Michiel Brouns is a pupil of Haske Van Zadelhoff from Kwarts & Co in the Netherlands, one of the leading experts on paints and building materials for historic buildings. " The South of the Netherlands boasts some beautiful centuries-old wattle and daub cottages, typical of the province of Limburg. Most of these buildings have unfortunately, over time, seen a host of modern paints and plasters applied to them, generating all kinds of problems with moisture damaging the timber and original lime plaster. Kwarts & Co have been experts in this field for more than 15 years and we gave the owners of these beautiful buildings practical advice to resolve the problems and sometimes reverse the damage already done.
This advice usually lead to us supplying various products for the restoration and renovation of older buildings" Michiel says. '' I learned an invaluable amount on historic building products from Haske and this stood me in good stead when I moved to the UK. It also ignited my interest in beautiful design objects."Michiel moved to the UK in early 2006 and decided to introduce Histoglass Thin Double Glazing, a specific thin double glazing specifically developed for installation in new and existing window frames. Within 5 years, Histoglass Ltd was the leading supplier of Thin Double Glazing for high-end residential and commercial properties.
Feeling that the time was right to diversify, Michiel once again drew on his experience from his work in the Netherlands and started Brouns & Co. Initially, it was called HISTOCOLOUR and then ORICALCUM, but now it has settled on Brouns & Co. The idea behind HISTOCOLOUR is to offer paints of the highest possible quality for the specification and private market, for interior and exterior use.
"We have selected the paint manufacturers we work with based on quality and quality alone. I believe in using products of the highest possible quality so that maintenance cycles come down, essentially leading to less use of the Earth's resources."
Michiel continues: "Linseed paint, for instance, is an incredible product. We have this notion in the UK that the more coats of paint we put on timber, the better it is. Unfortunately, water always finds a way in, and when it does, it needs to find a way out again as well. 4 or 5 coats of a petrochemical based paint does the opposite. It seals the water in and then the timber starts to rot. Linseed paint does not form a film on top of the timber and allows water to 'escape' again. Moreover, maintenance cycles are 8 - 15 years."
"A visit to Kulturen in Sweden reaffirmed my ideas about linseed paint. In this open-air museum, they rebuild old buildings from all over Scandinavia. I saw a timber house dating from the mid 1300s which had only ever been treated with pine resins and linseed oil. It is unbelievable how well this natural linseed paint works in conjunction with timber and even helps to preserve it."