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I was in an air-conditioned shopping centre hiding from the Australian summer heat and had just finished drinking a flavoured milk. So, I went to drop the empty carton in a bin where I was offered several options: glass, plastic or landfill.

Those recycling bins are a great idea because I am immediately presented with the effects of my consumer choices. My 600 mls of sugary fat will find its way flushed out past Bondi Beach, and the waxed paper container it came in is going to sit in landfill while it very slowly decomposes. Normally, I throw my rubbish into a bin with all the other poor choices consumers have made, and I don't think about my actions.

So, it got me thinking about how we paint our homes. There are many products

we can choose to paint our houses, but if we think about where the product will eventually end up, then perhaps paint consumers might make better decisions about product choice.

So, instead of simply reaching for the cheapest can of brightly coloured acrylic, maybe we should consider hybrid coatings, or traditional lime-based, cement-based, clay-based, milk-based or mineral-based paints that are all simple to apply, have character and depth, and don't break down into tiny pieces of plastic that find their way into all parts of our world...

Send me an email if you have any questions or comments.


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A rat rod is a customised car with a deliberately worn-down and rustic appearance. Typically distressed, lacking paint, showing rust, and made from repurposed parts, these vehicles always display the personality, imagination and creativity of the builder.

Jean Marc is an interior designer from Normandy in France who has lived in Australia for more than twenty years. A couple of years ago he purchased a Land Rover in Queensland and drove the vehicle back to New South Wales where he began his rat rod conversion.

The designer transformed a timber cable spool into a comfortable bedroom that was then attached to the back tray. Jean Marc didn’t like the original, shiny white paint so he sanded back the surface, applied a primer, then applied a decorative rust paint.

And, just to add another layer of creativity, inside the red trailer that is towed behind the distinctive Land Rover is a custom built sauna!

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If you've applied a Venetian Plaster as a decorative finish to an interior wall, then there is nothing quite like finishing this beautiful product with a traditional wax. Wax draws out the colours and textures of the plaster, but also seals and protects the delicate surface.

Once you apply wax on to a surface you will never want to paint that surface ever, ever again ... removing wax is not a lot of fun, especially on multiple broad walls!

I had a phone call from a painter who had been asked to paint a home in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs where every wall had been coated with plaster and wax. He wanted to know if paint, or wallpaper would stick to the wax? The simple answer wasn't yes or no, but run! Run as hard and as fast and as far as you can, mate! 'Cos nothing sticks to wax, and the only way to repaint is to strip the surface.

So, if you ever have to remove wax without damaging the finish beneath, here are five simple steps:

  1. Find someone you don't like to do the work.

  2. Get them to open all the windows, throw down a drop sheet to protect the floor and put on some gloves.

  3. Then, tell your volunteer to dip some steel wool into a container of turps and with a firm circular motion work their away across the wall, stripping the wax.

  4. Once ALL the wax is removed, an orbital sander with a 120 grit paper is used to sand and prepare the surface .

  5. Finally, the wall is dusted-down, primed and a suitable top coat is then applied.

I hope that helps and please email if you have any questions.


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