I’ve been interested in performance cars for many years, mainly aspirational supercars. When I heard that McLaren was coming to Leeds and building a showroom, apparently the biggest in the UK, well, to say I was both amazed and excited is an understatement.
How could Stucco & Stucco get involved? There must be a way to be part of the teams building the showroom. The finishes and expectations with such huge value cars would be incredibly high, but I knew we would be up to it. I had a network of trusted installers that could support me on this job and would love to. I just had to find a way to be in the running.
As expected once I had managed to get in front of the right people. It seemed that our reputation preceded us, and after working through the products and finishes needed, I found myself going home that evening with a big smile on my face. It was so motivating to know that we were trusted to work on a global brand with the highest reputation. S&S installation work would showcase polished plaster in Leeds, featuring beautiful McLaren supercars.
Proud just didn’t cover the feeling!
As with all high-end commercial fit-outs, time is critical. Having many trades working in and around a workspace where our finish and work needs its own time and attention to detail, challenges were numerous. With 300 square metres, various shades of grey in Ardex Pandomo to apply.
By now, you’ll understand just how the team and I were feeling! The work was painstaking, and every aspect counted, so much pressure but understanding how impressive the whole showroom would look when it was finished. Many surfaces, angles, and corners. Working a product that wasn’t particularly forgiving meant the whole team was at the top of their game, each and every day.
Speaking of the team, I couldn’t be happier and more thankful that ‘Team Stucco’ were a committed bunch. For them, the pride aspect was huge too, there aren’t many teams that get to work at this level.
The morale was of the highest order as always, and everyone came together to get this project well and truly over the finish line. A memorable one for all of us in both detail, challenge, and being part of the project that will showcase such amazing vehicles.
Start work before my coffee? Ummm, no. Whether it's my local Starbucks who think I'm a friend now or an indie coffee shop, my 'go-to' coffee is a flat white. I like Mrs. Atha's in Leeds, who incidentally we did a great wall for.
Many days Team Stucco is on the road early. I recall a recent 'long' shift when we had to visit 3 sites each in a different Yorkshire county, all in one day! A bit challenging, but it's just what we do to get everything finished. Those coffee shops may well get visited during the day as they also serve as a break out space from the direct install and as a time to think creatively about each job. All our customers want a truly bespoke finish, this takes time to ponder and then plan. We get recharged to push on again.
Managing and delivering many projects at once can be a little overwhelming. Without the talented people that make up Team Stucco, whatever combination it is for a particular job, it would be impossible. Our reputation for the quality of the work is directly related to the strength and capability of the team, and let's not forget every single installer's commitment to finish the job!
For me, these times are where we bond as a team, in between the work. They remind me how fortunate we are, and I am, to be in the position we find ourselves. Working great projects with customers of all kinds and in many amazing buildings and places.
The future is full of installations to challenge and test us, but I've no doubt we will enjoy the journey.
Bring on the coffee, the creativity, the teamwork, and the satisfaction that we know we bring to everyone we work with.
P.S. Sometimes it's tea and scones!
Distilleries are fast becoming part of the Stucco & Stucco DNA. It started with the Hendricks visitor centre up in Girvan, Ayrshire at the huge Grants site last year, known as the Gin Palace’. Since then, our reputation for helping designers and architects create welcoming and impressive venues within the growing craft spirits and beers market has gone off the charts.
Glendronach is the latest we have worked in, an excellent single malt whisky maker, which was created in the Valley of Forgue nearly 200 years ago. This beautiful old distillery is added to a line up of many other distilleries that have already approved our work samples, and planning is underway. To be honest, and as a man that likes a drink, the teams’ we take to distilleries, always enjoy the work and the surroundings.
During a little downtime, we make sure we take a tour. So we can get a feeling for the atmosphere (and not just the ‘Angel’s Share’ in the barrel warehouses), by understanding the history of a particular distillery. Glendronach is one of many in the Speyside area, all with their own combinations of ingredients and water from the local springs. The main secret is the shape of the huge ‘coppers,’ the vats that create the spirit.
It was a really fascinating tour and to see the whisky across all the stages of its development, and then into bottles is surprisingly technical.
We visited the warehouses, lined with barrels, some dating back decades, the aroma is absolutely delicious, I would describe it as the smell of rich fruitcake. I’m no whisky drinker, but standing there I could be converted!
The project was relatively small compared to some. But as always, with the 2-man team, we wanted to make sure we left a lasting impression not only on the distillery team but all of their customers too.
It was a fun and an educational job that I suppose you could say, “left us in high spirits’!
Bring on the rest, it’s time to make Speyside and all it’s malt whisky heritage a Stucco & Stucco stronghold. Just as the original distilleries like Glendronach did nearly two millennia ago.
The latest advanced course delivered in our Stucco & Stucco studio was early-February it was unseasonably warm, and a change from our normal winter course weather. So we started on day 1 with introductions, and as usual, they were from all over the country, Ireland, Brighton, Bristol, Birmingham, and Glasgow.
As always I like to keep the course fun and start light, as the finishes planned for this course were pretty intense, and this is often driven by requests. We chatted about the project enquires that the guys had, because, with these, that often drives the cool content, for example using stencils and liquid metal (Metallo Fuso).
In our usual style of learning, sweating and smiling, I went straight into blending, working with multiple colours for an artwork piece. This is always a good ice breaker, as it's not so technical that the crew is nervous, best to get them settled in. As they had all attended the introductory course, I could dispense with some of the core setup bits, as they all know how to apply the base coats.
I'm always looking for one of those 'big moments', it usually happens when a particular member of the crew completely nails the brief, in this case, it was using liquid metal. The stencil was highly ornate and technical, something even I'd find challenging, but in this case, the level of detail, the sharpness, how crisp the whole sample artwork piece looked, was amazing!
Which made up for the fact that some of the blending, which we laughed long and hard at, couldn't strictly be called 'advanced'.
The lesson? Every day in the studio is a learning day.
The weather continued to be nice, many laughs were had, the first one having a Scottish guy translate the Irish guy into English! Let's not talk about the masks...
Much tea was drunk (and coffee for some) and a good night out to celebrate everyone's achievements.
Just another week in the S&S Training Academy.
I was taking the family up to Edinburgh for the Christmas Market, which is a well-known event for the city, other than the Fringe. It seemed like an excellent opportunity to revisit a great installation we did November last year.
I remember the install itself in detail, and we had to go back a number of times as the other work in the bar governed when we could apply the various levels of finish. The walls in the bar area are super high, which creates a brilliant effect, but meant we were working up at height much of the time. This can be challenging, but with the ever-capable Jordan and Lee as 'Team Stucco,' we made sure that the quality was as high as ever.
This Christmas visit was less challenging, especially as I had a delicious steak, and my son, who's currently 13, decided he would sample the Sea Bass! Makes a change from McDonald's!
Now the place is complete, the level of detail in the design, that's only made more stunning by the lighting actually surprised me. When you are up close and personal during the install, its all about the small details, but when the job is complete, the overall effect is what really counts.
It's very satisfying to revisit a client and see how well everything is going.
After an entertaining two days in Edinburgh, we headed back south on the train, and the Edinburgh Grand will be a job that I'll remember for a good while to come.
This delivery came early in March, the main product was Archi+ concrete, not only is it popular with clients, but those that have trained with us are buying this by the bag load!
The rest of the products are regular stock for the studio, the metallics are proving very popular, especially as we have a specific course that teaches this high impact look.
Deliveries are coming in from Italy most weeks, whether it's to replenish stock, or for a specific high volume order for a customer. It's getting to the point where we are running out of room in the studio!
I'm really in two minds what to do about this, maybe we should take another space and have all the supply there, or it could just be a container nearby for overflow. Either way, we'll have to do something.
It's great that the supply is doing well, but really it's down to the loyalty of all the installers that buy from Stucco & Stucco, whether they've trained here or not.
In all honesty, I'd like to thank everyone who buys from us, the more we expand, the more we can stock for you.
We've recently completed a stunning feature wall in a bathroom that definitely has the wow factor.
The interior designer on this project was looking for an alternative wall finish for her clients en-suite bathroom, something unique. The brief was to create a dark moody surface with light texture and shine. We worked in our polished plaster design studio in Yorkshire on a few samples before creating the winning design that was bespoke for the client.
We have recently completed the project and agree with the client, the wall looks stunning.
Please take a look at the photos and let us know what you think!
We have installed many bathrooms with polished plaster in Yorkshire. View more of our recent work using Marmorino & Grassello products to see alternative finishes that can be achieved. Polished Plaster Bathrooms >>
Fazenda restaurants are in the unique style of an authentic Brazilian steakhouse. Customers enjoy the finest meats, grilled and served at their table, along with a gourmet salad bar and an excellent wine list.
To help set the right ambience in such a unique restaurant, the Fazenda owners contacted us to create a bespoke wall finish, using polished plaster, in their Liverpool establishment.
We wanted to make sure the work we did perfectly complemented the overall look and referred to the drawings and design work for the venue conceived by Carroll Design based in Manchester. The design had a distressed Venetian look to it. We created a textured surface using Marmorino and then used another product. We gave the walls a rich colour wash that has a very subtle shimmer.
The restaurant owners loved the final results, so much so that we have installed the same polished plaster finish in the Leeds Fazenda restaurant when it was recently refurbished.
Polished plaster is a great alternative to paint or tiles. It can help to transform your bathroom creating a unique and stunning finish.
You can't deny that polished plaster gives your room the wow factor. It allows you to create a seamless finish without any grout. It is also incredibly versatile being available in any colour and, depending on the final look that you want to achieve, it can be applied using a range of methods.
Whether it is smooth or textured, with a pro matt finish or polished to a high shine, the final product can be tailored to create the perfect finish.
By applying special waxes, that protect your walls, polished plaster (also known as Venetian Plaster) allows you to create a unique look and feel in your bathroom that will stand the test of time.
We have installed many bathrooms with polished plaster in Yorkshire. Take a look at just some of our recent work using Marmorino & Grassello products in the bathrooms opposite and let us know what you think.