“What are you doing, Daddy?”
It’s the hottest day of the year so far. I’m standing on the edge of the bath, desiccating my inner nostrils with the rising exhaust heat from our vac, as I suck curled flakes of eco paint from the bathroom ceiling.
“No, don’t do that bit” screams my six-year-old. Too late. She sullenly informs me that I’ve just disfigured beyond recognition the dog’s face she’s been imagining in the bare plaster left behind when the last lot of peeling paint was hoovered off.
I’m a self-confessed eco-nerd, and this whole ceiling peeling drama represents one of the very few regrets I have in following my green dreams to their ‘natural’ conclusions. When we moved in about 5 years ago, I was adamant we’d try really hard to only use eco materials in the very necessary tarting up of our apartment. I opted for the eco-paint supplied by a lovely bunch of French guys in Brighton. Even though the price per litre teetered on the brink of Farrow & Ball fancy stuff, I was seduced by his offer to taste the paint before I bought it. The point being that the oils used are so very non-toxic, that it’s almost a culinary pleasure. The subtle earl grey tones of the bergamot oil convinced me that this was the paint for us. I recommended it to my eco-minded Brightonian mates, and generally sang its praises as I slapped it on joyously.
The argument with traditional paint generally is that it is full of volatile organic compounds, or fairly nasty resins and binders, colouring agents, metal oxides and gawd knows what. Similarly, the greenie’s argument is that paint creates many more litres of waste for each one litre which makes it into the can. So I was smug in the knowledge that the waste from my paint would simply be perfuming the sewers back in Germany where it was made. I was also informed that the paint was micro-porous, so that it would breathe, and therefore be perfectly suited to the steamy bathroom it was destined for.
If you care to learn lessons from my misfortune, I suspect where I went wrong was in PVAing the plaster before painting. Any road up, within about six months, the two coats had begun to crack. Whilst this initially added to the shabby chic look, when the first bit fell off, the look was more ‘ell’s bells than Elle Deco. And, until recently we had imaginary dogs on the ceiling when viewed from the loo through the eyes of a child. I wouldn’t mind if we had a recognisable image of Jesus Christ, that we could flog to Take a Break for enough prize money to cover the price of a pot of Dulux Azure Fusion chemical nightmare.
How paint is made: