Bringing colour to The Thatched Tavern with Dean Black specialist decorators

Dean Black Specialist Decorators are a pub refurbishment specialist painting and decorator contractor in Devon in the Southwest UK. They were commissioned to bring colour and creativity to The Thatched Tavern pub in Maidencombe, Devon.

This blog explores Dean’s role in the pub refurbishment for The Thatched Tavern pub in Maidencombe, Devon, to understand how Dean and his team of specialist decorators supported and underpinned the style, value and joy of the commissioned project.

What was your greatest challenge working on this pub refurbishment project?

I think the job worked very well, (apart from the obvious difficulties of the pandemic) the completion date and the supply made everything a bit stop-start on site, but everything else went really well. The kitchen design went very well, and the design was very straightforward.

As a new business starting off in these times, it’s always tough, but they’re doing very well and it’s excellent. The new beer garden is fantastic and it’s all looking really good.

I used to live in the area, so the pub was always a vital part of the local scene – with great food and drink.  We’ve got a fantastic Devon country pub on our doorstep, and it’s great to have it back.

Dean Black, Founder, Dean Black Specialist Decorators, Devon

What was your greatest success in this pub refurbishment?

We delivered the pub refurbishment on time and on schedule.  All the finishes were good, the design was lovely, and all the furniture was to the highest specification.  The client had a vision and agreed with everything Mark designed and gutxi directed. This pub experience is literally what Mark promised at the beginning of the project, and I think it shows. The quality of all the fixtures, fittings, furniture, finishes and lighting are perfect. It’s so nice to see a job that is delivered 100% completely to the original specification as imagined by the client and brought to life by Mark and the team.

What was your greatest success working on this pub refurbishment?

As a scheme, it all worked together so brilliantly. All the tones of paint and varnish work beautifully with the styling of Mark’s team, it just delivers on that customer experience. Although it’s a traditional pub, described sometimes as a chocolate box pub — inside, the decorating looks very modern – and it’s kind of unusual way the beams look, and it delivers a sophisticated and elevated customer experience.

Dean Black
Dean Black
Thatched Tavern decoration

Why is the Thatched Tavern project different to other pub refurbishment projects you’ve worked on?

The location is so close to the beach and the food is exceptional. The Chef (Liam Murray) really understands what it means to have a quality pub offering, and in Torbay, there’s not many good gastropubs, so The Thatched Tavern is a great addition to the area.

How do you measure a job well done in your field of expertise?

We’ve been decorating as refurbishment contractors for a long time, and I’ve worked for lots of demanding clients all across the UK.

At Dean Black Specialist Decorators, we have a benchmark.  I’ve worked with Mark and the team from gutxi for 20 years as refurbishment contractors, and we always deliver a high quality finish, whether it’s with wall coverings or just simple painting; our decorating is always done to the highest standards.

As a restaurant refurbishment specialist, I am proud to say that our greatest success was delivering the project on time and on schedule. The end result was everything that was promised at the beginning of the project. The finishes were impeccable, the wallpaper design was beautiful, and the fit out was of the highest specification. It was truly satisfying to see every aspect of the refurbishment come together perfectly to deliver a restaurant experience that exceeded all expectations and it truly showcased the attention to detail that we brought to the project.

How does the Thatched Tavern project measure up to that expectation?

It’s spot on! We’ve applied a variety of high-quality paint finishes and bespoke, durable wall coverings behind the bar – and there’s really nice tiling behind the bar with exceptional lighting. It’s little touches that take it to the next level.

As a pub refurbishment and specialist decorators, when you reflect that high standard and have worked with Mark for so many years, it’s about trust, leadership and delivery of that ultimate decorating finish that really matters to gutxi, the client and the customer experience.

The Thatched Tavern

How do you feel about the value of the project – the value and durability of the materials, what it means to Maidencombe and to Torbay?

The finish is highly durable, and we took extra care to deliver a commercial, durable finish that delivered on the sophistication of a matte look. We adopted an innovative approach and used an exterior masonry paint product – which is dead flat and in hospitality interiors, delivers a luxurious, velvet look to the eye.  It gives the durability that a normal emulsion wouldn’t, for example, despite being a deep, turquoise blue, you can put your hands on it freely.  Typically, colours like that can get really affected by greasy handprints. So, we chose the perfect product to deliver the deep, rich, seaside turquoise, without the risk of damage. It is by far the best material choice, and although it is an external product, we used it internally, and it’s certainly the best thing we could have done on this refurbishment project.

What about this bar and restaurant refurbishment delivers value for the local community?

The pub is the social hub. Previously, it was run independently, and then a big chain took it over, and it kind of lost its following. Now that the pub has been taken over locally, with the locally sourced food and the quality of staff, they’ve really got a good opportunity to take it forward. I feel it could be a very successful business for many years to come.

The Thatched Tavern is a destination for the ultimate Devon country pub experience

The pub is a destination, where you all have Sunday lunch. You say to family and friends “Let’s get in the car and head out to The Thatched Tavern.” 

Don’t forget the beer garden as well, it is just on another level and a very nice place to go. You can see how the owners have invested heavily in the customers experience.  And it’s a good investment — because it’s become a destination for pub lovers.

What about this project delivers “joy” for you?

Like most of my projects, I take pride in my work and I want to leave something behind that’s an improvement on the original. The Thatched Tavern ticks all the boxes – you can change a business, rebrand it and it looks a million dollars, and that’s what we like to do. It’s nice to change the style and make it appropriate to the business and ultimately enhance the customer experience.

We want to hear from you

Contact us for a free on-site consultation, where we will listen to you, and help you bring your pub refurbishment project to reality. Ring us on 01803 295959 or email us at for a same day response.