19 April 2011

Getting on the Grid

There are many elements of the bones of our home to like and appreciate, but it can't be said that the architectural detailing is one of them.  Outside of the pressed plaster crown moulding in the dining room and office (which admittedly is lovely), there are precious few details anywhere in the house that give it character, grace or distinguished good looks.

In particular, our living room is especially lacking in the charm department.  We have the advantage of 6 huge windows which bring in loads of natural light, and a relatively decent walnut-colored floor that has seen better days (rambunctious dogs and high gloss wood floors do not mix well) but otherwise the entryways, back door and fan placement on the ceiling make it challenging to arrange furniture or inject personality into the space.  We feel as though we've done a relatively decent job of creating a layout in the room that is comfortable, functional and pretty, but it's not enough.  We need something bigger - more impactful - to give this room some OOOOMPH!

Enter: the tray ceiling.  It came to me a few weeks back while staring at the ceiling and pondering what to do with the hideous ceiling fans: what if - and just hear me out, now - what if we created our own vaulted ceiling?  The room is entirely white, and the walls of white curtains make it feel cozy and artistic but hardly add anything architecturally to the room.  Why not stop lamenting the lack of existing details and just create some on our own??  Brilliant!

It took some work to get buy-in from hubby, but he seems to be now on board with the plan: the base of the tray will be comprised of MDF boards that are 5/8ths thick and 4" wide.  The top layer will be 3.5" boards around the perimeter and 3" boards in the centre grid.  The question was: what kind of grid did we want?

At 13.5 feet by 20 feet, the room is a considerable size.  The fans are placed a bit awkwardly (where I would have placed them at one third and two thirds, they were installed at one quarter and three quarters.  Not ideal, but not unmanageable.  But what design would look best?

First we considered this:

But after careful consideration we felt it was too busy and would make the room feel cramped, like the ceiling was falling in on us.  Dramatic?  Maybe.  But it led us to this:

Which was better, but still not quite right.  Third time's the charm?

Getting closer, but something was still itching at me.  What was lacking in the first three options was a good sense of symmetry, and a pleasing placement for those darn fans!  After much hemming and hawing, it finally struck me: the perfect design.  Here's what's going up:

Making a feature of the fans by framing them in obviously means we'll need new ones that are a bit more showy, and definitely more up to date.  I'm up to the challenge of shopping for them.  There is the prefect amount of definition that allows the design to be seen but not become overwhelming, and it's chock full of character!  Now to get cutting, painting and installing!