One night while discussing the flat, I mentioned to Richard that I thought it would look reeeaaally cool to have a ceiling medallion in the living room. Something that looks like it’s always been there, and then contrast it with a really modern chandelier. Surprisingly to me, he actually agreed! We both thought that it would tie in very well with our 1920s building and seeing as how they took out the original fireplaces, etc. to convert this all to flats, it would be nice to add back some character.
We found our medallion at B&Q and thought it would be absolutely perfect. It’s technically a few years older in style than our building, but it’s pretty close to being historically accurate. We really liked that it was actually plaster, rather than the plastic/foam ones you find most of the time.
The plaster, however, created some problems with the installation that wouldn’t be there if we had picked a simple foam one. This thing is heavy!! Unlike the other kind, we had to actually screw this into studs while the adhesive cured.
Studs eh? In a converted building from the 1920s? Good luck finding those, while missing all the random electricals…
First, we had to drill a hole through the medallion for the wiring to come through, and then give it a couple coats of white paint. It was good foresight to paint first, as it was ridiculously hard to get into all the details and would’ve caused some serious arm pain to do it all upside down on a ladder.
Since we couldn’t find studs that we were sure had no electrical running anywhere near them (hooray for old buildings) we decided to use expansion screws. The medallion instructions said to put adhesive over the whole surface before screwing it into the studs on opposite sides. We made two pilot holes in the medallion for the screws, marked their placement on the ceiling, and installed the expansion plugs. After this it was a simple matter of evenly spreading the adhesive over the surface (avoiding the various holes), pulling the wires through the hole in the middle, pressing it up against the ceiling, and screwing into the installed expansion plugs.
Unfortunately, the first time we tried to install the medallion, we ended up accidentally screwing the bolts completely through the medallion (it is plaster after all) and had to quickly take it down, scrape it all off, and try again. Definitely have to watch for that, especially if you’re using an electric drill.
Once we had it up, we didn’t quite feel confident it was going to stay, as we were worried we may have drilled too far again. Since we did this the day before flying to Greece, we figured that if it was still up when we got back, it wasn’t going anywhere.
After our trip, we finished it off by filling and sanding the holes, as well as filling in the little gap around the edge. After that, all it took is a couple coats of paint to finish it off. Right now we just have a bare bulb hanging, as we didn’t want to re-install the ugly chandelier that was there in the beginning. I’ll take proper photos of it finished once I have a light installed.
I have big plans for what kind of light I want in here. I’ve wanted to make my own chandelier for a while now, and have been inspired to make something like the Lindsey Adelman lights (below). First, however, I think I might make a couple small sconces for the bedroom as practice.
Both images via La Dolce Vita
Now, one thing we discovered loooong after it was too late, was that we should have cut a larger hole in the medallion to install the light later on. As we can’t have the weight of the chandelier pulling directly on the medallion (which is held up by adhesive) we should have cut a large enough hole to install the light into the actual ceiling. Something we will remember when we install this smaller medallion in the bedroom.
Oh well – a problem for the future. Once we have a light to install, we’ll have to figure out how to put it up.