Posted on 19th March 2021

March 2021 – Revisiting an old house name carving

A client for whom I designed a small house name some ten years ago recently got in touch to ask me to paint their sign. I generally encourage people to have this done at the time; the whole point of a house name is for it to be clearly read from the road, and the job is far easier if done in one go. Anyway, I was happy to re-visit this and undertake the task.

It’s a small stone fixed into a gate pillar, carved from Crosland Hill sandstone and based on letterforms designed by Lida Cardozo Kindersley, which gives a very modern look – contemporary with the architect-designed house. After a decade, a surprising amount of biological growth had taken hold (its a very rural spot) and simple scrubbing wasn’t sufficient to shift the lichens which had begun to grow in the stone’s pores. Therefore, biocide treatment was needed before paint could be applied to ensure the it had good purchase.

A mineral paint base was used which I’ve found works well – a primer followed by a base coat, and then, as the client wanted a strong look, black signwriter’s enamel was used as the top-coat. As anyone who works in the field knows, working  on-site comes with its challenges. Sitting (and twisting) at awkward heights with wind, rain, frost and interested people(!) can all make for challenging conditions, and this was no exception. Working ‘off the brush’ (i.e. painting freehand) onto a porous surface is hard and you need tremendous concentration as black enamel paint can’t easily be removed if you wobble or make a mistake. Most of this can be mitigated in the workshop if you know you are painting from the start of a project – much easier. However, after four visits, the job was complete, the client happy and I was content that their house can now be found!


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