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CREATE CONTRAST AND DEPTH WITH KNOCK-DOWN PLASTER


Limewash over knock-down Marmorino plaster walls and ceiling by SuperStrata for Alex P White in Beverly Hills. Photo by Chris Mottalini.

“This process is truly dynamic and can be used on many different surfaces and settings. It works well in modern spaces, as well as more traditional ones. The soft matte finish can endear any surface or space!”

 —SuperStrata artisan Patrick Shoemaker


When talking about sought-after artisan finishes, knock-down plaster is a special technique that creates a luminous, almost rustic look with plenty of texture and contrast. To get that soft matte finish, a lighter-colored limewash is applied over a darker Marmorino plaster and then sanded back to reveal some of the darker basecoat. When the limewash is applied, it reacts with carbon dioxide in the air, resulting in a finish that has a matte appearance with more depth and natural movement than the usual Marmorino plaster.


Read our interview below with Patrick Shoemaker for insights into this special technique and some of the projects that utilize it. 


Earth-tone limewash over knock-down Marmorino walls and light coves by SuperStrata for Alex P White in Beverly Hills. Photo by Chris Mottalini.

Our artisan partner Patrick Shoemaker installed such a finish in two apartments in the same residential building in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Both were designed by Alex P White, and the knock-down plaster finish was done in a greige tone to mimic the concrete ceiling overhead.


As Alex explained his design choices in the first apartment, "I decided to bring the ceiling finish down the walls, wrapping all the rooms in the same textural drama. This makes the spaces feel cozy and epic at the same time, while the moody palette really emphasizes the views to the terrace." 


There was a little less natural light to work with in the second apartment, so the designer leaned into that by creating an almost cavern-like interior complete with walls and built-in shelves finished with the limewash over knock-down plaster and feel as though they were carved out of the walls. Alex has stated before that “low light skimming over textural and seductive materials will always elevate a space,” and we couldn’t agree more when it comes to this unique finish.


1. Greige-tone limewash over knock-down Marmorino plaster wall finish by Patrick Shoemaker with SuperStrata for Alex P White. Photo by Chris Mottalini.

2. Detail of greige-tone limewash over knock-down plaster over built-in bookshelves by Patrick Shoemaker with SuperStrata for Alex P White. Photo by Chris Mottalini.


The same designer sought out SuperStrata to collaborate on a project in Beverly Hills where we installed a warm, earth-tone limewash over knock-down plaster throughout an airy, light-filled residence. SuperStrata founder Jonas Everets also worked with Alex P White to design a solution for the fireplace in the main space of the home. The result: two-story Art Deco inspired cast plaster light coves finished in the same earthy knock-down Marmorino plaster, bringing the appearance of the Southern California desert inside.


In a collaboration with Mia Todd Studio, our artisan Patrick Shoemaker created a limewash over knocked-down Marmorino plaster in many rooms of a Columbus Circle apartment high up in New York’s renowned Time Warner Residence towers. As the home featured magnificent views of the city below, it was ideal to have a finish for the large walls and ceilings that would enhance this by adding texture and depth.



1. Earth-tone limewash over knock-down Marmorino walls and ceiling by SuperStrata for Alex P White in Beverly Hills. Photo by Chris Mottalini.

2. Foyer detail of limewash over knock-down Marmorino by Patrick Shoemaker with SuperStrata for Mia Todd Studio in New York City. Photo by William Jess Laird.




Limewash over knock-down Marmorino walls and ceiling by Patrick Shoemaker with SuperStrata for Mia Todd Studio. Photo by William Jess Laird.

We share some of Patrick Shoemaker’s expertise and thoughts on the knock-down plaster finish in our interview with him:


When finishing the walls and ceilings of such a large, continuous space as the apartment you and SuperStrata collaborated on with Mia Todd Studio, how do you keep the texture of the knock-down plaster consistent and flowing throughout?


The process allows for relatively manageable application on large surfaces, because the material allows for that. We have applied lime to much larger surfaces such as an exterior in Southampton with the same material.


For a downtown New York City apartment that you worked on with SuperStrata, interior designer Alex P White wanted to cover the walls in a knock-down texture to create contrast and mood. How did this particular finish harmonize with the rest of the apartment and add visual interest?


This was a smaller project, so every element in the space had to have a clear voice. The moody, more rustic walls spoke to the modern elements, high gloss black accent wall and doors, and eclectic fabric patterns and textures throughout. Alex really had a clear vision of how all these elements worked together and it shows!


You extended the knock-down plaster with limewash from the walls onto the built-in bookshelf, which truly gives it another dimension. What other architectural surfaces do you envision that could be enhanced by this technique?


This process is truly dynamic and can be used on many different surfaces and settings. It works well in modern spaces, as well as more traditional ones. The soft matte finish can endear any surface or space! 



Greige-tone limewash over knock-down Marmorino walls and built-in shelves by Patrick Shoemaker with SuperStrata for Alex P White in New York City. Photo by Chris Mottalini.





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