Ripping off the Piemonte plaster

Our house has a strange and somewhat confusing set-up. It’s about 40-metres long and ten metres deep. The whole back section is storage and isn’t quite full-height upstairs (we have to do something about that). The two ends are currently completely untouched stable areas.

The central front section, though, has already been renovated. Sadly for us, the renovation took place in the 1990s. I remember this as a great decade, what with Britpop, Euro ’96, starting university, even West Ham had a couple of good seasons… but apparently in the Piemontese house restoration game, it was a very dark time.

Every room in the house has wonderful brick vaulted ceilings. Or, at least, they should. Apparently in the 90s it was the fashion to cover them over with an inch or so of plaster and paint them white. Sure, it makes the house brighter, but when you have dozens of south-facing windows brightness isn’t really a huge issue.

So, my first, and possibly only job, given my complete ineptitude when it comes to DIY, is to remove this plaster and reveal the brickwork underneath.

I was hoping it might come off quite easily, ideally in large chunks, but to the builders’ credit, they did a great job. Several hours of hammering and chiselling has revealed about a metre of brickwork, covered the entire house in dust and filled my hair with plaster. I’m still finding bits now. Three days later.

I’ve been told I can use a drill with a hammer function, so my next task is to translate that into Italian and head to the DIY store. Who knows what I’ll end up with. Based on my last experience probably several drills, and various other tools I have no need for. Wish me luck!

*In case you haven’t guessed, Piemonte-Property are not the estate agents we had problems with. They are great. And this house is still for sale. If you’re interested in buying a property in the area, you should check them out.

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12 responses to “Ripping off the Piemonte plaster

  1. I hope you had a sort of mask on your mouth, as all you needed to add to your present health situation is an ingestion of white dust!
    Good show, though. B/P

  2. I agree with Papi: get a mask and goggles. Not the sexiest outfit about, but your eyes and lungs will thank you for it 😉 Good luck! We have painted ceilings dating back to 1850…. under the white paint that the previous owner slapped over it. There’s no accounting for taste (or lack thereof…).

    • Thanks both, yep I do have a mask, and goggles too. The only trouble is, the mask directs my breath straight up into the goggles and I steam up within seconds!

      I’m sure in a few years’ time someone will be bemoaning the fashion for revealing the brickwork as they laboriously replaster everything!! 😉

    • True… I reckon I’m going to have pretty impressive shoulder muscles by the time this is all over! And it’s good to be able to get started on something, so I’m not complaining… yet…

  3. 🙂 ah, yes. Really the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s deserve some credit as well as the 90’s. We’re in Emilia and we work in the architecture construction industry… and the shocking list of things things we have seen, as far as what was apparently acceptable to cover up (like frescos!), goes on and on! Careful with the hammer drill… easy to accidentally chip the brick too.
    Good luck!

    • Thanks for your comment, and don’t worry, I’ll be very careful with the drill! As you say, it’s incredible what people did to these buildings. I imagine you’ve seen some remarkable things in your line of work… In some ways, I guess we’re lucky the renovation to our place was done in the 90s, we saw some real shockers from the 80s while we were house hunting! I think a lot of people are still doing it now though. The infamous ‘in-house architect’ seemed to think covering the brickwork was a good idea to create more light. We realised at that point we were never going to get on!!

  4. Pingback: Italian planning controls: Playing the game | Living in the Langhe·

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