Christmas Decorations

So, it’s the most wonderful time of the year again.

If we’re lucky enough to get some time off (and we don’t have power cuts!), we’ll all, no doubt, have a gather round the TV and re watch our favourite festive films! 

Mine will be Home Alone and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

One of the things I always notice is that the houses the action is based in, in both films, are fabulous and it’s got me thinking about the decoration in what are now over 30 year old movies…

For the time they were no doubt the absolute height of home decor haute couture…

I still remember selling the New England style wallpaper in the late 80’s!

But how have they aged?

Well, for me, at least, they get more cosy and lovely the older they get.

I suppose for a while they just looked out of date and old fashioned but like, for example, an old car which was last years banger, gets to about 30 years old and becomes a sort of classic, the decorating now seems classic, and I begin to wonder if we’ll see a resurgence of this cosy, big pattern, colour rich type of style again soon?

I think, in its way, it’s already here!

I feel like I’d call it maximalist!

We’ve had many years of minimalist design, much on the grey theme but nearly every paper we now sell has an explosion of colour, pattern and design on it…

Not quite the 30 year old Christmas movie theme but the closest thing we’ve seen since…and I love it!

Tropical, Steampunk, Art Deco, Vintage, Murals and big, bold florals are all on display in our Buckhurst Hill showroom, and as the days get shorter and the lights are on, it makes it such a nice place to work… cosy and warm!

So, if your last minute gift to yourself is to be a beautifully decorated room, pop in, the ladies would love to help you get cosy and up to date, and maybe a little bit back in time just in time for Christmas!

Speaking of which…Merry Christmas to you all, we all wish everyone of you the best of times and everything you could wish for for your loved ones too.

We will be closing for our Christmas holidays at 12:00pm on Friday the 23rd December 2022 and we’ll reopen at 7:30am on Tuesday 3rd January 2023.

Be well.

Ho ho ho.


Under the skin

It’s often pointed out to us by our customers and visiting reps that we seem to have “very interesting chats” in our shops, among ourselves and with our customers and suppliers. The subjects range from work, to football, to life in general and can get quite philosophical!

Well, one of these recent chats in our Buckhurst Hill shop, centred on train sets! 

I’ve long been a fan of these, as well as Airfix models and a very early memory was a birthday gift to my brother of Hornby’s “The Mallard” train set. 

I still think it’s the most beautiful man made object I’ve ever seen and the colour has long been a favourite of mine too. I’ve often wondered where my interest in colour came from…I think it’s probably that! 

Well, during our discussion, I was made aware of the massive cost of train sets, the bits that go with them and the maintenance of them too! The one thing I remember more than most was painting models…a tiny brush, a steady hand (while holding my breath) and a massive sense of achievement when it came out well. 

Is this where my interest in painting and decorating came from too? 

Probably, now I come to think of it! 

So, as usual, after my chat, I went home and started researching train sets! In particular, The Mallard. 

I won’t be buying one in the near future, to build a good one costs what you’d pay for a small car! 

But, I did, being me, start looking at the little paint pots. And I worked out that they’d cost £1067.43 for 5 litres!!! So, one thing led to another and the subject of MEKO, the anti skinning agent arose. 

It’s a major ingredient in these little paint pots. It’s been banned all over Europe, it should have been here too but as Brexit is now in full swing the March 2022 deadline was postponed.

Our company made a concerted effort to remove all MEKO paints from sale in the past 2 or 3 years and we were ready long before the postponed deadline arrived.  

If you have any in your shed that may contain it (mostly oil based paints from 4 years ago or more) please consider recycling it as opposed to using it. 

Now we know that it’s not good for you, it’s better safe than sorry! 

And now, back to train sets. 

Christmas is coming and if any of you fancy treating an old shopkeeper to a little gift…😂

Be well everyone!


I thought you was called Dave, Dave.

Triggers broom. Surely the greatest story ever told?

Now, not many of us will have have had just the one brush for 20 years? Even if we could fit 17 new heads and 14 new handles, would the brush we used then be of any use to us with today’s paints?

Pure black bristle was still the order of the day but the nylon bristle revolution alongside the demise of oil based paints was getting a grip.

20 years ago I was still regularly selling badger softeners, squirrel mops, camel cutters and sable liners. I’m not sure that many people these days even know what they are!

When was the last time you bought a purely totally black pure bristle brush? Did you ask or did you simply take a Purdy, a Premier or another good quality brush and get on with it?

When I first joined the company in 1987, Mr Johnson had a room simply called The Brush Room. It was where Ryan and Mat’s office is now, in the Buckhurst Hill shop basement. It was kept under lock and key as it was the most valuable place in the building! 

(Ryan and Mat would argue that it still is!😂)

And I can still remember the smell of the bristles from the Hamilton, Acorn, Moseley Stone, Britton Chadwick, Sax Omega and HT Corby brushes we kept there. Most now lost in the mists of time! Twin knots, copper bound wall brushes, box stipplers, Namel Var…names and descriptions that now seem totally alien!

These days half the doors we paint are rolled and laid off with nylon brushes as the paint dries so fast you no longer have a proper wet edge! Unless you use Floetrol, of course!

Still, progress is progress and as I celebrate my 35th anniversary in the business on 7th July I’m happy to say that the paint brush, even in the age of spray machines, is still king!

And as for the title of my piece, I remember a few of the names I’ve been called by over the last 35 years.

I’ve had: Paul, Pete, Perry, Steve, Michael and perhaps most inexplicably: Tim.

Plus a few Industrial language based terms of endearment.

And I thought my name was Pat.

Be well folks!