Decorative Painting and Plaster Restoration

Acorn Painting now offers decorative painting and plaster restoration services. We work with interior designers, property owners, architects and builders to create unique and pleasing looks for all spaces.

Artist Melissa Strauss specializes in techniques such as oil glazes, water-based washes, custom stencils, murals, floor painting, graining, combing, ombre, strié, faux marble and granite, trompe l'oeil, as well as restoration of decorative plaster molding.

Imagine the possibilities...

Explore:  WallsFloors & MorePlaster RestorationMiscellaneous ProjectsAbout the Artist

Walls

Inspired by a 14th Century Gothic cathedral in southwestern France (photo above center; above right on mobile), the backgrounds underneath these stencils were painted to give the illusion of weathered, rained-on plaster. The homeowners brought the essence of the Old World into their home.

trees with birds and butterflies painted on a wall below a stairwell with an end table designed to look like tree branches
decorative wall painting of trees, birds and butterflies around a french door
Decorative wall painting detail of butterflies
Butterflies painted on a pale green wall over a door arch
Decorative painting detail of a hummingbird

Trees climbing these walls mirror the spirit of the resin table under the stairs. Once a plain white furniture casting, the artist gave it the look of real wood using water-based paint and varnish. On the walls and ceiling are flowers, hummingbirds, and butterflies, complementing the branches. They add pops of color and bring nature indoors.

faux sandstone effect painted around a door to resemble a stone doorframe
walls in a stairwell painted to look like sandstone

Water-based paint and glazes were used to create this faux sandstone motif. Some of the cracks are painted while others are real and purposely left unrestored, lending authenticity to its appearance.

A room in process of being painted so the walls look like dark red leather
The artist applying a leather look effect on a wall with orange and blue glazes

Using orange and blue oil glazes, a flat brown is transformed, giving the appearance of leather. The artist creates a sample board before starting the project for client approval and reference as the project progresses.

 

Floors & More

black and ivory stenciled pattern painted on a concrete bathroom floor

Staircase risers leading to a roof deck feature a simple pattern based on a quilt block design. A variety of patterns, stencils, and colors can be used to turn an ordinary staircase into a visually interesting climb upstairs.

Tiled floors in Oslo, Norway inspired this black and ivory geometric pattern stenciled over a concrete bathroom floor.

faux marquetry pattern on a hardwood floor
faux rug with dragonfly motif painted on a hardwood floor

Created in one of Lincoln, Massachusetts' historic homes, the faux marquetry integrates the look of new flooring and cabinetry with original, dark wide-plank flooring. The design is first scored into the surface of the bare wood using a sharp tool. Stain is then painted in, controlled by the delicately cut lines of each shape. Once the color is complete and several coats of transparent finish applied, the pattern resembles a wooden inlay.

Using oil-based paints with a urethane covercoat, this faux rug with a dragonfly motif is painted over a hardwood floor.

perspective tile pattern painted on a mudroom floor

This stenciled mudroom floor gives the illusion of a traditional perspective tile pattern often found in Europe. By applying a sealant every few years, the floor will last for decades.

 

Plaster Restoration

Chandelier hanging from a restored gold painted plaster ceiling medallion
Unrestored and damaged plaster ceiling medallion

This gold chandelier was purchased at an online auction in France and now hangs in Middlebury, Vermont. After cracks in the ceiling medallion were repaired, a custom finish of gold was mixed. Now the metallic color patina of this original feature match the chandelier. Note the decorative plaster detail around the ceiling edges are also painted the same gold. It's a real show stopper!

Paster ceiling border in the process of restoration
A fragment of the old plaster molding being restored
tools and materials used for historic plaster restoration
custom plaster molding blade being used to restore damaged molding

Ceiling plaster had cracked and hung in loose sections in a Victorian-era structure in Middlebury, Vermont. All the damaged plaster was removed until all that remained was structurally sound. A historical preservation adhesive was applied, creating a clean and enduring connection between the original and new plasters. Lightweight setting plaster is used to backfill the area that needed patching. A custom tool was designed to imitate the profile of the molding. After a few applications of plaster is shaped using the blade, the new crown molding starts to reveal itself. 

plaster-restoration-finished-molding-02.
 

Miscellany

An artist's drawing of the Middlebury Inn in pencil on the wall of the Inn
Detail of a faux frame painted around artwork on a wall at the Middlebury Inn
Photo of damaged plaster and lathe wall in the process of restoration

When wallpaper was removed during a recent renovation project at the historic Middlebury Inn, a pencil drawing of the inn was revealed. The artist, Leigh Guptil, still lives locally and is one of the inn's favorite former bellhops. 

A faux wooden frame was created to commemorate the artwork. Shading on the frame suggests the depth of a layer of glass and there is a subtle shadow cast on to the wall. The wood grain and color mimics that of the nearby banister rail.

This Middlebury, Vermont home, dating from the 1800s, had several areas where horsehair plaster had been damaged. Broken lathes were repaired, wooden panels were retained as stable and sound surfaces are important to maintain and respect during restoration. One never knows what to expect when removing wallpaper and making renovations!

Canvas floor cloth painted to look like a Greek octopus mosaic

A photograph of a Greek octopus mosaic was the inspiration for this handmade canvas floor cloth. The artist hand-cut a stencil replicating the tile pattern and used acrylic paints to create the portable, flexible cloth mat.

 

Melissa Strauss

Artist Melissa Strauss

My creative journey began as a child in South Africa. My fine artist parents encouraged sculpting in clay, drawing, and painting. Transforming simple houses into beautiful spaces was something they were always doing. Years later an innate creative passion inspired me to earn a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. 

After receiving formal training, I began painting historical finishes and restoring plaster in older New England homes. Becoming skilled at repairing horsehair plaster walls, ceiling and decorative moldings has been a natural progression.

Creating specialized paint finishes and custom murals is another passion. Capturing someone's imagination using paint in a beautiful way has great rewards. No two projects are alike.

Acorn Painting's owners, Mike Dever and John Wisell, are great at bouncing ideas around with and solving challenges. Together, we create and execute our clients' vision and turn their walls, ceilings, and floors into art!