I had the pleasure of meeting Lesley from Bespoke Decorative Finishes and offered to do a Guest Blog for her business. Lesley is an Artist and her work is amazing. If you want any decorating services then she is your woman. I am definitely adding her to my list of contacts for my Interior Design projects.
Below are some questions she kindly answered for me.
1. Can you tell me a bit about the painting services you offer please?
I offer all the normal decorating services but because of my background, the work is done to a high level with an eye to detail. I also offer all the Specialist techniques. Very popular at the moment is plaster, both polished and textured. I have been doing this type of plastering in America for many years. Polished plaster is beautiful, sleek and contemporary. It is lime based and we do a lot of bathrooms because, due to it’s Ph level, mold and mildew will not grow on it. A polished plaster focal wall in a modern living room is a real show-stopper. Textured plasters are fabulous for the urban/industrial look. It can be left rough as it is or metallic waxes can be used to give it a metallic sheen. Both polished and textured plaster can be stenciled into, creating truly bespoke finishes. One of my favorite things to do is glass. I can create fabulous antiqued mirrors with silver/gold or copper leaf. Designs can be added and all work is done on the back of the glass so everything is protected and seeing the design through the glass is really magical. It can be used for splash backs, furniture and focal walls. I’m always coming up with new ways to use it. I can also create designs on walls that replicate wallpaper. The great thing about this, is there are no seams! And my absolute favorite thing is creating designs on ceilings. I always encourage my clients to at least paint their ceiling a color other than white. Solving problems is a big part of my work. Often I am presented with a situation and asked if I can come up with a solution. Sometimes that is making something disappear, or painting something to match existing wood or marble. There are so many things I can do it would be impossible (and boring) to name them all!!
2. How did your business come about?
Not being a lover of beach holidays, I went on a holiday in 1987 where I spent the week in an artists studio and learnt the basics of Wood graining, marbling, glazing etc. I loved it so much I went on to study it further. Unfortunately, I was a single Mum and was not able to rely on self employment so I did it now and then. In 1996 I went to live in America and I was seeing very bad examples of Faux Finishing. So I started doing it for myself and friends and then people began to ask me to do it and they paid me!! The Decorative Painting business is huge in America. The houses are large and Americans like to have unique and custom decorating. I was working in an office and I gradually went more and more part-time until I was fully self- employed! I continued to educate myself and did many courses to learn new techniques.
3. What’s the best thing about your job?
The look on my client’s face when I’m finished!! It is so wonderful to translate an idea into reality and for people to realize I can make their dreams come true. Many a client has called me the Paint Alchemist. I am truly lucky, because although the work can be physically hard, I really love what I do. Who can ask for anything more?
4. What was your most favourite project you have carried out?
There are so many and all for different reasons. However, if I had to name one it would be the bedroom I did for an American politician. I did the ceiling in metallic plaster and created a huge design on it. The walls were done with handpainted wallpaper. I worked with the Interior Designer to create a warm, relaxing hideaway. I used polished plaster on the en-suite walls and ceiling. It was the job that really catapulted me into fame and fortune, (well fame anyway!). From that job I got written up in newspapers and magazines and some of my work was showcased in a book. I have painted a few murals for adults and done a lot of work in children’s rooms. They are all hand done and I love doing work for children. They are so excited by what you are creating. I did some work in a school and the class teacher said how nice it was for the children to see something being created by hand rather than computer imaged.
5. If you could paint anything in the world what would it be and where?
Gosh, that’s a hard one. My next project is always the one that excites me. It would be great to work on a project where I had a lot of artistic input and money was no object. I did a project in the South of France once and that was awfully nice!
6. Can you offer any tips or advice to people to achieve the perfect paint finish?
Three words, prep, prep, prep. It cannot be said enough, if you want a perfect finish, you must prep everything beforehand. This means washing down, de-greasing, filling, sanding and priming. Clients are always surprised by how long it takes before I do any of the top coats but are always delighted by the finish. The other thing I tell people? Use the biggest brush you can handle, especially for cutting in. People are afraid of large brushes but a small brush does not hold very much paint so it is very difficult to paint a straight line in that case. A good paint brush is your friend. It’s worth paying a little extra on a brush and the same goes for paint. The cheaper the paint the more water and less pigment it contains. You will also have to put more coats on. If you are doing it yourself you might no mind that but if you are paying someone to do it, keep in mind, labour is the most expensive part of the job.
Check out some of her work!!
Before & After