T.O.L Decorators Ltd Win Dulux Connect Project Award for Excellence in Painting and Decorating

Birmingham-based T.O.L Decorators Ltd has been providing high-quality painting and decorating services across commercial, residential, public-sector and heritage sites since 1960. It was the team’s vital role in reinvigorating The Grand Hotel in Birmingham that saw them take home the Dulux Connect Project Award for Excellence in Painting and Decorating.

Originally opened back in 1879, The Grand Hotel has previously welcomed royalty and rock stars, with Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin just two of the distinguished guests to have stayed over the years. A brilliant example of Victorian grandeur, with luxury apartments as well as its iconic grand ballroom, the hotel had been closed for almost twenty years. However, following a £50million restoration and refurbishment programme, the hotel reopened its doors in 2021, with T.O.L Decorators Ltd proud to be involved with the regeneration. Today, the hotel has 185 bedrooms, several bars and dining areas, as well the breath-taking grand ballroom - and all were decorated by the T.O.L Decorators Ltd team.

The project scope


T.O.L Decorators Ltd were brought in to manage the sizeable painting and decorating requirements on the site, bringing a modern feel to the hotel whilst still maintaining its original features. In total the decoration process spanned 18 months with a crew of up to 25 on site at any one time, including decorators, paper hangers and French polishers.

Due to the historic significance of the hotel, careful preparation was vital to ensure the exquisite details of the building were kept. On top of this, as the site had been abandoned for many years, it was in poor condition and therefore brought a plethora of challenges to overcome including mould, rats, asbestos and lead paint. This meant that the scope of works had to be adjusted at every stage to tackle the unforeseen site issues.

It was therefore important for T.O.L Decorators Ltd to work closely with the main contractor to develop solutions and keep the works running to schedule. Collaboration with other tradespeople on the site was another necessary factor to consider, especially with lots of artisan plastering required on the project and delivery of furnishings.

Managing challenges


Due to the building being abandoned prior to the refurbishment works, damp had developed. The team therefore had to apply an anti-fungicidal wash, followed by a coat of Dulux Trade Mouldshield. Containing a special fungicide which inhibits the growth of fungi and mould inside buildings, Dulux Trade Mouldshield works to inhibit mould and fungi growth and ensures a long-lasting finish.

The site also came with its logistical hurdles. As the lifts were not working and a hoist wasn’t available, all materials had to be distributed by hand. The pre-existing windows were also in a terrible condition so T.O.L Decorators Ltd were required to fill and putty these to bring them back to a good condition ahead of painting.


The specification for this project was carried out by Synergy Architects. It was a big task to undertake with 35 different wall colours and eight different woodwork colours used. Seven different decorative wallpapers were also chosen.

The main walls and feature staircase were finished with Dulux Trade Diamond Matt, bathrooms were coated with Dulux Trade Mouldshield, and any joinery required Dulux Trade Quick Dry Satinwood, with Dulux Trade Sterishield also utilised.

Tim O'Leary, Director at T.O.L Decorators Ltd, commented on the project: “The new owners placed a heavy emphasis on quality and keeping faithful to the original look and feel of the hotel. As the hotel is a listed building, we had to be careful with how the building was renovated and what materials were used on this project. It certainly wasn’t your regular decorating job. Given the age of the hotel, there was always a new issue arising, so we had to think on our feet and adapt from room to room.

“Attention to detail was essential. For example, the Grand Ballrooms had to be hand painted to ensure the fine detailing within the plaster wasn't lost. The client was happy with the end results and we’re incredibly proud to have worked on such a prestigious building in Birmingham’s history. It’s great that we can still visit the hotel and view the brilliant work that the team carried out.” 

The judges were impressed with the comprehensive preparation required on this project to counteract the years of neglect on this substantially sized building, as well as the high skill levels required to work on a heritage building of this type. The T.O.L Decorators Ltd team were commended for the attention to detail shown, particularly on ceilings and in the ballroom, with quality finishes noted across the board. 

To find out more about T.O.L Decorators Ltd, visit: www.toldecorators.com.

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