Ask Alice: About basket chairs,waterproof paint and secondary glazing

Do you have an interiors dilemma? Consult our resident specialist
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The Independent Online

Q. I am trying to locate a hanging basket chair (popular in the 60s, I recall), but am striking out with the retro chair people I have so far contacted. Any ideas? Many thanks.
Mike Field, by e-mail

A. P.H.Coate & Son (, 01823 490 249) are a Somerset-based company of specialist willow basket makers. They have two lovely examples, one a traditional basket chair at £105 and the other, a huge pod chair, woven over a metal frame for extra strength, £305. Alternatively, you might consider commissioning a basket weaver to create a chair to your own specifications. I have found two weavers that would be willing to take on this kind of work; Felicity Irons, who works with rush (and made a chair for the film Gladiator) can be contacted at (01234 376 419) and Roy Youdale, a willow weaver, at (01179 511 421). Your chair should match your requirements and it will be unique, too.

Q. I have metal sash windows in my bathroom which need repainting every year as the paint peels due to the condensation in the winter. I have tried Hammerite with no success. Any ideas?
Michael Newman, by e-mail.

A. I imagine that your windows are either galvanized steel or aluminium. If this is the case, Stokes Paints (, 01142 589 595) produce an etch primer paint with excellent adhesion that will grip on to the metal surface far more effectively than other paints. A coat of this will be dry in about 20 minutes and your windows can then be finished as normal with a base and top coat of your choice.

Q. We live in a 17th-century house, and are in the process of repairing and replacing all the casement windows. Because the house is listed, they are all single-glazed, and we are now finding an appalling quantity of water sitting on the glass and the glazing bars every cold morning. I don't have the time or the inclination to go round blotting up all the water daily, but clearly it won't be long before damage is done to the wooden frames. Can you suggest a form of secondary double glazing that would alleviate this problem while not looking too much out of keeping with the house, which is a Welsh stonebuilt farmhouse?
Charlotte Jones, by e-mail.

A. In cold weather, condensation on single glazed windows is almost inevitable. If the problem is really bad, though, it suggests that your home may have insufficient ventilation. These days, most houses are so effectively insulated that normal levels of moisture cannot escape, often creating condensation problems. Most of the moisture will be created in the kitchen and bathroom - extractor fans can help here. Dehumidifiers are also worth considering. Secondary Glazing will certainly help your problem and will also cut down on noise and heat loss. City Sound (, 020 8523 3210) supply and fit internal glazing suitable for use in listed buildings. Panels are custom made to fit your windows and the results are unobtrusive. I wish I could say the same of the spelling mistakes on the website.