Holding on to The Past
Being up high provides ornamental plaster with protection from the dents and dings of everyday life. Being covered up protects the details from being ripped out altogether by hasty homeowners. Still, the Fauldses' ceiling would require a lot of work to restore. "The plaster is more than a century old, so it was in tough shape in some places," says Bob Bucco, the plaster contractor on this and many past TOH TV project houses.
The Fauldses' house was built on a rubblestone foundation, and as the structure settled over time, the framing twisted, causing the rigid plaster to crack. Large chunks of the crown molding had come off in a number of places. In the living room, the old plaster ceiling was largely intact, as was its medallion, minus one chunk near the edge. But in the dining room, the medallion was missing and needed to be re-created, and the entire ceiling had to be replaced.
But as Bucco—after 33 years in the trade—can attest, plaster is sturdy stuff, and moldings that are still well anchored to wall and ceiling can be repaired right in place—at a certain cost. "Sure, some people might have torn the old stuff out and replaced it with new materials," says Bucco. "But I'm glad they decided to repair the original work because it fits the home, even with all the repaired dents and holes. New plaster molding looks too perfect."
Shown: Bob Bucco, plaster contractor on the TOH TV project house in Arlington, Massachusetts, fills a gap in the original plaster crown molding.