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Neo Classical Home - Wall treatments

Posted by igloochic (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 5, 08 at 22:11

I am looking at purchasing a large neoclassical style home built in 1914. The servants quarters in the attic were "renovated" with the addition of frightening wall paper in the 50's. The balance of the home is plaster, mostly painted, or woodwork in natural (oiled state). So, how out of place would it be to do venetian plaster on these walls???? (Real VP not the cheap stuff from Home Despot). I'd probably like to do the same in the carriage house apartment if it makes sense...but don't want to really ruin the character of the home....


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Neo Classical Home - Wall treatments

I think if you're incorporating it as part of a whole theme, or at least of consistent 'highlights' it could look great. It would be out of place though if the decor was e.g. l950's kitsch, or formal Victorian, but if you're going to go even a bit rustic, or Tuscan, etc., or just in whatever setting would not be inappropriate, why not?


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RE: Neo Classical Home - Wall treatments

I wouldn't do venetian plaster treatments on any of the plaster walls because it is completely irreversible. Maybe I'm a bit of a purist but paint (even most faux finishes etc), properly applied wallpaper and all of that stuff can always be taken down or painted over but venetian plaster here in the US is something I'd consider a trendy finish and will not only date your renovation to around this time but be impossible to get rid of without ripping out all of the plaster in the future. IMO it would significantly change the character of the home and the fact that it can't be undone without taking out the plaster WOULD "ruin" the character for the future of a house that has managed to last almost 100 years.

If it's already drywall I say go for it, the original fabric is already "ruined" and it's no big loss to have to replace it someday if necessary, but real plaster walls in good shape are becoming more and more rare every day.


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RE: Neo Classical Home - Wall treatments

I agree with Lisa....

No VP on old plaster walls. A faux paint finish, yes.... Wallpaper, yes.... But the rustic appeal of VP in a neoclassical home doesn't sit right with me--not to mention screwing up plaster walls. Beautiful smooth plaster is an absolute joy in and of itself.


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RE: Neo Classical Home - Wall treatments

I agree with Lisa and Vivian 150%. I have been slowly stripping ugly wallpaper in my 100+ year old home, and finding smooth clean plaster underneath was kind of the highlight of my year. I've seen the photos you posted of that lovely old house and I don't think venetian plaster makes any sense in that home. I am not crazy about the look in any kind of house, to be frank, but in a house with so many fine details, I think it would just look wrong.


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RE: Neo Classical Home - Wall treatments

Thank you so much! I'm new to this type of home and don't want to ruin the style of it. I will look to other options. I honestly wasn't sure how different "real plaster" verses venetian plaster was frankly. I guess it's time to do more research. :) I really don't want to destroy the character of the place! And just to clairfy I was only thinking of it in the servants quarters because I thought the wall paper probably had ruined the real plaster underneeth.

Amanda did you use ya traditional method (ie steam) to remove the wallpaper in your place...and can that be done without ruining the plaster underneeth?? The wallpaper HAS to go!

In the main house area the walls are plaster with paint and they're gorgeous. In those areas I wouldn't consider VP as an option. I'll take that out of my book of tricks for this place :) But one more thing...to clairfy, VP finishes that you see quite often now a days are very rustic or traditional in nature, and I'd agree, more suited to a more rustic home. But...I wasn't considering that type of finish. You can do a marmarmino finish in a totally smooth effect (no trowel marks) which takes A LOT more work, and produces a more traditional and elegant finish. It is "beautiful smooth plaster" but probably not right for this place. I'm looking to keep it well within it's original style, which inside was "French Rennisance" and outside is a cross between Neo-classical and french rennisance. (But I have to figure out how to do this without pastels LOL because I can't stand them!).


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RE: sheesh, my post is kinda longish....

I don't know much about Venetian plaster techniques... I always think of the hand-troweled rustic look that people use a lot in Old World or Tuscan-themed decorating. Which... ugh. But anyway, I'll share my wallpaper experience with you. The formal living and dining rooms and entry hall of my 1905 Colonial Revival all had very old (we're not sure how old) wallpaper. We wanted to strip it all and paint the walls. The topmost layer of wallpaper came off extremely easily. Just flick up a seam with a fingernail, and an entire sheet would pull off in one long piece. I can't even tell you how satisfying that was. :)

The layer underneath that was unlike any wallpaper I'd ever seen before. It was heavy, the same color and texture of a brown paper bag, with a printed or painted blue surface. It didn't peel at all. We removed it by saturating the paper, a section at a time, with boiling hot water in a spray bottle, letting the paper soak up as much water as it could, and then scraping it off with plastic scrapers. I didn't want to have to buy or rent a steamer, and to me, DIF is a scam, so this is the method we came up with that worked best for us.

After all the paper was off, we had to scrub the ancient, disgusting wallpaper glue off with more hot water and the gentlest 3M scrubby sponge. I learned that scrubbing too hard or with the roughest 3M scrubber would erode the plaster. So, to your concerns about the wallpaper "ruining" the plaster, I don't think that the wallpaper itself would hurt your walls, but removing it might. We used plastic scrapers because we managed to gouge the walls a few times with the metal kind.

Our walls turned out looking great. We patched some old nail holes and minimal cracks and sealed the bare smooth plaster (it had never been painted before) and painted it, and it looks a million percent better. So I would suggest that in your house, try stripping the ugly wallpaper--carefully!--check out what the walls are like underneath, and then deciding which way you want to go.

Whatever you decide, I hope you'll share more pics along the way. Here are some before/during/afters of our room. Warning! The color I chose might be called pastel! Hahaaa! I couldn't bear to do beige/gold/tan/neutral whatevers, that is on the top of my list of can't-stands! :)

(I'm no picture-posting genius, I hope this works...)

[URL=http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/1316874844067437743pnwybT][IMG]http://inlinethumb48.webshots.com/39343/1316874844067437743S425x425Q85.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

[URL=http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2654835920067437743aUEAFU][IMG]http://inlinethumb29.webshots.com/39196/2654835920067437743S425x425Q85.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

[URL=http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2634727820067437743GFeUWE][IMG]http://inlinethumb20.webshots.com/38483/2634727820067437743S425x425Q85.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

[URL=http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/photo/2360233300067437743eUnUux][IMG]http://thumb3.webshots.net/t/24/665/2/33/30/2360233300067437743eUnUux_th.jpg[/IMG][/URL]


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RE: Neo Classical Home - Wall treatments

The plaster in my 1922 house is hard as concrete; wallpaper couldn't hurt it, and I don't think I could damage it with anything short of a sledge hammer. But I've had three plaster-walled homes, and they were all different, some plaster is easier to damage than others.

But wallpaper? Nah. No problems.


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RE: Neo Classical Home - Wall treatments

We used a steamer on the 4 rooms with wallpaper in our 1921 house- a cheap $50 version from HD- worked like a champ- slow but effective. The wallpaper was several layers thick in a few cases. The plaster was fine in all but one room where it seemed like they had skim coated it with another material. Part of the plaster just steamed off with the wallpaper. In that room we had to scrape all 4 walls with very sharp blades in our scrapers. We should have then skim coated with plaster and then painted but we were out of time and money so we just primed and painted and luckily it looks pretty good. No one has ever noticed the difference although if you look closely the walls in that room have a bit more "character."

I too saw your pictures in the kitchen forum. Have you decided to purchase the house? Hope so!


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