Kim Wilde is heading tor the charts again with her new single "If I Can't Have you." But there are times when she'd happily swap her microphone for a paintbrush.
Since she bought a 400-year-old cOnverted barn in Hertfordshire six years ago, 32-year-old Kim has mastered a whole range of painting and decorating techniques, producing exciting colour effects in walls. doors and furniture. She has saved thousands in decorating costs - and it makes a welcome change from touring. rccording and promotion.
"When I'm stuck in paint, with paint in my hair and up my arms. or just wandering around the DIY stores, I'm in heaven", she says. "I know how much decorators charge, and good ones are hard to come by. I think most pcoplc have such individual tastes that they're better off trying to do it themselves'.
She went to work after a builder and architect had helped her convert the barn into a home. Her first job: to "age" some plasterwork that had been done by profcssional plasterers.
Kim bought The Decorating Book by Kevin McCloud and taught herself the technique, which involves mixing wax and turps and splodging it over the new plaster. "It's hard work, but you eventually achieve a really good 'crumbled' effect,' she says. 'Then I got into colours and ended up mixing paint with oils to get exactly the gold and mustard shade I wanted."
Inspired by this success, and using McCloud's book as a guide, Kim went on to do stencilling. first in paint and later in gold leaf.
"Even just repainting something can be effective," she says. "I spent a lot of money on a kitchen, but it looked too modern. So a girlfriend said: "Well, why don't you paint it?".
"1 found a beautiful olive green and now it looks totally in keeping with the house. I think if you have a piece of furniture - even a new pine cabinet - which looks a bit out of place a lick of paint can transform it."
The secret of good decorating, Kim believes. is to think the job through carefully before you start. She says: "Where people make big mistakes is that they get very excited about doing something, go out and get all the materials and don't really have it planned. They get really confused, frighten themselves off the whole thing and think: 'Oh damn, I haven't got the talent for this'. Then they get someone else to do it and cnd up paying vast amounts of money.
"The best thing is to go through a magazine, find a design concept you like, and just follow that. A lot of it is trial and error. I made some big mistakes and had to repaint whole walls and redo whole sections."
So will we one day see her driving around in a van marked Kim Wilde - Painter And Decorator'?
"It's not inconceivable", she laughs. "Since everyone's started to realise I love decorating I've been called in on just about every project for my family and their" friends. It's something I'd like to do full-time at some point in the future."