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Wood Ceiling in Kitchen/Breakfast Room

do_ron_ron's picture

Hello,  This is the first time I have posted a message here so be kind:).  I have a number of friends that have used this site for help and I figured I would get it a whirl.  I have been subscribing to Ffine homebuilding for the past 5 years and love the magazine and the info it provides.  I am looking forward to this forum because of the interactive nature here.  My latest project idea I want to share and looking for some design advice has to do with my kitchen and breakfast room area.  The combined room size is approximately 11 by 25 feet with standard 8 foot ceilings.  I am currently considering installing a wood T&G with a V-groove at each joint and staining it.  Are there any design rules regarding ceiling height for this type of ceiling.  I am concerned about the room being too dark after I do this work and looking for some advice here.  There are only a couple of windows in this room.  For lighting I am planning to install recessed lights. 


(post #175863, reply #1 of 16)

Until others respond, I'll just give you my thoughts, for the two cents their worth: I don't think there are any rules as to ceiling height for what you propose. Recessed lights will not help with making the ceiling lighter--very little light will be reflected from surfaces and back up to the celing. (With pendants or surface mounted, you would get light bouncing off the ceiling, which would make it seem less dark.) It also depends on what color and material the other surfaces in that area are. Carpet, for instance will make it dark as opposed to white vinyl.

It may make the area more intimate, but it is a pretty large area. What about just using the T & G wood over the breakfast area (and not the kitchen)? This would help define that area and make it more intimate.

Lastly, it depends on the finish and color of stain on the wood, as well as how pronounced the grain on the wood is, as to how dark it will look, . Walnut will look a lot darker than say birch (birch and maple and some others also have a sort of internal glow of their own called chatoyance which helps brighten them) and a grainy wood will seem darker than a wood that is more homogeneous.

(post #175863, reply #2 of 16)

This idea of installing a birch or maple wood ceiling is interesting.  Most beaded ceiling products are made from either pine, fir, or cedar.  I was inclined to install a fir product but I am now (based on your suggestion) will consider birch or maple.  I would need to purchase standard T&G flooring and then route the edges to get the desired V-groove I am interested in.   I currently have cherry cabinetry and plan to install random width strip cherry (American) flooring in this room.   I could also repeat this theme on the ceiling (any thoughts)   I also agree with your suggestion to cover only one area (either the breakfast room or kitchen.  In some ways I would be smart to cover the breakfast room area with wood because the plumbing lines for the upstairs bathrooms (two) are located in the kitchen ceiling area.   

(post #175863, reply #3 of 16)

I agree about the wisdom of keeping the ceiling in the kitchen as drywall. Another idea I had for the breakfast area would be to install the wood on a dropped frame--would make the area even more "set apart."

Another idea would be to build it as part of a light fixture, perhaps even hanging from chains maybe a foot below the 8' drywall ceiling and make it a grid with the lights shining down from above it. A grid of cedar or fir or other relatively dark wood would not be as dark-looking as solid planking. However, it sounds like you really want the v-groove look. Maybe a frame of two pieces of v-groove boards at the borders, then the dropped grid below. I'm just thinking out loud--lots of possibilities!

Oh, you could do the dropped ceiling idea for the kitchen; make it removable so if you ever needed to get access to the plumbing, you just pull the ceiling off of the hangers. Also, you wouldn't be screwing into areas where you might hit a pipe. Kitchens sometimes have lower ceilings at the height off the top of the cupboards instead of having soffits above the cupboards.

I still think the wood over the breakfast area is best--in a kitchen it may get greasy, and in the breakfast area it would help define the space.

(post #175863, reply #4 of 16)

Thanks for the suggestions.   The bummer about the wood ceiling idea is I just finished the ceiling drywall in the breakfast area.  The wood ceiling idea came later and I was planning to install it in the kitchen but for grease and location of plumbing lines I am hesitant.  If I decide to stay with the wood in the kitchen making it easily removable is key.  Are you aware of any references/resources for this type of installation.  I have done some thinking about highlighting the area above the kitchen table with a wood accent.  Your latest note is stretching my limited thinking, which is good.  There are so many options!

(post #175863, reply #6 of 16)

Don't know of any references. Maybe if you post on Knots, the woodworkers there will have ideas or references.

(post #175863, reply #7 of 16)

Thanks for the good ideas.  I have officially abandoned the idea of a wood ceiling in the kitchen (grease) in favor of an accent wood ceiling above our table in the breakfast room.  I am currently planning to attach the wood ceiling on top of the drywall and nailed to the joints.  The size of he accent will be about 5 by 7 feet and will help to draw attention to a ceiling mounted light we plan to purchase from Rejuvenation.  I have not decided on the wood (looking into the possibility of beech or old growth cypress.  If it proves to be too expensive I will likely settle on fir at a local lumber yard.  You are right about my preference for V-groove between the boards.  I have simple/plain style of decorating.  If you can imagine what I am trying to do here then I am wondering if this is a sound plan?



(post #175863, reply #8 of 16)

Your plan sounds fine to me. If the wood doesn't butt against walls, you could just use some nice trim (even something as simple as quarter round or plywood cap) to frame the part that doesn't butt into walls so you dont see end grain of the boards.

(post #175863, reply #9 of 16)

Wow Danno,

This is great advice and provides wonderful ideas for people like me.  I've been wanting to do something to differentiate the eating area from the rest of a small kitchen with a very low ceiling.

Using wood right at the same level as the ceiling but only above the ceiling area is a fabulous idea and certainly easier than changing all the flooring, which I like and would mean a costlier and more involved job.  :)




(post #175863, reply #10 of 16)

Thanks, glad I could help.

(post #175863, reply #5 of 16)

Agree that folks forget how much grease/steam is produced in a kitchen-All those crevices will be very vulnerable to trapping it-especially at just an 8' height
I bet more that a few of you are cursing your finely detailed cabinetry that has been installed for a few years.
Keep that in mind with the eventual finish coat.

(post #175863, reply #11 of 16)

I'm jumping in at the end of this discussion but I'm doing the same thing with a semi-cathedral 12' ceiling, pine tg v.  Question- should I finish (stain and/or poly)  the product before installing it?  I'm thinking it would be a bear to do after installed.



(post #175863, reply #12 of 16)

You should definately prime/stain all sides of the wood prior to installation.  Humidity will cause the wood to swell and skrink along the width of the panel thus exposing the tongue area.  If you treat this area prior to your install then you will not notice the dimensional changes with the wood.  Hope this helps!


(post #175863, reply #13 of 16)

I like the T&G idea.  I plan to use 1x4 but I like white.  Prime and paint before it goes up.  You could wash it if you were really worried about grease.

You might also look at look at the Nantucket Beadboard Company  Nice looking product and they have a gallery on their site.  Seems to me I've also seen a 1/4" product in sheets.  Butt joints are an issue, but I also like the coffered ceiling look, so the beams would take care of the joints. 

Dave in YYZ 

(post #175863, reply #14 of 16)

Have you looked at Launstiens? They have some 3/8" v-grooved hardwood that looks great.

(post #175863, reply #15 of 16)

I'm going to use 1x4 t&g v joint in my screened-in porch at the cottage (maybe you call it a camp).  Paint will be a mushroom white.  I really like that look.  I'm also going to try a coffered ceiling in the kitchen/dining room.  This link to FHB is pretty clear on the how-to.  Once again, it'll be white.  I've never had the confidence to do mitres, stained and urethane/varnish etc.  Tub and tile caulk, then a nice alkyd white looks classy and bright.

e z alpha