Local Assets: Inspired OrnamentalText by Debra Spark
Favorite project of the six employees at Inspired Ornamental? I am imagining it will be an elaborate crown molding with egg-and-dart detailing, a particularly finely rendered scroll on a corbel, or a petal-inspired ceiling medallion. I am picturing jobs that require preserving, replicating, or creating architectural detailing for historic homes, public buildings, churches, or new residences. This is what Inspired Ornamental does, after all. But no. Principal owner Adam Bergeron doesn’t hesitate to name “the Skull Ceiling” as the universal favorite. In 2017, Inspired Ornamental cast 1,200 small skulls, which they then shellacked, brushed with antique wax, and individually installed around a central rose in the vaulted ceiling of a private dining room. It’s a project that makes more sense when you learn the client was Lolita Cocina and Tequila bar in Boston’s Fort Point Channel. If you like vacant eye sockets looking at you while you eat—or simply are fond of Día de los Muertos—this is the place for you.
If the macabre and funny represent one extreme of what Inspired Ornamental’s craftspeople can do, the other extreme is where they more often live: with historic preservation projects, mostly in the Boston area, though the business is located in Salem, New Hampshire. At the moment, they are restoring aged and damaged plaster at Harvard Square’s Saint Paul Parish, reproducing molding for a Manchester-by-the-Sea home renovation, and finishing statue busts for the Boston restaurant Yvonne’s.
Thirty percent of Inspired Ornamental’s business is mold or model creation. This can involve brushing pinky-orange silicone rubber over existing pieces, letting the material work into all the crevices. Plaster is cast in the rubber mold, then de-molded and installed. Less intricate work is done by pouring urethane over a model. Trim profiles are made by taking a slice of existing molding to form a knife that can be run repeatedly over setting plaster to cut the desired design. Clients also come to Inspired Ornamental for new designs for decorative ceilings. The “fifth wall” has become increasingly of interest to customers, Bergeron notes. Though its work is largely custom, Inspired Ornamental offers off-the-shelf items, including enrichments for crown moldings. Their best-selling item? A skull-shaped ashtray.
Inspired Ornamental, Salem, N.H., inspiredornamental.com
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