The Dulux Trade Commercial Colour Consultant service is a nationwide network of colour specialists with professional interior design expertise. We caught up with Steve Milne, managing director of ESK Decorating Contractors Ltd, to discuss how professional appliers can work with the Colour Consultants to bring the wow factor to tricky jobs.
"I'm sure that most readers will agree with me when I say that as a professional applier a decorator's strengths lie in the quality of their workmanship and the finish they can achieve," says Steve. "€śWhere professional decorators sometimes need extra help is when it comes to colour, particularly on a large or specialist job, such as a building that needs restoring in a way that is sympathetic to the era in which it was built, or when a customer is going for a complete change and wants an entire new interior scheme but doesn't know where to start."
Steve continues: "We're not interior designers, and we don't pretend to be. Our loyal customer base trusts us because we offer honest advice, even if honesty means we need to call in the experts every now and again." He explains that using a service like the Dulux Trade Colour Consultants, which is a free resource offering complete colour solutions for prestigious projects and larger commercial jobs, improves a company's professionalism as it enables it to offer a complete package.
"śOnce we've created the full specification with the Colour Consultant, we then go back to the client to present our plans using a series of colour and mood boards - it's touches like this that make commercial customers feel really valued, and sets us apart from the competition."
For Bletchley Park, Lisa created a classic, neutral scheme that can be dressed in a range of colours for the weddings and private events that Bletchley Park hosts, while creating a warm, calm and unimposing look for other uses. The Drawing Room's mahogany fire surround influenced the overall tone of the colours, so she used both warm and cool neutrals to balance this. Lisa was also keen to draw emphasis to the 'Daisy' work on the ceiling and to add some drama away from eye level, so advised ESK to use the deepest shade overhead, which gave extra impact when guests entered the room.
The main panelling and the ceiling areas were painted with Dulux Trade Diamond in Muslin Birch and Soft Truffle to give a muted effect that had a gentle warmth. Lisa explained to Bletchley Park that today's neutrals are 'greyed off' tones, which give a calmer atmosphere and make a perfect partner for a whole range of other colour accents. For broadwall coverage, products from the Dulux Trade Diamond range were used because of their unrivalled durability and stain resistant properties, both of which are up to ten times greater than standard silk emulsions. The room also has original interior wood panelling, so Dulux Trade Diamond Satinwood was applied to this to give a sleek and refined finish that meant the wood panels maintained their authentic appearance while the wood itself was preserved.
So impressed was Bletchley Park with the work that ESK carried out that Steve entered the job in the national PDA Premier Trophy Awards 2009. The PDA Premier Trophy Awards help demonstrate the diversity of skill and high levels of craftsmanship offered to clients, and ESK picked up a highly commended the decorative category, which now sits alongside his awards from 2006 and 2007.
"€śAnother big job that we couldn't have pulled off without the help of a Dulux Trade Commercial Colour Consultant was the Alban Arena in Hertfordshire," says Steve. Like Bletchley Park, the owners of the Alban Arena wanted a dynamic new look that would give the venue an image that lived up to its lively programme of events. ESK needed to transform the tired colour scheme while retaining the original character of the building's interior. An extra challenge came in the form of the need for a colour scheme that would not date over the coming years.
For this job, the Dulux Trade Colour Consultant ESK worked with kept the base colour simple, with Dulux Trade Quick Drying Diamond Eggshell in Jabot applied as the main neutral colour throughout. Colour was a great way to bring continuity to the building, and an aqua colour in various shades was used as the key accent, to give a dynamic visual effect.
"śThe Dulux Trade Colour Consultants have an invaluable eye for detail, which means the projects in our client portfolio are of the highest quality," concludes Steve. "€śWorking with a Colour Consultant means stunning, coordinated results for a client, advice on compliance with regulations such as DDA requirements, and a book full of happy customers for us - it's a no-brainer!"