Guest Blog by Gemma Broadhurst

Don’t chuck it – Restore It – Says Jay Blades of Jay & Co – written by Gemma Broadhurst, Head Of Talent at Media Recruitment

My poor husband. For the past few days I find myself constantly starting sentences with ‘Jay says…’ and ‘That’s not how Jay would do it...’.

I went along to Jay Bladesworkshop last Thursday at the Heal’s store on Tottenham Court Road. You would not think that two hours of listening to someone talk about paint could be so interesting, but it really was…

We learnt all about the preparation of how to paint old furniture.

I guess if you are going to listen to someone talk about how many coats of paint you should use on your old Ikea drawers, it helps that Jay is a fascinating – and a really, funny man. Jay not only restores and re-designs old furniture but he presents on TV and teaches his viewers how to restore and up-scale old furniture. Jay also works with disadvantaged teenagers with his social enterprise, where he teaches them ‘furniture restoration skills’ which they can then use on a practical level.

Jay is full of tips of the trade, like the best thing for cleaning furniture (Sainsbury’s Basic Baby Wipes by the way); and the stuff “manufacturers don’t want you to know about”. Apparently, you should be painting multiple layers with the smallest amount of paint on your brush, giving the wood a dry brush, rather than slapping it on; that way, paint will last a really long time, and you get a better finish.

Now as someone in the process of doing up an old Victorian terrace, that hasn’t been touched since the 70s – I’m talking no central heating and padded wallpaper on the walls AND ceilings – this sort of advice is pure gold, shame I didn’t know this before spending £122 on Little Greene…for 2 cans!! (Although he did congratulate me on my choice of paint!)

If there’s something you want to do, but have not felt confident enough to tackle – do go to one of Jay’s workshops. Or if you are thinking about starting a business of upcycling furniture and want to know how the tradesmen do it, make sure you do a workshop with Jay.

Personally, I can’t wait for the upholstery course he’s planning - seeing as I’ve just pulled apart an old headboard, and unsuccessfully tried recovering it.  I can hear my husband now:

‘That’s not how Jay would do it’.

For further information on Jay: or to go to one of Jay’s workshops please visit: