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Eighteen foot ceiling advice needed

freezengirl's picture

Hello All,

My husband and I are in the process of building our own house which we also designed.  Slow going for us as dollars, time and energy don't always coincide. We designed our house so that it has an open loft area over the living room, dining area and staircase going up to the second floor.  It is not a vaulted space, just an open two story space.  There are two large inswinging french casement windows at the north and east corners with room at the corner for a fireplace to be installed at a later date.  I am in the process now of final decisions on lighting placement and type.  That is really a challenge!  My concern is that with the extremely high ceilings, the room might feel uncomfortable.  I am trying to address that with the use of color, lighting and woodwork details.  Would any of you have suggestions as to ceiling treatment, color ect. that might help us bring this lofty space down to mere mortal size? Gardening is my forte, not home design! Thank you. 


(post #175939, reply #1 of 2)

If you like gardening then what about placing some plant shelves in strategic locations around (or if it fits even across) the room. You can add "Life" to your home with the plants. Not to mention oxygen. The underside of the shelves could be used for some type of recessed lighting to provide light to the "outer" edges of the room. The shelf is obviously lower than the ceiling hgt. and it could help to break up the expansive feel of the 18' ceiling. Also, making little "alcove" spaces below plant shelves is a good way to "shelter" a space away from the more uncomfortable "expansive" feeling of the large room. I don't remember what particular room the 18' ceiling is in. I am imagining it is a family/great rm. Look up some of the work done and recomended by Sarah Susanka on "Sheltering Around Activity" and this may give you just the inspiration that you need.

Good Luck!

Pendent lighting to bring (post #175939, reply #2 of 2)

Pendent lighting to bring lights (and the perceived ceiling much lower. Often our perception of ceilings stop at the level of the lights. DO NOT use recessed can lights ... at least for major light (and maybe not even occasional light). The other poster's ideas are reasonable, too.

That aside, it seems an unvaulted 2 story space is a bit awkward ... but I can't see what you actually have. Most would have done a sloping roof from the loft to the opposite side or some such to lend that volume some variety. But again, I've no idea the specifics of your configuration.

Doing things to take the edge off this large box volume should be your goal. Windows, shelves, hanging lighting, etc.

There ain't NO free lunch. Not no how, not no where!