The Decorated Ceiling – It’s All in the Details

The Decorated Ceiling – It’s All in the Details

Many of us love the “charm” of an older home – one built before 1930.  For the most part what we’re responding to is the architectural detailing that comes from building without stock parts and without a production mentality.  In today’s home, such detailing is no less desirable – whether it’s funky, traditional, or rustic.

Funky:

Painted Lumber Hide Electrical Wires
Painted Lumber Hide Electrical Wires

In my sculpture studio, above, I used painted lumber to hide electrical wires – both to the fluorescent fixtures and to the low voltage track lighting.  This action was actually a cost savings action; it was cheaper to hide the wires behind lumber than to fish them through old plaster ceilings.  Even adding the additional decorative lumber – one of the legs of the large angle plus the 4 cross pieces – was cheaper than fishing the wires through the ceiling.  The labor of painting the lumber was my sweat equity.  2 additional cost savings actions – seen above and below – included (1) a piece of ¼” luan to hide the hole created where we took down a wall – painted bright aqua, and (2) a graphic painted on the wall and ceiling to disguise a ceiling that’s badly out of level.  The white railing is hung level (used as a flexible hanging rail for both pictures and shelving).  It’s 5” closer to the ceiling at its end than at the corner.  The bright graphic helps disguise this flaw of a hundred year old building.

Graphics Disquise Sloped Ceiling
Graphics Disquise Sloped Ceiling

The ceiling of Spin Pizza, below, again uses raw lumber to hide a mish-mash of ceiling elements.  The overall effect is actually calming in it’s randomness.  Read article

Ceiling Spin Pizza
Ceiling Spin Pizza


Traditional
:

A soffit is often used to help define areas within a room.  In the rendering, below, I plan to use a soffit to define a foyer in a home in Bethesda, MD where the front door opens directly into the living room.  The new foyer is defined on one side by a stained glass panel and on the other side by a new coat closet and an alcove with a door to a new powder room.  By painting the soffit a dark charcoal and the walls of the foyer a darker gray than the rest of the living room, the foyer feels enclosed.  You get a feeling of expansion as you walk into the living room.  A stone floor in the foyer completes the look.  The stone floor and outfitted coat closet allows the foyer to functions as a mud room entry.

Soffit used To Define Foyer
Soffit used To Define Foyer

In the photo, below, a gentle pearl color on the sloped ceiling and cove lighting give a special effect.

Soft Pearl Ceiling Highlighted With Cove Lighting
Soft Pearl Ceiling Highlighted With Cove Lighting

And below we, again, use a darker color on the soffit of a faux tray ceiling.

Dark Soffit Helps Define Tray Ceiling
Dark Soffit Helps Define Tray Ceiling

A 3-part crown molding sets off the ceiling, below, in a 1905 vernacular farmhouse.

3-Part Crown Molding
3-Part Crown Molding

Rustic or Country:

Wood plank ceilings are a common element in rustic construction.  Below are two images from a blog posting on cottage style from completely-costal.com.  Go to the original post and notice that almost all the ceilings are decorated – usually with painted or unpainted wooden planks.

Painted Plank Ceiling
Painted Plank Ceiling
Painted Plank Ceiling
Painted Plank Ceiling

Whichever style makes sense for your home, special details on the ceiling or that frame the ceiling can lend immeasurable charm to your home.

Images courtesy of Braitman Design/Build unless noted.



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