How close to authentic do I make it? Renovators always struggle with this question. If I tear out all the lath and plaster and put drywall everywhere will it loose its old school charm? We mostly have lath and plaster with a little bit of drywall. All the walls in our fixer-upper were "smooth". Smooth should definitely be in quotes. They had no texture, but they also had cracks, lumps, and bulges. We considered what we could do to improve the overall appearance and still give it an authentic feel. Adding texture would help cover the unsightly mess, but a spray on orange peel wouldn't be appropriate for our custom craftsman. We decided to go with skip trowel.
Our next project is the front entry room, which I suppose was called a parlor back in the day. We're planning to put table and chairs in here and make it a dining room. It has original lath and plaster walls, one newer drywall wall, and a super cool original wainscot around the bottom. The color scheme is pretty dull though, and the walls look patched and poorly finished.
The first order of business is to wash the whole place down. We used the Norwex mop system to scrub greasy soot off the ceiling and walls. What a difference! One time over using nothing but water and the place was squeaky clean.
Next, I troweled the wall with a multi-purpose joint setting compound. (YouTube has several videos that were very helpful.) Here is my assistant doing one of the upstairs rooms.
First you knife a thin coat onto the walls, then you slide your trowel along really flat and let it skip over the surface. The result is intentionally uneven. You can use a consistent pattern or you can be random. Here is how the entry turned out.
We agonized over the color scheme we should use for this room and for the whole house. We decided to go with a color palate that would invoke a nautical/beach-house theme. Here is the room after we were done.
Next, it's time to tear into the big, harry, audacious job. Adding a bathroom on the second floor!