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Donna Smith Decorating Blog


June blog

Hi !

Well during the past month there has definately been a wood theme going on ! I was commissioned to restore a staircase in a period property, the hand rails and the tops of the newel posts had been painted in a dark brown coating and the intention was to remove this to expose the wood below. The newel posts, balusters, stair treads and wall string, along with the outer string and spandrel panels were to be painted using an eggshell finish. So the first course of action after sheeting up was to carry out some tests to ascertain how best to remove the dark coating. With much elbow grease it could be removed using a medium grade wire wool, however this would be very time consuming. Nitromors was tried on a small area and the result was 'interesting' !! The coating softened and became very sticky and stringy and consequently very difficult to remove ! White spirit was tried but had no impact on the coating either. So with no record of what this coating was but with the knowledge that it was probably put on in the 1950s, I wondered whether it was a shellac based product, commonly used in the early and mid C20th. I therefore tried rubbing methylated spirits into the surface on a small area - the coating very quickly softened and could be wiped off. To say I was pleased would be an understatement ! So armed with a large bottle of meths I set to work ; working in small sections the meths was rubbed into the surface, allowed to soak in for a few seconds and the wiped off with wire wool. The process was repeated and then the area wiped clean with a soft cloth dipped in meths. The rails and tops of the newel posts were then washed with water and dried with a soft cloth. Once completely dry, a wax was applied to give some protection to the wood. The transformation was dramatic; the stairwell was given a much lighter feel and it was good to see the wood grain exposed. The remaining woodwork was painted using a Sanderson water based eggshell which was a delight to use.

I was later that month painting some internal frame and brace doors using an oil based eggshell in Little Greene's 'light Grey'. The doors had previously been stained and varnished fairly recently and were consequently a very dark brown. The best course of action was to use Zinsser B-I-N as the primer. This product also acts as a sealer and stain blocker. I've used this product many times before and am very pleased with it; it adheres to all dense, smooth and slick surfaces and as it dries very quickly, recoating is possible in 45 minutes. Any oil or latex paint can be applied over it. This is a shellac based paint so again the methylated spirits was in demand !

As a personal project, in my spare time ( whats that ? !! ) when I can find some and to keep me sane, I've been painting up a little table I found in a second hand shop. After giving it a good clean, I upcycled it using Autentico's 'French Grey' as a base coat followed by two coats of Annie Sloan's 'Old White'. Once dry, I distressed the edges and legs a little before giving it a coat of clear wax. It now resides in my summer house looking rather splendid even if I do say so myself !


Bye for now !

Categories: Donna Smith Decorating Blog


May blog

May blog


Hello and welcome to my second blog! Sorry there has been some delay since the last one but May has proved to be very busy! Workwise I've been decorating numerous homes from a converted stable to a new build, carrying out painting, paper hanging and painting furniture. It's that time of year when everything in the garden seems to need some attention so at home has see me painting my garden furniture and do battle against weeds and pests! So sitting down to write my blog has been left to the end of the month.


Categories: Donna Smith Decorating Blog


Donna Smith Decorating Launch new website

Donna Smith Decorating Launch new website

Hello, my name is Donna Smith, and welcome to the new Donna Smith Decorating website.

I am a professionally trainned specialist decorator and sculpture conservator living in Pentre Gwenlais, near Ammanford, in Carmarthenshire.

 After a number of years of working in and around Ammanford and South / Mid Wales, most of my clients now comes to me mainly through word of mouth and personal recommendation.

After numerous enquiries as to whether I had a website, I decided to 'bite the bullet' and build one!

I decided that I wanted to use the website to showcase my skills, examples of my work, and of course keep past clients, or friends as many have become, up to date with what's new and things that have caught my eye in general.

Most of the things I will write about will of course be Decorating related, but there may be the odd piece about Carmarthenshire, or the local area around Ammanford that I find interesting or funny, or even the occassional rant (you have been warned!).

I will try to write on a regular basis so please pop back often and catch up on what's new.

Hope to see you again soon,


Categories: Donna Smith Decorating Blog

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