How Do I (Video): Repair Plaster Cornice /Coving

img_8137Who knew stripping and restoring decorative cornice could be such a fun job eh? And involve a cameraman and such a tidy bench…..

Life’s never simple here at Moregeous Mansions, you know that already, so when tasked with fixing, cleaning and painting the original cornice in our living room, I figured it’d be way easier to do it whilst being filmed by the Real Homes video team That way not only would my cornice get done, but you guys would get some great tips in the process – Win Win!

Recap: What You’ll Need

  • PeelAway or similar to strip the layers of paint
  • Dust brush
  • Wiping cloths
  • Bucket of clean water (change regularly)
  • Non abrasive scrubber
  • Light cleaning spray
  • Cif – for if your cornice is really filthy!
  • Small sharp chisel to lift any unwanted layers of paint around cracking on the cornice, or to run along the edge of the cornice to wall joint to get a sharp line again after years of over-painting.
  • Soft filler & small flexible filler blade / applier
  • Sandpaper for when the filler is dry – 180gsm, i.e. not too coarse or you’ll scratch your new filler

Watch the video and you’ll soon see how to use all the above

Ours is a pretty large room, nearly 7m by 4m and the cornice runs the full perimeter. Most is in good condition, but over the last 120yrs some parts have cracked and that darker corner you can see below is where there was a long standing leak from the box gutter outside and lots of water was seeping down through the wall cavity into the internal leaf of brickwork.

Most of the cornice cleaned up ok and had good definition, but in that darker area much of the original paint had pretty much lifted itself off.


I helped it along with the assistance of a small chisel, then sanded smooth the join where the paint started again.

dsc04735I’ve decided to leave this section au natural, with the discolouration and highly unique patina visible, not least because it matches almost perfectly the wallpaper picked for this room. Take a look….img_8133Most people paint their coving or cornice white or cream but there is a trend for going darker in shade. Actually this was often done, as you can see in heritage buildings, maybe because grand rooms with high ceilings can take a darker colour above without them feeling too enclosed. We’ve gone for it and gone green! He really wasn’t sure at first, can you tell by the body language? Granted this was the first coat and so it was very vivid, before the necessary three layers of pigment dried and darkened.DSC04737.jpgFinished pics to come soon, but for now we’re busy replacing those bay windows through which is flooding all that lovely light.

The work never stops here, did you notice? x

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