A Conversation With South East Painting’s Oli Young

February 7th, 2024

We love getting the chance to speak to our lovely customers, so it was a pleasure to find out more about Oli Young from South East Painting and his decorating journey.

It’s so lovely to meet you Oli! How did you get into the decorating industry?

It was only by chance that I come into the trades, I was on a school summer holiday break when I was 13/14 and I didn’t want to be sitting around at home, so I went on site with a family friend who was a self-employed painter. They let me come to work with them to sweep up and make the tea etc., but it wasn't long before I was sanding things to a moulded shape, caulking and concentrating on preparation, as they explained, it’s 90 percent prep!

So, I spent 6 weeks learning how to prepare and set up correctly before I was able to get onto the brush. Once I started cutting in and rollering, I was hooked! I loved it because the style of work it was as I was in a domestic home and not on site. It was a period property, so I was working on wood panelling, beautiful Victorian door frames and dado rails, so I had to have incredible attention to detail. I got thrown in the deep end for sure but shaped me into the painter I am today!

After two summers, I looked to switching occupations, but a few years later my father-in-law at the time (Mark Currethers) was running a very successful carpentry company called Chiddingly Carpentry & Joinery, so he persuaded me to return to painting and decorating. After this I attended a two-year course in painting & decorating at Sussex Downs College and through my course, my landlord, Ken Groves of CVS property found out I was a painter and gave me my first step as a self-employed decorator. 

I started work on his own property with his lovely wife Janet and moving on at a later date working on his property portfolio whilst at college, so I was able to tick off a lot on my course via this work. Once I completed my college course, I was able to widen my clientele and grow in the industry. I haven’t looked back since! I love being self-employed and my own boss.

Ken sadly passed away very recently and even though he will never have a chance to read this article, I am so thankful for all he has done for me and would like to dedicate this article to him.

Sounds like a fantastic start to your career. Throughout the years, what has been your proudest job?

From a professional point of view, it’s too difficult to decide! There have been so many exciting projects that I have been honoured to put my name to. I am very lucky to have the client base I do as many allow me to have creative input in the job, making my work more enjoyable and I’m so proud to be a part of. 

But from a personal point of view, it has been amazing to work on my own home. It’s at home where I have the most freedom and I can really push the boundaries! Kye and I (Kye Damara Carpentry) have undertaken two big projects in the last two years, with the first one being my media wall in my front room and the second being my bathroom. 

I have always dreamt of having a media centre for all my entertainment needs with a fire as the focal point…I just knew I didn’t want any visible wires. This set the bar really high, creating a design that had hidden shelving and Kye rose to the challenge! I wanted to do his work justice, so I wanted to create the perfect finish when decorating the final product.

I wanted colours that worked with the fire surround and complemented the rest of the room so we added panelling to either side of the media wall, adding some colour that brings the whole space together. I love looking at this piece of work every day!

I had the chance to really test my skills in my bathroom. We had to re-board the bathroom and Kye did a fantastic job, so I wanted to meet his standards! When it came to decorating, I knew I wanted a black and white scheme with a clever lighting system so it had to be an incredibly crisp paint job! The final results speak for itself and I am so proud of that work.

They look and sound fantastic! What has been your most recent job?

Myself and Kye, at KD Carpentry, have been lucky enough to do a collaboration once more. Ben from Jesters Sports Bar in Eastbourne asked us to design and build a permanent DJ booth. We wanted to make this unique, like any other booth in Eastbourne or any other bar for that matter! 

I was lucky enough to be the person to design the bar. Knowing I wanted it to stand out from the front, I wanted to create an immediate statement piece, something that would make you stop and look that was on theme for the sports bar. We created a shadow box frame for the booth where we would conceal an LED light on the inner lip. 

We gave the sides of the DJ booth a tapered edge to give it a sleeker finish and we painted the booth in a rich, matt,  black finish followed by 3 coats of Polyvine Satin. To say we are happy with the finish is an understatement! We are delighted with the outcome and the look it has given Jesters. It has given a real visual experience and set the tone for Jesters Sports Bar. 

Sounds great, being local I might have to pop in and see for myself! In terms of tools of the trade, what are some of the tools you can’t live without?

That’s the most difficult question as there are so many tools that help me create the best possible finish. I only ever use Tesa tape as it’s super reliable, Purdy roller arms, Arroworthy paint brushes are fantastic and Festool’s products are on a whole other level, my Festool Top Rock Speaker is always the first thing loaded in the van!

And what about favourite paint finishes?

There’s so many! I am so lucky to work with people who really know their product knowledge so I’ll narrow it down to the top 5!

1.     ISOMAT Ceiling Paint – gives a crisp finish with an ultra-low sheen level.

2.     Mylands Marble Matt – with a sheen level of 3% it has a beautifully flat finish, glides on with a brush and really enhances the colour. Tony from Mylands is hugely knowledgeable and always gives the best advice.

3.     Zinsser Perma White – Joe Guarino from Brewers has been my go-to guy for over a decade and he recommended this product to me. It’s washable, scrub, mould and mildew resistant, providing a long-lasting, quality finish.

4.     Bedec Aqua Advanced Primer Undercoat and Satin – a flawless finish for woodwork with no yellowing and long lasting. It has amazing coverage and is super easy to use for a range of clients.

5.     Polyvine – Polyvine is next level protection! It adheres to such a wide range of substrates and is available in a range of finishes. Luke at Polyvine has been an absolute pleasure to work with!

Some solid choices there Oli! My final question – what is your favourite aspect of the decorating process?

I love the variation in my trade…so for that reason I don’t have a favourite so to speak, I just enjoy all aspects! Every job is just as important. I love applying myself 100% to all of my projects and getting stuck in, I can often visualise the final product, so I love going on all these individual journeys.

We wish Oli all the best with his work and look forward to seeing his future projects! You can keep up with Oli’s work here:

We love seeing your work so be sure to tag us in your posts! @Brewerspaints.