I want to take a look back at some of the more major projects that have gone on since I bought the house. In the fall of 2013, I had to find somebody who could repair my plaster crown molding, ceiling, and walls with a unique knockdown texture. Plasterers are few and far between because everyone uses drywall now. It is a good skill to learn but takes about a year until you really get it I hear. I will be making some plaster repairs in the future but the "main act" of my house (we'll talk about staging in the future) is not a good place to learn. Especially with a crown that has about 7 different levels to it.
At any rate, I was striking out with my few contacts and Angie's list. Then a thought occurred to me that local historical societies might know of other people with old houses that needed plaster work done. I started calling around one afternoon.
The problem with contacting historical societies is that people are never there! The last one on my list that I came to was The Whaley House museum--only about 1 mile from here. Somebody answered! The nice lady told me they just had a guy named Terry fix plaster in a room with structural issues and he did so good that you couldn't even tell there were problems with the walls. I gave him a call and he came out pretty quickly. We hit it off. Word to the wise, even if you're anti-social it is beneficial to hit it off with any person who knows how to do plaster!
It turns out Terry lives in the neighborhood just a few blocks over and he and his wife have always loved driving by the house so he was pretty excited to work on it. The plan was for him to do his demolition and repair work before the flooring guys came and while the plumbers were there. Then he would wrap it up by painting the living room and sun room. That meant I had to do some research into paint colors of the 1920s.
Luckily, Sherwin-Williams has a set of colors for colonial revivals that jive with other 1920s color palettes and examples. I settled on a couple choices for wall color and trim color.
While I researched and thought about colors, Terry set up a negative pressure enclosure around the work area so that the fine plaster dust would be exhausted outdoors and not into the house.
This is important to do unless you like wet wiping your entire house on your hands and knees. I should also note that plaster could possibly contain asbestos fibers. I had the plaster tested for asbestos and it came back negative. Had the test been positive, then the job would have gotten a lot more expensive and time-consuming.
After setting up the work area, Terry pulled down all the water damaged plaster. He found that the ceiling and molding were in pretty bad shape but that the wall and baseboard were just stained and could be painted over once the mold was taken care of.
Once Terry had the demolition complete he started doing some smaller plaster repairs to the crown and ceiling of the sun room (or sun parlor as the 1920s era electrician wrote on a floor joist in the basement) and painting some colors I was leaning towards on the walls.
Once the plumbing was taken care of, Terry started working on the main repair. He rebuilt the ceiling and crown molding layer by layer.
After sanding the crown to perfection, Terry had to wait for the floors to be finished before he could continue with the paint (sawdust issues).