Helen, 42, owns a 200 year old house near Snaith, Yorkshire with her husband Chris. Its home to their 4 children & enough musical instruments to start their own school of rock!


“I originally used Ian 18 years ago as my father-in-law vouched for his integrity, he knows what’s in keeping with the period your house was built. He’s a proper professional decorator who served a decorators apprenticeship & you don’t get many of those.”

He’s just re- painted the bedroom after he did it 18 years ago! We didn’t need to re-do it in all that time as he did such a good job!

We slept in the room every evening after Ian had been painting and the smell was actually lovely. The paint is mixed with linseed oil which has a lovely natural smell.

There are no brush marks in the paint, we had cracks and bubbles and now, 3 days later, there’s nothing there but smooth and beautiful wall that in keeping with the original look of the house.

In our bedroom the paint chosen was Edward Bulmer’s natural paints, oil based eggshell to the woodwork and natural emulsion to walls. It’s a really hard wearing paint so great on the cupboards and built in shelves the colours on the skirting board and fitted furniture complement each other so well. We’re just waiting for new carpet & then it’s going to be my retreat – no children allowed!

 POP 35 Azurite LR

The amount of time & attention given to preparation results in such a high standard of  finish. It’s the work you don’t see that counts. Ian will strip all the wallpaper. He will spend days filling and sanding.


We had a bit of damp in the kitchen which made the paint bubble. The paint Ian used helps the walls & any damp breathe so the bubbles are just gone!

I struggled with choosing the colour of the paints at first, but with a little direction from Ian they now complement the house so much. We uncovered a fireplace & saw that the original wall and the new paint matched! The fireplace in our bedroom was over 200 years old. Ian really does his research! I love that he’s still learning He goes on training courses about new paints and new formulations!

“We chose clay paint in the living room as it is a breathable.”

 Clay paint

Moisture will travel through the paint film and then disperse into the atmosphere meaning no more damp! If it were synthetic it would form an impermeable barrier which traps the moisture under the paint film and eventually cause it to breakdown and flake off.

We used a paint from the manufacturer ‘EarthBorn’ in the lounge, there were no smells & it is non-toxic.

Ian used a soya based paint in our children’s bedroom as its less toxic. I’m always saying he should spread the word about using this paint in nurseries as it’s not dangerous like other paints can be.

I really rate Ian & I love the lack of smell the paints have!

 (Before & During!)

I personally painted the hall with Dulux paint but compared to where Ian has painted the paint has just not lasted as long. On high traffic areas, after 18 months, the paint has literally flaked away. I’ve found it’s a false economy to paint myself now.  Flaking wouldn’t happen with the amount of prep work and the quality of paint Ian uses.

I know Ian once painted Narrow boats to a high standard so with talked to him about a stencil on the old wooden window panel we have on the front of the house. We trust him to come up with something special.

I would recommend Ian to owners of old properties. As a person he’s incredibly trustworthy I give him the keys to my house and he takes my parcels in for me!

He’s a member of the guild of master craftsman, he takes so much care in his work & I would recommend his work to anyone with an old property.


Our retreat…






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15 Wheatfield Close, Epworth, North Lincs.