September 2019

Case study



The Mama Shelter hotel franchise now encompasses an impressive 1,668 rooms and 12 restaurants across six different countries. Far more than just affordable accommodation, Mama Shelter is an ‘urban refuge’ that adopts local heritage in beautiful, modern and lively spaces.

As part of its most recent expansion, Mama Shelter has established its first hotel in England, with existing hotels being located in cities around the globe, including Paris, Los Angeles and Rio De Janeiro. Based in Shoreditch, London, at the site of the former RE Hotel, the building required extensive masonry works to update its decade-old appearance. K&M McLoughlin Decorators was contracted to tackle the trendy renovation with the support of paint manufacturer Johnstone’s Trade.

Founder of K&M McLoughlin Decorators Kevin McLoughlin MBE said: “Mama Shelter is a really exciting brand and they’re growing rapidly so we were thrilled to be a part of their latest project. With 195 modern rooms and an entire exterior to redecorate, it was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our skill and the performance of Johnstone’s Trade paints. It’s certainly one we’re proud to have on our portfolio.”

A smooth solution

To transform the exterior appearance of the new hotel into something more in keeping with its brand, Mama Shelter opted for a unified, black matt exterior to replace the tired brick and powder-coated insert panels. However, with the works staring in April, K&M McLoughlin needed a paint that could cope with the unpredictability of British weather, while also being durable and easy to apply. Turning to Johnstone’s Trade, the team opted for the new and improved Johnstone’s Trade Smooth Masonry to be used on the exterior substrates, with 450 litres used in total.


Johnstone’s Trade new and improved Smooth Masonry was developed in response to 71 per cent of decorators considering bad weather to be the most prohibiting factor to masonry works. Equipped with Quick Rain Resistance technology means the paint becomes rain-resistant after just 20 minutes, avoiding any run-outs from unexpected downpours. It also has a spread rate of up to 17m² per litre and can be applied from temperatures of two degrees celsius and rising for all-year-round application.


Giving his feedback on the product, site supervisor Gary Evans said: “Johnstone’s Trade Smooth Masonry was easy to apply and gave the smooth, matt finish we needed. Also, thanks to the huge spread rate, we kept product costs to a minimum, meaning we were able to deliver the job on budget.”


Covering such a large, exposed area required a paint with high pigment durability. Certified with 15 year’s weather protection from the BBA, Smooth Masonry retains its vibrancy and is protected against UV damage, no matter which of the many Voice of Colour shades is chosen.


Kevin added: “We’ve used Johnstone’s Trade paint for many years and we’ve always been very impressed with their products. The new Smooth Masonry didn’t disappoint – even when applied to the powder-coated insert panels. The black matt finish fitted the brief perfectly and with such high pigment, we could be confident that its colour would stay strong for years to come.”


One step at a time

The project wasn’t without its challenges. The original plan to use cradles to paint the higher levels of the building was impractical due to metal fixtures on the roof, which made this method unsafe. Instead, the team had to use a cherry picker, meaning permits and road closures had to be applied for.


Consequently, the amount of time that could be spent working on the exterior substrates was reduced. The contractors also had to work in sections, allowing different routes around the building to still function. To minimise the amount of time the roads had to be closed, it was crucial that the paint used was quick and easy to apply.


Gary said: “The execution was trickier than expected due to the time restraints caused by the road closures, but these challenges were made easier by having a product we could rely on. Johnstone’s Trade Smooth Masonry’s technical properties allowed us to carry out the works faster than we had anticipated and to a very high specification. Its quick rain resistance also meant business could carry on as usual, even despite the odd shower.


“The end result is one we’re really proud of – the hotel looks really stylish and is a fantastic addition to Shoreditch.”


Mama Shelter London is now taking bookings.