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If you have a 1930s semi with the original picture rails...

(23 Posts)
HarderToKidnap Wed 17-Jul-13 22:35:57

How high are your ceilings and how high are the picture rails?


7to25 Thu 18-Jul-13 10:00:47

Are you looking to re-instate the picture rails?
Look for evidence of the original height under wall coverings.
I think 1930's picture rails are often proportionally quite low and may be around the height of the top of the door frames.

AGnu Thu 18-Jul-13 10:04:20

We're in a terrace but it's a 30s house & judging on the state of the plaster where someone's removed a bit of picture rail, the rails are original! I'll get a ladder out in a bit & do some measuring for you! smile

MrsJamin Thu 18-Jul-13 11:38:12

Floor to ceiling 240cm, floor to top of picture rail 200cm. We're just about to do renovations and remove them though, I think. We're in a 1935-built semi.

SpringHeeledJack Thu 18-Jul-13 11:39:13

yy, same as MrsJ here

Mandy21 Thu 18-Jul-13 12:43:57

We're 1939 built I think and iirc, they're level with the top of the door frame??!

noisytoys Thu 18-Jul-13 12:53:23

Floor to ceiling 265cm. Floor to picture rail 215cm. We are going to remove our picture rails though to make way for tall furniture.

PigletJohn Thu 18-Jul-13 13:28:57


in a few years someone will be spending a lot of money to restore them

teatimesthree Thu 18-Jul-13 13:30:24

Yes, level with door frames here. I love them!

Mandy21 Thu 18-Jul-13 13:51:21

Crikey I wouldn't be removing them either, love them!

MummytoMog Thu 18-Jul-13 14:10:33

Mine are gone and while I would love to replace them, it's not terribly practical. One of the things that I like about my nice tall ceilings is being able to have nice tall furniture. A bit more difficult if you're working around picture rails. We've built in book cases in our alcoves as well, which would also be a bit tricky with picture rails.

PigletJohn Thu 18-Jul-13 14:14:52

You probably have skirting boards as well, so furniture will never press tightly against the plaster.

a jig saw will trim wall cabs if you feel the need.

MummytoMog Thu 18-Jul-13 14:33:06

Taking a jigsaw to my nice wardrobes? And my beautiful bookcases?

Never going to happen. Actually, the skirting board doesn't interfere all that much (although I did take it out to facilitate a particularly snug wardrobe-alcove fit, I kept it and tucked it under the wardrobe to put back on later). As our house has basically no original features left, we've ended up with quite a scandinavian look, clean walls and lines, kind of modern Arts and Crafts. We're reinstating the original front door pair at some point but probably wouldn't do any more than that (although I am paying an extra grand and a half to have one over three fire doors rather than six panel bleurgh doors).

yomellamoHelly Thu 18-Jul-13 14:35:18

The top of our picture rails are the same as the top of the architrave round the doors - so 2m. Same picture rail throughout (missing in kitchen) but in rear reception we have what is the same as the skirting board on top of the picture rail as a plate shelf.

maillotjaune Thu 18-Jul-13 14:48:20

Ours are at the height of the door frame - top of frame is level with top of picture rail.

HarderToKidnap Thu 18-Jul-13 15:33:42

Thanks everyone! Now I think about it of course height of door frames is the correct height! Yes, looking to put them back in. Ceiling height is 255 which isn't bad. I like the look of painted wall below the picture rail and then white above, and white ceiling. Has anyone got this?

teatimesthree Thu 18-Jul-13 15:58:54

Yes, I do. I think it looks really nice. Grey in the bedroom and grey-blue in the sitting room.

Costypop Thu 18-Jul-13 16:02:42

My 1930 terrace picture rails are at the top of the door. They are the originals too

Costypop Thu 18-Jul-13 16:03:47

Ohh and yes we've got ours painted white above and a duck egg blue below

Bert2e Thu 18-Jul-13 16:15:53

1927: level with the top of the door frame, colour below, white above and white ceilings!

But what I want to know is what do I do in the hallway? The wall with the stairs and up the stairs has been replastered so I have no archaeological data. Where does the picture rail go as you go up the stairs?!

PigletJohn Thu 18-Jul-13 16:41:12

presume the same height above the floor as in the other rooms. It doesn't work above stairs unless you add a pin to the hook to prevent it sliding down, but running rail up the stairway will enable you to continue the decorating scheme. Old hooks have sharp corners at the back to help them grip.

If buying moulding, take a sample old-style picture hook with you to test the fit. It is a triangle of metal bent to an "S" profile. Some people try to sell you dado rail which has no groove at the back so picture hooks will fall off.

btw if the plaster was filled and smoothed rather than hacked off, a fingertip stroking the surface will often enable you to feel where the rail used to be. There may only be nail holes and an irregularity in the paint. I can feel electrical conduit and pipes that have been plastered over, even in a new build where they were not chased out.

superlambanana Fri 19-Jul-13 13:27:55

We have colour below and white above - though we have no choice as the bit of wall above the rail curves onto the ceiling without a corner. I really like it (luckily!).

YonicTheHedgehog Fri 19-Jul-13 13:35:01

Can I but in for a second and ask what the original fireplace is supposed to look like in the back room of a 1930s semi? Ours is a recess built into the chimney breast with what looks like a coal fire hole, pictures would be really useful smile

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