Credit: Warren Bond Photography
Credit: Norm Tessier Cabinets
Above & Beyond
Beams can off set recessed lighting or speakers that otherwise “float” in the field of the ceiling, but designers must consider ceiling height before implementing designs. Standard 8-foot ceilings are usually too low to add dropped accents.
The National Kitchen & Bath Association says that detailed ceilings were among the “architecturally artistic” trends seen in the 2011 NKBA Design Competition entries. Remodelers say that form and function are equally important considerations for these overhead elements.
Carl Seville, owner of Seville Consulting, recalls a coffered ceiling he designed. The detail did more than simply draw the eye — it concealed an eyesore. “The house had a hefty beam that happened to go across the middle of the kitchen,” he says. “To design around it, I dropped the tray around the perimeter of the room and put coffers in the middle. One covers the beam, and the rest are decorative.”
Seville notes that a coffered ceiling can be time-consuming and sometimes pricey to create if carpenters are building from scratch. Norm Tessier Cabinets, in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., custom-crafts its own beams at a cost of about $65 per foot. The U-shaped, solid plywood beams can conveniently accommodate electrical runs.
Designer Jennifer Beavers at Norm Tessier Cabinets says that design staff usually bring up the idea of using beams in a project. “A lot of times, ceiling beams are something the homeowner has never thought about,” she says, “but they’re often very open to it. Beams help draw the ceiling into the room and make it feel inviting without being stuffy.”
Both remodelers note that not all ceilings are high enough for these details. “Once you’re at 9 feet, you can start dropping sections comfortably,” Seville says.
—Lauren Hunter, associate editor, REMODELING.