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Prime Ministerial Makeover Wins Top Master Painter Award

Precision Painters winning team, from left: Megan Palmer, Mark Palmer, (operations manager), Rob Hamilton (kneeling) and Dan Merdler

Makeovers on two of Wellington’s grandest old houses battled it out at the Master Painter of the Year Awards on Saturday night (September 8) – with the prime minister’s residence nudging out the governor-general’s house to go on to take the top award.

Wellington firm Precision Decorating Ltd was declared New Zealand Master Painter of the Year 2012 for a portfolio that included an external makeover of the Prime Minister’s official residence, Premier House. This year’s competition attracted a record number of entrants.

Precision, headed by operations manager Mark Palmer, also won awards for renovation projects on several other substantial Wellington character homes, and was named Residential Master Painter of the Year 2012. Roxburgh Painting & Waterproofing in Otago was declared Commercial Master Painter of the Year 2012 for its work on the Hilton Queenstown.

Judge Brian Miller, CEO of Master Painters New Zealand, said Precision Decorating’s work was outstanding.

“The work they presented was of the highest quality. And it was a very tough field this year in character rework. Precision did a sterling job: the attention to detail, the overall quality of the finishing. They are thorough in all aspects of their business. They’re a true testament to what a professional can do.

“The Premier House project was the equivalent in size of six standard residential homes. Precision had to restore the steelwork, they had to bring the weatherboards up to standard, and they had to work around the prime minister’s schedule. It was a complicated project done to a very high standard.”

“One of Precision’s other awards was for an interior residential project for which they had to blend existing surfaces with new surfaces. You cannot detect the difference. The exterior presentation of some of their character houses is probably better now than it was when they were new. The houses they entered were just beautiful.”

Miller said the standard of entries this year was the highest yet.

“Often there were only fractions of a point separating first and fourth, which is a testament to the skills of these tradespeople. They are highly experience and deliver fantastic outcomes for people, all the time.”

Less than half a point separated Precision’s work on the exterior of Premier House from the runner-up in the category, Chris Geany Ltd, with its exterior renovation of Government House in Wellington – the governor-general’s residence. Both are category-one listed heritage buildings. Premier House dates back to 1843, Government House to 1908.

Chris Geany Ltd’s work on the interior of Government House did, however, win its category.

“Government House was a fabulous project for Chris Geany because parts of the interior hadn’t been touched for 40 or 50 years,” says Miller. “The challenge was that they had to restore it to modern standards but leave the character and the history. It was a massive project.”

Precision Decorating’s awards are:

  • New Zealand Master Painter of the Year 2012
  • Residential Master Painter of the Year 2012
  • The Koru Trophy for Residential Rework Exterior Character
  • The Koru Trophy for Residential Rework Interior Character

Other multiple winners on the night included Kim McDowall Painting in Gore for The Thomas Green Public House & Dining Room, Roxburgh Painting & Waterproofing for the Hilton Queenstown, Paul Schirnack Decorating in Auckland for a 1970s renovation in Meadowbank and Painter Pete in Taranaki, for a New Plymouth showhome.

The awards were presented at a gala function at The Chateau on the Park in Christchurch.

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