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Project of the Month

Chislet Windmill

Darrren Tebbutt director of Hiro Decorating and Property Maintenance was driving along in his van day dreaming and thinking to himself how do you get to work on something different?  Then, three days later and completely out of the blue, Mr Davenport called and said, “I’ve just brought a windmill, and would you like to come and look at some work”. To say he was surprised was an understatement but at the same time Darren was very excited and ready for the challenge that a job like this would bring.

Chislet windmill was a Grade II listed smock mill in Chislet, Kent, England. It was built in 1744 and destroyed by fire in 2005. In 2011, a replica mill was rebuilt on the site as part of a new four-bedroom house. From the beginning, on meeting Mr & Mrs Davenport, it was clear to Darren that the new owners really wanted to bring out the best in the building, as it was now in need of being injected with new life once again and in need of a complete renovation of both the interior and exterior of the building.

The windmill is a lovely building primarily made from timber with lovely oak beams for an entrance and feather-edge boarding, cladding the main body of the building. It has a mix of a traditional white painted windows on the mill and stained on the adjacent bungalow.

Darren’s Moto at work is to “always do our best” and it was definitely adopted on this project. Due to difficulty in access and the financial cost of scaffold to the main mill, it is evident that they always tried to go beyond what was required for a great finish. All timber on the building such as boards, windows, sail arms were sanded back to remove any loose and exposed damage. The main body of the building was given three coats of Bedec Black Barn paint in satin finish. All white windows were painted in two coats of Sandtex Flexi-primer/undercoat and finished in Sandtex Flexigloss.

The Oak had suffered extensive darkening due to its exposure to the elements. With a lot of hard work and sanding, Darren and his team managed to bring them back to their former glory achieving a great standard to then build from. The Sikkens Filter 7 system was used, giving two base coats and one top coat to finish, with a light sanding between coats to give that smooth and professional finish.

Darren counted his blessings that they were lucky that the weather was always kind to them. He said, “Sometimes your reluctant to undertake outsides as the year roles on, but it always seemed to shine at the mill”.

Internally, the mill consisted of lovely oak doors which had been previously clear coated, beautiful oak floors in the hallways and living room, skirting boards and architrave in satinwood, and ceilings in white and walls in magnolia.

The redecoration was carried out in a neutral finish, off white on the walls and ceilings using Albany super, over brilliant white, with the walls having three coats to ensure a really crisp white. A colour had been considered for the walls but with such prominent windows it was decided that it needed to be lived in for a while to see the affects seasonality would have on the rooms. Albany acrylic super satin in brilliant white was used on all the woodwork and masking was applied to all areas in the preparation stages to give that extra sharp finish. Although it was white against white, it just gave it that extra attention to detail, that the building deserved.

The thirty internal doors all were prepped with finishing paper and finished with two coats of Sikkens Cetol TSI satin plus again sanding between coats. The main work in the inside was the oak floors. It took eight-man days to sand back and prepare them ready to be varnished. Three coats of Sadolin PV67 was used to finish the floor. For Darren and his team this was the crowning glory of the inside.

Darren said, “It’s lovely when you look at your work and are truly happy with the outcome as it’s easy to always be critical of what you do when constantly striving for the best. We have suggested to Les and Rosemary Davenport that the real test of the floor will be the grandchildren sliding across it in their socks”.

“As a project. It’s been the best we have ever done. Great building, fantastic client, and really a job we are very proud of”.

The true testament of the team’s hard work is the review they received from the clients Les and Rosemary Davenport…

“Following buying our new home at Chislet Mill at Reculver we needed a company that could undertake the total redecoration of the interior and exterior plus fitting a new kitchen, carpentry, plumbing and other general building works. This was a large job and having received quotes from a number of companies chose HIRO. The pricing was competitive but as importantly it was obvious that Darren was knowledgeable and had high standards. Scheduled to run over a few months the work was completed on time and within budget to the highest standards we have ever experienced by a friendly and caring team.”

Darren Tebbutt has grown up in a building family and from a young age has had tool kits and helped his Dad, Maurice who was a trained bricklayer and general builder. So, maybe it was inevitable that he would continue this along with his three brothers. Decorating has always been at the heart of Darren’s working career and although you would say he is self-taught, he has had a keen interest to learn the trade and had the pleasure to work alongside some amazing decorators and other trades and has learned a wealth of knowledge from them all.

Although Darren has been involved in the trade for over 25 years, HIRO is still in its infancy and is only 2 years old. The name HIRO came from his two young children in a family vote of names meaning big and great. …And as all Dads should be Darren is currently still the “HIRO” in their story.

Darren is not alone in this venture and said, “It wouldn’t be nearly as good without the support of my wife Julie and the help of two fellow HIRO’s Aaron and Khalid, who without them on the team it just wouldn’t be the same”.



If you would like to submit a project to be considered for March’s Project of the Month submit your project using the button below by the 18th March, when we will make our selection.

If you have any problems submitting your project please email your project details to us including your name and company name to: admin@trade-decorator.co.uk


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