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Staalmeester® is family of A.C. De Hoop B.V.
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Interview with home-deco painter Brittany

Brittany is a home decor painter who adopted her mother’s love of painting. In this interview we talk to her about her passion.

Tell us something about yourself… How did you get into painting & decorating?
Well, we live in my grandparents’ house that we completely rebuilt. It’s from the 1800’s and it was kind of falling into disrepair, so we rebuilt it in 2019. Therefore, a lot in our home is new but we also added old wood and old pieces from the original home. Besides that, our home was built on the footprint of the old house. So, a lot of attention to detail and emotion went into the new home. And now, when I’m decorating, I try to bring in a lot of older pieces of furniture. Some of it was handed down and some I bought at antique stores. As they’re not always in the colour I want them to be, I’ve been doing a lot of painting. This way, I want to make sure the furniture blends in with our home and fits my style. But I also feel a sense of responsibility to honour the history and heritage of it all. That’s also why I started sharing my projects on Instagram. I wanted to document it all for my kids and wanted to share our story.

I get that you feel the responsibility to keep the home in the family and respect the history. Staalmeester® is a 4th generation family business and to us it’s also very important to keep telling the story about how it all started many years ago and to respect that history.
Yes, it’s almost like the home takes on the role of a family member. I mean, it once was their baby and now it’s your baby.

Is there one specific project that you’re most proud of?
Yes! Some of the old wood in the house has writing on it with the names of family members who are no longer with us. So, it was really special to reincorporate that!
But the big project that I’m working on right now is the new antique mental we bought from a house that was built in the same time period as our house. We’re building the fireplace right now with an electric insert so that’s new, and the walls as well, but we wanted an antique mental. I still have to paint it so that’s my next big project! I’m probably going to use milk paint for it.
The funny thing is that everyone keeps saying ‘’I can’t believe you’re going to paint that’’. But I just tell them ‘’wait till it’s done, it’ll all come together’’.

I think that’s a comment that a lot of furniture painters get… ‘’Why are you painting that? You’re ruining the piece!’’
I just don’t believe you can ruin something! Before I started painting, I was a little bit more nervous about painting stuff and I was worried I was going to mess it up. But my mom has been painting for many years now and she told me ‘’just paint it, you can’t mess it up, you can always get the paint off or paint over it’’. That really helped me and now I know, there is just no messing it up with painting. Even if you decide later on that you don’t want it painted anymore, you can just strip it.

So, how long have you been using Staalmeester® and how did you find out about us?
I only found out about your brushes a year ago. There is a local store here where I usually buy my Fusion Mineral Paint and once, I was looking at the Staalmeester® brushes and I was like, what is this about? So, I thought I’d give them a try and now they’re all I paint with!

Do you have a favourite Staalmeester® brush?
Yes, I do! The pointed sash brush is amazing! I use it for painting furniture but even with our doors, painting the edges was very easy with this brush. I hate to tape so this brush is perfect! I mean, I really hate taping, that’s why I always use baby wipes while painting haha! But I would love to get the pointed sash with a shorter handle. That would make it so much easier to paint the insides of a piece.

If you were a member of our R&D team for 1 day, besides the shorter handle, what change to an existing product would you make or what new product would you develop?
Recently I’ve seen some brushes that have a bended handle, which makes it much easier to paint shelves for example. I’d really like to see a Staalmeester® brush with that because you could keep the length of the handle this way, but also get into the little corners without hitting the shelves or top with the handle.

And how do you maintain your brushes? Do you have any cleaning tips?
I use a cup of water and put the brush in there. I make sure the bristles don’t hit the bottom of the cup and usually with Fusion Mineral Paint, the paint kind of falls off immediately. But recently I’ve started using Fusion’s brush soap as well.

You already told me about your love for the pointed sash brush, do you use any other Staalmeester® brushes as well?
I use the pointed sash for a lot of different stuff, but I recently also started using the 2010 series oval brush. That brush is very useful when painting larger surfaces. The oval brush is very versatile, because it works very well for painting the legs of a piece as well.

So how would you describe the style of your projects or your painting style?
I’m definitely a DIY painter, I wouldn’t call myself a trained painter. I’m just the type of painter that says ‘’let’s try it and see how it works and if it doesn’t, I’ll just paint over it.’’ I love to take a piece and just make it fit my style but also honour the piece and make it look genuinely aged.
For example, I painted a chippy cabinet with milk paint and a lot of people asked me where I found it. But I just made it look older by using milk paint and chipping it.

You told us you learned most of your painting skills from your mom. Can you tell us some more about that?
My mom did a lot of furniture painting, so I learned a lot from her, and she told me a lot about distressing pieces. But I also learned a lot of skills from other DIY painters on Pinterest.

And if you had to give one tip to a novice painter, what would it be?
I actually have two things. Firstly, look for a good product. I like Fusion Mineral Paint because it doesn’t require a lot of preparation. Therefore, it’s very easy to use. That’s also why I use Staalmeester® brushes. A good paintbrush is really important!
The second tip I have is: do not let the idea of messing a piece up overwhelm you because you can always paint it over or strip it.
Three years ago, I was that novice painter that was very intimidated and overwhelmed by the idea of painting something and by just giving it a try I got where I am right now. So, my tip to everyone who’s thinking of painting something is: just go for it!

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