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November 10, 2010

R-E-S-P-E-C-T Your Ceiling!

Filed under: ceilings — Tags: , , — jherzlinger @ 4:18 am

Unattenuated ceilings are the bain of my interiors existence!

Ask yourself: Why do floors and walls get all the attention when ceilings are left behind and forgotten? It happens all the time; I go to a gorgeous home, look up and see the excitement of the space come to a grinding halt… they forgot the ceiling. And folks this isn’t like a bad sweater that’s can hide in the back of your closet until your next garage sale, if you forget your ceiling it is left in the open for everyone to see. Think about it – ceilings have the same square footage as your floor, so make sure that when you put a fabulous wood parquet on the floor, that your ceiling gets the same respect.

During the Gothic and Baroque periods, the ceiling was arguably the most important part of the space, originating in church architecture. Gothic architecture features complex buttressing systems that were made to support extremely tall ceilings with ribbed vaulting, which became the signature of Gothic. This is basically an architectural style designed solely to increase verticality and support complex ceiling systems. After the Renaissance period with the move away from religion and the support of the assertion of the self, the ecclesiastical world had to think of some way to get people back to churches. The glitz and glam of Baroque was created. Baroque was similar to Gothic in that is used classical components like tall columns and geometric patterning to increase vertically and draw the eye UP. The ceiling would usually feature advanced trompe l’oeil (meaning “to fool the eye”) paintings of heavenly scenes with gold gilding and high relief sculptures. This required the most expert of artists from painters to sculptures and could be the most precious and costly item in the space. Sistine Chapel anyone? I think you get the point.

Basically I am saying that the ceiling is NOT something to forget and is really a design opportunity that will add another layer to your space. You can start designing your ceiling by doing a little research about the style of your house. Panelings and coffering are classical design features that have been used since the time of the Roman Empire, but is still being made new all the time. Try something graphic with a repetition of shapes using panel molding. Don’t have a second story? Consider installing a skylight. If you are going for a more minimal look, check out the work of Carlos Scarpa – he frequented a technique of disconnecting the walls, ceilings and floor and made the surfaces all appear as if they were floating. A rosette or even ornamented detail around your chandelier/ceiling connection is better than nothing. Experiment with color and surface finishes. IF you are lucky, you might have a flooring design that can be mimicked on the ceiling. No matter what your house style is, there is a ceiling design that will compliment your home. That ceiling needs some respect!

No bad examples today (because it is likely you have already seen too many) - just great ceiling inspirations.

Use mirror – it is so easy!

See the rug detail – see the ceiling detail?

If you are going for a super modern or industrial look – expose the plenum and see what you think.

A crossword puzzle? Why not!

This is an example from my work – I combined a coffered ceiling AND a skylight. Really lightens up the space don’t you think?

Go Kelly, go!

This is my dining room and here you can see an example of the floating ceiling where the walls and ceiling are not connected. That simple metallic strip down the center makes a statement as well.

Of course they are tons are of great examples but this can be your starting point. Have a great rest of the week. Check back Friday!

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