Icing on the Cake

Our plastering portion of the renovation project is finally complete!

The family room today with plastered walls and ceiling.

We started back at the end of spring and just finished last week. Blaine and I did the work ourselves, with occasional help from mom & dad, so it went rather slowly.  We covered roughly 10,000 sf of walls and ceilings.

Can you see the difference in the den below?

We didn’t want the look of cold-perfect-lifeless drywall, but instead wanted an imperfect-warm-handmade look.  After all, this isn’t a new house.

Here I’m working in the entryway ceiling. 

After drywall was hung and taped, we followed Scott Sidler’s recommendations at The Craftsman Blog:

Plaster the Wall 

Starting with ceilings first, then walls, coat the entire surface with a ~1/8″ coat of modern plaster.

Knock Down and Finish

 Once the plaster begins to setup, knock down the surface with trowel and wet sponge until desired texture appears.

We worked in 5 gallon bucket batches, because this stuff starts to set up in 15-30 minutes.  The recipe we used was one part veneer finish plaster, one part drywall joint compound, one part fine sand.

Sifting our sand before adding it to the plaster mix.

Blaine working the ceiling in the dining room.

We sourced the plaster from this Home Depot, the joint compound from our local hardware store, and the sand from Tison and Hall Concrete – another local company.

Loading up on sand.

Plaster pick-up in Belleville, IL.

We added enough water to the mixture to make a buttercream icing type consistency. Then, using a plaster trowel, we iced our extra-large cake!  😉

Plastering the main floor hallway.

Below, Blaine is covering up the old stove pipe entry to the brick chimney.   (And I said goodbye grandma‘s last little bit of tulip wallpaper.)

Though we could have added paint to the plaster mixture, we didn’t. At the time, we didn’t have our paint colors selected, as our coutertop slabs hadn’t yet been chosen. With those now chosen, as well as our paint colors, we will simply paint over top the plaster. 

The plastered dining room, with paint samples on ceiling and wall.

I think this subtle finish adds lots of warmth and character to our old home.  We have many other side projects going on, so I’ll share those with y’all soon!  For now I’m going back outside to enjoy this beautiful cooler summer weather!

Warm regards,


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