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Exciting interior barn conversion using Earthborn paint

Exciting interior barn conversion using Earthborn paint

Posted by Sarah, Celtic Sustainables on 30th May 2023

When Samantha got in touch with us in 2019, she was just halfway through renovating two old hay barns, which had been left derelict. It was a listed building, and to keep the integrity of the building, it had to be restored sympathetically using lime and other breathable products. She came to us looking for products and advice on breathable, nontoxic paints to use throughout her nearly finished home. It sounded like an exciting project, and we couldn’t wait to share how she got on and what Earthborn colours she chose to use throughout the renovated barns.

Home reno using Earthborn claypaint

1. How did you find Celtic Sustainables, and is being sustainable vital to you?

We searched online for “lime-based paints” and came across Celtic Sustainables. After a bit of research, we found everything we were looking for on the Celtic Sustainables website: paints that would work well with our newly finished lime interior walls and be non-toxic. We have daughters and grandchildren, so sustainability is essential for their future.

2. What issues have you had whilst renovating your home, and do you have any tips for the readers?

Make a contingency budget and double it, as everything costs more than you think, and when dealing with old buildings - nothing goes to plan, and unexpected problems are constantly encountered. You’ll only want to do things once, so spend the money on quality materials. Use Facebook and eBay to source second-hand materials. Sell all your waste products as it saves landfill, skip hire and labour. Plan your materials with your builder, as buying materials at short notice limits your choices and costs you money. Underfloor heating - costs slightly more but is so efficient to use and frees up wall space where radiators would have been. And finally, use reputable tradesmen- visit homes where they have worked if it’s good to work, to ensure they do a good job.

3. We all know Earthborn Claypaint is a dream to use and comes in a selection of dreamy colours; what made you choose Earthborn?

We liked dealing with the people at Celtic. They were very friendly and helpful, advising us on the many paint brands to choose from and what would be suitable. We eventually settled on Earthborn Claypaint because we knew it would work well on our lime plaster, and will remain breathable and really liked the eco-credentials of the company. We painted swatches of colours everywhere and kept looking at them at different times of day to see how the light affected them. Claypaint is lovely to work with; it especially looked good on the period property and gave us the ultra-matt finish we hoped for.

4. How did you determine the paint quantity needed for the different rooms?

The lovely people at Celtic assisted and asked our decorators to work out the area to cover. The first coat was watered down to paint over the lime plaster (which was left for 30 days to fully cure). We found it went further than regular paints; the decorators said it was a dream to paint with, and the clean-up after was very easy, as all the brushes and trays could easily be washed out.

5. You selected some great colours, like Humpty Dumpty, Tuffet and the extremely popular Tom’s Bakery; how did you settle on these colours, and what kind of rooms did you use them in?

It was daunting as I was decorating a totally white barn, so every room needed painting. The downstairs was mostly open plan apart from the snug - so walls divided rooms, but the front wall went across all the rooms, so I used Tom’s bakery and cat’s cradle. Still, the internal walls had different dramatic wallpaper, so each room had a unique feel, but those two colours let them flow through each room.

Earthborn renovation in claypaint

4. Did you buy testers first, and how did you find the representation of the colours compared to the colour card?

I think you need the testers as the colour card is insufficient to get a good feel for the colour. Also, you must see how the colour is absorbed into the plaster and how the light in the room affects the colour. Some colours look so different on a larger scale, and you need to consider that when choosing colours.

7. How did you find applying the paints? Did you water them down, and did they cover as expected?

We followed the instructions and watered down the first coat with 15% water. Then we applied the second coat without being watered down. On the darker colours, we found we needed three coats to get the depth of colour that we wanted to achieve. The Earthborn Claypaints are very creamy and unlike other conventional paints, they are really thick too, with the ultra matt finish, the result is absolutely stunning. 

8. What other products did you purchase from Celtic Sustainables?

Earthborn Claypaint

We bought the Earthborn wallpaper paste, which was easy to mix and had excellent adhesive qualities. We also purchased the Earthborn isolating primer, which we used in a very small area with a stubborn dry stain. Glad we sorted the issue before over-painting with the Claypaint. It’s not been an issue since!

9. What other environmentally friendly products have you used throughout renovating?

We used lime mortar and plaster mixed with hemp – it’s designed to reduce heat loss in buildings constructed with solid walls; it’s just another step in keeping our barn nice and snug the whole year round! We purchased natural wool insulation for the roof; we wanted natural non-itch insulation that would be easy to work with; we’d heard good things about Cosywool insulation and have been very happy with it. We purchased a lot of second-hand furniture, and I used the Earthborn Eco Chic Paints to upcycle them so they matched the walls perfectly and didn’t have to purchase different paint. Also, you don’t have to prime the units if you use the Earthborn Claypaint. So saves money and time and stops the items from going to landfill; it ticks all the boxes. Once you’ve painted the furniture in Claypaint, remember to protect them with Earthborn’s Furniture Wax, a clear wax for interior wood surfaces, and it’s also certified as being safe to use on children’s furniture and toys (carries the Safety of Toys Standard EN71-3:2019).

If you want to achieve the satin finish on your furniture, you can always use Earthborn’s Eco Eggshell No.17. It’s super hardwearing and comes in the same beautiful range of colours as the Claypaint. Remember to prep the furniture by sanding and priming it with Earthborn’s multi-purpose primer.

10. Have you completed your renovations now? How have the walls weathered?Earthborn Eggshell

The barn is finally complete, and we’re all moved in. We have a dog, grandchildren, and teenagers, so stubborn hand marks have been painted over. Something that wouldn’t have been easily done with satin or matt paints.

11. Have you seen Earthborn have launched new colours? Have you been tempted to try some of the new range?

I’ve seen they have launched new colours in recent years, but I haven’t been tempted to change my colour scheme in the barn. My daughter will be moving to a new property soon; it will be very modern trendy student accommodation. I will be in my happy place; I love making ugly places beautiful. I will no doubt be back to Celtic Sustainables to try new colours from Earthborn; we’ve never tried Graphenstone paints; we’ve heard they are a range of mineral-based paints that are non-toxic, breathable and very durable thanks to their Graphene technology. We’ve already ordered new colour cards to help us choose a colour scheme. 

If you’d like to discuss any of the products in this article, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01239 777009. We get excited when customers ask for advice from the early stages of renovations all the way through to the painting stage. We have many products suitable for period properties and modern buildings. 

If you’ve found this article useful, please share it so someone else can benefit from seeing it. 

Don’t forget to share your achievements and before & after photos with us and friends; remember to tag us #CelticSustainables on social media.