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Staalmeester® is family of A.C. De Hoop B.V.
KvK Chamber of Commerce number: 24213078
VAT number: NL810899425B.01

Interview: Michelle Brugmans

This month we interviewd Michelle Brugmans, owner of RETOUCH via which she restyles vintage furniture and gives restyling courses. She also has her own webshop and store in the Dutch city of Best, where she sells Fusion Mineral Paint & Staalmeester brushes.

Can you tell us something about yourself? You are still quite young and yet you have a lot of painting knowledge and experience, how did you become a painter?
”When I got out of high school I wanted to pursue an education where I could work with my hands. Despite the fact that many people said I should go to university, my father always said: you should go and do what you really like to do. That’s when I decided to study restoration and decoration. During my studies I worked as an intern at both a traditional painting company and at the restoration department of the Efteling (the largest theme park in The Netherlands), so I had very diverse internships. After my studies I first thought I’d do a follow-up course but soon decided that I wanted to start working full-time. I then worked for years as a decorator and later as a manager, for a company that made playground equipment for swimming pools. However, I did not get any satisfaction from this, the work turned out to be too boring for me. So I started working for a new company that makes set pieces for Disney. I really enjoyed working there, but due to Covid-19 I lost my job. So I took a leap of faith and rented my own workspace, where I now restyle vintage furniture and sell it.”

If you had to choose 1 project from all your years as a painter that you’re most proud of or that stayed with you the most, what would that be and why?
”A while ago I worked on a project together with a furniture maker named Lars. He rents a workspace in the same building as I and we decided to completely restyle a small closet. I am very proud of that project. Because in my opinion it’s very small minded to think that you can only paint a vintage piece of furniture when you want to restyle it, you can do much more with it than that.”

For how long have you been using Staalmeester and how did you get to know our brand?
”I have actually only been using your brushes for about 2 months and found out about them via Fusion Mineral Paint. In my store I sell their paint and since I was looking for a brush brand to sell in my shop as well, I came across Staalmeester. Now I can not only use Staalmeester for my own work but also use it during workshops and sell it in my shop. which I think is really cool because I’m currently the only furniture restyler in The Netherlands that sells your brushes together with Fusion Mineral Paint.”

What is your favourite Staalmeester brush and why?
”I like to work with a round Pro-Hybrid brush. I find that it’s more difficult to devide the paint with a flat brush. However, I want to start learning how to use both. That’s why I’m currently using the flat brush for larger areas such as the top of a piece of furniture and a round brush for the rest of the work. With furniture you often have to paint a lot of details and get into small corners, so using a round brush makes the job a lot easier.’

How do you clean your brushes?
”After every use I wash my brushes with water and green soap, which works very well. Green soap is a natural product and therefore a sustainable bidegradable choice.”

If you were part of our R&D team for one day, what adjustments would you make to an existing Staalmeester product or what product would you add to our collection?
”Then I would like to develop a round brush with a shorter handle. Especially when I paint the inside of a piece of furniture, I sometimes touch the side with the handle of the brush. In the One series there is already a spalter brush with a shorter handle but no round Pro-Hybrid, so I would develop that. But maybe I should just buy a saw and make the handle shorter myself, that fixes the issue as well haha”

What would be your ultimate painting tip for a painter that’s just getting started?
”What I always tell my students is that, when painting the top of a piece of furniture, you shouldn’t start painting at the edge but just before the edge. If you start at the edge, paint runs out of the brush and causes dripping along the side of the piece of furniture. In addition, I recommend my students to see every project as a step-by-step plan and keep a certain work order. For example, it’s very important to work from top to bottom when painting. Many novice painters still sometimes let paint run out of their brush. If you work from top to bottom you can still catch that paint, but with a fast-drying paint like Fusion’s you can no longer catch a drip that occurs at the top if you’ve started at the bottom.”

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