Editors’ Picks: Old-House Ceilings

Our editors highlight new and classic articles; this week, make a statement on the ceiling.

These days, we tend not to give much thought to ceilings, perhaps because the unappealing pockmarked ceiling tiles of modern industrial buildings have conditioned us to studiously ignore what’s overhead. But it wasn’t always like this—back in the 18th, 19th, and even 20th centuries, the ceiling was considered just as worthy of decoration as any surface in the house, and was routinely outfitted with wallpaper, decorative panels, or fancy medallions. Whether you’re looking to restore existing ceiling ornamentation or bring your house back to its glory days by re-creating what was once there, these three articles will help answer all your questions on the realm above.

Plaster? The dome ceiling is embellished with J.P. Weaver’s pliable “Petitsin” compo ornaments. The small medallion is Focal Point’s egg-and-dart pattern #833 in polyurethane.

Plaster Ceiling Repair: Learn to repair a plaster ceiling with these easy tips and techniques.

New Options for Decorative Ceilings: On the surprising affordability of trim pieces, ornaments, and onlays in plaster, compo, urethane, and wood.

Ceilings Pressed in Time: A look at the history and manufacturing of decorative metal ceilings explains their appeal at the turn of the last century, as well as today.

Centers of Attention: When choosing a plaster medallion, let old-fashioned advice and common sense be your guide.

New This Week

The long, narrow kitchen is divided by an old chimney. The stove and food-prep area are on the north end (foreground here), while counters, cabinets, and additional sinks on the other side make serving simple.

A Cook’s Country Kitchen: Despite two centuries of change, character remains intact in this 1812 house, where a peculiar room with a hearth in the middle became a stunning family kitchen.

Gardens of Colonial Virginia: The many gardens at Williamsburg are a primary source for colonial and revival designs.

English in America: Classic English furniture reproduced in America

Tags: ceiling Editors' Picks

By Old House Journal

Founded in 1973, Old House Journal is the original authority when it comes to old-house restoration, traditional house styles, period kitchens, bath & kitchen restoration, DIY projects, gardens & landscaping, and more-- from Colonial and Victorian through Arts & Crafts and Mid-century Modern homes. 

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