Tuesday, 1 April 2014

How To Maintain And Oil Exterior Wooden Furniture

The beautifully balmy weekend we've all just enjoyed was a sure sign that the time is right to oil exterior furniture. Furniture that spends most of its life sitting outside, braving the elements, should ideally be treated at the beginning and at the end of the warmer months. Even oiling the wood once a year will give you many more years of use.

If your outdoor wooden furniture is dirty, begin by giving it a good clean with our Osmo Wood Reviver, which will help remove all dirt and grime that may have built up over the winter.

At Relics of Witney, we sell a number of exterior wood oils to help you get exactly the finish you need.  Firstly, if possible, identify the wood that your garden furniture is made from. 

{If you find the following at all confusing then pop in for a chat and we can talk you through the process.}

Teak furniture needs Liberon Teak Oil to penetrate into the wood. This oil will feed and seal your teak (and is also suitable for oiling other woods).

You might have one of our Wellington Boot storage racks made from solid oak...in which case, although hard woods can withstand lashings of wind and rain, year after sodden year, the glue and fixings probably won't. We recommend using Liberon Tung Oil on oak for exterior use 

For other woods, such as pine, or if you simply don't know what your timber furntiure is made from, then try one of our all-purpose oils. 

Liberon Superior Danish Oil is Liberon's newest oil, and includes a UV filter. The blend of Pure Tung Oil, and natural oils penetrates deeply and enhances the colour of the wood, while providing a water-resistant seal.

All these oils are applied in a similar way. Once your timber is clean, and free of dust and mould, apply the oil using a clean brush or lint-free cloth. We recommend a minimum of four thin coats, allowing at least five hours of drying time between each one, though you may like to apply more in especially exposed areas.

And then all that's left to do is enjoy summer!

Next time, we'll be looking at coloured oils...

All images Relics of Witney, except Image 3:  Alpha Green and Image 6: Garden Studio Design

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Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Best Exterior Green Paints For Your House And Garden

Spring is, well, springing into action before our very eyes. Buds are swelling. Birds are singing. And we know from experience that, at this time of year, customers everywhere are turning to their paint charts, searching for the best green paint to use on the exterior of their houses and in their gardens.

Let's take a look at some of the best greens out there for exterior use. The greens we find that are most consistently popular with our customers, for outdoor use, are those that harmonise with their surroundings for a gentle, and, indeed, genteel, feel. 

Our first three picks are some of our best-sellers by Dulux, whose Weathershield exterior paints are fantastically hard-wearing. To get a similar look to this beautiful orangery by Marston and Langinger, try Dulux Moorland.

You may notice that many of the greens we're recommending contain more than a touch of grey. When slightly greyed colours are used on front door in hot climates, they might look dull and drab but in England's, frankly, slightly grey-skied outdoors, greyed hues, if chosen carefully, take on a matchless serenity. 

For the stately effect of this taupe-green conservatory, try Dulux Lizard. 

Dulux Hopsack has a warmer, creamier feel.

For that hard-to-define Cotswold front door green, Farrow and Ball colours work extremely well. Who can resist the lure of French Gray?...but be careful if your site is too sunny, it can look somewhat washed out in the wrong conditions. Get it right, though, and Farrow and Ball French Gray has an unrivalled sophisticated warmth.

If you're looking for a refined mid-green then Farrow and Ball's Green Smoke works beautifully, shifting easily between green, grey and blue, depending on the orientation of the exterior.

Farrow and Ball, Decorating with Color, Jon Nicolson, Spitalfields, Green Smoke on door and shutters | Remodelista

For painting outside furniture, it's a good idea to choose slightly brighter colours, which will give a gentler effect once they are in situ, particularly if they are destined for a sunny spot in your garden. Farrow and Ball Cooking Apple Green works well for this.

And lastly, Little Greene does greens very well. Green is not always an easy colour to get right but we particularly love Normandy Grey, which is a subtle but warm grey-green....


And how's this for a rich, dark green? Little Greene's Obsidian Green keeps its depth wherever its painted which makes it an excellent choice for rooms which open out onto your garden.

Little Greene's Invisible Green has been designed with planting in mind to create a cohesive feel to your house and garden. It's the kind of colour that has a charm of its own, even if falls into disrepair.

Dark Green with Glass, Dontaylor

For a great heritage paint, our last choice is Little Greene's Light Bronze Green, which is based on a popular Victorian colour used to paint doors and railings in the 19th Century.

Loden Green front door personalized with paint

Have you been feeling overwhelmed by choice? It's a problem we're proud to help our customers overcome every day. Come into Relics of Witney and take advantage of our huge experience, to let us help you find your perfect exterior green paint colour. 

Images via Carolyn Rohme, Marston and Langinger, Marston and Langinger, Georgian Design, AbodeOrangeries, 
Farrow and Ball, Relics of Witney, Sims Hilditch, Litte GreenePinterest, This Old House

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Monday, 3 February 2014

The Great Interior Design Challenge

This month we've been watching The Great British Design Challenge, which is a twelve- part series that sets out to put Britain's keenest amateur interior designers to the test.

The BBC says, "Throughout the series, brave home-owners give over their bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, hallways, and studies to put them all to the test. Each episode will follow the wannabe designers' trials and tribulations as they source materials, select products and try to find everything they need to make their room look great while staying in budget."

We love the way that the presenter, Tom Dyckhoff, architecture and design critic for The Times, fully informs the viewers on the design for each episode's chosen period from Georgian to Art Deco. It's a great example of the research we always recommend to our customers before a period look is to be attempted. 

The bit we're not so sure about is the claim that "the show will also be packed full of handy tips and guides for keen home decorators everywhere." By the time we'd seen a coat of gloss being applied directly onto an untreated surface, only hours before the final judging, without any comment from the presenters, we became somewhat sceptical.

Perhaps not the buzz-words of the moment and certainly not in-keeping with society's desire for fast-paced makeovers. However, to get a long-lasting, professional-looking finish, we always advise attention to preparation. 

The contestants are only given brief outlines from which to prepare mood boards and concepts for their given space. One way that some contestants stand apart from the rest is their ability to build a colour/decoration scheme in relation to the non-negotiables, whether that be pieces of furniture or the amount of natural light a room receives. 

For instance, the winner of episode one, Sarah Moore, had clearly thought carefully about her scheme and based the colours around her fabrics, style in other rooms and interests to be reflected by the room. This is work that absolutely pays off, even though it takes time. We advocate collecting ideas well before you are ready to proceed with the decoration of your chosen room. This could include wallpaper and fabric samples, and images from Relics of Witney's Pinterest of rooms showing colour combinations and styles which appeal to you. Pasting all of these into scrapbooks or onto a large piece of card can help you find your style mojo.

Great Interior Design Challenge makeover

Our big bugbear with The Great Interior Design Challenge is that, whilst it may make great television, rushing a room's design is never a good idea. 
These are talented individuals. As a pertinent example, a 48-hour deadline created this room, which shows very little of contestant Sarah Moore's creative flair....

yet take a look at Sarah Moore's beautiful staircase in her home, created using vintage wallpaper....and a great deal of thinking time....

If you're tempted to rush into decorating or are not entirely sure how to get to grips with a particular painting project, and need input fast, then call into Relics of Witney or contact us for a chat. We're chock-a-block full of useful information that we love sharing with our customers. 

Didn't your grandmother tell you? 
A quick trip to Relics will save work in the long run!

Images via: BBC, Sophie Robinson, Enchanted England, Relics of Witney, The Daily Mail, Sarah Moore, BBC, Sarah Moore, Sarah Moore

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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

How To Use Colour More Effectively: Red

Let's welcome in the New Year with a new series of colour studies. We're often asked for tips on how to introduce particular colours into schemes so we hope you'll find it useful to hear our hints and tips to use when planning for projects in the coming months.

We're kicking off with RED
Loud, proud, warm and inviting. 
Red invites, welcomes and intoxicates. 
This is because red is what's called an advancing colour, meaning, in essence, that it appears to move towards you. 

The image below of our range of Sanderson paints shows what we mean in a visual context:

Most of the shades fade into a pleasingly harmonious background, while the varying shades of red seem to lunge forwards.

Farrow and Ball Ringwold wallpaper

The outworking of this is twofold. On one hand, a space painted red can appear smaller, yet on the other, it can create a feeling of cosiness; for example the bath, below, painted in Little Greene's Atomic Red, adds personality and spark in the otherwise neutral bathroom.

Red is a shade to be embraced but only with this knowledge.

From Farrow and Ball's Brinjal, a deep aubergine, to Little Greene's Firefly, an intense pillar box scarlet, there's a red for every taste, which is just as well because it's the perfect shade to brighten up an otherwise dull space. 

And front doors? If your home is feeling a little unloved, a little cold, then try painting your front door in a shade such as Sanderson's Firecracker, or the rather more majestic Paint and Paper Library's Plum Brandy.

Just look at this dramatic transformation:

A glossy tomato red such as Farrow and Ball's Blazer will turn your entrance in a space to love. You'd hardly believe it was the same door! Yes, without red, the world would indeed be a duller place. 

Will 2014 be the year you embrace your inner red?! 

Images via: Little Greene, discover southwest, Sanderson, Farrow and Ball, Easy Living, Little Greene, Little Greene, London Doors,  Perlucida

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Monday, 2 December 2013

The Perfect Christmas Craft: Gilded Bowls

Welcome to December's post. We're feeling thoroughly excited with our Christmas-inspired craft this month. By spending just a few pounds on some simple supplies, you can create an incredible centrepiece.

You will need:
Terracotta Pots

First of all, paint your terracotta pots. You only need a very small amount of paint for each so this is a perfect way of experimenting with different sample pots.

Take your time choosing these colours, as flashes of brightness give the gilding a slightly different appearance to softer neutrals.

Make sure you wiggle the paintbrush into all the gaps.

Step two is to apply your size, which is a type of glue that is designed to stay tacky, even when 'dry', a bit like the back of a Post-It note, only stickier. Using a brush, paint the size wherever you want your gilded finish.

Then comes the magical transformation! You need only wait until the size becomes transparent, which can take as little as fifteen minutes. Here it is half-way through the drying process:

Carefully take one sheet of transfer leaf at a time and press it on, gilded-side down, onto your pot.

Using your finger, or a paint brush, press evenly over the back of the paper. 

Firmly press the gilding paper into all the nooks and crannies. This will ensure that the leaf adheres to the painted surface. Carefully peel back and admire your handiwork!

Repeat this process everywhere that the size was applied. You may need to work over some areas several times to allow full coverage. Once the pot is covered to your satisfaction, rub your finger, or a clean paintbrush, gently but evenly, over the gilded surface to help detach any loose bits of leaf.

Gilded surfaces need sealing so we used Liberon's Fine Paste Wax in Clear to give a long-lasting finish..

Enjoy experimenting with different finishes for some truly stunning results. Relics of Witney sells Variegated leaf in different finishes, as well as brass, copper and gold. Contact us for more information.

On one of our pots, we applied variegated leaf solely to the inside surface, and on the other we created the reverse effect. It's worth paying extra attention to the edges for a more professional finish.

Merry Christmas from all of us here at Relics of Witney!

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