Installation of ornate ceilings in our house

This post about our ornate ceiling has been a while in the making.

As you may know, it nearly broke my heart we had to rip out the original ornate ceiling in the living room.

This is a sight I will not forget soon:

straw and plaster torn from the ceiling

Time for a new ornate ceiling

We really wanted to get a new ornate ceiling. Getting the exact same one was not going to happen (because it turns out ceiling ornaments from nearly a century ago are not in high demand).

But we did have a few requirements for the new ornaments:

  1. The lists had to be as close to the original as possible.
  2. The new rosette could be bigger or smaller, as long as the main themes of the rosette were reminiscent of the original one.
  3. The style had to be similar in look and feel. So if you’d walk in the room and not know it to be new you’d immediately accept it as original.
  4. Don’t skimp on quality.
  5. I had to accept the ceiling would not look identical to the original one.

So you’ll see what we picked out later on in the post.

On with preparations!

Preparing the installation

I have so much love for our (soon to be new) ceilings that only a professional would suffice. So we asked our guy Angelo, who also did a stunning job on the rest of the house, to work on our ceilings.

Meet Angelo:

Angelo Schill

And he is freaking AWESOME! Besides being a pro in his work, he is such a pleasure to work with. He has a lot of attention to detail, loves a laugh (even though I drove him nuts sometimes…) and is a hard worker with a good attitude. I would recommend him any day.

So enough with the nice words….

On his first day of ceiling work he brought his must have:

scaffold in the living room

In the Netherlands we have a saying that translates to “measuring is knowing”. So that’s what he did first.

marking on the ceiling

Making the measurements is a tricky business.

Since we had new insulation in the living room on one wall the general dimensions of the room have changed.

Also; our house is as not-centered as it can be. For instance the beautiful en suite door is not in the middle of the room. So if you walk in you don’t come in straight on. And you don’t want it to feel ‘off’.

Finally the room originally had a corner closet at one point in time. It was gone already when we bought it, but the ceiling frames still had a corner there.

Long story short: I’m not jealous of Angelo for having to come up with a gorgeous solution to all problems.

The ornaments for the living room

So here is the set of ornaments and frames we choose for the living room:

Ceiling ornaments in packaging

Spoiler: The middle rings are for other rooms.

The professionals get to work

Ceiling frames

The original ceiling frames featured a pretty straight look. With a few grooves in the middle next to each other, surrounded by larger ridges on either side.

Left: original frame. Right: new ceiling frame

We couldn’t find a frame similar in size and design. So we opted for a slightly wider kind with lesser grooves. Still sleek and somewhat modern.

We felt this frame suited the original style best. We did see beautiful ornamental frames with a very floral design, but these would clash with the nr. 3 requirement.

With the measurements in place Angelo started on the frames. Apparently this step mostly consists of ‘sticking frames on’.

Installation of a piece of frame

But make no mistake: making sure those corners are cut clean and fitting is true craftsmanship.

Fortunately I was not around for all the installing. And this is a good thing! Because I would get slightly restless with this part in the process:

Plaster to connect the frames

All the parts where the frames are cut and connect have to be filled and carved by hand.

This is where the true craft really shows:

Angelo cleaning up the edges

Centimeter by centimeter Angelo smoothes the sides and all the connections for a smooth and flawless transition.

One day down and the frames in the living room are up!

ceiling frames in the living room done

And I know you can’t see in these pictures, and it’s hard to show feelings on pictures but what a difference ceiling frames make!

The whole room just feels different. Depending on who you ask you get different feelings, but personally I feel the room feels higher mostly.

The ornate rosette

And then the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

…well…

I have.

The ceiling rosette replacement.

To refresh your memory, here is the original:

original ornament in the living room

The main themes in this ornament are:

  • Two large chalices (top and bottom).
  • Garlands and floral themes.
  • Roses and apples.
  • Some kind of fountains (on the far left and right).

So like I said before I wanted something to at least feature similar themes. But I must say a lot of the ornaments available were either way to lush and floral or had a very distinct Jugendstil style. (Or creepy faces haha.)

We ended up with just two choices that somewhat matched out preferences. The ornament we finally choose was this:

Half of the ceiling ornament

Obviously this is just half of the ornament, but you can see the ‘fountain’ on top, an overall floral motif and garlands and apples to complete the piece.

This ornament is more 3D than the original and a bit larger, but we felt this would be the best match for us.

Ornament complete layed out on the ground

Installing the rosette

Finally it was time for the installation of the ceiling rosette. Angelo called in some help from our carpenter (don’t worry he will get his own feature in a different post).

The first part is gluing the first half.

putting glue on a ceiling ornament

Since the ornament was very heavy (it’s pretty thick and it’s solid gypsum) it needed to be reinforced with a few screws.

It also means it was a two man job.

Two men installing a ceiling ornament

Just ‘sticking it on’ is not the final step. Angelo spent a lot of time afterwards smoothing out all the edges and making the transition between the two parts seamless.

He did an absolute great job with this, because you can barely tell it was a double piece. You also couldn’t tell where the screw holes are if I pointed them out to you.

The end result of the ornate ceiling installation

Finally I can show you the new ceiling!

I will leave you with the result after the installation. It still needs to be painted, but I will save the dramatic unveiling fo a different post.

Ornate ceiling shown from the bottom

You can still see some of the markings and you can also tell we have three ‘cut off’ corners in the room and one regular corner.

How beautiful is this?!

The full effect is very clear in the next picture:

Ceiling ornament in a living room

Obviously this still needs a coat of paint and it’s also pretty visible the rest of the living room needs some work still.

The next post about the living room will be even more dramatic. The walls and ceilings will be painted and I’ll get back to you on the floor as well.

But for this small moment in time this was the living room. We have made a lot progress since this picture, but I wanted to take my time doing this post justice.

And again: all the credits for this work go to Angelo. He made us very happy with his outstanding craftsmanship!

For the final results, keep following us for updates.



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