the kitchen ceiling

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is going to be no easy way to paint this ceiling.


It covers a lot of area as well – sore shoulder and neck coming up I’d say. It would help if I was a couple of inches taller because I don’t like going right to the top step of the ladder, especially when I’m away from the walls. More than once I considered painting the bunches of grapes in colour but I’d want scaffolding for that, so I can lie down on my back.

If you click on the photo to look at the big size you can see it has a rough texture to it and that’s horse hair that was added to the plaster in the good old days to strengthen it I believe (this house was built in 1895). It’s impossible to remove and it’s really gross to touch anyway. You can’t sand it as it just ends up in a fuzzy mess; Mum told me the best way to smooth it down is to shave it with a razor but I’m just going to paint over the top and whoever comes after me can deal with it if they can’t live with it. I tried to pull a few bits out of the walls and it was just dirty and too big a job.

Undercoating walls today then painting them so will not have to deal with this until next weekend – can’t wait for it to be over.

22 thoughts on “the kitchen ceiling

  1. Lovely detailing. They don’t make them like that anymore.

    We also had horsehair mixed in with the plaster of our 100-year-old house. When I first discovered the hair coming out of the wall, I joked that there must be a body interred behind it. Wrong thing to say! My kids were terrified of going into that back room after that. We mostly used it for storage, but the old furniture and dust made the room even more creepy at night.

    • Lol, who knows what’s in these old places. We’ve lived in two houses now where old ladies died but I haven’t noticed them prowling the hallways.

  2. Wow! I was going to guess tin when I first saw the photo. I’m guessing tin ceilings were cheap substitutes for plasterwork like that…

    Is spray-painting an option for a ceiling?

    • Not an option for me doing it – just thinking about the mess I could make, no thanks. Maybe could get a professional to do it but I’m kind of over them at the moment – had some other issues in the kitchen that I dealt with myself after getting no help at all from the so called professionals so I’m going this one alone. We had tin in our old house but we had to take it down as it was drooping terribly, this seems to be much more firmly set in place.

  3. Our house was built in 1872, and we’ve gutted half of the rooms so far to rewire and add insulation. The horse hair caught me by surprise the first time I saw it…it’s kind of creepy! The worst is how heavy the plaster is (and how dirty it is when you start whacking away at it).

    I adore your ceiling. We don’t have any beautiful ceilings like that in out home, though I’ve been looking at the “fake” options. I don’t envy your painting project, but it will look stunning when you finish!

    • It’s awful isn’t it! I’ve had to grab a few bits and pull them out and it weirds me out a bit. I hate to imagine the dust involved if we pulled that ceiling down. Where we live used to be a massive steel works area and the coal trains still run 24/7 a couple of streets over so I hate to think of the dirt and coal dust that would be coming down. And it seems a shame to pull it down because it is pretty – mind you it’s so high up you get a neck ache looking at it. Plus I’m trying to do everything as cheap and easy as I can so don’t want to get into anything too major. We pulled out a bathroom recently and there was some really dodgy dangerous wiring in there.

    • Lol, well I’d just get walked on and licked by the dog doing that sort of thing. Those ceilings are pretty common in this area – I went to an open house not long ago when a place was for sale just a couple of streets over and they had exactly the same one and the flooring guy who was here last week told me his mother has the same one as well – must have been on special about 118 years ago.

  4. Your ceiling is beautiful! A lot of the businesses downtown where I live are in old apartment buildings & have similar ceilings.

    • It is nice – we had a really nice pressed tin one in our last house which I like better but we had to remove. I was thinking about putting in a false ceiling and covering this one up (due to some other problems) but it seemed a shame to.

        • Lol, I think I’m over houses that have character! It usually just means they need a shitload of work doing to them. Our last place had an old wood stove in the kitchen and when we used to tell people we were puling it out they’d say – but it has so much character and I’d be like, yeah but you’re not the ones living with the old beast.

  5. I can just picture you Michalangelo-style laying on a scaffold. Sorry it’s a yucky job. Painting is horrific, but is usually quite satisfying when finished.

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