Warm Up Any Room With Wood On The Ceiling

wood tray ceiling and can lights

A case could be made that remodeling, not baseball is actually our national pastime. From television design shows to special publications to house walk fundraisers, lots of people follow home design the way others follow teams or leagues.

So how do you set your spectacular remodeling project apart from all the other glorious designs these days? Forgo the plain white ceiling and liven it up with wood instead. The natural beauty of wood warms up any interior style and adds interest to the overall design like nothing else. “When you work with the natural wood tones to complement the rest of the house, you create something unique to the space that makes it really special,” says Normandy Designer Vince Weber.

Painted kitchen with island and rustic wood ceiling

Vince has worked with families on many wood ceilings. “There are so many interesting applications of wood on ceilings. Reclaimed wood adds warmth like nothing else. Beadboard is at home in farmhouse and transitional kitchens. You might think of a coffered ceiling as very formal but it doesn’t have to be deep. If you keep it shallow, it’s a great look for a transitional kitchen. Beams work almost anywhere,” Vince says.

Sometimes a home and an idea are meant for each other. That is the case in one Highland Park house where Vince expanded and updated the kitchen. The ultimate finishing touch to this light-filled gathering spot is the tray ceiling above the island with a custom reclaimed wood design.

“I’d seen something similar and had been looking for the right place to do something special with reclaimed wood and a herringbone pattern. This family enjoys the outdoors and was looking for places to incorporate wood into their kitchen renovation. When I showed them this tray ceiling idea, they fell in love with it.”

dining room with black painted brick wall and natural exposed wood ceiling

Vince worked with a skilled artisan who just so happens to keep an exquisite inventory of reclaimed wood on hand. Having a variety of wood to choose from is important for getting just the right complementary tone. You don’t want something too red or orange-tinged if your whole room is in cool tones of cream and gray.

“We lowered the ceiling three inches to give the tray ceiling a feeling of height,” says Vince, adding, “We could have stopped there, the tray ceiling would have been dramatic, but we took it a step further by adding the wood.” Vince shares that the inset was created in three pieces, but put together so seamlessly that, “You’d never know if I didn’t tell you.”

Wood is one of the most adaptable building materials so if you have something special in mind, be sure to discuss it with your designer. They’d love to see that magazine clipping you’ve held onto for years or the photo you’ve saved on your phone.

“Look at the composition of the space and find a wood species that will make everything look better. You can find a color tone that sets itself apart or feels connected to the floor or the mantle,” says Vince.

open concept family room

If you are thinking of adding on or remodeling, a wood ceiling might be just right for you and your project. You can set up time to talk to a designer about all your ideas. Still searching for inspiration? Check out the Normandy Remodeling photo galleries for finished projects that might spark some thoughts. We share tips, before and after stories and more on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Follow along for even more creative solutions.


Don’t Take Your Kitchen Cabinets To The Ceiling

Open shelving, white oak cabinets, farmhouse sink, stainless steal dishwasher, gold fixtures and hardware

Place setting collectors and kitchen gadget connoisseurs are eager to take advantage of every possible inch or storage space, and are often tempted to take their kitchen cabinets right to the ceiling in order to maximize storage. There are tradeoffs and disadvantages to sky high cabinets, though. Normandy Designer Ashley Noethe explains several reasons why.

The first reason is practicality. “At a certain point, there’s no benefit to going higher because you’ll need more than just a stepladder to reach anything you store there. It’s better to keep things more accessible,” Ashley says. Always work with your designer to determine what height will look best in your space. “Leave a foot or more between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling. This looks intentional and gives your kitchen the polished, elevated look you’re seeking.”

White kitchen with warm gray undertones and a sloping ceiling

“Your designer will work with the lines of your kitchen to make the cabinet line look natural,” she adds. “If your ceiling is vaulted or otherwise extremely tall, stopping your cabinets at 10’ or a little lower will help define the space.”

Next, consider the weather fluctuations of the region. “The Midwest weather is volatile, with high and low temperatures, humid summers and dry winters. Wood expands and contracts through all of this.

Cabinetry held down from the ceiling to create a shadow line

Whether your house is one year old or 100 years old, it’s really a question of when the caulk line at your moldings will crack and separate from the ceiling, not if it will,” Ashley says.

Hold down higher cabinets very slightly to create a shadow line, called a reveal line. This approach allows you to maximize your storage potential without the frustrations that you’ll otherwise encounter with seasonal variations. It looks intentional and has the effect of a refined finishing touch.”white kitchen cabinetry with small island

Finally, consider the style of the kitchen and where kitchen design is trending. “We’re seeing sleeker kitchens with single crown molding or no crown molding and simplified cabinets,” Ashley says.

Ashley offers this way to think of kitchen style as it relates to reveal line. “We use this reveal in traditional kitchens with a detailed, or ornate, crown molding. The idea is in a sleek, modern kitchen to do no crown at all, and in a traditional kitchen to use crown, but keep that reveal at the ceiling.”

Multi tone kitchen with cooktop in the island and wall ovensWhether you’re dreaming of a modern, traditional or transitional kitchen, cabinets are one of your biggest investments. Set up a time to talk with a Designer like Ashley to work through all the options for a kitchen that works well and weathers well. The Normandy Remodeling photo galleries are great for finding inspiration. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for ideas, before and after stories and more.


Kitchen with white cabinetsWhite kitchen with wood paneled vaulted ceiling

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