Saturday, 7 June 2014

Painted Ceilings

Painted Ceilings

 What we did was something I have not seen in other places but I believe works well by referencing the traditional style of ceiling decoration. I chose a colour for each room and paint the whole ceiling in a very pale shade of that colour then highlights the moldings in a darker shade of that colour.

Patterns used by the craftsmen on the ceilings found in Dimitris Philppides, Greek Design and Decoration: Three Centuries of Architectural Style.

One of our ceilings














Elaborate 18C Painted Ceilings

After the earthquake I wrote about the construction of old Venetian houses. That reminded me of another distinctive aspect of these houses, their ornate ceilings. In Greece the ceilings in these houses are usually the underside of the boards that form the floor of the room above. To make the underside more attractive moldings cover the gaps between these planks. But these moldings are often made into even more decorative patterns and are painted. The painted ceilings were often extended to include a frieze around the top of the walls.


From an illustration in Philippides book of the Manousis mansion in Siatista.

 These Venetian homes were built when times were good for certain families. In many cases this was after a grandfather had gone from being shoeless and starving, to being wealthy beyond his dreams. The wealth usually did not last beyond one generation but while it was there these families built large homes back in their villages. This was in part a desire to be in a familiar place and in part a way to show off their wealth. Though these was not entirely a selfish wish as their wealth also brought benefits back to the village, providing work for others, and often was donated to provide schools and churches.

 During the 18C there were groups of craftsmen who travelled from place to place across a wide geographical area building these homes and other structures. Many of these sinafia, seasonally mobile teams, came from Epirus, western Macedonia, Thrace and central Peloponnese. It seems probable that these were the master craftsmen who then employed locals to work for them.


Our Painted Ceilings

The dining room is dark and the ceiling low so in this room the ceiling is all white

I wanted to keep our house light and planned to paint walls and woodwork cream. However I thought we could copy this old tradition and put colour onto the ceilings. Our ceilings are not as complicated in design - or in colour - as those of old. I did consider putting a frieze around the walls but that also seemed too complicated for our more modern tastes.

A bedroom on the middle floor with a peach ceiling


The middle floor has normal ceilings of a more height, and although we added some colour it was muted.
 In the study-cum TV room was to be cream with green. The ceiling is thus light green with a darker green molding. The top floor bedroom was to have mauve and violet aspects so the ceiling (which has more decoratively finished moldings than other rooms) was painting a very pale violet with three slightly darker shade of moldings, and florettes of maroon.



The mauve top floor bedroom with a high and elaborate ceiling

A 'green' room on the top floor.
This high ceiling is in a hall on the top floor. It is painted with colours found in nearby rooms.


Dimitris Philppides, Greek Design and Decoration: Three Centuries of Architectural Style. Melissa Publishing House.1999

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