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Groin Ceiling Week: Ann Onusko

January 17, 2011 19 Comments by Regina

Groin Ceiling Week begins today and I could not be more excited! Groin ceilings are a type of vaulted ceiling where two barrel vaults intersect at ninety degree angles. They are also referred to as Cross Vault ceilings. Vaulted ceilings have been traced as far back as Ancient Egypt and they are more aesthetically pleasing than the standard ceilings seen more commonly today. However, today’s artist was inspired by their use in Europe. We start our week with an homage to Italy from Ann Onusko of Great Lakes Decorative Arts Studio in Ohio.

Ann Onusko has a well-traveled life. Throughout her adventures, she’s seen groin ceilings like these (please click to enlarge):

When a boutique cafe named Isola Bella opened, she found herself with a unique opportunity to incorporate her love of Europe into her work. There were two groin ceilings and each was going to have a different finish. She had four weeks from start to finish — a tall order since it included a slew of work on other surfaces as well. As she said when I spoke to her: “It was sooo much fun!” I think we can all relate to that statement!

Here’s the ceiling when Ann & crew took over from the plaster guy. You can sneak a peek at her sample board here.

She first primed and basecoated the ceiling twice. Then she started on three custom-colored plaster layers: ochre and lapis blue for the first and the subsequent ones were white and lapis blue. The designs were both free-handed and helped along with mylar stencils they cut. The ceiling was overglazed at the end to tie all the layers together and knock back the brightness.

The second ceiling was referred to as the “Chocolate Dome” as they sold Marie Bell chocolates at the counter located under it. The ceiling came together with several layers of products. It featured vignettes in the centers of each side and the four corners.

Using plasters, Modellos, schaibin and other materials to complete the project.

Finished Groin pre-Light Fixture.

Here are close-ups of two of the vignettes (please click to enlarge). See one of the corners here.

I love projects like these! Ann has two beautiful blogs: Rose et Lis and the daily PlumSiena, the latter which has a Facebook Fan Page. Please be sure to check those out — she has wonderful sensibilities and frequently includes her love of gardening among them. She can also be found via her website, Great Lakes Decorative Arts Studio, in which she currently teaches private classes and will have a curriculum start up again in the Summer. Thank you, Ann, for starting our Groin Ceiling Week in a beautiful, creative way! Tomorrow we explore various artists — and a company that made beautiful ornamental work more accessible for our industry.


Day 1 – Current Post
Day 2 – Groin Ceiling Week: Modello Designs
Day 3 – Groin Ceiling Week: Krista Vind
Day 4 – Groin Ceiling Week: Nathalie Nielsen
Day 5 – Groin Ceiling Week: Jeff Huckaby

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  1. Mindy Harrell
    1435 days ago

    Wow! This is truly inspiring! Stunning is all I can say!!!!

  2. krista
    1435 days ago


    Fantastic, Ann!

  3. Theresa Cheek
    1435 days ago

    BELLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love her work.

  4. Darrell morriosin
    1435 days ago

    Wow those ceiling are massive, I’d love to see what they look in the grand scheem of things. I recently worked on a groin type ceiling, they are an amazing amount of work. Congradutions to you both for writing the post and creating such lovely work.


  5. Dana Tucker
    1435 days ago

    Now this is why I love Fauxology! I see something amazing and inspiring every time I visit. Ann, BEEYOUtiful work. Regina, thanks for packaging and delivering it in such a delightful way.

  6. Melanie Royals
    1434 days ago

    Lovely images! I That elongated groin ceiling is simply amazing. remember that Modello Designs project in the Chocolate Dome” from years ago. There is a small picture of it in Modello by Design, Vol. 1. Ann is a great talent. I hope that those groin ceilings are still being enjoyed at the mall!!

  7. E. Lee Jahncke Mead
    1434 days ago

    I am speechless! Stunning work! Way to go Ann!

  8. helen morris
    1434 days ago

    This was just lovely. The kind of inspiring eye candy a person needs at the end of a long day. What a talent.
    Thank you.

  9. Debbie Hayes
    1434 days ago

    Don’t have the words!

  10. Rachel Sejas
    1434 days ago

    Amazing job! Thanks for sharing the step by step photos.

  11. Ann @ Plumsiena
    1434 days ago

    Thank you for the kind words.

    I can’t take all of the credit, though. It takes a team!

  12. Sharon Leichsenring
    1434 days ago

    A true European feel, Ann.
    Appreciate being able to share step-by-step.

  13. PJ Hoover
    1279 days ago

    some of the most inspirational ceilings I have seen to date, love the rough around the edges ole’ world feel

  14. Alex A
    1059 days ago

    Very nice work…. You should also check out this Charlotte Artist – Veni’s Murals – You will like him too!

5 Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Darrell Morrison. Darrell Morrison said: RT @danatucker: Amazingly beautiful groin ceiling finishes on @fauxology today. Prepare to be inspired. [...]

  2. By Calling All Powder Rooms! | Fauxology on January 27, 2011 at 3:02 am

    [...] Ann!? We’ll be contacting you with further details on your feature.? Look forward to seeing your beautiful work in Pittura Magazine.? Please be sure, dear Readers, to not miss that issue by signing up here for [...]

  3. By Pittura Magazine Launches! | Fauxology on March 8, 2011 at 3:03 am

    [...] article on Using Facebook Pages for Business (Page 100) — be sure to check them out.  Also, Ann Onusko was chosen to be profiled in the magazine via our Powder Room Week series (Page 29).  We see some [...]

  4. By Groin Ceiling Week: Modello Designs | Fauxology on April 22, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    [...] 1 – Groin Ceiling Week: Ann Onusko Day 2 – Current Post Day 3 – Groin Ceiling Week: Krista Vind Day 4 – Groin [...]

  5. By A Call to Columns | Fauxology on April 22, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    [...] The artists are chosen from the submissions received.  We’ve previously covered Elevators, Groin Ceilings and Powder Rooms. Those links take you to the first day of that specific week and there is a list [...]

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