Interior Design | The Bespokesperson

There’s artistry in these tailor-made ceilings

For fine ceilings, it pays to have friends in high places

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There’s artistry in these tailor-made ceilings

August 17 2011
Nicole Swengley

Cornices, friezes and ceiling roses can transform a room’s character, and only an expert in the design, manufacture and installation of fibrous plasterwork can create – or restore – such intricate architectural details. That’s the reason for contacting Locker & Riley, an Essex-based company whose tailormade service spans minor repairs to the complete reinstatement of period ceilings plus the design and installation of totally new features.

Having worked on a variety of properties from newly built residences to hotels and theatres, the company knows what will or won’t work in any situation, which saves time and expensive mistakes. “Any house built pre-1919 will have lathe and plaster ceilings which tend to get brittle after 100 years,” says managing director Jon Riley. “They need to be expertly handled and conserved. We’re not talking about standard plasterboard here.”

The company’s extensive library of moulds offers a wide choice of decorative designs and, as Riley points out, “Fine definition and deep undercut is inherent in all our casts as they originate directly from these hand-carved, woodblock moulds.” Alternatively, the company will replicate damaged or missing period features. “Our in-house artisans can carve anything, so even if you only have an old photo of what was there originally, they can re-create it,” says Riley.

“We recently dealt with an area of ceiling in very poor repair in a Grade II listed house,” he says. “After taking impressions of the cornice and mouldings, we replicated them and repaired the ceiling.” A similar job would cost £2,000-£3,000. “For a newly built Georgian-style house we put in two miles of cornicing,” he says, adding that you should expect to pay around £30 per metre, supplied and installed, if you’re considering a similar project.