the all-seeingeye James McAllaster House: Master Bedroom

The closet door is a reproduction of other five-bar doors in the house.

When we bought the house, the master bedroom walls had been textured with plaster and a paint roller, then painted an intense robin's-egg blue. Rather than face the mess of removing the texture by sanding, or completely stripping the plaster walls off the studs, I decided to plaster over the textured surfaces.

The first thing to do was remove the existing baseboards, which were flush to the surface of the plaster after a century and more of patching and resurfacing. This led to the first discovery-the studs in one wall no longer met the sill, and the walls in one corner could be pushed outward. The bottom few inches of the studs had rotted off years ago. The outer corner of the room had splayed outwards so badly that there was a gap between the walls of as much as 2 inches at the bottom-which a previous owner had filled with balled-up newspaper and caulked over. My solution was to create a plywood skirt entirely around the room behind the baseboards. This was glued and screwed to the studs and to blocks bolted to the sills. After that, it was a simple though tedious exercise to plaster over the wall texture with a thinset mortar brown coat, and finish out with topping compound. The final step was to install wider replacement baseboards that covered the plywood skirt and lapped over the new plastered surface.