Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Craig’s List Score! I think.

Well, it was either a score or a major headache. I haven’t decided yet. What I do know is that it is pretty damn cool and I love it and maybe a little prophetic.

Sean posted a comment a few weeks back asking if I was going to put a plaster medallion up in the stairwell where I installed the new box for the light fixture. At the time I thought it was a great idea, but really I knew it would never happen. I could never bring myself to put up a foam one and the reproductions, like the ones I bought at Ohmega Salvage a few years ago can not be shipped because of weight and size. If I wanted one I would need to make a pilgrimage to Oakland, CA, and I knew I didn’t want to do that in the next month or two.

Of course, the odds of a real, period plaster medallion being available here anytime soon was out of the question, or so I thought.

Yeah, I thought wrong

This bad boy came up on Craig’s List yesterday and I snagged it for $40. It is the real thing and has an inch of plaster with lath impressions on the back to prove it. It is 3.5 feet in diameter and weighs a freakin’ ton. The people I bought it from just bought the house and found it in the attic.

Some interesting things about it: One, that is the original paint on it. It is flaking in places and it is only one layer of paint. This re-confirms my belief that these were not always painted in a multitude of colors. From pictures I’ve seen, the painting a lot times was determined by the over-all style of the room. If you had a Rococo Revival room your plaster medallion would have been dolled up to match the rest of the room. This one is basically white (albeit a very dirty white now) with gold cherubs and green foliage. The gold cherubs might even be gold leaf. They have that look.

The other interesting thing is if you look at the close up of the cherub you can see a little button with something sticking out. There is one above all of the cherubs and above all of the offsetting fan/flower designs. Most still have a little wire hoop sticking out. Perhaps there were strands of cut glass crystals that looped around the medallion.

The potential major headache comes in to play because I can not put this up in the foyer as-is. The old plaster needs to come off the back so it will sit flush on the ceiling. Flaking paint needs to come off and it needs to be repainted. Both together are no small task.

These are the 2 reproductions I bought at Ohmega salvage for the front and back parlor. These are “shovel ready”, so the initial thought, as I was driving home, was that I could use one of these for the stairwell and use the new one in one of the parlors. The problem with that plan is that I think it would be obvious that I have one old and one new in the two parlors. The parlors are basically one large room and the two ceiling fixtures are only 15-feet apart.

No, this one is either going in the stairwell or will not be hung. I should finish the wallpaper stripping tonight. Next I was going to wash the walls in preparation for plastering this weekend. I think I may start working on this, though. This will push the whole project back a week, easy.


NV said...

I am DROOLING looking at these photos! I know it will probably be a real PITA to put up but d*mn is it going to be gorgeous!

Tamisha said...

It is going to be gorgeous! I too am envious. My more modest deco house lacks that detail. The foyer does have substantial plaster moldings and an arch supported by plaster corbels. Unfortunately, they have many layers of hideous harvest gold paint on them. Any clue as to how take the paint off? I'm scared to use water to get the paint off. I don't want to further obscure their detail with another layer.

Holyoke Home said...

Can you imaging the impact of something glass and shiny hanging from that back in the day?!

Greg said...

It is cool, isn't it?

As for stripping paint off plaster, I used a methyl chloride paint stripper that worked well. They make some that are "semi-paste" and stick to horizontal surfaces. I used Jasco, but there are others. This is one time when a heat gun is not the best thing to start with.

Do some testing in an inconspicuous place before you slather paint stripper over everything. Work in small areas and don't let the stripper dry on the surface.


Diane said...

That is just plain sexy. Damn!