Built-In Character: Plaster Corbels

We've got an original, surviving arch inside Norris House, and it's embellished with decorative plaster corbels on either side:


There are two of these inside the house, one on either side of the arch about 7 feet up off the floor.  We love them!

This arch sits neatly in front of a bay of windows on the north elevation of the house.  Interior arches are common in Italianate homes, carrying that exterior architectural style through the interior of the house.  Experts believe that there were also arches in front of the bays on the front elevation of the house.  These would likely have had decorative corbels as well.  Our plan: let's put them back!

That's a little easier said than done.  First, state-side plaster works are no longer all that common.  The catalogues available currently don't include corbels similar to these, and we're trying to match or at least get close.  There is a product used in the field that essentially uses silicone to create a mould of the existing corbels, such that we could then pour new corbels from fresh plaster to match the ones we have.  To date, we have not found anyone that does this work - but we've not given up!

Barring success on the recasting front, we've found a venture across the pond in the UK that will attempt to recreate our corbels based upon photographs and dimensions.  We'll keep you posted on that effort should we go that route!