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By Clementene Coates, Jan 7 2016 09:57PM

What a truly wonderful year 2015 was. A couple of years ago I’d never have imagined that I’d leave my legal career behind me to pursue my passion for restoring and painting furniture.

This time last year I had just launched my website and online shop and was about to sell my first piece of furniture. The thought of leaving a career you know so well to start a completely new one can be an extremely daunting one. I made the leap and I haven’t looked back. Not once.

There’s no denying that starting a business from scratch has its challenges, but that’s part and parcel of the journey. And what a journey I’ve had so far!

Of course I couldn’t have done it without the support of my amazing family and friends. In particular I want to thank my fiancé Pete, whose constant support, encouragement, advice (and technical wizardry!) I shall never forget.

I also want to thank my clients who’ve bought my furniture and trusted me to paint their own. Each and every one of you have been an absolute pleasure to work with and I’m overjoyed by your feedback. Last but not least I thank all of the lovely strangers who’ve taken the time to follow my work and who’ve been so generous with their kind comments.

So, to celebrate my first official year as Clementene Coates, I thought I’d take a little look back at some of my most memorable moments of 2015…

* I sold my first piece of furniture, a pretty black and grey bureau I named Beau. And then I sold some more…

* I was commissioned to restore and paint an array of beautiful furniture here in Yorkshire, in the South and as far afield as Scotland…

* I was invited to 10 Downing Street by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to showcase my work to Lord Young, James Caan and the PM himself…

* My business featured in The Yorkshire Post, The Telegraph &Argus and Yorkshire Living Magazine…

* I worked on a fabulous collaboration project with the very talented daughter and mother duo, Stephanie & Michelle Witts of Witts Design

* I collaborated with gifted interior designer, Vanessa Rhodes and Turnpost Four Poster Beds and our work was exhibited at Decorex International in London

* I was asked to be a Features Writer for Country Living Magazine and Reloved Magazine

* And, at long last I got to meet one of my idols, Annie Sloan, THE world's most respected expert in decorative paint, colours and techniques...

For more information about me, my other features and my hand painted furniture business visit my website www.clementenecoates.co.uk and get in touch.

By Clementene Coates, Mar 23 2015 02:01PM

I woke up early in the morning feeling excited to get to the fair, but a little sad that it was the last day. As we wandered towards the BDC from the tube we were amongst groups of people (mostly women I have to say) heading in the same direction, chatting excitedly amongst themselves about what they were most looking forward to seeing at the fair.

I made the decision not to do any painting today; partly because I needed to be dressed smartly as I was a guest speaker on the Country Living Theatre stage in the morning and I didn’t want to be covered in paint; and also because I wanted to get out and about and meet the other exhibitors and get to know more about them and why they love to do what they do.

My topic at the Country Living Theatre was ‘How to Choose the Right Paint Colour’ alongside Joyce Craveiro (Interior Designer at Marston & Langinger), Louise Elliott (Deputy Editor of Country Living Magazine) and Ben Kendrick (Home Design Editor of Country Living Magazine) who was responsible for choosing the colours on the Country Living palette and what a fine job he did of it!

It was soon 11:45am and time for the Q&A. We showcased the gorgeous oak washstand at the front of the stage to show how an old, tired piece of furniture can be transformed with the paint. The benches were filled with visitors to the fair along with a handful of the Country Living team who came along to join the session, including Suzy Smith (Editor in Chief), Catherine Gee (Fairs Consultant) and Alaina Banks (Deputy Home Design Editor).

Louise introduced us all and asked each of our opinions on how to choose the right paint colour. I approached my response from the point of view of painting a piece of furniture: choose colours you love and which suit the style and mood of a room, and always test the colours out first. Ben took us through some gorgeous slides of rooms he’d styled using the Country Living Marston & Langinger paints. I particularly loved a kitchen which had been painted in ‘Charcoal’ a deep grey, black colour.

Ben gave an overview of the process he went through in choosing the colours for the Country Living paint palette; his initial intention was to develop paints for painting walls and units rather than stand-alone pieces of furniture, and he was surprised that so many people were interested in using them to paint furniture too. I wasn’t surprised by this because I paint furniture for a living and these paints are made for doing exactly that!

It was soon time for the audience to ask questions. There were four questions in total and I’m very proud and also very humbled to say that they were all directed at me! People clearly love the idea of painting their own furniture and I loved chatting to them about a range of different techniques for painting the perfect piece and how easy and versatile the Marston & Langinger paints are to use.

The Q&A was soon over and I reminded people that today was their last opportunity to enter the competition to win the painted oak washstand. Visitors wandered over to the Marston & Langinger stand to ask more questions about the paints; take some sample paints pots, a colour card, my business card and leaflet (poor things, they had their hands full by the time they left us!).

All in all the Country Living Fair has been a fantastic experience. I’ve met so many wonderful people and had the chance to indulge my passion in front of a new audience. I’ve spent the last 5 days talking endlessly about the work I’ve been doing and the new paints I’ve been using by Marston & Langinger. It’s also been a joy listening to other people talk about their own passions and ideas for building a successful business. Make sure you keep an eye on my blog over the next few weeks as I will be posting a new one about all the other wonderful exhibitors I met at the fair.

Despite the fair being over, I’ll most definitely be adding a number of pots of Marston & Langinger to my paint cupboard. I have a couple of beautiful bureaus in the workshop right now which need painting and I’m planning to use Marston & Langinger’s paints to do this. I’ll be sure to do another of my ‘How To’ blogs to give a step-by-step process on painting a piece of furniture.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to the whole Country Living and Marston & Langinger teams for having me and good luck to all those who entered the competition. Whoever wins the painted washstand, I’d love to see a picture of it in its new home…

Please read my blogs from the previous 4 days of the Country Living Spring Fair

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Here's the place to find out what Clementene's been up to. She'll post updates on new projects; features she's written for Country Living Magazine UK; design tips and tricks; and 'how to' guides for ways to paint your own furniture. Clementene's blog is regularly updated so make sure you keep coming back. You can follow Clementene on social media too (check out the links above) and don’t forget to post your comments - Clementene would love to hear from you. And, for those wanting the latest news, sign up for Clementene's Newletter...

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