Thursday, 27 October 2011

Our List of Trusted Trades People

One of the biggest stresses of being part of a renovation is trying to pick skilled workers. We're repeatedly asked in Relics who we recommend for various jobs. Our houses, rightly, mean so much and the thought of all our hard-earned cash being wasted on a rip-off merchant is painful.

Yes, there's the Yellow Pages, and various other directories that list local trades people but wouldn't it be great if there was a list that you could know was full of tried and trusted sources?

In Relics of Witney, we have years and years of experience of working with the very best of the best. Here is the pick of our favourites. These are people and companies that we have worked with over a long time, who we have found to be tirelessly hard-working, skilled and trustworthy.

Painters and Decorators

Steve Webb 07739 047012
Harris and Thompson 01608 811484
Cotswold Decorating Company 01993 832365
Neil Grey 01993 878524
Philip Hitchcox 01993 771532


George Fisher 07779 086534

Decorative Painting

Georgina Barrow 01451 861301


N Randell 01993 868725

Garden Design

We'll be adding this list to the tabs at the top of the Relics blog so you can find it easily.

With the clocks due to go back this weekend, we feel it's time to focus on creating a cosy and stylish home. Come back next week for our top tips for a warm winter....

Images via: Unknown, Relics, Unknown, House to Home, Unknown, Hendy Curzon

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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Farrow and Ball Exterior Eggshell

We discussed last week that Farrow and Ball's Exterior Eggshell has at times been given some bad press but we feel unreasonably so.

As long as their products are used as designed, that is to say as a system paint, then they perform extremely well. Farrow and Ball Exterior Primer and Undercoat grips the untreated wood, or keyed paint surface, and the Exterior Eggshell sticks superbly to the Primer. 

And not only in the short term. These two products are designed to allow the other to move fluidly alongside the surface onto which they are painted. Wood, in particular, will shift and contract with changes in temperature, when left exposed to the weather, so these qualities are essential in any outside paint. 

Farrow and Ball Exterior Eggshell is water-based and is probably runnier than other Satin paints you may have used. Watch out for drips!

When painting on subsequent coats, be vigilant in covering every last inch of primer, particularly in cases like this where the undercoat is almost identical in colour to the top coat.

Take a closer look at the photo above. The peg on the right has been painted with Down Pipe, and the peg on the left has only been primed. It's extremely hard to tell the difference between the two, so work methodically from left to right and top to bottom to ensure that your boot rack is thoroughly protected from the elements.

We're confident that the combination of Farrow and Ball's Primer and Undercoat, coupled with their Exterior Eggshell is a duo that will stand the test of time. However, if you'd like more advice, or to chat over other options, then we're here to help.

Now, speaking of painting, wouldn't it be great to have a one-stop trusted source of local trades people? We think so.....come back next week to see what we're setting up....

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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Farrow and Ball Exterior Primer and Undercoat

We're going to use a Farrow and Ball Exterior Primer and Undercoat as the first stage of protecting our oak wellington-boot rack from the elements. This, as the name implies, functions as both a primer AND an undercoat, saving you the cost of buying both separately.

Farrow and Ball often get bad press for their exterior finishes but we feel this is due to mistaken application, rather than the products themselves.

The Farrow and Ball Primer and Undercoat, and the Farrow and Ball Exterior Eggshell work together as a system paint.

Wood is often not kiln-dried as thoroughly as it used to be and so is regularly sold with some moisture left in. Farrow and Ball Paints are microporous. They allow that moisture OUT but don't allow outside moisture IN. The Primer and Undercoats AND the exterior eggshell are both microporous, so the two work together extremely effectively.

Problems will arise, however, if a non-microporous primer is used, and then Farrow and Ball Exterior Eggshell applied on top. The Farrow and Ball paint is extremely flexible and grips well, which usually creates a superb finish. However, if a non-microporous primer is used, these very qualities will work against it. The ability of the Farrow and Ball to shift with movement will cause any rigid primer to pull away from the wood.

If your exterior paint is peeling, we have a good test to see whether it is your primer that has failed, or your paint. All you need to do is to check the underside of any paint chips. If the underside is the colour of the primer then the primer has failed, but the paint has done its job and clung well to the primer. If there is no primer visible on the paint chip, then it is usually the paint that has failed, and the primer has clung to the surface as intended.

Farrow and Ball Undercoat and Primer sits beautifully on untreated wood, and will also sit well on old paint, as long as the paint has been sanded back to the point where it's not peeling.

However, it WON'T work well on any kind of exterior woodstain, such as Sadolin. If you have wood that has been treated in this way, then it would be better to use a primer such as Zinsser, and use a complementary paint like Little Greene, which are also available from Relics. 

Next week, we'll be looking at Farrow and Ball Exterior Eggshells.

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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Gorgeous Wellington Boot Storage

What else would you need on your feet in wet weather but wellington boots?
The problem is where to store them once they are removed?
 It's all too easy to have them strewn messily around the back door,
particularly when children are involved.

If boots aren't stored well, rain can easily get into the opening and damage the boot from the inside.
Plus, putting on wet boots is never good.

At Relics, we have the perfect solution.

Our oak boot racks.

Easily fixed against a wall, these racks will make a beautiful feature of your welly-storage, which is no mean feat. Too often, storage solutions tend towards either the stylish or the practical. We were thrilled to find these superb quality boot racks, which manage to be both.

The boots are slotted upside-down, between the rails, to keep them completely dry, and off the floor.

As oak is a hardwood, it is extremely durable. The oak won't rot if left outside, but the glue in the joints, where the pegs attach to the rail, will deteriorate with time, if not well protected.

The first option is to oil the wood. However, it is extremely important to seek advice before choosing an oil, as only some oils are suitable for use with oak. Our Liberon Tung Oil is an excellent choice.

Used in a similar way to Liberon Superior Danish Oil, which we discussed here:
ensure the surface is dry and free of dust. Apply the oil using a clean brush or lint-free cloth. We recommend a minimum of four coats, allowing at least five hours of drying time between each one.

Once oak is oiled, it is extremely difficult to reverse the process. The oil sinks into the wood so cannot be sanded away. If you intend to apply colour to your rack at some point in the future, then do think carefully before pursuing this route.

A second option is to use paint.....

....but more on that next week.

First image via The Guardian

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