Earthborn #claymate Q&A: Little Stone Cottage
16th June 2020
After the success last year, where interior bloggers, stylist and DIY enthusiasts came together to help us spread the word of our beautiful paints, we are excited to say that Emma aka The Little Stone Cottage, has joined us as one of Earthborn’s #Claymates!
A few years back Emma and her husband Serafin started renovating their Cotswold Georgian cottage. As part of the process created a blog named The Little Stone Cottage (of course) to keep track of everything they do. Hoping to help and inspire anyone else restoring and renovating older properties along the way. This is where Emma first came across Earthborn and has actually used our Claypaint inside and Silicate Masonry System outside her home.
‘I am thrilled to have been made A Claymate for Earthborn! We have used their paint throughout our build and renovation, and it’s such a joy to work with. We’ve used it inside and outside of the cottage on our lime walls and render to help the building breathe, but also on some gypsum plastered walls/ceilings and it has been fantastic! I can’t wait to use more around the cottage!’
One of Emma’s first tasks as a #claymate was to take over our Earthborn Instagram stories for the weekend. She gave advice on renovating a period property and answered your interior and DIY questions. We’ve highlighted a few below, but you can see the full takeover in our highlights over on Instagram.
Q&A takeover with Emma from The Little Stone Cottage
How easy is it to paint an exterior wall? I’ve never tried it myself before!
So, if you’re used to painting and decorating then you can definitely do it yourself! We did 3 coats. The recommended coats are:
> 10-20% Primer mixed with rest of the percentage of paint
> Final coat of paint
We actually had some left over so did another coat which was really handy. But you can definitely do it yourself! If the wall is too textured maybe look into hiring a spray gun instead of using a roller. I say that but obviously you have to take into consideration your building as well. We’re in a small cottage and the first time we painted it we had scaffolding up from doing the roof and windows, so we used that which made it really easy. If you’re in a huge Georgian town house and it’s going to be really high, then maybe look at either hiring a scaffolding tower, or if you don’t fancy doing it yourself then get someone in.
I’ve got a cottage and struggle with dark rooms; can you suggest colours to feel brighter?
My favourite colour is Marbles, we used that throughout or dining room, kitchen and up the stairs and even the room of doom! I’ve found that it is a really nice warm off-white, it’s not as glaring as white and it works with all our traditional features and changes in the light as well. It does tend to look different in the different rooms depending on how much light they are getting. For instance, it does look a little different downstairs from upstairs where there’s a bit more light. I’d recommend using Marbles if you’re wanting to keep something light but not bright white.
What challenges have you come across with renovating an older property?
Ah the challenges of renovating an older property! The most evident one for us was the damp, so that’s why we used the lime inside to get the building breathing again from inside, out. Where it’s so old and it had been extended before there was a lot that didn’t meet our building regulations that we work to now. So, every time we thought we’d do one job, we ended up uncovering more that needed fixing before doing that job! So, things took 3 times as long as they should have done. But it was good fun and I wouldn’t change it.
We’re just moving into a very old property in Wales! We’re worried about damp…any advice?
First thing is to identify what type of damp you’ve got; condensation or rising damp. A dehumidifier can really help with that. It can get air circulating throughout your house. If you want to try and overcome it a bit more, you can strip the plaster back to the bare masonry. If it’s nice masonry, you can restore it and repoint it all in line, whether it’s stone or brickwork. That will really help the building breath. If not and you want to re-plaster over it, make sure you use lime.
Get some advice from places that sell lime. I’d recommend doing research before using it. The mixes are different. I did a course on how to use lime which was really good, and I’d recommend doing that. It taught me about the chemical process e.g. what you can add in for different finishes etc so please do your research! I do think you need to know what you’re doing before starting to work with lime. But you can learn, I did! Do your research as it can be dangerous and tricky to work with. Make sure you have gloves and masks and everything as well.
I dream of living in a period property. Is the maintenance as hard work as everyone says?
Maintenance wise, it can be a lot I suppose. But we have created a new house within the shell of this old cottage. So, for us, maintenance is really low now. But if you move to a cottage that maybe hasn’t had maintenance done and still has original windows for instance, it can make it quite draughty. If you’re not up for doing the work yourself, maybe look to find one that has had a little bit of an update.
Do you have any advice for first time renovating? We start next month!!
> Do your research with any new materials or machinery you haven’t used before and make sure you’re confident in using them before you start the project.
> Shop around for finishes. You can get some great deals on things like light switches and plug sockets that people aren’t going to see but can cost a fortune.
> Enjoy it! It really shows if you’ve enjoyed working on your house and you can see the love that has been put into it. Just have fun!