I'm building a short stud wall across an alcove, to give us a built in wardrobe. I'm intending to frame the wall with the timber laid out on the ground then to lift the frame into place and secure to the floor and ceiling, with noggins in each.

There is existing original cornice, which we want to keep in the room and continue across the new wall, with as seamless joints as we can reasonably achieve. I have quotes for a company to replicate and make a run of the plaster cornice, so we can get new cornice to do that which matches the existing.

This is the top of the alcove in question: alcove with cornice

My question is whether I can do the job without damaging the existing plaster, or whether that makes it significantly harder to do. I'm imagining a frame with two large inverted corners at the top, to avoid cutting the cornice, but still frame the wall on the floor and lift it in to position.

This is the kind of shape frame I mean: wall frame shape diagram

Are there any major downsides to this approach? I don't want to compromise the job I'm doing so if I have to cut the existing cornice rather than build around it, I will do that, but if possible I'd rather not damage the original cornice.

  • @isherwood It's just that I'm worried about damaging it and then having a bigger problem on my hands- it's 120 year old Victorian plaster cornice, and from what I've read it's a complete nightmare to take it down intact. Seems better to leave it alone, than damage it, but that might just be my sentimentality for old buildings!
    – Josh Heald
    Mar 14, 2017 at 15:18
  • Ah. I didn't understand that it was plaster. I assumed wood, and that the plaster you mentioned was the wall itself. Good luck.
    – isherwood
    Mar 14, 2017 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


The only downside to your approach is the lack of rigidity in the upper end of the frame because of the multiple joints. Once the framing members are secured to the walls and ceiling, this should be largely resolved.

You could strengthen the frame by adding a horizontal member right below the inverted corners, making a large rectangle with a smaller one above it. This should be well above the door frame of the wardrobe.

Edit by asker- Image of my interpretation of answer:

diagram of framing braces

  • Thanks for your answer... I can't add images to this comment so I've taken the liberty of adding on to your answer- is this the kind of thing you mean? Very much not to scale(!) but the inverted corners are about 80cm above the doorframe, and would be outside it as well.
    – Josh Heald
    Mar 14, 2017 at 14:24
  • Just corrected my original post. I meant a horizontal member as shown in your new diagram.
    – bib
    Mar 14, 2017 at 14:42
  • Thanks Bib, that makes more sense with the way you've worded it.
    – Josh Heald
    Mar 14, 2017 at 14:49

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