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The question

We had a leak in our ceiling that destroyed a swatch of decorative plaster from the 1920s. Do plasterers still do that kind of work or should we replaster the ceiling in the flat, conventional way?

The answer

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Decorative plaster adds so much to a room and makes a ceiling come to life, much like a sparkling diamond necklace can offset one's décolletage. Fortunately, plaster artisans are alive and well and can copy any detail by making a mould of the existing design, then reproducing a perfect match. While the plaster itself is inexpensive, the labour isn't because the work is done by hand and can take many hours. My suggestion is to get a quote first and check references so that there are no surprises. And insist on a written agreement.

You wouldn't hire a jeweller to make a necklace without a full estimate and a design sketch outlining the exact sizes of diamonds and type of gold, so be as detailed in your communications with the plasterer.

Follow architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace on Twitter: @ddtaylorddd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail

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