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Expert Advice: 7 Ways to Use Lime Plaster (Hint: It’s Not Just for Walls)

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Expert Advice: 7 Ways to Use Lime Plaster (Hint: It’s Not Just for Walls)

August 3, 2018

“Lime plaster is as old as time—think Roman and earlier—and perfect for our time,” says Domingue Architectural Finishes, a Houston-based company started by Eddy Dankers (a master painter and Axel Vervoodt’s plasterer), color expert Eve Ashcraft, and Ruth Gay, owner of antiques house Chateau Domingue. The company’s speciality—lime plasters and washes (depending on the amount of water added), made in northern Italy—has long been used to add depth and character to walls with relative ease. (For more on the matter, see Remodeling 101: Everything You Need to Know About Limewash Paint and DIY Project: Limewashed Walls for Modern Times.)

But lime plasters and washes can add character almost anywhere—well beyond plain walls. “It’s a material that is not only natural and beautiful but incredibly flexible,” the Domingue team advises. Here are seven ways to add intrigue elsewhere.

Photography courtesy of Domingue Architectural Finishes.

1. Instantly upgrade stairs.

 another place plaster can be used? in architectural details—including stair 9
Above: Another place plaster can be used? In architectural details—including staircases. Using lime on the stairs creates a sense of European grandeur and can help stairwells to feel of a piece with the walls.
a room fully done in plaster. 10
Above: A room fully done in plaster.

2. Or, think small.

 no need to commit to a full project with lime plaster if you&#8\2\17;re n 11
Above: No need to commit to a full project with lime plaster if you’re not ready. “Experiment with and experience lime plaster on a minor project first,” Domingue encourages. Choose something unexpected: a stove hood, for example. “The original intention was to paint this stove hood. But lime plaster seemed more substantive, hard-wearing, and appropriate for an element in the kitchen subjected to heat and moisture. The plywood outer shell of the hood was primed, plastered, and then, to lighten the color somewhat from the natural gray plaster, limewashed in two light coats.”

3. Apply over brick.

 want to use lime plaster, but don&#8\2\17;t have a plain wall to use it o 12
Above: Want to use lime plaster, but don’t have a plain wall to use it on? No problem: a slurry (“simply a mix that contains more water, enough that the mixture, the consistency of pancake batter, can be applied with a brush instead of a trowel,” the Domingue team says) can be applied over bricks and other uneven surfaces. “Here, in a modern renovation of an antique brick warehouse, a lime plaster slurry was brushed horizontally over old brick walls,” Domingue tells us.

4. Apply over stone.

 the same applies to stone walls, fireplaces, or detailing: &#8\2\20;becau 13
Above: The same applies to stone walls, fireplaces, or detailing: “Because lime plaster and stone are both mineral-based, they bond naturally and thoroughly,” the team says.

5. Play with texture.

 when applying lime plaster or wash, embrace imperfection—and wield tools di 14
Above: When applying lime plaster or wash, embrace imperfection—and wield tools differently for a wide variety of effects. “The most common technique of applying plaster, with a trowel, renders a surface that can be rough or smooth, porous or closed, depending on the plaster used and the pressure applied,” says the Domingue team. “The finish varies by the tool used and the hand of the applicator, making it as individual as a fingerprint.”

6. Or, for a lighter effect, try limewash.

&#8\2\20;plaster lends gravitas to a wall, along with texture—from subtle 15
Above: “Plaster lends gravitas to a wall, along with texture—from subtle to dramatic,” the Domingue team says. But add more water and you have a wash, which “allows for further customization,” they say. Here, they added a thin limewash in vertical strokes to get more control over the surface: It alters the color and softens the intensity of the plaster below.

7. Take it outside.

 the material can be used to add character to exteriors and facades too. here, 16
Above: The material can be used to add character to exteriors and facades too. Here, Domingue says, “Lime plaster slurry utterly altered the look and feel of a formerly red brick house. The exterior coloration shifted from high contrast to far more subtle, with the lime plaster slurry dressing the house in an elegant coat that suits its formal architecture.”

For more expert color insight from Remodelista favorite Eve Ashcraft, see Gio Ponti–Inspired Color Palette from Eve Ashcraft and Expert Advice: Eve Ashcraft’s Indigo Palette.

And for more on limewash and plaster:

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