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The history of our business…

Daisy Field

close up of field of flowers in black and white


Whilst Back From Black has been established since 2007, the process we use dates back a further decade to 1997. Nick Sinclair, MD of Back From Black, is the son of the original inventor, Penelope Penny. Penelope came up with the process in 1997 after a client asked if there was anything she could do with the black beams in her 17th century cottage. The local conservation officer was against the use of sand blasting as it was a listed building. Chemical / hand stripping was further deemed to be too messy, would take too long and from a conservation perspective still risked the integrity of the century’s old beams. Over the next year the process (‘recipe’ and technique) were refined and improved.

Nick first became involved with the family business in 1997 and continued to work with his parents whilst also studying fine art at university. In 2005 following graduation, he joined the business full time and took Renaissance Beams to France, restoring an old French cottage whilst there. In 2007 Nick returned to the UK and started Back From Black. Today, Back From Black is a specialist beam renovator, based in West Sussex. We are a second-generation artisan business. We offer a highly personalised service and help clients expose the secrets of their properties.


As well as helping his mother to develop the finish she came up with, Nick has also sought to continue the family ethos within Back From Black. Our team is made up of family members and close family friends which leads to cohesive and trusted working relationships. We are a family of craftspeople, respectful of the family homes we work in. As the original inventors, we take great care and pride in what we do, working diligently to the highest of standards on all of our projects.

Invented in 1997, our process is an applied directly over the existing surface of the beams eliminating the need or messy and damaging blasting and chemical treatments.

The existing surface is preserved underneath our sympathetic finish, meaning that we are ideal for listed and older properties.

We are completely mess free and you can be back in your room by the end of the day making us a convenient choice for your beam renovation needs.

Years of specialist knowledge and development mean that your beams are in safe hands.



Wood Stove

Wood stove with wood blocks


We are proud to be the originators of this method of beam renovation. We take our role in working on clients houses extremely seriously and as a result of our experience renovating beams in thousands of houses, we are also able to provide advice to homeowners on associated maintenance and design of period properties. We understand the importance of conservation and preservation and we are driven by delivering quality outcomes. With the experience built up over many years, our team is able to help you locate and identify carpenters’ marks, tool marks, ritual marks and early decorative finishes often obscured by many layers of paint. This attention to detail, knowledge and craftsmen-based approach is where we can really add value.


Our love for period properties extends far beyond our day job. MD Nick has a passion for restoring period properties and has owned and renovated a handful of houses in France and the UK dating as far back as the 1500s. His first property in France was one of the oldest, a painstaking job to restore a Renaissance property. More recently, and having moved back to the UK, he has worked on Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Victorian houses. So, in addition to helping clients achieve their vision, Nick’s own eye for detail, design and care, makes him an amazing font of knowledge, something he is happy and willing to share with Back From Black clients.

Warm oak beams in loft room

Warm oak beams in loft room