Annie Sloan Interiors – Professional Development


At M J Guest Ltd. this week, It has been all about continued Professional Development;

Along with colleagues from Traditional Painter, I was lucky enough to be invited along to the Annie Sloan Interiors Headquarters in Oxford to partake in a Chalk Paint™ Masterclass delivered by the one and only Annie Sloan herself!


So, for the uninitiated, what is Chalk Paint™?… it’s been around for 25 years (thanks to Annie). It’s remarkable versatility and impressive colour range make superb results achievable for the DIY enthusiast as well as the Professional Painter. The colour palette is inspired by 18th and 20th century décor and design and is easy to mix to achieve endless possibilities. I can be used indoors, outdoors, on any surface – from wood to metal, and matt plastic to terracotta. It can transform old tired future, walls, ceilings and floors with ease… not forgetting that it’s non-toxic, contains no lead, near zero VOCs and has no odour – it’s as eco-friendly as possible.


Chalk Paint™ has, of course, been on our Furniture and Kitchen Painting radar for year’s… let’s face facts, it’s hard not to have seen or heard about it; and meeting with Annie was an opportunity not to be missed – we weren’t disappointed, being treated to in depth demonstrations and tutorials in Chalk Paint™ application, decorative paint effects, wax application techniques and Annie’s own take on colour theory and colour mixing… just wonderful!


The Annie Sloan team are a group of fresh, Creative, talented and extremely friendly people – we were made very welcome throughout the day, even enjoying a homemade meal at lunchtime!

My sincere thanks go to Annie and her team for a wonderfully fulfilling and informative day – squarely aimed at the Professional Painter…

If you have a Kitchen or furniture that you would like to use the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ system upon, please contact me directly for advice or a quotation (


Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to all

We’d like to wish all a very Merry Christmas and and happy and healthy New Year!…



This year has been bitter sweet… As usual, it has been an incredibly busy and enjoyable year from a business point of view. We completed 24 beautifully Hand Painted Kitchens for some wonderful clients! Thank you very much if you have been generous enough to welcome us into your home this year…


From a personal perspective 2016 has been devastating; with the loss of my much loved Father-in-Law; Ivan (or Mr A as I called him). He was an immensely capable chap, able to turn his hand to many subject areas effectively. He was the Gentleman that gave me the confidence to pursue my Craft and was a ceaseless source of facts and opinion… he is dearly missed by us all.

The year ahead looks to be an equally busy with 20 projects already scheduled in the diary – just as we like it!

Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.



Recent Hand Painted Kitchen projects

We have been rather busy this year Hand Painting Kitchens… please take a look below at some of our recent projects and if you would like to know more, please feel free to visit our main Hand Painted Kitchen website (, where you will find case studies and a larger gallery of work that we have undertaken throughout the West Midlands Region.

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M J Guest Ltd. Hand Painting Kitchens throughout Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands Conurbation.

Recent Hand Painted Kitchens – Worcestershire, Herefordshire & Birmingham

It’s been a while since posting on this blog (there have been a few additions to our site), so I thought that it would be a good opportunity to show a cross-section of some of our Hand Painted Kitchens that we have already completed this year.


The first project of 2016 was in a delightful barn conversion in a Worcestershire hamlet – not far from Droitwich… the project was originally a pine kitchen, finished with wax. We believe the kitchen was installed by the builder some 20 years ago.


After an incredible about of degreasing and preparation, we applied our preferred Tikkurila Paint System to great effect – our client’s chose a two colour paint scheme, with the island being painted in the equivalent of “Lichen”, a great contrast to base and high level units.


Following on from Worcestershire, we travelled to the beautiful spa town of Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire to Hand Paint this traditional style pine kitchen and inject a little modernity into it.


Our clients were working through the whole house, renovating it – a substantial Victorian Town House – and the kitchen was one of the last jobs on the list. As you can see from the “Before” photographs above, the kitchen was in good condition, but required a little “TLC” to give it a fresh new look.

The finished project looks stunning (please excuse our floor protection still being down in the photographs… our clients had just had a new Porcelain “Porcelanosa” floor installed and we were asked to leave the protection down, when we left, as there were still a few Tradesmen to work at their property.


The finished project looks spectacular – a real transformation from an old tired pine kitchen to a bespoke masterpiece… great project, great location, great clients!


The next project that we moved to, was a brand new installation by James Mayor Furniture (; we are very fortunate, and proud, to be the James Mayor Furniture preferred Hand Painters.


This project in Harborne, Birmingham is an MDF construction – built with exacting precision and care… we love working on JMF Kitchens and Furniture, being part of such a Professional outfit is incredible; from initial sketches through to Interior Design, the whole process is remarkable.


Colours chosen by the JMF Interior Designer, for this project, were the equivalent of “Calluna” and “Brassica”, mixed into our preferred paint bases.


It was an honour and pleasure to hand over this beautiful kitchen to thrilled clients… all that was needed when we left was the beautiful “Amtico” flooring that was on order!

For more information about our work and how we go about it, please visit our website;, Traditional Painter for the West Midlands.

Hand Painted Kitchen – Shrewsbury


This Traditional Painter, Hand Painted Kitchen project, located in Shrewsbury is a great example of the kind of transformation Hand Painting can make to a tired kitchen. Originally installed by the current homeowners in 1999 – this solid Maple kitchen was bespoke-made by a local joiner/cabinet maker, to a high standard… my clients had lived with the kitchen and liked the way it was built and how it worked; it would have required a substantial investment, and disruption, to replace it with another kitchen of a similar standard… they just wanted it updating!


The solution was to call me in to renovate the kitchen and breath new life into it with my paintbrush, for a fraction of the cost of replacing the whole kitchen…

Once I had protected all work surfaces and flooring, in my work area, with high quality lining paper; a non-woven liner called Wallrock. (I find this to be the best product, it’s strong and resistant to tearing, making it safer on floors, etc). All surfaces to be painted were then degreased with my preferred degreasers manufacturer by Fluxaf.


When the substrate was “squeaky clean”, I broke out my “Dust-free” (99.9% dust-free) sanding system and fully sanded all surfaces ready for paint – in the first instance a shellac based, high adhesion primer called Pegaprim Isofix, tinted to the same colour as the top coat color; building up colour density from the first coat.


Top coats were provided by Tikkurila Helmi 30 – 30% sheen level – tinted to an equivalent colour to “Cornforth White”… Helmi 30 is my go-to finishing paint, it’s robust and highly abrasive and chip resistant – perfect for high traffic areas such as kitchens.


Once dry, the doors were rehung and new door furniture was installed, it was time to reveal the finished project to my clients… This was their review:


“Martin has completely transformed our kitchen. The work was carried out with excellent attention to detail and minimum disruption. The finish is immaculate as is the quality of his work, using multiple fine layers of top quality primer and paint. The careful protection of floor, work surfaces and appliances meant that at the final ‘reveal’ all was clean and ready to use. Thank you again Martin, we are thrilled with the ‘new’ kitchen. P.S. Our retriever Bo is still waiting each morning for you to arrive.”

Please follow this link to see a video of the finished project.

For more information about my work and how I go about it, please visit my website; Martin Guest, Traditional Painter for the West Midlands.


Hand Painted Kitchen – Hopwas, Tamworth

This Hand Painted Kitchen project, located in Hopwas, Tamworth, was a repaint of a painted kitchen – previously painted by someone calling themselves a “Hand Painted Kitchen Specialist”… my clients contacted me saying that they had their kitchen painted 2 years ago and that the paint was coming away from the substrate.


Upon inspection, the kitchen was suffering from “Saponification“, simply put; the paint turns into a soft, soap-like substance which can be easily scratched from the substrate – the reason being that the previous painter obviously hadn’t taken the time and trouble to degrease and prepare the substrate before painting… no surprise, apparently he only took 2.5 days to complete the whole of the project… didn’t even bother protecting my client’s floor, worktop or appliances – shocking from someone with “20 years experience”…


Luckily my clients found Traditional Painter and contacted me to rectify this poor workmanship; something that I relished!!!


First off, we protected all work surfaces and floors with Wall Rock 55 lining paper – a superior non woven lining paper that is extremely strong and “resistant” to tearing. Work surface edges were further protected from potential damage with 3M 2090 masking tape. The Britannia Range was also covered with polythene sheeting.


Once satisfied that all areas are fully protected, we degreased thoroughly with various Fluxaf products and scraped away as much of the affected paint as possible. Next, the substrate was sanded back to the wood; Maple incidentally, with our “Dust-Free” sanding system and then further cleaned with methylated spirit.


The paint system that we undertook for this particular project was solid coats of pre-tinted Pegaprim Isofix followed by coats of Tikkurila Feelings Furniture Paint tinted to the equivalent colour of “Tallow”.


The finished, repainted, kitchen was stunning and massively different to the finish that I found on the first day of the project – it is amazing the difference that taking your time and doing a job properly makes to the finish of a project!


My clients were amazed by their “new” kitchen;


“Very many thanks for the job you did hand painting our kitchen. Having had it painted before by someone else without much success, I was initially quite nervous about having it done again. Any concerns I may have had were immediately dispelled from the moment you came in.

Not only were you a very personable and engaging person but the quality of your work was far above what I was hoping for. The preparation work from protecting and masking surrounding areas to the degreasing and dust free sanding of the units was way superior to anything I have seen before.

The paintwork looks more like a spray finish than hand finish – quite exceptional and nothing was left to chance and your attention to detail staggering and, what’s more, my dog loved you.

Highly recommended.”

For more information about my work and how I go about it, please visit my website; Martin Guest, Traditional Painter for the West Midlands.

Hand Painted Kitchen – Harborne, Birmingham

This project, in a leafy suburb of Birmingham, was quite sizeable and required a good deal of preparation… My clients were undertaking a sizeable renovation of their property and the kitchen was the last room that they had left to tackle. They had rightly identified that the kitchen was in good order – a varnished solid oak example – well worth investing time and effort into.


After undertaking much online research they decided (and rightly so) that I was the best man for the job – being Traditional Painter member for the West Midlands… an invitational network of Hand Painted Kitchen Specialists, spanning the whole Country.


Once my quotation had been accepted, the project was booked into my schedule – most Traditional Painter members are booked up for a good few months in advance… so always factor in a little waiting time – good things are always worth waiting for!


The focus on day one is to protect my clients property; all work tops are covered with Wall Rock fibre lining paper – it’s extremely strong and very difficult to tear, so great for covering over delicate, polished surfaces and flooring. The edges of the black granite worktops are also further protected with 3M tape… hobs are covered over with polythene sheeting.


Once everything is covered and protected, attention turns to degreasing and preparation. I used a couple of products, both manufactured by Fluxaf. With the degreasing complete, all surfaces to be painted were then sanded using my Dust-Free system; I use a number of different top-end sanders coupled to extractors that remove 99.9% of dust from the atmosphere, great for my respiration and great for the project too!!!


The wooden surfaces were then all “washed down” with methylated spirits to further clean and open the grain ready for the first coats of paint; Pegaprim Isofix tinted to the topcoat colour – in this case an equivalent colour to “Pavilion Gray”. In-between coats I cut-back with 320 grade Abranet abrasives ready for the top coats of Tikkurila Feelings Furniture Paint (semi-matt). Skilfully applied with a range of brushes that I have developed myself called “the Fox“, available exclusively from

Once dry, the kitchen was reassembled – all doors were re-hung and new door furniture was installed… all protection was taken up, for the final “ta-dahhhhh!”


What a fantastic and total transformation; my clients were over-the-moon with the result:

“Our kitchen was the last major room left to renovate in our house, understandably we were torn between working with the units that were already there or to have them replaced.

Choosing to repaint them and to ask Martin to do them was undoubtably the best solution.

From the initial conversation on talking about our project, his depth of knowledge and passion for his craft came through clearly. This followed through in his completing our kitchen to an amazing standard. Throughout the process Martin was polite, trustworthy and very considerate to working around our family schedule.

We would recommend Martin without hesitation as he is a true professional and craftsman.”

For more information about my work and how I go about it, please visit my website; Martin Guest, Traditional Painter for the West Midlands.

Hand Painted Kitchen – West Midlands


This Hand Painted Kitchen project in the West Midlands is a great illustration of the type of Kitchens that I paint, as the Traditional Painter member for the West Midlands – Hand Painted Kitchen Specialist.


My clients came to me with a varnished pine Kitchen that was installed 25 – 30 years ago… they also had a Utility Room that they decided to replace the units for new (laminate) and have me Hand Paint them to match in seamlessly with their soon to be Hand Painted wooden Kitchen.


Before I arrived on site they had a new floor, worktops and units installed (and bespoke customised) by my preferred Kitchen Fitter – Adrian Cullen (great work as ever Adrian!)… once I was on site, I protected all of these surfaces with 1200 grade lining paper and taped all edges of the new solid oak worktops.


I changed my degreasing system for this project, slightly, and used Fluxaf’s Graffiti Clean instead of their Pro Clean product – I was extremely impressed by the results!; the Graffiti Clean actually changes the grease into a thick solid that is easy to remove.


Once degreased, I sanded down with my tried and trusted “Dust-Free” sanding system from Mirka and Festool and applied the first coat of High Adhesion Sealer/Primer – Pegaprim Isofix tinted to the top coat colour; equivalent of “Lamp Room Gray”.


Once the primer was dry I filled, sanded back with 320 grade Abranet abrasive. the second coat was then applied, followed by the top coats of Tikkurila Helmi Matt (5% sheen)… new handles and knobs were fitted and Tahhhhh-dahhhhh! job done!


My clients were kind enough to hand over this testimonial, upon leaving – very kind!;

“Our kitchen, installed 25-30 years ago, was very tired looking and in need of refurbishment/replacement. Being of good quality we decided to refurbish. was one of the first sites we came across and this led us to Martin. What luck, following emails and telephone conversations – which only confirmed we had made the right choice – Martin arrived, protected the new flooring and work surfaces, removed an embarrassing amount of grime from all the surfaces to be painted, sanded with an amazing dust collection system then primed and painted to a marvellous standard. All with a minimum amount of disruption.

The result is a total transformation with which we are completely satisfied. Thanks Martin for all your advice, skills and unfailing good humour. The music was a bonus.”


For more information about my work and how I go about it, please visit my website; Martin Guest, Traditional Painter for the West Midlands.


Hand Painted Kitchen – Herefordshire


This Hand Painted Kitchen project is housed in a truly exceptional Barn Conversion just outside Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. Originally a maple build, it is quite unusual in that it has metal shrouded drawers and posts. A real statement Kitchen – I could see the potential!

I was initially sent photographs of the Kitchen before my clients had actually moved into the property – I have to admit to looking forward to this project ever since my clients booked their project in with me.


As is my system, on day one, all worktops and flooring are protected with good quality lining paper – all worktop edges were taped and I got to work degreasing the substrate. For this project I used Fluxaf Pro Clean neat, then neutralised prior to sanding.


I used a combination of my Festool RTS400 and Mirka DEROS coupled to CTL SYS and CTL Mini extractors… a great partnership in “Dust-Free” sanding (99.9% dust extraction), each running Mirka Abranet for excellent finish and dust extraction.


Once all preparation was undertaken it was time for paint – the base coat (Pegaprim Isofix mixed to the equivalent of “Perennial Grey”) was applied – by my FOX brushes and rollers (I am the developer of this brand of brushes, so it is of extra interest to me). Any defects were filled and a second base coat was applied… The first coat is “nibbed” down in between coats with 320 Abranet to produce a fine finish.

Top coats of Tikkurila Helmi (5% sheen level) were applied, new handles fitted and all protection removed, the results were breath-taking (in my opinion) – Hand Painting this Kitchen has lifted it to a different level; a bespoke Kitchen that is now as remarkable as the property which houses it!


My clients were kind enough to write this testimonial for me;

“You have done a fabulous job and have totally transformed our kitchen. We are are very pleased with it indeed and it was a real pleasure to have you in our home!

The process was painless with little or no mess or disruption caused. Your keen eye and attention to detail was much appreciated, along with your sage advice about how to keep it looking nice in years to come! We have already recommended you to several friends and would not hesitate to recommend you again.”


for more information about my work and how I go about it, please visit my website; Martin Guest, Traditional Painter for the West Midlands.

Hand Painted Kitchen – Shrewsbury, Shropshire


Originally an “orange” knotty pine kitchen, tired and somewhat in need of updating on the outskirts of Shrewsbury. I was contacted by my clients to provide a quotation to carry out the necessary work to transform their kitchen from pine to sublime.


Once I had received photographs and a count of the number of doors, drawers and any other notable feature, I produced an accurate, all inclusive quotation for the job in-hand.


The kitchen itself isn’t the largest of areas – don’t get me wrong, it’s a good scale, very workable and cramp-packed with storage and features; 40 doors, an oven hood, plate racks, wine rack, radiator cover and shelf end panels… a lot of work!


My process is tried and tested – it remains the same whatever the scale of the project… Degrease, degrease, degrease, sand (Dust-free), degrease, degrease. The substrate needs to be clean and clear ready for the base coats of primer, in this case we used Pegaprim Isofix, a shellac based primer/sealer tinted to the topcoat colour, in order to build up the depth of colour right from the first coat.


The topcoats are a waterborne system; Tikkurila Feelings Furniture Paint, Semi Matt (20% sheen level) tinted 100% accurately to “London Stone”, supplied by Holman Specialist Paint in Swindon.


As is always the case with my process, all work is carried out “on-site” at my clients property, with the minimum of disruption, throughout the working day. My clients have use of the kitchen to make drinks and snacks. In the evening they are able to use their kitchen in the usual way to prepare and cook their meals… This is constant for all of my projects!


The last thing was to fit new handles to doors and draws to complete the transformation. I received many kind complements during the project (always welcome!), not least from builders that were also on-site working on a different project… they commented that it now looks like bespoke, handmade kitchen!


My clients very kindly sent me the following testimonial – they made me so welcome whilst I was with them… it really was home-from-home. I even won affection from their two Basset Hounds; Sally and Bertie – Bertie pictured above (no mean feat!);


“I can’t say how unbelievably thrilled we are with the transformation that Martin has given our kitchen – it has totally surpassed all our expectations and the photos really don’t do justice to how much it has changed.

The dated ugly pine kitchen has become totally unrecognisable. Martin was an absolute pleasure to have around and it felt like we’d known him for ages. Nothing was too much trouble and he went out of his way to make sure we were happy every step of the way.

Right from our first contact with him, his customer service was superb and this has continued throughout. It’s no surprise that he has bookings as far in as advance as he does, as his standard of work is fantastic.

The preparation and attention to detail that went in to everything he did was amazing. We feel very lucky that we found him and can’t recommend him highly enough.”


My thanks go to Lianne, and family, for a lovely gift bag upon completing the project… even with biscuits for Watson – my French Bulldog – he loved them!

for more information about my work and how I go about it, please visit my website; Martin Guest, Traditional Painter for the West Midlands.