html> Four Walls: My hero, the cornice saviour.

My hero, the cornice saviour.

"You don't want to go pulling those ceilings down yourself, and there's no way we can save that cornice either".

Sometimes you just have to take what builders say with a pinch of salt, and seek the answers and the how-to's yourself.

Si it seems has an unhealthy passion for pulling down ceilings and destruction in general, I guess that's a man thing, and who am I to stand in his way. I cheer on at the sidelines shouting and clapping "Hercules, Hercules" through my huge great rubber face mask and then scurry around with a rubble sack and dustpan trying to be the good wife clearing the debris. With the first ceiling in the "Room of Rot" I began picking away at the edges, starting yet another project that I had no means to finish on my own (a knack I have inherited from my mum as a way of getting men to take over jobs), and in Si bounded all gung ho with his crow bar and battle face on, and he got to work. No messing. Bad ass.

But unlike the fairly straightforward bedrooms, the reception rooms have lovely plaster cornice details and although we are guiltily removing the dado and picture rails throughout (yes, I know, sacrilege), the cornice is something we'd really like to keep if we can. The ceilings in both reception rooms are the dreaded lath and plaster, but contrary to the builders' advise, the first one wasn’t all that messy - although Si looked decidedly more grey and my purchases of dry shampoo have diminished somewhat. Dust does have its advantages.

So here's what will be the future dining room. That door will eventually lead to the kitchen, but that's one for another day. I mean I love yellow don't get me wrong, but no. Just no.

The stripping is underway, the yellow is stubborn     

The "feature" polystyrene tiles and lovely cornice
Hopefully we can save this beauty despite some cracks

After a painful amount of searching and reading various forums, Si decided the best way to tackle the cornice was to saw around the ceiling about 50-100mm from the edge. We bought a nifty little handheld electric multi tool for this. Other advice had been to screw it into the joists in places but we thought we'd try this method first. Cutting the ceiling but leaving this border then allowed him (my hero) to pull the ceiling down in the middle of the room without pulling down any of the cornicing itself. The wall between the dining room and lounge will be knocked through eventually so we're a little worried we may end up losing it with all the disturbance, but for now we're really happy that it's staying put. Just nobody move.

The nifty little multi tool we used

Getting dangerously close to the edge 

It's staying put, hurrah!

Well how about that

After the dust had settled and the camera was allowed back in the room

The great thing about the old lath and plaster ceilings is that we now have bags and bags of timber that we can use as kindling on an open day, one day!

Ceiling on floor = kindling

We're probably about a third of the way through removing all the ghastly polystyrene tiles thank God - in house fires they melt and drip burning plastic and give off carcinogenic fumes so we've been trying to pull them down quick step. Did I mention they're on every single ceiling surface in the house? After that we have about 4 more ceilings to pull down, one of which is in our bedroom and it doesn't look like it'll need much persuasion.