Getting Estimates For New Ceilings

Our den was the first room we started in the house—probably because it’s my favorite. I’m calling it a den because it’s on the second floor and feels too formal to be a bedroom; I have hopes of turning it into a private space for reading and hopefully roaring fires in the winter. Greg and I painstakingly removed hundreds of layers wallpaper and paint to expose the beautiful detailed molding. We spent months sanding the wood trying to get as much of the gunk off as possible. Last spring, we removed the sagging ceiling and old lathe. Greg installed two new beams in the water damaged looking area. The ceiling has been opened almost a year with no new water issues.

On Monday, a plasterer is coming over to give us an estimate for hanging a new ceiling. The beams are appealing exposed but I think it’s distracts from the detailed molding. In the room immediately behind the den we plan to remove the ceiling in hopes of exposing the beams. But again, we’ll have to wait to see what we find before we make any real decisions.

In the next month I’m hoping we’ll have a new ceiling and I can finally paint the walls and molding. We’ve decided to paint the molding Farrow & Ball’s Verte De Terre after months of brainstorming. The final layer of paint we found on the molding was a similar green. So we’ll try it in a small area. If I hate it I can flip the colors and do green on the walls and an off-white on the wood. Stay tuned for more…



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31 Comments

  1. You made the right decision. The room calls for a flat ceiling, it’s formal and in keeping. Plenty of house for an informal exposed look.

    Good catch Steve! It is unusual to see that much paint under an old lath and plaster ceiling. They may have painted it for years before turning it into a formal room.

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  2. All very interesting comments. With all of that paneling and moldings I think you’re on the path by plastering the ceiling but I’d have a hard time covering up those beams. They’re so charming. It also looks like they’re painted a light gray. Might they have been exposed once upon a time?

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  3. katy,
    the room will look amazing with the green trim. so serene, classic and fitting for the period. plus, big hugs to you. you’ve given me the courage to stray from one trim color for my house. benjamin moore thunder in the bathroom it is. (we have unusual trim in just one room too!) congrats on your progress. the house is looking gorgeous!

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  4. Hi Mopar!

    Thanks for the info. I need to write an updated post. It sounds like we have to do a lot more work to shore of the ceiling before we cover it up again. When you walk above the room it really bounces. We are waiting to hear back about estimates and more…

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  5. Wendy — We’re going to try something like you describe on one small wall with very deep cracks — and also stick that pink goo on it. Wish we’d used the mesh in the first place. :(

    G & K — The other day I met a contractor who has worked on multimillion dollar celebrity renovations in Manhattan. He said the “real” plaster guys charge $85 an hour. More random information: I also have a friend here in Brooklyn who paid their contractor $2,000 to do the ceiling in one parlor room only. It looked straighter than straight when I saw it, hope it stays that way :)

    I look forward to hearing more about what you find out about plaster.

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  6. wow, you guys are lucky to have those gems – the molding and beams. i cannot wait to see more of the process! xo

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  7. Hi Katy. I found a bulletproof way to skimcoat plaster walls (and ceilings) with no cracks reappearing months or years later. They sell large rolls of mesh (3 ft wide roughly) that, after excavating the cracks with a utility blade, you entirely cover the walls or ceiling with… Follow it up with 2 thin coats “90 minute mud” also called “quicksand” and a final coat of regular joint compound. It’s a lot of work but the results are perfect–and the cracks do not reappear.

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  8. Mopar – Good Info – thanks.

    We have one quote for 1/2 inch blue board with brown coat and another quote coming on Monday. I really hate getting multiple quotes but it seems necessary. This room is such a gem – it has to look great.

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  9. Mopar!

    I’m really not sure. I’ve read a lot about different methods but I’m not sure what this plasterer specifically does. I’ll learn/share more on monday.

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  10. Love this room and love your plan for it.

    Curious to hear more about plaster. We just finished skim coating most of our place. (Oh, what a mess it makes.) As far as we can gather, virtually no one does it the old way any more, with a brown/scratch coat and building up of layers, which takes a year to cure. We used one person who does only plaster — I am not exactly sure of his methods — plus a few others, some of whom were almost unskilled day labor. After a year, a lot of little cracks have returned.

    Are you planning to do dry wall, and plaster on top, or something else?

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  11. I think it’s going to be amazing however it turns out and can’t wait to see the photos!

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  12. nicole!

    The trim in this room is totally different then any other room in the house. The rest of the house will all have the same off-white trim molding.

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  13. wow katy – gorgeous! you’re going to freak when you have that room done and you get to start decorating. how do you plan on dealing with your trim painting throughout? we’re getting ready to freshly paint all the trim in our home and i’m toiling over whether to use one trim color throughout for a cohesive look or maybe be a a little flexible and do a couple different colors. what are you doing?

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  14. Believe me, I could learn to like it just the way it is, but I know it can be better. The original craftsman would never call this done.

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  15. This progress is so exciting, Katy! The green woodwork is going to look lovely! P.S. Is there a photo of the embroidered landscape you picked up awhile ago? I’ve been dying to find something similar for so long…you really stumbled on a gem there!

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  16. i have a very similiar color to vert de terre in my dining room (from the less glam ppg paint line at sherwin williams), pickling spice. i love it, don’t think i’ll ever tire of it…it’s gorgeous with the sun streaming through the large bay window and in the light of the chandelier.

    can’t wait to see the finished product…those ceiling beams are very tempting to keep, but it would totally change the feel of the room.

    nanne

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  17. i agree about the beams, they may overwhelm those fantastic details. also – i hate to say it but there is something about a room in this state – a metamorphosis is going on – and it makes everything look so beautiful I almost hate to see it finished! But I bet you don’t agree on that one, lol!

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  18. The ceilings are staying white – as white as white can be. I’d really like to try to do the ceiling myself, but I want it to be perfect, and I don’t know if I can do that first try, eventually I could get it right. I should try though – a little hat channel, a rotozip, and some hawk n’ trowel skills and it’ll look better than new. Kate, you be in charge of loadin’ the hawk!

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  19. ooh, i can’t wait to see it all finished! obviously not as much as you, i can imagine. i really appreciate how much thought and vision and patience is going into your renovation. it’s a long process, but it will be so great in the end. it will be really nice to have a big room all finished.

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  20. i really like the look of the stripped/sanded/ whatever wood. i’m sure it will be fab when it is finished and painted. but i really love the rustic charm or the raw, aged wood.

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  21. how exciting! glad you’re calling in the experts. as a *ten* year old i helped my dad hang ceilings in the kitchen of our 18th century home. i think that safely falls into the “not safe” category. good luck!

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  22. Thanks Wendy! Great tip. We’ve opened up a few other ceilings but they have to wait till we get a new heating system and electric.

    This room will hopefully be fine. But my general contractor will be here on Monday so I’ll make sure to double check with him.

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  23. Hi Katy. It’s exciting to get to the finish part of a renovation. Make sure that you think about electric before you close up that ceiling. Even if you don’t want an overhead light, if there’s anything electrical needed, the open access will be very helpful to the electrician.

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  24. Eeeee! Just looking at this room gives me goosebumps. So, so awesome! Those beams are killing me – love them – but I see your point about them distracting from the molding. I can’t wait to see how this room evolves…

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