The Value of Small Details: Tin Ceilings

Have you ever walked into an older building only to have your eyes immediately go to the ceiling? The intricate patterns in tin ceilings easily captures the attention of visitors because of the attention to detail, and the uniqueness of the designs. Tin ceilings, popularized during the Victorian era, are still present in many Chicago-area homes and buildings, and leave as big of an impression now, as then.


Tin ceilings were introduced to North America in the late 1800’s as a more affordable version of the elaborate plasterwork that was common in European design at the time. The beautiful patterns that were created on tin were seen as sophisticated, but also happened to be readily available. Tin ceiling sheets became pieces of mass-production in 1890, which allowed them to become much more accessible and reach a broader range of homeowners and business owners. Despite tin ceilings being mass-produced each style of tin ceiling has its own unique flavor and feel. The patterns present on the ceiling sheets pictured are only so representative of the many patterns that were produced during that time.
While being a cheaper alternative to plasterwork tin also happens to be extremely resilient. If not exposed to moisture damage tin ceilings would be look basically the same as when they were made. But because damage can sometimes be inevitable during the course of a building’s lifetime, restoration of tin ceilings has become very important – to help keep preserve the craftsmanship and feel of the original design.


This gold tin ceiling is actually from Realty of Chicago‘s nest office in Pilsen, Chicago, located at 1118 W 18th St. Pilsen’s building are full of many references to the trends of the Victorian era which when they were being built, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. This means that many homes, and buildings, in the area are full of unique and interesting details like tin ceilings and other trend designs of the time. It is very cool to see such a uniquely crafted design element preserved and still being admired over a hundred years after its creation.

When checking out an older property be sure look at the smaller details, you’ll be surprised how many original elements are still preserved (and looking great) in many homes and buildings today.

I love to share my love for architectural details and designs through my Instagram. Would you want to see more pictures like the above from my journey as an agent? Join in on my adventure!

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