Should we do it?

fishpantsFebruary 15, 2012

We're having beam work added to our great room and kitchen/dining. Here's a peek at what they put up today. The original plan was to also have a curved beam at the "base" of these beams as well. Should we leave it as is or go ahead with the remaining beam? I love how much they have already changed the look of the room!

Lights off. The new paint color is BM 50% Alexandria Beige. The "lower" beam would go all the way across the room, with a slight upward arch.


With lights on and just warming up, the pics look a bit yellow, but it really doesn't look like that to the naked eye.


The arched beam in our garage. Yeah-it's big.

Close up of the beams. They are rough sawn cut. You might notice some holes in this pic. They will be filled in.

So what do you think?

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I like the beams, though I would have gone with the ceiling the same color as the walls.

I guess it has been a long day, and I apologize, but I am not understanding where the curved beam would go?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 11:37PM
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It would would look kind of like a timber truss, such as this one, only the bottom will be slightly arched, not straight.
Oh- and we are having our floor done with the same wood and finish, which is why I opted NOT to have the ceiling the same color. I was thinking it might be too much brown and dark.

title="kingpost by fishpantsdoc, on Flickr">

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 11:50PM
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The beams look beautiful. Someone else will have to answer if you should put up the curved beam, I have no idea, does your husband like how it looks now too? Is he a help as to what you should do?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 12:15AM
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I'm confused as well - wouldn't the curved beam cross in front of a window? I can't tell from the picture exactly where it would go. One curved beam for each set of ceiling beams?

That said, I love the beams and everything is looking so nice!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 12:22AM
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auntie_ellen boston

I think the add'l curved beam will give it a more custom look. How about the ceiling at 50% or 25% of wall color?

Looks beautiful so far....

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 9:11AM
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I think you might want to have them put ome up temporarily to see if you like the look. At what height does the cross beam hit the wall/fixed beam? Partway up the fixed ceiling beams? Like a foot or so? I'm thinking that it might feel a little low based on the photos I've seen. And how are you handling the upper window? Is the "brace" piece going to drop down in front of the window?

I guess I'm thinking that the curved beam could join a little higher up, toward the peak, rather than toward the base of the ceiling beams. Then add something like a corbel at the bottom to beef it up a bit but keep it out of the way of the "volume" of the room. Not so busy as the one in my link, but something similar.

Here is a link that might be useful: timber framed example

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 9:45AM
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i think it looks beautiful as is....

i have seen the interiors of real post and beam homes (i'm assuming this is somewhat the look you are going for) and i personally don't think it can be 'faked' very well...but your finished beams as they are look great!

also as cal pointed out, the horizontal line of the beam will' dissect' the window

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 9:46AM
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I've attached a link to pictures of some curved trusses. Numbers 3 and 6 are good examples.

In my opinion a curved truss needs a vertical beam to look structural. Not sure what your plans are in that regard.

Where will the beam be in relationship to the windows? Picture 3 in the link I provided is an example of how a beam and window can play nicely together. There may not be room between your windows for the beam, especially a curved one. Even if there's room, I'm not sure how a curve will look between the straight horizontal lines of the windows.

To try it out, you could buy a roll of brown paper, cut it to the shape of the beam and tack it to the window wall at the correct height to see how it looks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pix of curved truss - see pix 3 and 6

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 10:00AM
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I would put it up for sure! Love the beams! I agree the ceiling would look better the color or at least slightly lighter in color of your walls. You have a high ceiling and I think it would look fabulous!

Looks beautiful!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 10:20AM
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I am not clearly explaining myself, am I? Sorry!

Yes--the curved truss will have a center vertical beam (perpendicular) to it to tie it in. Only the two trusses in the center of the room would have the curved beam. The end walls would remain as they are now.

Now here's another curveball thrown into the picture: We are doing the same thing to the kitchen, so the chandeliers need to be taken into consideration as well. I won't be changing those. They really kick you-know-what in terms of awesome lighting.
The backsplash? Yeah. That IS going to change. I've got tile on order.
(Please ignore the helper-skelter look of everything. Nothing is in a normal place due to the construction. And I homeschool 3 boys...)

Looking towards the living room.

For now, I told our contractor to just do the ceiling beams in the kitchen and we will decide after that.

Here's the tile, BTW:

And this pic actually shows the grout I'm thinking I will use. The tile I chose is on the right. The colors highlight the verde fire island and vice-versa. There is brown and red hints, but these pics don't show those very well.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 1:10PM
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I like the curved beams and think they appear nicer..... (I agree with the person who said more "custom.")

I am not sure about the kitchen. Those light fixtures will compete with the beams for visual space.... I can't tell where the beams would be relative to the fixtures?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 1:30PM
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Ugh! I posted before I was finished.

I am still open to changing the ceiling paint. I thought I would wait until the beams and the wood floor are completed. I keep going back and forth on it!

DH is happy with whatever. He did have some hesitation with the paint color in general, as he liked what we had before. But once this color went up, he decided that he actually likes it way better! He knows that in the end, he is usually happy with the final result.

The full beams in the kitchen is a big question mark, for sure. We're not sure relative to the fixtures. We could raise or lower them somewhat, but would the beams still compete with them? Not sure. It may just be too much in there.

Would doing full beam work in the great room and the simplified version in the kitchen work? Or would it be strange having them different from one another?

Keep the thoughts and ideas coming, please!!!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 1:44PM
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I love how the beams look! I think the curved trusses will look nice.

We are also looking into adding beams to our family room. We don't have a vaulted ceiling. Would it look odd to do only a family room and not the dining/kitchen? There's header between the rooms.

What size are your beams and where did you get them from?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Our contractor gets the timbers from a local mill and then does the work himself.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 12:23AM
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What is the brownish color in your kitchen I love it!

The beams look great as is, I think the curves trusses would look nice if high enough up to not visually reduce the nice height of the room.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 1:26AM
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I'd try the curve, but I think your ceiling may not have enough of a peak to make it look really good. In the pictures posted above, most of the ceilings have near 12/12 pitch.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 5:29AM
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I think the curve is so slight that it would work well with your ceilings.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 8:17AM
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I would skip the curved beams. I think they will interfere with the visual in the space, particularly since your windows already come so close to the ceiling line as it is.

What I might do is run a center beam at the peak in the family room, and then do JUST the center beam at the peak in the kitchen, leaving off the side beams. I think your kitchen lighting feels too delicate and feminine for the heaviness of the beams everywhere.

Glad to hear that you are open to painting the ceilings - I think you will be pleased.

Like the tile, not a fan of the grout color. It feels too pink-tan compared to the clean colors in the tile. But it probably looks different IRL, too. You are the best judge.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 9:08AM
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For me I wouldn't do the curves. I have the open beams in my den and prefer them so much more. I had the same dilemma as you but opted out of the curve and happy I did.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 11:02AM
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The curved beam, unless I'm missing something, seems like it will just obstruct your view.

See what you think. I approximated the placement of the beam based on where it adjoins the walls. I also took the liberty of carrying your wall color to the ceiling. :)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 11:09AM
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Oh crum. I agree that the ceiling looks really good painted! I might have to wait and see on getting that done, as we still have the wood floors, etc. going in and DH may not be happy to see me doing "just one more thing"! I haven't told you all that I am completely revamping the master bedroom as well...

tinan- The paint is BM Alexandria Beige at 50% tint.

The grout does look a bit pinky in the above pic, doesn't it? IRL it is not so, but I may still play around with a few other colors first.

les917, avesmor, anyone else-
The side wall height of the ceiling in the room is 10' and then vaults from there. The picture window unit starts at just 17" off the floor and is 7'+ tall, not including the oversized transom unit. I should have shown that before. Does that change anyone's thoughts?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 11:50AM
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It doesn't change my thoughts if I've understood correctly that the beam would be going closest to the window. I just don't see any way that it's going to look like anything other than a beam blocking a window.

My rationale - it's still going to be a beam in front of the window. Even if you could live with that, I think it will look like either someone poorly planned out window palcement in a beamed room, or someone retrofitted beams into a room regardless of the window placement.

I wonder if more generically, it would seem balanced since it would be the only curved architectural element that I can see. Perhaps if you had arched doorways or something else to pick up on the curve and reciprocate it.

I've looked through the past messages and I'm not sure I see where you're planning to anchor the curved beam, either? I assumed it was closest to the window (but it looks like it wouldn't fit there, since the ceiling beams look flush to the window wall)... and it doesn't look like the center of your room (assuming ceiling fan is centered) has any plans for a beam.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 12:11PM
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A few more...

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 12:13PM
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I believe fishpants mentioned earlier that the two end trusses will not have the arched beam.

I had trusses in a previous home and I think your arched beams are going to look spectacular! Have you considered using 2 angled supports to the right/left of center vs one vertical in the center?

I agree with les that the getting the curved beams to work with your lighting in the other room will be a challenge. Overhead lighting was our biggest issue with trusses since they either blocked or absorbed most lighting we tried to use above the trusses.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 12:42PM
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If you do paint your ceiling, I would do it before the nice new floor goes in.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 1:18PM
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I vote NO on the curved beam. Most of the curved beams I have seen are in larger rooms with much higher ceilings. I think your room will go from airy to squat and top-heavy with the curved beams.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 1:48PM
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I would not do them. The conflict with the window would always bother me, and I'd rather have the light from the window. They will also block your fan -- visually and impede some of the air movement.

I also wouldn't do them in the kitchen with those light fixtures. It would be too much and in conflicting styles.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 2:14PM
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The fan can be extended on a down rod if needs be, so not as concerned about that.
There are four main trusses for the room. The end gable walls will be finished as shown. The two trusses in the center of the room will be the only ones with the spanned arches. There will be a vertical post from the center of that arch extending to the ceiling above. The fan lies between these two arched trusses in the center of the room.

Am I making sense? I just took a sleep aid and am feeling a wee bit off rocker at the moment...! The guys come tomorrow and we'll throw the great room beams up for looks. The kitchen may need the simple treatment. I will keep taking pics to let you pipe in with further ideas and opinions.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 11:19PM
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I really like the curved beam and would do the two in the middle. It makes it look authentic and old world rather than perfectly planned new build American.

In the kitchen, I would not do the cross beams. I think with your chandeliers and dark cabs you don't need them and it would be very low and dark.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 8:28AM
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Cannot wait for pics!!!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 8:51AM
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I will update as things progress more. Not much work the past two days.

The great internal debate continues on the curved beams. I do have the same concerns as many of you have expressed about the transom window being "beamed out". And yet the curves would be so cool if the window wasn't a problem...!

Pretty sure we'll be doing the "less is more" approach in the kitchen. I really, really like my lights in there. Have never had regrets on those. :)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 10:22PM
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I wouldn't do the curve there, with your ceiling height. if you want something to soften the beams look at doing something to the returns. Here is a pic to just illustrate the idea.

For the kitchen I would do a beam at the ceiling peak only just to tie the two rooms together, but not down one the anled sections.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 8:55AM
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Love those beams lyfia! You have an update yet fishpants??

I came across the pic below and thought of you.

traditional bathroom design by portland architect Alan Mascord Design Associates Inc

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 6:58PM
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i just installed beams in my bedroom and they turned out great.
i will get pics i promise!
we used a ridge beam which all the beams tied in to.
if you could do that you'd not have the potential sight line issue.
and here's how we handled my chandelier. the beams are centered on the sheet rock lines, so every four feet.
we positioned the chandelier smack dab in the center of the room, which turned out to be somewhat off center from the beams. but it looks fabulous, off center and all.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 7:44PM
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My gut says that the modern window configuration with the rectangular transom would clash stylistically with the arched crossbeams, no matter where you add them. The beams already up look great. The curved ones look medieval to me. They look good in the rooms where they repeat the curve of a window or an opening between rooms, but would not add anything to your room. They would make the transom window look like an afterthought.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 12:16AM
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Absolutely finish with the curved lower beam--- otherwise the rest of them don't make mich sense architecturally. It will look stupendous! And I personally think the color of that ceiling should be a light contrast to the beams, not a variation of the wall color. A light, almost whitewashed look for the ceiling will have the effect of bouncing light around up there rather than "toning it down" with a darker color. This is a statement to play up, not minimize.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 10:18AM
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The curved beam will not obstruct a view, the window is obviously too high for that. The window is there for light, and the truss beams will not interfere with that function at all.

Have you considered hanging those lights from the beams themselves? I think they will look better if they are not hanging in between the beams. New glass globes with straight sides rather than fluted would also give them an updated look.

Love the tile but the grout also looks pinky tan and unsuitable on my iPad .

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 10:30AM
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I did a search on your name looking to see if you had an update, but could not find it. Soooo, wondering if you have finished the room yet and if you had any updated pictures. Would love to see them if you do.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 12:02PM
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