Well I must first apologise as it has been some time since my last blog. The house has come on a long way but it has been a difficult journey. I could have made things a lot easier for myself but I decided a little more pain and time wouldn’t make much difference.

As the house progressed a troubling issue came to the fore. After the plastering was complete and the interior spaces started to come together it was evident both the architects and the builders had done rather a good job. An odd thing to say you might think! However my original budgets for kitchens, bathrooms and floor finishes were rather modest for a house of this calibre.

close up of oak frame internal corner

It was at this point in the build it become apparent I had developed a severe allergy…

I was allergic to low quality finishes!

I refused to compromise quality. A voice in the back of my head kept reminding me of a quote from long ago:

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” Benjamin Franklin

Well I do believe our learned friend Benjamin is absolutely right. ‘On the money’ one might say.  There have though been times, when working six to seven days a week and simultaneously project managing the build, when I have questioned this principle. Perhaps my sanity could have been better preserved albeit bitterly.

In the interests of making ends meet to achieve the above another reality arrived. I was going to need to complete the decorating for the entire house myself. This was a significant task with many metres of oak skirting board, architrave, doors and window boards to sand and oil. Not to mention a vast area to paint. 

Not a big deal for a self builder. Though fitting that in around work and managing the project is rather more of a challenge. Working more hours and funding professionals to work on your self build can work out more cost effective than doing some aspects yourself. However I was already doing this to the maximum and all incoming funds were allocated.

Earthborn clay paint tins

Earthborn Claypaint ultra-matt emulsion is virtually VOC free and breathable — perfect for use over lime plaster. From £67 for 5L

A small worry had been past experience of sensitivity to paints making me physically unwell from drying fumes. Fortunately, painting a breathable house with lime plaster requires a different product to the usual suspects that dominate our local DIY stores. There are a number of different options with pros and cons and varying levels of practicality and cost. My personal preference was for a product towards the practical end of the spectrum that is easy to apply and gives a luxurious and beautiful finish.

My usual multiple levels of research led me to a company called Earthborn who specialise in natural breathable paints. They have a range of different products but the highly breathable Claypaint was ideal for my project. Claypaint is available in a large range of lovely subtle tones to suit all tastes. Earthborn and their suppliers were very helpful and happy to advise on the simple application options and characteristics of clay paint.

Clay paint in the master bedroom with vaulted beamed ceiling

I have found the paint very easy to apply with excellent coverage needing just two coats on virgin lime plaster. It dries to a very satisfying and beautiful ultra-matt finish. The effect when combined with the lime plaster is homely and warm. 

In addition to the high quality finish it is an absolute joy to work with. No horrible fumes and very easy to apply with brushes or rollers. The paint is also very forgiving to distracted self builders who down brushes for longer than they ought to! While it has been hard to fit in the painting I am getting there now and am very happy with the results. The flexibility and ease of application of claypaint has been invaluable.

white bedroom painted with claypaint with exposed beams and vaulted ceiling

The build is now picking up pace (in self-managed, self build terms that is) and there is now a push to completion in the next two months. I would highlight that completion is a relative term there will be finishing off to do for some time but this really is the last furlong.

In classic self build cliché style I have advised all that I plan to be in for Christmas. Though I have been very careful not to specify which year — just in case!

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