The setting is when? (I assisted designed this show once, wait a minute...) 1830's London - depending upon your director's interpitation of the script. House model? Thought it was an apartment abouts the pie/barber shop, and in a rundown section of fleet street. Think Tennament housing and do your research into it about London in the 19th century. Get some pictures or painting that are period or slightly later and base your ideas off such things. Even American turn of the century depending upon the influence this might have in your design. Rember it's a ficticious play requiring the suspension of disbelief so if you think adding cornace or crown molding is going to be period or create the effect, who cares if it is accurate to the time line.
Here would be some more in-dept info about it. First, since it's reasonably expected that a tennement house/apartment is not going to be of new construction, we can expect that the building will have been built at least 50 years earlier. It's London so we can also expect that research into timber frame hjousing and vernacular architecture of Europe much less Britian is not going to be of much use. Nor is a study into castles. Vernacular architecture might be of some use but in a more decorated and city way. This is not an easy topic considering 18th century slums for interior design. "Oh' what do the simple folk do" from Camalot comes to mind in the quandry about architectural and interior design styles of this period. It's not a hovel, especially with what's expected about Mrs Lovett being fairly well able, at least early on to make a happy home. What decorates it and it's molding would be part of it. Perhaps even if not in style, she will have added it early on before she had to do the day to day business things to survive an no longer had time to decorate. Still the dream of her home as it was would linger for her even if cob webs and peeling plaster, paint or wall paper have become the norm. How about doing research into Queen Ann design style interiors, colors and patterns? Tudor houses and buildings, it's all in interior design books, but as for the molding, wood would be very expensive and will have if even used been plastered over. Large accents but refined and subtle. In other words, a large Dia. arc to the molding would be cheaper if of plaster than of wood.
Another solution would be to imply more height and not use any molding, just end the wall in blackness. Kind of a debate, do you imply a ceiling with molding or not?
Anyway, what period you design, your style and visions for the set more dictate what's peroid and appropriate than anything else. No, normal molding would not work specific to the play. But who is to say that if you find a photo of some immigrent tennament in Chicago or New York, that it won't work with the play when you interpite it into the show? What does the molding style say about the charactors might be a valad question but more importantly what use in the set's overall impact does it have when saying something about the crazy old lady?
Time to do a sketch, or three. Does your setting need to imply a ceiling, does it need to even help say society by way of short wall height is crashing in and is the reason for driving them crazy, or is this room some kind of heaven for them, high ceilings and all. Unless your can reproduce some glammor thru high ceilings to this no doubt small room, perhaps implying they go off into space would be better.
This is not a house and especially some Victorian home your mom would dream of living in. Recognize it's a different architectural style and much earlier period at least in theory. Even if more modern and perhaps Painted Lady in style, what statement or help is the set going to give or what is it going to say about the people that inhabit it? For reality, perhaps something big and plaster, but most likely there would have been no cornace or trim other than at doors. What style that took is a side bar that's worth at least 2 hours of research. Than if you choose to use what you find because it fits your picture, great. Otherwise what does your mental image say? What do you want to say about the batty lady? Would she have crown molding, if so would it be painted or stained and what condition would it be in?
Perhaps do some thinking about Mrs Lovett. When did she move in? Perhaps she had a husband and she was decorating her nest while not serving tables with his pies. He will have been doing the financial stuff until death, than suddenly it was all hers. Would she carry on the way he had or would you want to make some statement about how she runs her business with how much paperwork and lack of care is left about where she does desk work? Does she have time to change the wall paper every 10 years much less paint or run a dust rag now that she is alone? When she moved in what is some vibrant apartment that now is run down or was it a tennament slum? Such questions are those for the designer of the piece. If a happy yuppie place, than it will have perhaps had all the bells and whistles of molding. If not, why waste the manhours on labor in plastering a cornice? If she has some, what about water leaks over the years? Granted her business is a success, would she invest in getting the roof patched than repairing walls that show from leaks, or would she even notice some chipping plaster? We can at least initially expect she had some design concept, does she retain it?
I love design, hopefully this helps you to write the story of this charactor as it reflects upon the design cocept of her.
Wow! 8O My simple mind could not have thought of all those angles to look at something such as molding. Thank you very much. I really have not been instructed to think like that but i dont know if you can be. I hope that i can start to think like that before i start college.