Introduction to Lime Wall Plastering

Sunday August 11th, 2019

10:30 am – 4:00 pm One Day Intensive Workshop

This one-day course will teach you how to select the correct materials for your job and mix them to the correct consistency. How to repair failing, cracked or bulged flat wall plaster. A practical demonstration will be given followed by the opportunity to have a go at it yourself.

The aim of the course is to give participants the confidence to carry out small or even large repairs to their own homes plaster walls and ceilings.

Our approach is to create a relaxed environment on where you will enjoy learning, with ample opportunity for discussions about your own issues with your lime plaster walls during the lunch break.

Course content

  • Why and when to use lime;
  • How to assess common problems;
  • The do’s and don’ts;
  • Choosing the right materials;
  • Wall preparation, including lath repair;
  • Creating the perfect mix;
  • How to repair cracks and bulges;
  • Practical application of lime plaster;
  • How to finish your repair work;
  • Looking after your plaster;
  • An overview of decorative plaster elements.

For each session there is a practical demonstration. You will then be encouraged to have a go, with guidance at hand by the instructor.

What to bring with you:

All tools, materials and equipment are provided but please bring protective eye-wear and a pair of work gloves and a lunch.  This is an indoor course in a live real restoration setting.

Repairing cracks.
Mixing and applying appropriate plaster.
Finishing techniques will be explored and practiced by the student.


Sunday August 11th, 2019 10:30 am – 4:00 pm One Day Intensive Workshop


Located at the Edifice Atelier Oxford Campus, just 5 minutes west of Cambridge, Ontario

867395 Township Rd 10, Bright, ON N0J 1B0 (see Google Map below)

Your Instructor:

Dr Christopher Cooper, Master Restoration & preservation Expert…

Who Should Attend:

This Workshop is specifically designed for the amateur restorationist interested in saving his/her irreplaceable hand made plaster walls and ceilings.


A very special one time offer $150.00*

*(this course is traditionally $300)

NOTE: Course numbers are limited to ensure individual attention by the course leader Dr. Christopher Cooper. Don’t miss your opportunity, sign up today!

Full payment is due upon booking your place, remember this course sells out very quickly. There are no reduced rates for couples. However, large groups (6 or more attendees) can be discounted at the Edifice Atelier’s discretion.

The Edifice Atelier reserves the right to cancel any courses. Deposits and fees will be returned in full should this happen.

As this workshop fills up quickly and is on a first come first serve basis our cancellation policy is to provide credit for another workshop time of same value if you cannot attend.

Pay now, payment is through a secure PayPal account

Pay with credit or Visa Debit card

How to get to the Oxford Campus:

Visit The Edifice Atelier Website

New Life for an Abandoned House

Edifice Atelier 1

A long forgotten farmhouse built in 1837 located in Bright, just 5 minutes west of Cambridge, Ontario has found a new lease on life. This house will be meticulously brought back from the brink of abandonment and used as our Edifice Atelier Campus to train and instruct home owners and professionals on how to put these houses back together retaining all of its character and charm.

Front 2

Have you ever driven down that road, not knowing exactly where you are, not knowing exactly where you are going? You somehow stumble upon that gem, that little house that time and love have long since forgotten! It is love at first sight, you can see beyond the tumbled down fences, the dirty cracked windows, the rot, the neglect. You see that little place shining like a new dime – you see its potential, its inner beauty, what it once was, and what it could be.

Verandah 1

I have seen so many of these houses slowly becoming part of the landscape, crumbling to the earth merely becoming another nondescript, four-sided figure of stones on the ground that one needs to romantically imagine what humble or possibly monumental structure rose above these stones before it was sentenced to a slow death by decay.

1877 1837

There are so many definitions of abandoned homes, a house is never truly abandoned, somebody, somewhere owns it. I have been working as an architectural restoration expert and educator for over three decades. I have witnessed many different levels of abandonment. From stone shells open to the blue sky above to heaps of graying timbers holding on for dear life attempting so very hard to stay vertical through the unforgiving summer’s sun and the cold damp of winter. However, every so often you find those houses that are just on the brink of becoming uninhabitable.


It seems to be a similar story whereas a house that has been loved and cared for suddenly becomes empty, sadly in most cases due to death. The family has moved on, all have their own new shiny houses, and really have no interest in fixing something that is considered old, antiquated and in need of much work. I guess modernity has made most not see past the tumbled down fences, the dirty cracked windows, the rot, the neglect. And sadly there it sits worth more as land than as a tangible home that once was filled with laughter and love.


This brings us to our story, the story of Stan Lillico, an old fellow who had passed away in 2002 in his 92nd year. As Stan was a confirmed bachelor he had no reason to modernize his untouched 1837 Neoclassical farmhouse or update any fixtures or decorating etc. that were still working, old-fashioned or not. The house has stood empty and going through the stages of abandonment and most likely inevitable demolition.

When I first entered the house I was amazed at how original it was even down to the kitchen coated in layer after layer of green paint – you know… that green paint that every farm house kitchen was painted from coast to coast.

Pic 1

The kitchen had no running water – just a porcelain sink with a hand pump – of course painted in the same green paint.

Much of the wallpaper is from the last major renovation that took place in 1912 when our Stan Lillico was born. The house has a patina over all the walls and woodwork of nearly two centuries of soot from wood burning stoves.

side 2

The house has amazing features including all of its 6/6 windows and even the original 1912 bathroom – we have done a lot of work over the past few years to open our Edifice Atelier to teach home owners and professionals these amazing crafts.


I think what sets us apart from other schools is that we have a house filled with the same problems faced by people who want to buy an old farm house but just don’t know where to start. Therefore the most important part of our workshops and training is that it is set in the real world of hands-on education. You get to really work on restoring things – like plaster, old windows, doors as well as learning the crafts of providing character and quality to a vintage home.

Vintage Home Symposium 3

Tin 3

Wood Window Repair Course 6


No one will ever know the laughter and the memories forged in this house if it becomes another statistic of lost architectural folk art. Yes the fences are tumbled down, the windows are dirty and its nearly 200 year old glass is cracked in a few places and yes there is plenty of rot. But what of bringing this house back to a beautiful home (or in this case an international learning institute) to live on for another 200 years? We are up to the task set before us – are you up to the task to follow our journey as we so very carefully strip back the layers of decay to put back all the lovely detail and architectural beauty this house has to offer? We hope to forge new memories, new laughter and a new chapter in the history book of this house.

Drafty Wood Windows, in Need of Repair? 9 Simple Tips – to Save You Money this Winter!

Edifice Magazine Window 14

Editorial and Photography By: Dr. Christopher Cooper

I have found most people, including ourselves at our three Vintage Home Charm project houses, are in a flux of partially restored windows or windows that have been restored, however need a little extra work to make them a little less drafty for the winter months.

There are many options on the market to stop draft, notwithstanding this, most modern contrivances are damaging to a wood window. The plastic, two-sided tape, and a hair dryer over the window trick, does nothing but cause condensation on the principal window, which allows the principal windows to mold and rot. Moreover, the two-sided tape will destroy the paint on the window trim. Another product is a caulking that is supposed to be easily peeled-off in the spring, along with your paint too. And in most cases, you will have to scrape off the excess, damaging the underlying wood.

Edifice Magazine Window 1

This article will take a low-tech approach to stopping drafts, and in turn save on energy consumption without any newfangled, new-and-improved, buy-it-now products. The first approach is to see if there is draft around the windows where the sash slides in the frame and comes in contact with the stool (on the lower edge of the sash). By using an incense stick, one can detect air infiltration by seeing a break in the smoke stream from the incense. Smoke rises without a draft, however when caught in a draft, the smoke will break in a horizontal stream (see Image 1). By slowly running the incense stick around the window, areas that need attention will become very apparent.

An operating window should never be caulked rather only the window trim where it comes in to contact with the wall surface! Most air infiltration is found where the upper sash rides against the parting bead (see Image 2, only in double-hung windows) and where the lower sash rides up along the interior stop (see Image 3).

Edifice Magazine Window 2

Another area for air infiltration is at the meeting rails (see Image 4) and where the lower sash rests behind the stool (see Image 5) and at the weight pulley (see Image 6).

First, let’s take a look at the meeting rails. Most people confuse the device shown in Image 7 as a window lock, to lock your windows. These devices have been around for quite some time (mid 19th century) and in the days when you didn’t lock your front door, you certainly were not going to lock your windows! These sash locks are actually devices to lock your meeting rails together to stop draft and should be installed on all operating windows.

Edifice Magazine Window 3

There should be one sash lock for windows of 24″ and less, and two locks evenly spaced between the lights of larger windows (see Image 8).

The areas located at Images 3 and 5 are the most notorious air infiltration points. I take care of these areas using a modern product. However, it will not damage the window in any way and can be installed in minutes! Foam backer rods (available at your local hardware store) can easily be pushed into the gap at the interior stop and at the stool, effectively stopping draft in its tracks. The backer rod is pushed into place using a wooden shim I have fashioned with soft rounded edges that does not damage the surrounding wooden surfaces or tear the backer rod (see Image 9).

Edifice Magazine Window 4

I am using a 3/8″ diameter backer rod, starting on the left side of the stop at the meeting rail and running the rod down and across the stool and up to the right side meeting rail (see Images 10, 11 & 12). The results are amazing. This will completely stop the air infiltration, and if the space is bigger, the backer rods are available in many sizes starting at a 1/4″ diameter.

Edifice Magazine Window 5

This same method can be done to the upper sash in double-hung windows and placed between the upper sash’s stile and the parting bead (see Image 2). Another low-tech product available for double-hung windows (again available at your local hardware store) is crack seal (see Image 13). This product has been around for a very long time and is somewhat like the consistency of plasticine. You simply roll it out and push it in place. The product does not tear the paint and is easily removed in the spring (see Image 14). I only use this product when the gap between the parting bead and the upper sash stile is too small to push in a backer rod.

Edifice Magazine Window 6

The final air infiltration culprits are the sash pulleys. This is easily remedied with a small 4” length of a backer rod, pushed into the top of the pulley and the other end pushed into the bottom of the pulley (see Image 15). The terrific thing about backer rod is that it can be reused for years. I will put the used backer rod in a large zip-top bag and use a permanent marker to mark which room and which window it came from, then store it away until next winter (see Image 16). The crack seal can also be saved and reused!

Edifice Magazine Window 7

A good fitting wood storm window is always important to achieve a better and in some cases, higher energy efficiency over any vinyl or wood replacement window on the market today, coupled with the tips noted in this article. Another important task to be performed on your original wood sash windows and storms is to properly re-putty the glazing (see Image 17), however, we will leave that to a subsequent article.

Cracked Glass

Many of us, during the restoration of our houses, have had to deal with cracked window glass from time to time. Cracked glass can cause all sorts of discomforts when a cold breeze is finding its way through the gap during inclement weather.

I hate to say it, but we as a society tend to only replace glass when it is completely broken-out; replacement of one cracked pane is usually low on our to-do-list. A testament to this is all the cracked glass in many of our project houses.

One of the biggest concerns for me is the large cylinder glass sheets in the 1877 replacement windows in the front facade of one of our project houses. They have large horizontal cracks from one side of the sash stile to the other; they have become very unstable and await final restoration before the glass is replaced. This type of crack could be potentially disastrous with our young daughters having the run of the place.

I have found that the best possible solution to stabilize cracked glass and to stop draft is to caulk both sides of the crack with a very high quality clear marine silicone caulk.

Edifice Magazine Window 8

The Temporary Repair Process:

My apprentice, Janet, demonstrates placing masking tape on both sides of the window crack on the interior side of the window before using the silicone (see image 18). Approximately a sixteenth of an inch on either side of the crack is needed. For wavy or arched cracks, use a 2-inch-wide roll of masking tape and use a razor to trim away an eighth of an inch swath where the crack is; this will allow a smoother appearance. This step with the masking tape can be skipped if appearance is not a concern. Janet then simply runs a bead of silicone over the crack between the masking tape (see image 19).

Edifice Magazine Window 9

Then, with a moistened finger, Janet smooths out the silicone (see image 20). After the silicone is smoothed out, the masking tape is removed carefully so as not to ruin the uncured silicone (see image 21). Allow the interior repair to cure overnight and follow the same process as above on the exterior side of the glass.

The final temporary repair is relatively attractive and has stabilized the glass and stopped the draft. This is only a temporary fix and the cracked pane will eventually have to be replaced. However, it has made the pane safe for cleaning and for touching with little hands that have the run of the place!