How did you come to your current profession?
I took an apprenticeship with a local engineering company; I think by the third day I realised my lively nature wasn’t suited to a sedentary job, so I handed in my notice. My dad was a painter & decorator and had run his own business for years, I always enjoyed working with him and he agreed to take me on. I used to do a week at the technical college for the early version of NVQ’s and the rest of the time on site, that was 30 years ago it’s been fun.
What is the process of preparing a project? How long does a project take on average?
I was always told right back at the beginning of my apprenticeship that preparation was 99% of the job the other 1% was the easy bit. The preparation really starts from the moment you visit the client, often that’s mentally. In Cornwall, we have to plan well for logistics, parking isn’t always available, so things have to be planned well to be able to start the work on time and be sure we have everything we need. It is then a case of taking a good look at the property; what type of paint does it have already or what is the construction of the property, is there signs of condensation and mould, and most importantly what is the client expecting, so good communication and planning starts early. This is where KEIM as a company have been excellent to work with, often our local KEIM rep, Julian, will come down if we come across something that needs his professional knowledge of the surfaces that we will be using KEIM on, followed by a specification sheet this has been invaluable. We then start with colours and finishes, we order sample colours and paint them out onto boards for the client. Once all those things are finalised, we set a schedule to start and work through the physical process of getting the building thoroughly prepared, cleaning down, protecting surfaces, repairs, and application.
What type of projects do you work on?
We have had the privilege of working on all sorts of buildings; from heritage to modern, cob farm buildings, old mills, large properties with multi rooms and even just a single bathroom. We also work on commercial properties, ones of historic interest, as well as specialist decorative finishes such as KEIM Restauro Lasur & KEIM Colourwash, clay plasters and wallpaper. We carry out a lot of work using linseed oil paint on sash windows, doors & floors which combined with KEIM makes for a very healthy home.
What are the biggest challenges? How do you overcome them?
Weather for sure. It’s something that’s becoming more of a challenge with the weather patterns shifting, the winds and rain in the far west of Cornwall can make a challenging diary, along with allowing sufficient time for things to dry. To overcome this challenge/worry, we have had to reduce the number of exterior jobs in an exterior season to allow for such challenges.
What has been your best project so far?
The first Job that I ever used KEIM on, from a building point of view it was a standard detached house but very exposed. From the moment we worked through the specification I knew we had found something special, the coating felt connected to the building. I still drive by and look at that house as something special. The customer himself has been known to take a deck chair and just sit and look at the paint work, I think we were both excited about the discovery, laugh...
What do you like most about your work?
I am very fortunate to really love what we do. I have had the joy of training both my sons and working with them. It’s very varied, working in the beautiful county of Cornwall isn’t something I take for granted, we meet some amazing people along the way who we form friendships with too. Restoring old buildings brings a lot of satisfaction in maintaining something that’s already lasted for generations. However, the bigger point for me personally is sustainability, if we can use materials to make homes beautiful & durable that have as little impact on not only the planet, but the health of those living in it, that makes me feel really happy.
Why do you choose to use KEIM paints?
I know that if applied correctly, they will provide a long lasting, durable coating that allows the building to breathe. Very importantly, they have minimal impact on the environment, the occupant and for us as applicators. I am genuinely passionate about mineral paints, the way they adhere to the surface is fascinating along with the pure pigment, which just holds its colour in all lights.
Which KEIM product do you prefer to work with?
I haven’t used a KEIM product we don’t like. Every single product from the KEIM Spachtel fillers, KEIM Universal Render to paints and finishes are unique. However, from a creative point of view, I really love KEIM Restauro Lasur and KEIM Colourwash, both products bring life to the surface, it’s something I would be very happy to do more of.