Monday, June 25, 2012

Wood Craft: Ceiling Beams & Cabinets

The great room ceiling beams are in place at last!
We spent a lot of time brain-storming on the design of these beams, almost as much time as we spent trying to find just the right height for the clerestory - how high, how many, what shape - not too curvy and not too fussy - something that would evoke a simple ranch style - so it was exciting to see them in place, just had we had imagined they would look.

These beams are not actually holding anything up - they are simply a nod to building techniques of the past.  But they are transforming the space, drawing attention to the clerestory windows, and adding structural interest. 

The other rooms in the main house have a different type of decorative beam.  The ceilings are not vaulted, so the beam design is based on a simple grid pattern.

Our builder drew the pattern for each room on the windows for easy reference!
Equally exciting was the arrival of some of the built-ins.

I love the cabinet on the left.  It's an "appliance garage" (to hide the microwave and coffee maker), inspired by a photo of a Mexican cabinet that I had in my idea file. 

To design the built-ins for the kitchen, the dining area, and the master bedroom, I started with the wall measurements and graph paper, making each little square equal to six inches.  In keeping with our theme of an old house, we wanted to kitchen cabinets to vary in design, as if they were collected over time.  This corner piece will be stained instead of painted to match the other built-ins.

 Figuring out the cabinet placement is not as difficult as it might sound - the appliance measurements for the pieces we ordered (fridge, sinks, range, etc.) are on-line.  They go in place first on the graph paper, and then the cabinets fit around them. Pinterest and my handy idea file of old magazine clippings supplied ideas for different styles of doors and drawers.  And after more than 30 years of cooking, I found I had a fairly good idea of what would be convenient for me, and also what might work best for more than one cook in this space.
I gave my drawings to the cabinet maker who modified them to fit exactly, and then sent me these large scale drawings for approval.  It was fun, and it allowed me to try out some new ideas!


  1. Those beams are beautiful! I also love the idea of varying the kitchen cabinet design. It's so cool to see this all come together.