Cash for Clutter… and beautiful old plaster!

I just did my Home Depot run. Some of it was stuff I bought shortly after I bought the house… almost 2 years ago. Some of it was stuff I didn’t even recognize… maybe things my plumber left behind. Some of it was visibly dirty, and it must have come from dozens of different receipts. I didn’t even try and just took store credit. And my shame while that poor woman was checking every nut, bolt and washer on the size chart so she could enter the item numbers by hand… and as I watched the line form behind me… let’s just say I wanted to bore a hole in the floor, crawl in it, and die. The only thing to console me was watching the refund amount slowly creep upward. In the end I got $390.48 in store credit. And I got to see this wall again. Until I moved all my doors against it

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Then right after I took this photo I moved all my doors against it. Remember, the tapers only need access to the walls that have drywall on them. Right after this, I took 5 of my hoarded doors to a friend. She asked for 3 different styles to keep things as eccentric as possible. I still have one 5-paneled door that’s now stored in the basement. I was thinking that since doors are my favorite thing and I need a day bed in the back bedroom, I can make use of it later. But since I have a metal bed frame and promised myself a year off, it might stay in my basement for a while.

So now other things that have to be done, besides clearing the place out: remember, I was losing my mind when the drywall on the front bedroom ceiling went up. We didn’t do such a great job with it. Some screws didn’t bite into anything. I had to pull them all out. Then in the frenzy that I got into keeping up with the Irishman, there are panels here and there that never got screwed off all the way. I finished most of those upstairs.

And then, I have a few small walls that still sport their original plaster. I love old, imperfect plaster, but many of them fell apart. Most that stayed intact I sacrificed most of mine to have original floors that don’t creak, insulation, walls I can anchor kitchen cabinets to, and exposed brick. The only exception is the 3 small walls at one end of my upstairs hall. The original plaster managed to survive, and I stripped it so the cracks in it can get taped along with the drywall.

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But the results from stripping it are better than I expected. It’s a beautifully mottled, creamy color, and silky smooth. Even some of the cracks look great. Some. There’s a big one near the corner and a spall near one doorway that aren’t the least bit attractive.

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So here’s the big question. I’m gonna let the tapers repair the cracks and seams… but is there a way to paint around some of this and leave it exposed? Even though I want to, I can’t think of a way to make it look good. And with the dark stained doors, exposed brick, and light original flooring skylight, and two ceiling lights, there’s a lot going on visually already in an extremely narrow space. Anyways, I welcome your feedback.

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14 thoughts on “Cash for Clutter… and beautiful old plaster!

  1. meganmoss82

    It may be too late now, but I found that after stripping the wallpaper, and scrubbing the walls with tsp, saving the dirty tsp water and using it to wash over the new plaster patches helped to blend everything together. Adding some very watered down yellowish tan paint with a washcloth or sponge will add some color back – you want it to absorb into the plaster, not sit on top of it. It looked good, but then I decided that rustic walls would probably upset my ghosts, so I painted everything anyway.

    Things are looking spectacular!

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  2. Rosietta

    If I understand your question correctly, I would say paint the new drywall a different colour and add some crown moulding in between for separation. Our plaster is all eventually coming down. It’s a mess and we have bats and I’m sure other critters in the past so I can’t figure out what if anything would be safe to keep.

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  3. Mary Elizabeth

    Chad, you may want to leave some of those cracks, but you don’t want them continuing to spread. I think the best thing to do with the plaster is to patch where needed, including filling the little cracks with spackle designed for plaster (following the directions on the container), and sand lightly. If you paint the wall a uniform cream color, using flat paint, you will still see the little imperfections through the paint, but it will be clean looking. Think of an old man with wonderful creases in his skin but who keeps up with personal hygiene. He looks old and fresh at the same time. 🙂 I think that’s what you want your whole house to look like–a clean old man.

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  4. GG

    I agree with Mary – to highlight the fact that it is the original plaster, just using flat paint (even in the same color, or perhaps a different tone of the color you are painting the drywalled portion of the hall) will differentiate it from the typical satin of drywall. No need to keep cracks at this point, more cracks in the plaster will appear over time….

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  5. ladylansdowne

    We had a patch of originginal wattle and daub (im too tired to check spelling!) that had to be plastered over, once it was too late, we realised we could havevdone something clever like putting a picture frame over the area in question, then plastering up to it, so emphasising the area of interest… Maybe you could do sonrthing similar making features of interesing sections! ?

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      1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

        A friend’s parents uncovered the architect’s signature on a wall in their living room when they stripped the wallpaper, so they just left a rectangle of unpainted plaster. So we’ll see.

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  6. Jo

    Great humility in the Home Depot line was definitely worth the aggravation. As for the plaster, don’t finish it now, live with it. If you just can’t make it work, paint it later. Or have a an artist paint a little frieze above the doors all around the hall. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

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  7. Ross

    As there is very little of the original house left, it seems kinda cool to safeguard what remains. Have you thought of just using a clear varnish over the original plaster remaining? No repairs or anything; just three coats of varnish. This way the HISTORY will still be evident, without it looking like you just forget to paint that section!

    Here is a whole house treated as such:

    http://500cappstreet.org

    I also agree with Jo. Maybe just leave it alone for now?

    Question? Why the exposed brick?

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  8. lifeonhillst

    Just seeing this now. I’d leave the old plaster exposed. If it cracks too much in the future you can always cover over it. But like Ross said, it’s cool to save what’s still there. Let us know what you do!

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