My Google-foo is not working well today, as I was not able to come up with any learned articles on this decorative technique, so I will simply tell you what I have seen and what I have heard.
In some of the Spanish homes in Glendale and Pasadena the walls and ceilings have fanciful borders of flowers, garlands and curlicues. The designs are reminiscent of the decorations on a fancy wedding cake, hence the name. in fact, I’ve been told that craftsmen would actually pipe the plaster onto the wall using the same tools as the baker.
There is an exceptional example of this art at 1201 N. Howard in the Rossmoyne. This is a heartstoppingly beautiful Spanish and the picture, above, is the master bedroom. The cream oval is inside a ring of flowers and ribbons. Here is a close up shot:
Kind of reminds me of a Tiffany Box.
Anyhoo, I wonder if this technique is unique to our little corner of the world? Perhaps some under utilized craftsperson was working in the home building industry in the 1920’s and this was his unheralded contribution to the architectural style of the day. Or maybe my Google-foo is just off today and there is lots of information and background.
If you have this sort of decoration in your Glendale home I encourage you to make it stand out! It is a detail of a bygone era of craftsmanship and it never fails to impress the buyers.