In a country where wallpaper has never caught on to the extent that it has in northern Europe, Gotelé is the Spanish equivalent to woodchip wallpaper or “popcorn” effects on ceilings and walls.
Gotelé is a stippled, or stucco, effect that is used on mainly white walls to give a uniform texture of small lumps or granules, and it has been widely used on Spanish walls and ceilings for several decades. The arrival of plaster board and a general falling out of fashion has reduced its use recently, but there’s still plenty around and Lanzarote got more than it’s fair share.
If you have a home with Gotelé on the walls, you’ll face a couple of problems. The first problem is whether you still like it or not. Most people can live with it, but there’s definitely been a backlash against it in recent years, just as there was against woodchip wallpaper. Unfortunately, if you don’t like it at all, you’ll probably need a professional plasterer to come to the rescue, and it’ll be an expensive job.
The other problem is how to repair it. Many of us will do various DIY jobs on our walls, sinking screws here and there or moving a plug or light fitting. It’s only when you come to patch up the damage that you realise that it’s not easy to replicate that lumpy Gotelé effect.
Some decorators can do it perfectly, using the compressed air spray guns that the stuff is applied with in the first place, but you might not want to hire a professional for a few square inches.
In this case, it’s possible to buy aerosol cans that can roughly approximate the original effect.
THE GOTELÉ YEARS
Gotelé is associated with Spain’s boom in construction of the 1960s and 70s. Quickly-built homes, sometimes of inferior quality, chose the effect because it camouflages cracks, imperfections and unevenness.
However, in recent years Gotelé has fallen out of fashion, with many house buyers actively avoiding flats which feature it. They believe it’s old-fashioned and is an emblem of a Spain they no longer wish to be associated with.
But every backlash has another backlash, and a new generation of young people who grew up in Gotelé homes, are celebrating the nostalgia of the effect.
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