“Changed Hands?”

The other day I had a chat with a customer and a paint manufacturer’s name that I haven’t heard in a long while came up – Signpost Paints.

It got me thinking about the merry go round of paint companies and what became of many of them or who owns who now?

I’ve been in the paint industry since 1987. When I first joined the company the most recognisable (and certainly our biggest supplier) was Crown Paints…largely due to being advertised on Liverpool FC’s shirts! Liverpool were league champions twice in my first 2 years here and then they waited 30 years for another one. Must have felt like waiting for a painted front door to dry!

Crown are still one of the biggest players (pun intended) and we’re still proud to be major stockists of all of their brands but they haven’t been owned by Crown Paints as such for a long while.

From memory I’ve seen them change hands 6 times from Crown to Reed, to Williams Holdings to Akzo Nobel to Endless to Hempel….who have recently bought Farrow and Ball!

During that time, the collective owners have bought, sold, closed and shelved such well known names as Permoglaze, Sandtex, Sadolin, Sikkens, Signpost, Magicote, Macpherson, Berger and more!

And Crown themselves were thrown into the ether in 2006 when their owners, Akzo Nobel bought ICI Dulux and as part of the deal had to release Crown, Sandtex, Sadolin and Macpherson into the market which is where Endless (apparently a Mercedes Benz Franchise) bought them. Blimey!

And so, back to the name that started my chain of thought…Signpost.

Well, out of the ashes of Signpost Paints, one of the chemists started a new company with a friend from another defunct company, Ripolin.

That company is the maker of

MSP and Barn Paint! You’ll find a full stock of all of their paints in both our

Harlow and Buckhurst Hill shops!

I’m not sure how many times this will happen again but if I’m still selling paint in another 34 years (I’ll be 84!)  I can’t imagine things will have stayed the same…

I shall update the diary!

Be well.


Hanging around.

When I arrived in the business all the way back in 1987 the world seemed to be covered in wallpaper.

My mum was a decorating enthusiast and it seemed to me that every month something was changing in my house.

Usually, that meant a new wallpaper somewhere.

But when I started working in the shop I was still amazed by how many patterns and styles there were.

And many of the companies that were the most popular back then, Hill & Knowles, Sue Stowell, Crowsons and Doshi are no longer around.

Crowsons Wallpaper
Sue Stowell Border

We had a big trend in the New England style, there were plenty of stripes below dado and plains above, paper borders often acted as the dado and shaped borders added a touch of flair to any ceiling line.

Anaglypta was colourwashed and toiles were adding art to sumptuously decorated rooms.

And then the world of wallpaper seemed to disappear almost overnight!

I blame the early 1990’s recession.

We all started to simply paint our rooms and plain became the name of the game.

Changing Rooms hit our screens in 1996 and encouraged us to paint anything that didn’t move.

Wallpaper was off the table, quite literally!

I must confess that I thought it would never return.

And then the feature wall turned up.

10 years ago a feature wall was the biggest statement that could be made in a beautiful home…

And then glitter wallcoverings arrived and added an unmissable sparkle to so many homes that suddenly plain paint just wouldn’t do anymore.

And just a few years ago the world remembered the beauty of an entirely papered room.

And so we’re back, full circle.

Now with Focus, Decorex & Design week showcasing beautiful wallcoverings from all over the world and companies such as Arte, Omexco, Today Interiors & Osborne & Little, leading the way, the wallpapered house is once again an art piece, ready to show off to guests and be enjoyed every time you relax in your favourite chair.

I’m glad it’s back.

Do pop in and let us help you create your own perfectly papered palace ( or place ) from our thousands of beautiful patterns available to view in both our Buckhurst Hill or Harlow showrooms.

Be well.


Stef’s retirement

Dear Customer, supplier, friends, acquaintances and enemies!

It’s with a heavy heart that we have to announce the end of an era…..

Our much loved shop manager, Stef, who has been with us for 17 years is retiring!

He’s finally hanging up his apron, handing back the keys and heading north to the land of Alan Partridge and six fingers.

He’s been a fantastic servant to the company, a great bloke to be around and his knowledge has bailed every one of us out at some time or another.

He’ll be sadly missed, the place won’t be quite the same without him but we’ll do our best to help you get through the 30 or so seconds of sadness you’ll have felt while reading this!

Stef joined us from RTF Wholesale of Temple Fortune where he’d been honing his skills as shop manager extraordinaire for the previous 2 decades. When he came in 1999 he immediately cast a long shadow over Buckhurst Hill which has lasted so long that we can hardly remember the good old days before him!

All joking aside, I hope you’ll join us in wishing him a long, happy and healthy retirement.

We’re sure he’ll be glad to see you one last time before he leaves so please do pop in and take this last opportunity to abuse him about Norwich before Friday 16th September.

All the best.