A Pressure & Pleasure Kitchen
You could say the kitchen you see here was the perfect storm for someone who paints kitchens by hand. Not only was it a bespoke kitchen made by one of Ireland’s top kitchen makers (Roger Harty), but the end client was an interior designer by profession. So I knew my work would be under intense scrutiny. I have complete faith in my skills, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a pinch of pressure on this particular project.
It wasn’t all pressure, of course. It’s a joy to work on a bespoke kitchen made by a true artisan. The attention to detail that Roger puts into his kitchens is remarkable. I’ve painted several now and each time I get excited by his workmanship. It’s also an honour to be trusted with his kitchens.
And because the client was an interior designer, she was very clear about the colours and look she wanted. I’m often asked by clients to consult with them about suitable colours. I enjoy that. This time round, though, the client knew exactly what she wanted. For the base of the kitchen’s island, she asked for Colourtrend’s Inkwell, a deep, deep blue. The cabinets themselves were painted with Colourtrend’s Ivory Tusk. It’s a combination of colours that goes together exceptionally well.
As it happens, this kitchen was the last one I painted using Colourtrend. I’ve since switched to the Helmi range by Tikkurila—gorgeous self-levelling paints that give you an exceptionally smooth finish. I once had a friend join me on a coffee break onsite. He was mesmerised by the smoothness of the Helmi paint I had just applied to a cabinet door. He said it was the first time he’d actually been fascinated by watching paint dry.
Kitchen painting off site and on site
I started painting this kitchen in Roger’s workshop. My usual process is to apply an undercoat, which I’ll tint so it matches the coats that will go over it. You might be surprised to learn that I’ll put three coats on top of the undercoat. I’ve had people question me about it, but if you don’t put on that third layer you can often see the undercoat peeping through. An even, well-coated finish is important to me.
Once Roger had installed the kitchen at the house, I went to apply the final coating. I got a shock when I arrived, I can tell you. They were laying a wooden floor in the open living room, right next to the open kitchen. Dust is the the painter’s arch enemy, and few things put as much dust in the air as someone laying a floor. Normally I’d have a kitchen location to myself. Not this time. Still, there was nothing else for it. I had other jobs coming up, so I had to get this kitchen done.
Don’t ask me how, but not a single speck of dust made it on to my surfaces while I worked.
All told, it took me three days to apply the final coating to this kitchen. That includes time for removing the handles on the doors (and putting them back on afterwards), taping, covering the tiled floor in the kitchen area and corking any gaps between the fitted units and the wall. Roger is very precise, but sometimes a wall can be off, leaving a gap. I like to make sure any gaps are filled so that you don’t get those horrible black shadows. I think they can really ruin the look of a kitchen.
Dust is the enemy of the kitchen painter
Once that’s done, I do a light sand. Then I hoover any loose dust and finally go over everything with a tack rag, just to make sure all the surfaces are pristine.
Then comes the bit I live for. The painting. I get huge enjoyment (and pride) in putting on the perfect layer of paint. I often say that I won’t cut corners in my own kitchen, so I won’t in my clients’ kitchens either. The satisfaction I get from seeing someone’s reaction to my work is hard to put into words. It means a lot to me. The big secret behind my work isn’t really a secret at all. It’s all about taking care and working with precision.
When all was done (you could say, when the dust had settled), the client sent me a lovely text: “I was delighted with my kitchen and everything was done to perfection. The work was top class.”
You can see more pictures of this kitchen here: More Pictures of the Pressure & Pleasure Kitchen.