Guest Article – Mandy Farmer – Bespoke Kitchen Mosaic Specialist

Mandy Farmer is a Bespoke kitchen mosaic specialist offering breathtaking one-of-a-kind mosaic splashbacks, also bespoke mosaic kitchen and bathroom floors and walls, vaulted ceilings. Visit her site to find how a piece of individual artwork could further enhance your Hand Painted Kitchen project.

Mandy will be writing a series of Guest articles to appear here, upon my blog, demonstrating a complete project – from concept through to completion;


Mosaic Blog. 23/11/14

This is the start of my client’s new kitchen project, still a building site! (NOT a Traditional Painter Hand Painted Kitchen project!!!)

They would like a custom-made mosaic splash back for the stove area to be a focal point for a dark corner. Consultation about materials, colour and design are underway but their focus is on something that will stand up to the sparkling granite composite work surfaces.

Mosaic-Kitchen-Splashback-CI have created a few sample drawings after showing them the options of materials (glass, ceramic, marble, hand cut, hand rolled mosaic pieces called Smalti, gold and silver leaf smalti, matt, striated, iridescent tesserae etc).

They also have to consider the pattern or image they want created and the final outcome is largely determined by the choice of whichever formal method of laying the mosaic pieces (tesserae) is used.

This is known as the andamenti and it takes several forms, each producing a completely different effect.

The method used to create the mosaic also effects the overall appearance once finished and these are called direct and indirect methods, essentially one surface is slightly uneven and creates a more 3 dimensional effect that reflects the light well and the other method creates a perfectly smooth effect that is ideal for pathways, tabletops or any area that needs to remain flat.

For further details about Mandy’s fantastic artwork, please visit her website or follow this link for a pdf of her Mosaics and commissions.

Hand Painted Kitchen – Northfield, West Midlands


This previously painted kitchen in Nothfield, Birmingham had quite a 1990’s feel to it… I was asked if would be possible to Hand Paint this particular kitchen in a single flat colour to modernise it and bring it kicking and screaming up to date.

IMG_3554My clients have recently installed a new walnut worktop and a new floor, they now felt that the units themselves needed a little TLC. We looked at various colour charts and decided that “Strong White” would offer a good contrast against the wall colour and the brilliant white woodwork.


As you can see from the image above, the transformation was a complete success – the kitchen is very well made and the layout works… why pay £20,000+ to replace a perfectly good kitchen with a new one that often doesn’t have the same build quality, when you can have your existing kitchen Hand Painted to great effect.


I’m extremely lucky – I only seem to work for nice people; these clients were a delight! I was given a set of keys to the house and also given the opportunity to use their rather fine Naim Hi-Fi (what an extensive CD and vinyl collection!)


For any Paint Brush geeks out there; I “road tested” a rather fine FOX paint brush on this project – (perfect for Kitchen and Furniture Painters), hopefully to appear soon at

The finished kitchen was just what my clients wanted – they were kind enough to send through this review of my work;

“Martin was a professional from the first email. A detailed quote was provided punctually, and an agreed start date was set.

Good communication throughout before starting the job and even a last minute change of colour was no problem for Martin.

As for the job itself it can only be described as first class ! It was completed on time, no hassle and no mess.

On a personal note we struck a chord with a love of music and I would recommend Martin to all my friends and family.”

For further 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 – Before & After

Following on from my previous blog posting; Hand Painted Kitchen, Lichfield Staffordshire. I thought that it might be useful to see a few Before & After photographs to further illustrate the difference a Hand Painted finish can make to a tired and dated kitchen.

All work was carried out on site, using the latest and best in “dust free” sanding technology, the finest paints and the very best in materials.

My clients were consulted throughout the duration of the project… additionally, the kitchen was available for full use at the end of each working day.

IMG_5860 IMG_6072

IMG_5861 IMG_6073


IMG_5875 IMG_6057

My clients were amazed by the results of my hard work, and felt moved enough to send me a testimonial:

“Having taken the step to bring new life to our worn out, old pine kitchen of yesteryear, it was with a little apprehension that we awaited the outcome. We couldn’t have made a better decision than to employ Martin Guest to make this transformation.

From the outset it was clear that Martin is a true craftsman and a “Master of his Art”. His knowledge, immaculate work and attention to detail is second to none. Martin is never happy until every little element is perfect. In addition he was a pleasure to have around. Very polite, always punctual and a very tidy worker.

We are thrilled with our new kitchen and can’t believe the difference it has made. We cannot thank or recommend Martin highly enough.”

For further information about my work and how I go about it, please visit my website;

Martin Guest, Traditional Painter for the West Midlands.

Photography courtesy of Steve Saunderson 

Hand Painted Kitchen – Lichfield, Staffordshire

This is a good example of what the majority of my Hand Painted Kitchen work is all about… My clients contacted me and asked if I would Hand Paint their solid pine kitchen… they live in Lichfield, Staffordshire – I’m the Traditional Painter for the West Midlands; covering Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and the Birmingham conurbation.


They emailed me photographs of their kitchen and a description of the number of elements within the kitchen area – doors, drawers etc. We had a few telephone conversations where we discussed how I go about preparation (I use a 99.5% dust extraction system and protection on all surfaces), degreasing, my preferred paint brand and why I felt that it is the best product for their particular kitchen… we agreed upon a start date that fitted with their timescales.


As you can see from the photograph above, the finished Hand Painted Kitchen is quite a departure from how it originally looked; The layout worked well my clients and the units were well made, just a little tired… if they were to replace a kitchen like this with a similar scale and build quality today, I would expect that they could pay £30,000 or more (and experience considerable disruption to their lives!)… Hand Painting was considerably less than this, and they are left with a space that they know will work for them!


It was a pleasure to work upon this sizeable kitchen and transform it into a modern light space… my clients were delighted and were looking forward to “showing it off” to their friends and family – in fact one of their friends was already asking about how far I would be willing to travel to Hand Paint hers!!!


For further information about my work and how I go about it, please visit my website.

Martin Guest, Traditional Painter for the West Midlands.

Photography courtesy of Steve Saunderson

“Dust-Free” Sanding

Basic CMYK

The wonderful world of Kitchen and Furniture Hand Painting is a many varied and fascinating subject (in my opinion)… throughout the majority of my posts within this blog, I mention that I have used a certain process or piece of kit, but, I don’t explain at any depth (as it really isn’t the time or place).

In this blog, I’m going to look at “Dust-Free” sanding. A phenomenon that has changed the face of Painting & Decorating.

In the dim and distant past, if you employed a painter to undertake a project, the chances were that if sanding was necessary, you would have a house full of fine dust for the next two months… clean down surfaces and 5 minutes later there was another layer of dust settling. If there were rough surfaces, your painter would get out his P80 sandpaper and a block (and maybe even a dust mask) – great for him (maybe), but not so great for you or your home.

I’m relieved to say that today, as a technology savvy Painter & Decorator, things have most definitely taken a turn for the better… most of my sanding and preparation kit is “borrowed” from the high end automotive and joinery industries – where fine finish most certainly counts.



At the heart of my kit lies my extractor; a Festool CTL Mini a super compact machine that performs very efficiently – It operates category L dust removal (To achieve Class L an extractor must not allow more than 1% of extracted dust to pass out of the filter to a “maximum allowable concentration” (MAK value) greater than 1 mg/m^3.) – in simple terms; it removes 99% or more dust from the site of work.

Why is this important?

1. It is better for me – being completely selfish, I do a lot of sanding and I really do not want to be breathing in fine dust!!!

2. It is better for you, the client – absolutely minimal dust within your property at the time of the project.

3. Better for the project – more (and better) preparation can be undertaken.

Machine Sanding

I run a number of sanders – each has it’s own specific job and strengths… and are the very finest that are available currently on the market (in my opinion);



Probably one of the most powerful and versatile sanders on the market, the DEROS, has been around for 12 months, or so, and is the big brother of the CEROS (I also owned one of these). The DEROS when coupled with MIRKA ABRANET is truly an awesome proposition. Abranet is part of Mirka’s net sanding range – instead of using paper with perhaps 6 to 8 holes to draw the dust through, Abranet is actually a net! the very fine dust is drawn through the abrasive netting by the extractor, meaning very little dust is left of the surface whatsoever. hundreds if not thousands of holes are much better than a mere handful!.

The DEROS is used for larger surfaces that need to be prepared – I typically use the 150mm backing plate, but a 125mm plate is still at hand, if necessary.

I use Abranet from P80 to P600 with the DEROS.



The Festool RO90 is a monster! extremely small yet massively powerful this sander is orbital with the added benefit of a intechangeable Delta plate (triangular)… perfect for jobs where I need to really take back rough or damaged surfaces, but also to use within the corners of doors etc. Again, this is efficiently coupled to the Festool extractor again using Mirka Abranet.



This is the latest addition to my sanding arsenal. I recently took a trip to the Netherlands (my painting Mecca) and spied many Dutch painters employing it to great effect… for me the RTS 400 is second-to-none for fine finishing, is perfect for larger areas, but seems happiest working with Abranet between P320 and P600. Its light and extremely effective, with it’s rectangular backing plate, it is great for doors and drawers and now features a fine power control function!

Hand Sanding


Having said that I embrace new P&D technology, sometimes it is still necessary to undertake a minimal amount of hand sanding. If this is required, I tend to use Mirka Goldflex-Soft (P150 & P320) or Mirka Mirlon Total for moulding etc.


Hand sanding with these products is still prone to create a small amount of dust – I keep this to a minimum, and clear up as I go with either a Numatic International Ltd. – Henry HVR200A or a handheld Dyson DC34 vacuum cleaner.

A recent client reviewed my work and commented:

“He was meticulous in his preparation and I couldn’t believe how little dust there was after he had sanded down all the units.”…


“Good grief!”, I hear you cry, “but, I only have a small kitchen – you and all of that kit will never fit in!!!”… fear not! this is the beauty of my kit – it has taken a good deal of time (and effort), but my sanding kit fits into four Festool Systainers and as such is stackable; taking only a footprint of 440mm x 340mm (when not in use). I travel light and my kit has to work hard for it’s keep… if it is inefficient, ineffective or cumbersome, it does not see a second day!

I believe, as a Professional, it is my responsibility to keep abreast with advancements in my Industry (and others), so that I can deliver the very finest of results for my clients.

For further 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

My latest West Midlands, Traditional Painter, Hand Painted Kitchen project – as is customary, I received an email asking me if I would be interested in providing a quotation to paint a 13 year old bespoke maple kitchen… I fired a reply, asking for photographs and a count of doors, drawers and notable features so that I could assess the scale of the project.

Here’s how the kitchen looked;


It was physically in good shape, but perhaps a little dated!?

P1000587I offered forward my costings and arranged a site visit to talk through a few details…
P1000591We discussed possible colours, paint finishes, paint manufacturers and very minor repairs that would need to be undertaken. The project was booked in and a suitable date was advised…

The project ran very smoothly; full preparation took the form of dust-free sanding to remove the original vanish finish; I’ve added to my dust-free kit of late and now run a Mirka DEROS and a Festool RDS 400 coupled to a Festool Mini extractor system (my prep kit is extremely compact and very efficient!) alongside other Festool favourites. Following on was degreasing, using Krud Kutter and Methylated Spirits.


Paint selection for this project was Mathys Pegaprim Isofix base coats and Tikkurila Feelings Furniture Paint for finish coats, expertly and accurately prepared by my preferred supplier Holman Specialist Paints.


The transformation is total  – my client was delighted, as you can see from their review:


“We have had a very positive experience using Martin to repaint our maple kitchen.  It now looks like a new kitchen and we are thrilled to bits with the result having been slightly nervous at the thought of having our natural wood kitchen painted.

Martin was very helpful in advising us on colours and the colour he recommended was spot on! He was meticulous in his preparation and I couldn’t believe how little dust there was after he had sanded down all the units.

I was able to use the kitchen once he had left each day as the paint he uses dries so quickly so I really felt there was minimum disruption to me.

He is a perfectionist which showed in the final result.  He was great company and a pleasure to have in the house and I was more than happy to leave him when I had to go out.

I would definitely recommend him and would certainly call on his services again.  One word of warning – make sure you have plenty of coffee!!”.


For further 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 – Staffordshire

The starting point for this Hand Painted Kitchen project in Staffordshire was solid oak doors and   laminate frame… my client decided that he wanted a change and didn’t fancy all of work necessary to remove his existing kitchen and have it replaced with a new one…



He contacted me to ask if it was possible to paint it – as with many of my clients, he was happy with the way that the kitchen worked and also felt that it was well made.


He picked his colour and I had the equivalent colour mixed into Tikkurila Paint bases, by Holman Specialist Paints; I have found Tikkurila to be far superior to any other furniture paint – it has proven to be extremely abrasive and chip resistant… the Scandinavians really understand paint finishes.


Following dust-free preparation and degreasing, I applied the prime coats of Pegaprim Isofix mixed to the final colour… nibbing down between coats. Following top coats of Tikkurila Feeling Furniture paint I fitted new handles – supplied by my client.


For further information about my work and how I go about it, please visit my website.

Martin Guest, Traditional Painter for the West Midlands.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s