The last days of June and the beginning ones of July were spent installing the cornice in the Kitchen. Although it was a much lighter, simpler piece, it still presented its own challenges.
First, each of these pieces was completely dry, unlike the heavier cornices we installed in the Dining Room and Hallway. This made the pieces lighter, but much more rigid and less willing to bend with the imperfections found in the ceiling and walls. The strike-offs, or the areas of the piece that touch the walls and ceiling, had quite a few imperfections themselves which made shaving and form-fitting the pieces a time consuming task. If a lump of plaster was left by the caster, it rubs against the wall and/or ceiling and create a large void unless shaved. By shaving them, we eliminated the void. We kept telling ourselves, “if only the pieces were straight and the walls straight, we’d be done by now.”
Second, although the room was essentially rectangular, it had many returns which involved more measurements and cuts. These returns were created by cabinets that pushed out from the wall. Each return had at least one interior and one exterior angle. One particular area of the wall had a series of consecutive small returns less than an inch long. Not only does this involve time in measuring and cutting, but it makes the task of pointing that much more difficult. I pointed at least two or three of each interior and exterior angles, but the majority of the pointing was done by fellow plasterers Jose and Borjo. This was because we needed to spend the rest of the week installing the cornice in the Study.
The Study was a lot like the Hallway project, but again, we were presented with a unique challenge—a set of bookshelves that pushed away from the wall. This forced us to reach over the bookshelves when installing. It wasn’t difficult, but just awkward. Nonetheless, we installed twelve of the pieces and completed the room by Friday. I thank Ramon for working on Friday, July 3 while I spent much needed time with my pregnant wife whom I haven’t seen in over seven weeks.