Completing Mysteries


Completing Mysteries!

What goes on behind the scenes to complete a renovation?

Quality materials save money and give a better result.

One of our shareholders asked about why we tend to “over-engineer” most of our building restoration projects. Welcome to the first in a series of articles that illustrate how and why we work the way we do and how this might help you.

^^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Compound ^^^

Often when we complete a hotel or shop or office renovation, the rooms look “normal” and not a lot seems to have happened. Some of our readers have mentioned the end result is like watching paint dry…

But that is a main point.

We don’t want our tenants our buyers to feel that the building is strange or unfamiliar.

However, sometimes it is important to let folk know what over-engineering means. What a back-to-bricks project requires as much hard work is hid from sight.

For this segment, we include the first in a series of items. They may not seem important….


This all adds up. Like an Olympic athlete, the cumulative effect of many smaller, almost granular improvements can help give you that margin to help make your new business a success.

Completing Mysteries

Why Is Paint Drying Important?

It illustrates that over-engineering actually saves you money.


It provides better protection and it only needs a repaint every six years instead of every two to three years. Over-engineering can actually save you money.

^^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Station ^^^

For example, at our Noss Head Lighthouse compound we were very fortunate to have several of the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) contractors stay at our main B&B building…

^^^ Robbie Coghill & Andrew Ritchie ^^^

They make buildings look handsome.

These guys were incredibly decent. They asked the senior project manager from the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) if we could buy some of the special formula lighthouse paint.

The secret recipe stuff. If your gran made this, the recipe would be locked well away.

This proper lighthouse paint that lasts for several years in some of the most dramatic and wild-weather locations in the world…

Artwork By Jean Guichard

Click Here

Well, we now have gran’s secret paint recipe and with grateful thanks to Andy and Ally at the Northern Lighthouse Board. Just to be clear, this paint is made by highly qualified chemists and not something your gran rustled up whilst making an apple pie.

We immediately noticed the higher quality paint coatings at our Noss Head project. The privately owned keepers’ houses on one side of a safety-fence and and the Northern Lighthouse Board owned tower on the other. All were painted at the same time and the whole lighthouse station looked a million dollars by the time we have all finished.

At many other lighthouse stations either the tower or the keepers’ cottages get painted at different times and the contrast looks awful…

^^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Tower ^^^

On the left is our building. Unpainted and unkempt looking. Whilst to the right is the freshly painted lighthouse tower. That paint will last 6 years.

In this case, all of the lighthouse buildings (owned by two different organisations) were penultimately painted at the same time…

^^^ Noss Head Keepers’ Houses & Lighthouse Tower ^^^

This is very subtle, but if all the buildings are painted within a week or so of each other, rather than in different years, then the whole site looks significantly better.

We can illustrate this with another lighthouse station at Neist Point. The Northern Lighthouse Board have painted their tower and the engine rooms connected to it (top right quarter of photo)…

^^^ Neist Point Lighthouse Keepers’ Houses & Lighthouse Tower ^^^

(photo licensed courtesy of Alamy)

Sadly if you look at the rest of the Neist Point Lighthouse buildings, they look obviously unpainted and unkempt. In fact the rest of that lighthouse station is in a very sorry state.

Whether it is a lighthouse station, a restaurant, shop or coastal property such as our current Sannox Hotel project, it is a good economy to use the best materials for the job…

High quality standards do not cost a million dollars.

In fact it actually saved money as the paint lasts twice as long: In our experience of watching lighthouse towers painted since our first station in 1984 when our founding director moved to Davaar Island these towers tend to be painted once every 6 years instead of 2 to 3 years frequency.

Plus we have a trade account which secures us plenty of the good stuff….

^^^ Northern Lighthouse Board ^^^

Special recipe formulation of high-quality paint.

This batch destined for Sannox Hotel: Bay Cottage Newbuild

It doesn’t actually cost a huge amount more than ordinary masonry paint. But it is the Rolls-Royce quality that the Northern Lighthouse Board use.

By deploying the highest quality exterior paint, this keeps maintenance costs down and strange though it might seem, this has the ancillary benefit of making the jobs + employment created in whichever building is being renovated much more viable and secure.

And you may have thought we were using just some random cans of paint!

You can see the difference: here are some “before” and “after” photos of what these guys did for us at our Noss Head Keepers’ houses…

^^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Buildings ^^^

Before preparation work and painting.

We were so delighted with the high-quality and long-lasting finish, that Andy Ritchie and Stuart Brown are now honourary team members and will be invited to fulfil the contract for painting the Sannox Hotel and the Arbroath offices etc.

^^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Buildings ^^^

After painting with specialist NLB coating system.

^^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Buildings ^^^

Before preparation work and painting.

^^^ Noss Head Lighthouse Buildings ^^^

After painting with specialist NLB coating system.

When you see the normal working conditions Andy works in. He is very well able to paint any building we own…

^^^ Andy Ritchie. Gerard Butler of Lighthouses ^^^

He’s actually a big softy.

When Andy stayed with us at Noss Head, you could hear him in the next room, quietly reading stories at bedtime every night to his two wee daughters 200 miles away (via FaceTime). Andy has an incredible work ethic and yes, he is tough when required. But at heart? Sorry Andy, your busted. The T shirt has “M” for soft marshmallow”. We like Thomas the Tank Engine at 7pm best 🙂

At the time of writing this page, Andy is destined to visit the Sannox Hotel to turn this drab looking building into something a bit special….

^^^ Sannox Hotel, Island of Arran ^^^

The final 15% of work, including exterior painting and landscaping is scheduled for work in July and August 2021.

Scotslion and the Argyll Group secure another 6 to 11 new jobs from this formerly closed-down old hotel as it is completely reborn and ready for the next 50 years.