Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ceilings, don't forget!

One thing European architects and designers do well, in history and today, is consider the entire envelope. Not just walls and floors of an interior, but ceilings as well. Here in the states, so often we paint the ceiling white, stick a fixture up there (that hopefully isn't overly offensive) and install all manner of ductwork and fire equipment because 'no one ever looks up there'.
People do look up and a ceiling is as important as any other surface! I think these 3 images from my travels prove that point (in formal and ornate ways) - who could NOT notice these efforts? The first thing people tend to notice with memorable interior designers are their ceiling treatments: Real estate agents always will point out crown moldings and any decorative beams. It shows an attention to detail. Don't think no one will notice ill-placed air vents, sprinkler system heads or home depot light fixtures!First image: Royal palace private apartments: Naples, Italy.
Second: underside of archway in St. Germaine, Paris - at the end of the Pont Neuf.
Third: private palazzo entryway (under restoration) in Naples, Italy.


Ted said...

Its really amazing that the old century people make this great arts in cielings

Blue said...

Ceilings, outside of commercial interiors, are the most unconsidered areas of a room. Who could do this kind of thing nowadays? At best, in residential interiors, there's a high-gloss ceiling usually white but occasionally in color. More and more ceilings are nothing but vehicles for the most unflattering lighting ever invented.

Some of my favorite are the late Medieval period's pargetted ceilings and then the Baroque plaster ceilings.

La Maison Fou said...

Just beautiful; I guess when decorating ceilings the sky really is the limit!
Happy Holidays!

pve design said...

I shall think of you when I look up!

Terry said...

At last weekend's loft tour the best thing in a loft was a chunk of tin ceiling from a Victorian house, maybe 2' by 6', just a chunk. Visitors just gravitated to it. I hope the rest of the ceiling is in appreciative hands.

home before dark said...

Take up the pulpit and preach this sermon! Let's face it: white cottage cheese ceilings may well be our ages' contribution when the last archaeological dig is done. What a loss. In my own home, built in 1968 without a soupcon of grace, I have begun my own project of icing my ceilings with layers drywall compound (you can bet your buttons asbestos is in the original cottage cheese) to resemble stucco and finishing them by painting them gold and then multiple gold glazes. I like the way the light bounces off them. In the evening it looks like candlelight. Maybe not for anyone else, but I like it!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Blue, Often one sees decorative beams and things now in high end residences, but generally only in public areas and kitchens. A lot of modern European architects seem to be considering the ceiling though which is heartening. I love color on ceilings -my own bathroom ceiling is painted the same deep blue as the wall in my apartment and it makes all the difference!

Maison - sky's the limit! HA!

Terry -any picture? How did they deal with such a small portion of ceiling in what I'm guessing is a large space?

HBD - sounds magnificent! What a great idea - love the gilding!

Karena said...

So many Americans have white painted ceilings. There are many ways to change this up, perhaps not as elaborate, color is huge though!

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

A heavenly post. The ceiling of my kitchen is a smokey lavender and it is the thing most who visit comment on.
Warmest regards,

michèle said...

I love the fist photo! Having gold leafed several ceilings - hard work but well worth it - it changes the whole space and becomes an integral part of the room - the ceiling also reflects the light of lamps and candles and makes the room glow.
great idea!

lady jicky said...

Love them but .... you do need high ceilings! LOL

The first one is delish with all that gold going on!


That first ceiling! It's gorgeous. But oh, the positions one must contort themselves into to get anything up there! Even things that would be easy enough to execute on a wall require another level of dedication entirely on a ceiling. But as you show in these pictures, it's clearly worth it.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Karena, I know - americans seem scared of colored ceilings though for some reason!

Romantic -your kitchen sounds delightful!

michele - I so agree. Just imagine a candlelit dinner in that room -it's a room meant for a party!

Lady Jicky - I think ornate ceilings need a tall space, but a small cozy room is beautiful with coffers, beams or painted finishes!

Indecorous -I would LOVE to see your variation on that first ceiling,I have a feeling it would be amazing! But I'm with you -it would be a pain (literally!).

Renee Finberg said...

i am in complete agreement with you.
and these examples are beautiful.

Jenn said...

You are so right about this -- Few things disturb me more than a slapped together home consisting of paper-thin white drywall from top to bottom, a brassy fluorescent overhead light and wall-to-wall carpeting.

Ceilings like these, and even their far simpler cousins with molding and beams, demonstrate that someone took pride in their work and "gets" the whole package.

Style Court said...

Stefan, I'll think of you every time I look up now too.

Thanks for your comment on my last post. You brilliantly articulated what I neglected to get across. Really captured what was in my head.

Happy Holidays!


Lynne Rutter said...

hear hear! i'm on a mission to banish blank white ceilings. and no, you do not have to lie on your back to paint or gild them.

soodie :: said...

You're so right about the ceilings! even if we slathered on a solid color it makes an enormous difference. i grew up with Pierre-Deux-style wall paper on the ceiling with matching cafe curtains on the windows and off white walls (early 80s in the kitchen). now, that is nothing compared to your beautiful european examples, but just a hint of something in a plain-jane room can make all the difference in the world.