a meditation for me, then to step back and see the transformation through your efforts- its deeply satisfying! Another perk is meeting and collaborating with other craftspeople, developing our trades through the collective experience, working together to create something beautiful and sustainable. The opportunity for travel is also something I embrace within my work, discovering new landscapes, communities and local/ historical architecture. I find great meaning in the contribution of my trade- wherever I go my brushes are always close and eager to help.

Why do you use KEIM paints?

From the view point of the applicator of paint I’m very grateful for the organic composition used within KEIM products, as many paints can be detrimental to your health if you are exposed to them long enough. I’ve found KEIM to be one of the safest products to work alongside. From an environmental point of view I also find their products congruent with my own ethics in achieving a natural, high quality finish that is made to last. Supporting the building not only in its aesthetic but preserving its wellbeing to. KEIM products are perfectly compatible when using other natural building materials and provide a protective and wholesome finish. I can’t forget to mention their wonderful range of colours and wash effects that really bring a building to life!


Which KEIM product do you prefer to work with?

I couldn’t just pick one! Every KEIM product I’ve worked with, internally or externally has been an absolute delight. The durability of their exterior products such as KEIM ROYALAN is like no other masonry paint I’ve worked with. The mineral paint secures such a protective coat, years on the finish of the buildings still holds such vitality- as the product is designed to work with the seasons not against them. Internal works I’m very thankful for the KEIM OPTIL process that simply requires and aqueous primer coat followed by two full coats of the desired colour, enabling you to achieve completed results at a satisfyingly rapid rate. Although they can be applied in a variety off ways they compliment my brush work wondrously and offer such character in their finish.

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