Why the aweful half-circle paint patterns on old ceilings?

You know - the raised ranch special. Walk into any raised ranch from Connecticut to Milwaukee and it’s got a white ceiling, with a half circle pattern like scales on a fish, applied with some thick white paint. [or it has the sprayed on material] Anyone know the reason for this? The house I grew up in had this and I never knew why, now our new home has it - not for long.

Believe it or not, it was once very stylish. And it’s probably plaster. My grandfather owned a plastering business - his own house had beautiful hand done plaster work - he used to gripe about the crap that he had to do during various style phases.

Plaster eh. Makes sense. I like older 1930-40’s plastering on the walls and ceiling…I don’t know when they started the scallop style.

It was one of the fashions of the 70’s - the decade that bought us Glam Rock and bell-bottom trousers. The texture was usually applied with a thin plaster, then painted over.

We missed this trend in my family, we had embossed wallpaper instead. And built in drawers and bookcases - all painted white.

My best friend’s house was tastefully done in Brown / Orange and dark stained wood. The carpet was mustard coloured shagpile.

Now I must go and bleach my brain.

But not before I mention that the same fish scale pattern (and the same variations) are turning up all over the country - on those pretentious faux stone entrances littering the driveways of the newer suburbs. Now it’s applied with a thin concrete mix and painted in your choice of *Sandstone *or Terracota. Fashion, eh?

ETA, just noticed the deco reference. Napier is a deco city, we’re working on preserving the heritage. There’s a ring pattern to the city though, the further out you get from the city centre, the more modern the houses become. I should be more tolerant of the latest architecture.

It goes back before the 70’s. My guess is it was someone’s attempt to mimic the old plaster textures on the crap drywall that came in after WW2.

In the UK at least, it’s generally known as Artex. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artex

Not before I tell you of the avocado linoleum and appliances in my parents’ house! AND the linoleum has asbestos underneath it, for added 70s goodness!

And there I was thinking this was a peculiar BRITISH fashion, much beloved by grotty old pubs which also favour horse brasses round the fireplace, polystyrene-painted-black false beams and red swirly patterned carpets designed to hide the beer and vomit stains.

As well as being a fashion fright from the 60s and 70s, I think it was also popular as a method of disguising cracked ceilings and walls. Woodchip bobbled wallpaper performed a similar purpose, and is commonly known as the ‘poor man’s artex’.

It certainly does. We have it in our house, and it’s in all the houses nearby built at the same time, and on the same pattern. These homes were built circa 1960.
I like it. It’s defdfinitely done in plaster. The pattern is in most rooms, including the hallway and the closet. It’s even on the ceiling of our garage. It’s not in the kitchen or the bathroom – those rooms had ciompletely different “flocked” ceilings, and may have been redone.
It’s not universal. I never saw it in any other homes of this era anywhere in the country before I moved to Massachusetts. It’s more visually interesting than simple flat plaster, and cheaper than hand-sculpted plaster, or the 1930s cheap alternative to that, the painted-over beaten tin ceiling.

It was done not only to show off the skill of the plasterer but with appropriate lighting, create interplay of light/shadow. My faulty memory seems to think this was done in the 19th century, maybe even prior. The technique has advantages over obtaining a truly plane surface and can hide other flaws of construction.

This thread is veering scarily into Barn House territory. :eek:

:smack::smack::smack::smack:No, can’t get that image out of my head.

And now I keep picturing avocado bathroom fixtures on orange carpet with ‘peacock eye’ wallpaper.:smack::smack::smack::smack:

That’s HOTT!

With exposed beams!!!