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Preserving Architectural Heritage. A 25-Year Odyssey of Passion, Family, and Expertise in Beam Renovation by Back From Black


Hello everyone, Nick here from Back From Black. As we celebrate a remarkable milestone of 25 years
in the beam renovation industry, I wanted to take this opportunity to share our journey with you,
reminisce about our growth, and discuss the importance of family, our love for period properties, and
our exciting move to West Sussex.

The Beginning: Inventing a Revolutionary Process

Our story began in 1997 when my mother, Penelope Penny, invented our unique and innovative
beam renovation process. She was approached by a client who needed a more gentle and
preservation-focused alternative to the traditional methods of sandblasting and chemical stripping for
their 17th-century cottage. At the time, these methods were the only options available, but they were
messy, destructive, and detrimental to the integrity and history of the beams.

My mother recognised the need for a different approach—one that would preserve the rich history of
the building’s construction and development without compromising the property’s aesthetics. Over the
years, we have painstakingly refined our ‘recipe’ and technique to create a mess-free, eco-friendly,
and conservation-focused solution for restoring and enhancing timber beams in period properties.
Today, we take immense pride in having successfully renovated beams in thousands of properties
across the UK and France.

Family: The Heart of Back From Black

Family has always been the cornerstone of our business. My mother’s resourcefulness and ingenuity
laid the groundwork for our company, and I started working alongside her and my father while still a
teenager. After graduating from De Montfort University in 2005 with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art, I took the
family business to France, where I restored an old French cottage. I later returned to the UK to
establish Back From Black in 2007, and we have since become a second-generation artisan

Our team is comprised of family members and close friends, which has fostered a cohesive, trusted,
and respectful working environment, allowing us to deliver exceptional results to our clients. Our
family values extend to our clients as well, treating their homes as if they were our own, and ensuring
that our work not only meets but exceeds their expectations.

A Passion for Period Properties

One of my greatest passions is restoring period properties. Throughout my career, I have owned and
renovated several historic homes, dating back as far as the 1500s. From Renaissance to Elizabethan,
Jacobean, and Victorian houses, I have always been captivated by their unique charm, rich history,
and the opportunity they present to preserve and restore architectural heritage. Each property
presents a new challenge and an opportunity to learn and grow as a renovator, while also contributing
to the conservation of historical architecture.

When working on these properties, our team takes great care in identifying and preserving unique
features, such as carpenters’ marks, tool marks, ritual marks, and early decorative finishes. Our
knowledge and expertise allow us to provide homeowners with invaluable advice on maintaining and
preserving their period properties while also enhancing their aesthetic appeal.

The Move to West Sussex

In 2022, we decided to relocate our business to West Sussex, which has proven to be a fantastic
move for us. The area boasts an abundance of period properties, providing us with ample
opportunities to continue honing our craft and expanding our business. Moreover, the vibrant local
community and picturesque countryside make West Sussex an ideal place to live, work, and raise a

West Sussex has not only allowed our business to flourish but has also provided us with the
opportunity to engage with the community and contribute to the conservation and restoration of the
region’s architectural heritage. We have been able to work with local craftsmen, architects, and conservation officers, collaborating on various projects to ensure that our work remains true to the
historical significance and aesthetics of each property.

Our Dedicated Team

Throughout our 25 years in the industry, we have been fortunate to work with an incredible team of
professionals who share our passion for period properties and beam renovation. Lucy Newton, who
joined our team in 2017, is a perfect example. With a BA Hons in English Language and Linguistics
from Brighton University, Lucy is our office manager and the first point of contact for our clients. Her
attention to detail, customer service skills, and her pursuit of a Masters in Business Administration
make her an invaluable asset to our team.

Peter Lorrimer is another long-standing member of our team, having joined Back From Black in 2004
after graduating with a Fine Art degree from De Montfort University. Peter’s dedication, meticulous
work ethic, and artistic background ensure that each project is executed with precision and care.
Clients consistently express their appreciation for Peter’s professionalism and the outstanding results
he delivers.

Your Beam Renovation Questions Answered

Over the years, we have encountered numerous questions from clients seeking to understand our
innovative beam renovation process. We recognise the importance of educating our clients and
addressing their concerns to ensure they feel confident in choosing our services. As such, we have
compiled a list of frequently asked questions, which can be found on our website, to provide detailed
and transparent answers to any inquiries about our techniques, materials, and experience working on
period properties.

Looking to the Future

As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we remain committed to preserving and enhancing the beauty
of period properties while maintaining their historical integrity. We are grateful for the trust and support
of our clients, the dedication of our team, and the opportunity to continue growing and evolving as a
family-driven business. Our passion for period properties, our love of family, and our expertise in
beam renovation will continue to guide us as we embark on the next chapter of our journey.

In conclusion, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has been a part of our journey
thus far. Your support has made our success possible, and we look forward to the opportunity to
serve you in the years to come. Here’s to another 25 years of preserving the past, enhancing the
present, and building a brighter future for period properties and their owners.

Warm regards,

Nick Sinclair
Founder & MD, Back From Black

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