Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Not the Sistine Chapel, But...

Ceilings, most rooms have them. Most of the time they're painted white so they "disappear". Only they tend not to. Many years ago I had one floor of an apartment that had lower ceilings than the first floor. I went against convention and painted everyone of those low ceilings black. No one but me ever noticed the ceiling height difference until I pointed it out.

I am not advocating that everyone run out and to Lowe's and buy them out of black paint. I'm just saying, it works. Ever notice how a lot of public spaces (restaurants, galleries, etc) paint their open ceilings black. Black makes stuff disappear, white...not so much.

All that being said, I would never paint my ceilings today. Out in the sanctuary there are the most gorgeous wood ceilings.

The view Molly sees while lying on her back on her bed
I love the slight color variations in the wood. You really see them on a bright sunny day. I had to brighten this photo up a but cause it was cloudy today.

In the back room (bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, closet) there were not gorgeous wood ceilings. There was gross drop ceiling installed which I promptly ripped out. Once renovations were almost complete, it was time to decide what sort of ceiling to put back in. A friend of mine suggested ripping out the rafters and doing a cathedral ceiling. I didn't like that idea. With the ceilings so high (17ft) in the sanctuary, I wanted this room to be much more cozy. Not to mention that I then would have had 2 rooms that are a bitch to heat!

So, I put a drop ceiling back in. Before you cringe, and everyone I suggested it to did, I had a plan. My plan was to install the metal grid and buy copper fabric that would drape across the frame. I'd seen it down in a restaurant in Chicago, and I loved the effect. It is also prohibitively EXPENSIVE! Enough fabric to do the room was going to cost me $6000 YIKES!

I still went ahead and hung the grid. I also learned a very thrifty fact about drop ceiling grid. The white grid is very inexpensive because that is what everyone uses. I wanted black grid, which costs triple what the white does. Then I found out from my trusty Lowe's salesperson, that they make little plastic covers that you can snap onto the grid to make it black. Much less expensive.

So, the grid is hung, now what to put in it? Paper! I found a huge roll of copper paper online at a gift wrap website. $70 bucks! That is my kind of bargain. Not to mention the fact that it was exactly 2ft wide, and how wide is a drop ceiling grid? 2ft x 4ft! PERFECT! The paper wasn't going to do the draping I was expecting the fabric to do. I bought the least expensive drop ceiling tiles I could find and wrapped the paper end to end on those. Then Tod had the amazing idea not just to wrap the flat paper around the tile, but to crinkle it all up first, then spread it back out over the tile. Sheer genius!

What I see when I open my eyes every morning.
The crinkling of the paper created all of those wonderful facets. I could stare at it for hours. The crinkling also creates an upholstered effect since the center of the paper doesn't hug the tile underneath it. That, and I also had enough paper leftover to wrap presents with for 5 years! I still have a good portion of it left. In a few more years, when this paper eventually fades...I'll just spend another  70 bucks and get a brand new ceiling out of it.

Another idea for drop ceilings I used years ago in that apartment with the black ceilings. The bathrooms and kitchen there had horribly ugly drop ceilings. We trashed the panels and bought a carton of the panels that are used to cover lights in a drop ceiling. We put those in every slot of the drop ceiling. What an amazing effect. Turning on the lights in those smaller spaces was suddenly like turning on the sun. It really brightened up the space.

In the end, with a little creativity, drop ceilings aren't so bad. I never thought I'd catch myself laying on my bed staring at one for a half hour and enjoying it.

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