Venetian plaster techniques showcase comfortable old world elegance with strong architectural details.

Main level powder room.
With rural potato farms on Long Island being transformed into suburban tracts of residential homes for returning World War II soldiers in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, the weather conditions took their toll on the various stained and painted clapboard and shingled residences over the years.

Emigrating from Italy in 1965 and settling on Long Island in 1972, John Di Stefano saw a definite need for refurbishing these painted and stained residential exteriors. With his personally trained crew of artisans, John Di Stefano Painting Contractors restored and beautified the exteriors.

From this beginning, the company became East Coast Wall Ltd., of Franklin Square, N.Y., pioneering the application with EIFS using interior/exterior acrylic stucco and introducing to the American market Venetian plaster. The company’s latest project was a 24,000 square-foot residence with the exterior application of EIFS and the interior application of old world Venetian plaster.

This wall is artistically created using multilayers of Stucco Veneto. This is the anteroom outside the ladies' powder room.

Spread the word

A residence with a modern movie theater, indoor swimming complex, and billiard and recreation facility might contradict a style of walls featuring Venetian plaster. However, the homeowners desired this technique for their guest powder rooms and bathrooms. Each would have textured patterns on these relatively small wall spaces, with each space’s pattern to be unique and customized.

“My primary requirement for each Venetian plaster wall was to have a pattern of small strokes that would be pleasing to the eye and not too overpowering,” says Bruce Linthicum, of Marc-Michaels Interior Design Inc., of Winter Park, Fla. “The material we used gave us pattern flexibility that was limitless, which was necessary in such small, restrictive areas.”

Also required was a wall finish color customized and tinted to a specific hue that would be striking, classic, elegant and tasteful.

“Resilience and rich luster and finish after routine cleaning, especially in areas adjacent to running water were paramount factors,” Linthicum adds. East Coast Wall was able to implement Marc-Michaels Interior Designs’ requirements thanks to its old world expertise.

The old country

This was the result of a project to convert a chain of Red Coach Grill restaurants into a chain of El Torito restaurants. The client’s architect challenged Di Stefano to duplicate a unique finish to be incorporated on and in various locations of each building.

Di Stefano returned from Italy as the prime applicator and distributor of Decoplast. He made other artisans aware of its availability and conducted free seminars for its proper application. The growth of his business and addition of his two sons and son-in-law, established East Coast Wall Ltd.

Luckily for Di Stefano, more Americans travel to Europe, exposing them to the “fresco” interior appearance. In homes and business establishments, duplication of what was viewed in stately Italian residences significantly increased. New to the United States at that time, frescoed interior walls were crafted for centuries in Europe. In the late ‘90s, Di Stefano went back to Italy once again to meet this demand.

Today, the demand for this application technique is much more common, especially on a high-end residence like the current project. This job took four months and the application was completed ahead of schedule.

“The Venetian plaster craftsmen of East Coast Wall were very cooperative and flexible,” Linthicum says. “They worked simultaneously and in conjunction with the carpenters, drywall installers and wood-working specialists with ease.”

The supplier of the Fresco Venetian products was Franklin Stucco Supply, of Franklin Square, N.Y. The plaster utilized was from the Stucco Veneziano collection, manufactured by Fresco S.r.l., of Castelfranco Veneto, Italy. The finish used was Stucco Veneto. Each area of the residence was custom colored and tinted to the hue required.