Reader Q: Ceiling Medallion Resources?

I've been obsessing about medallions since the 80's, when I first saw them as a wide-eyed little girl. We took a field trip to Charleston, South Carolina to tour the mansions there, and I couldn't stop looking at the ceilings, decked out with chandeliers, ornate carvings, and ornamental medallions. I was dazzled then, and my affection for ceilings has only increased over time.

Often the ceiling is a major problem in a space, commonly overlooked by homeowners and renters alike. You'd be surprised to know how many people never look up, and hire professionals to 'diagnose' their space issues, shocked to discover that their ceiling is one of them. Serious. I know calling it the fifth wall sounds cheesy, but people, it's the truth.

When reader, Gabby Girl, wrote in concerning her hunt for medallions, I knew she'd emailed the right geek for the job. "I wanted to know if you knew where to find a rosette similar to the photo I have included, but with a center cut-out for a light fixture, attaching it to the ceiling. I am certain I saw something like this in a Domino Issue but I cannot find it anywhere!"

Gabby is right on; Domino did write about an amazing resource and the prices at this place are so affordable, even a cheap skate can afford one (some are as low at $30!). The company is called Architectural Depot. Of course, they're reproductions, if you want the real deal, you'll need to tap into your local salvage yard and then, hire a pro to install it (they often weigh a ton.)

Here's some additional medallion resources on the web:Statue,Balmer,Fire River,Go Ceiling Medallions (lots of beautiful corbels and moldings, too.), and Cumberland Woodcraft.

HOW TO INSTALL: Plaster medallions are quite heavy and may require a professional to install, but lightweight versions in plastic, wood, or polyurethane foam are easy to DIY by simply cleaning the surface with soap and water, allowing it to air dry, then applying urethane adhesive, position the medallion dead center,it and either nail or screw into place. You want to fill the holes with spackle, paying close attention to gaps along the edges, especially if you find your ceiling is a bit uneven (common in older homes). Once dry, lightly sand where you've spackled and use a wet cloth to rid the medallion of dust particles from sanding. Air dry again, then apply your favorite color of oil or latex-based paint. If you have a white ceiling and white light fixture, have some fun and paint the medallion a bold color, like black, or keep it neutral with grey, cream, or plain white. You can even handpaint the medallion with many different colors, if your has a floral motif, you can paint the flowers and leaves in your favorite hues. Have fun with it, and if you go outside of the lines, no worries - you won't see it from the floor.

Tip: If you spot a medallion you like, but the hole is too large (or small) for your fixture, opt for medallions without a hole and ask someone to drill a center for you that fits perfectly.

Psst: You haven't lived until you've visited Charleston and Savannah, in my opinion. But then again, I'm from South Carolina, so I'm a huge fan. If you're ever looking to stay in historic Charleston, here are some of my favorite inns to stay at. And remember, whenever you go, look up!

(images from arch depot)