Quality Decor take on sitting-dining area

19th Aug 2021

Simplicity is deceptive, it relies on huge attention to tiny details, which in themselves seem minor but create a synergy of calmness. Quality Decor took on this sitting-dining room…

When we were first approached by the client in 2007, it was apparent that they had previously carried out their own decoration and had firm ideas about what they wanted.

This included a colour scheme supplied by a high street interiors company. The wallpaper was already on-site and the colours suggested were from the interiors company’s limited selection. Our first job was to use the vast Dulux colour range to get a near-perfect match to the paper. Having listened to the customer’s full requirements, we made informative suggestions and began to win their confidence and trust. It took two years before the client was ready to proceed with the work.

The brief was to update a sitting/dining room scheme using a contemporary palette, creating a simpler feel to an over-fussy living area. Simplicity is deceptive, it relies on huge attention to tiny details, which in themselves seem minor but create a synergy of calmness.

The work itself was an interesting project; it had previously been dragged and marbled by a skilled professional. However, by its nature, it had left the surface very uneven and the high-gloss polyurethane varnish which over the years had been spray polished, created a very difficult surface to obtain a ‘key’.

Our solution was to use a modern method, first by mechanically abrading with Festool sanders, then to ensure a fine finish, we hand-abraded using wet silicon carbide abrasive with a mild detergent. After applying an ESP pre-wipe, three coats of Dulux oil-based eggshell were applied. The paint finish was checked using halogen lamps, fine filled and de-nibbed between each coat, so that the trim achieved the same coach finish as the cupboards.

The previous decorator was very skilled and had done some good paint effects. This was very fashionable for its time but now looked dated and fussy, leaving no room for furniture and the client’s personality. For example, the cornice had been glazed and wiped, which in a larger grand room would be viewed over a distance giving the eye a focal point. However the cornice was only 40cm above head height and as a consequence it became a distraction, making the room feel uncomfortable. Our solution in this instance was to paint it the same colour as the ceiling, with the ceiling painted in matt emulsion and the coving in eggshell. This highlighted the mouldings and lifted the pattern in a contemporary, understated finish.

Having retired early the clients were around the house throughout the project and it was evident that they wanted to take an active role in the project. We therefore allocated time each day to explain the details of what the team was doing and at the end of each day we talked through what had been achieved.

The client had purchased a coffee table online to match the new scheme. However, when it was delivered it was finished very badly and he asked if we could do anything with it. We created a lime wash for the top and applied six coats of lacquer to protect it as well as painting the legs to match the room.

Centring the patterned wallpaper required some thought. It was important not to centre the paper, but instead centre the pattern, so that the mantle and windows each side matched. Also the top of the drop should align correctly with the bottom and at no point should the pattern look cut off and disappear into either the floor or the ceiling.

The ‘crowning glory’ of the whole project were three dark oak dresser units which previously dominated the room. These were wet abraded with silicon carbide paper and pre-wiped with ESP. Four coats of eggshell were applied, de-nibbing thoroughly between coats and a soft ‘shabby chic’ paint finish was created to co-ordinate with the scheme. For protection, clear matt number eight lacquer was applied. It looked like new furniture had been purchased for the room!

In conclusion, this project was in a 15 year old property. The general standard was of a normal decoration, which gave us the opportunity to raise the standard of finish to one of the highest we have ever achieved. The result is a completely different room without changing much of the main furniture or fixtures and resulted in a delighted client.

PDA Premier Trophy Competition – 2011 – Very Highly Commended

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