Getting plastered in Glenwood
A crew of five expert plasterers from Silverton is restoring the interior trim of a century ago in a showcase Glenwood Springs storefront.”They are doing it exactly like it was done 100 years ago, and probably 1,000 years ago,” said Floyd Diemoz, general contractor for what will be the new downtown location of WestStar Bank.The work is another step in the ongoing restoration of the 92-year-old New Citizens Building, a three-story blond brick building at the corner of Eighth and Grand.Diemoz expects to have the WestStar restoration job done by September.”But in historic preservation, it’s one problem after another,” he noted.Working off of old photographs of the original bank interior and the parts of the original structure that remain, subcontractor Klinke & Lew is recreating beautiful spans of decorative cornices.The cornices will run along the tops of the walls, and span the ceiling along beams.Diemoz said nearly half of the cornices were damaged or destroyed when a drop ceiling was installed 40 years ago. When the drop ceiling was removed recently, bank officials decided to restore the original ceiling to historical perfection.”It’s a beautiful thing now, and it’s all going to be repaired. Some parts are restored, and some will be brand new,” Diemoz said.”In the old days, they did it with framing, heavy wire mesh and crude plaster, followed by finer layers of plaster. They used a screed board to set in the design. Then they would add little decorations,” he said.Today, many building contractors opt to build segments of cornice in a shop and then install the segments. But Klinke & Lew is restoring the cornices in place, by hand.”It’s more expensive, but we decided to do it the old way,” Diemoz said. He said the work will take three weeks to finish.
The exact pattern of the cornice was captured by a stencil and cut into a piece of plywood to make a “horse.” Plasterers draw the horse across the wet mud to make the finished shape.Loren Lew, co-owner of the company, said a close inspection of the 1910 cornices reveal a lot of minor imperfections, like fingerprints and nicks. But with a high ceiling, the eye misses the flaws and focuses on the long span of pleasing design.He calls his crew “preservationists” and said they have worked on historic restorations for the San Juan County Courthouse, the Silverton Town Hall and the Sheridan Opera House, in Telluride.For many years, owners of historic buildings worked to restore building exteriors but allowed modern remodeling inside. Now, said Lew, owners also want to restore interiors back to their original design.
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