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Design Chronicles

Exciting Ceilings

2 Comments 18 January 2011

By Cecilie Starin

Historically, ceilings were highly decorated, but it seems as houses have become more modern, they have become overlooked and often forgotten. Change is in the air and, once again, ceilings are being given the attention they deserve.

Take a look at some creative quick fixes and contemporary interpretations of ceiling décor that are sure to turn heads…upwards that is!

Patterned Wallpaper

Photo by David Duncan Livingston

Photo by Cecilie Starin

Yes, you can put wallpaper on the ceiling to create unexpected interest in a room. I used a crackled linen by Jennifer LaPierre in my SF Decorator Showcase room. The subtly patterned, Old World effect draws the eye upwards and away from the small size of the room. And because it is a home from the early 1900s, it looks authentic, as if it had always been there.


Photo by Robert Stewart/Artseed.com

If you want to add bold interest and drama, put a map on your ceiling. Use wallpaper with a map design or actual maps (oversized or nautical). Consider a custom design (like the one Jennifer LaPierre painted) to add sophisticated elegance to an office or library.

Gold Leaf or Gold-leafed Paper

Photo by Margot Hartford

Turning your ceiling into gold creates a feeling of warmth and light…the space will just glow! This effect will be dramatic in any room, but particularly a small one like a bathroom or a passageway where there are no windows to bring in natural light. This ceiling was done with a custom faux gold finish, but wallpaper that looks like gold leaf (or even silver leaf) is readily available, easier to accomplish, and a bit less expensive to install.


Image courtesy of Focal Point Architectural Products and White Brothers Mill

If wallpaper isn’t for you, try adding texture with molded medallions in round or decoratively shaped patterns. This is an elegant way to adorn overhead. Even in a modern setting, it’s nice to add something traditional…so why not through the room’s architectural detailing?

The Unexpected

Photo by Cecilie Starin

Another way to bring in some texture and add a fun, quirky feel to your space is to take a cue from Antiquario, an antique store in San Francisco. This ceiling was created in the early 1970’s by a roaming hippy artist, who used concentric circles of exterior shingles in an interior space to create a very unusual, yet highly creative, impact. The use of unexpected materials in unexpected places is incredibly eye-catching.

Repurpose Materials

Photo by Cecilie Starin

Adorn a ceiling with anything recycled, from old CDs to bubble wrap, labels or packaging, pieces of fabric, flower sacks… It’s about creating a ceiling that is different, yet appealing, and using repurposed or recycled materials in an affordable and eco-thoughtful way.

Whole Foods is a very environmentally conscious purveyor of health foods and they promote locally grown products in an effort to save energy in transport. Bravo! Their customers are health conscious and many ride bicycles, so they honored this by using recycled bicycle wheel frames to decorate the ceiling. By suspending bicycle wheels from their high ceilings, they’ve created the illusion of a “dropped ceiling,” which is textural, striking, and incredibly clever.

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Design Chronicles

Modern Wing Chairs Take Flight

2 Comments 03 January 2011

An old and well-loved style, the first wing chair appeared in the 1600s and its purpose was to fend off drafts and protect delicate skin from the heat of a roaring fire. Today, the silhouette is still popular and you can find plenty of variations to classic wing back style. For us…it’s the modern wing back that really soars!

Louis Chair from Room & Board

So sleek and simple! This chair would fit into any design aesthetic…from contemporary to very traditional.

Mrs. Godfrey by Jonathan Adler (There’s a Mr. Godfrey, too : )

The Mrs. Godfrey is more petite, but has similar detailing to the Louis chair from Room & Board. And leave it to Jonathan Adler to make a Mr. Godfrey…larger in scale but beautifully pair-able with its mate!

Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair from Advanced Interior Designs

Oh my goodness! Who wouldn’t want to spend an afternoon cuddled up with a favorite book (on an iPad or Kindle) in a classic Egg Chair? Advanced Interior Designs offers them in several colors and at affordable price points.

Anderson Wing Chair from Williams Sonoma Home

A prominent silhouette yet so graceful and elegant…this chair is a real standout!

Danish Wingback Lounge by Lotus Bleu

The design team at Lotus Bleu in San Francisco rescues castoffs and transforms them into magnificent one-of-a-kind specimens!

Blue Chic & Pink Chic Wingbacks by Orlando Dominguez (GIN Art & Design)

Orlando Dominguez turns furniture into functional fine art. He’s re-purposed his “Blue Chic” and “Pink Chic” wing back chairs by incorporating multi-colored textured panels and brightly painted legs.

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