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Ceiling heights V. room sizes?

Posted by flgargoyle (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 18, 12 at 16:22

I'm posting a floor plan of our new home. I'm sure you will all recognize Summerfield's work! I'm still tweaking the master suite, but the rest of the house will be very close to what you see here. Basically, the back of the house (where the view is) is one long room. I'm planning to put framed openings between the kitchen and dining area, and the dining area and living room. It will still all be open, but with a psychological demarcation point to break it up a little.

All that leads to a question- For rooms this size, in the deep south, what would be an appropriate ceiling height? I was thinking at least 9'; I don't want 8' like I have in my current house. One more factor- at least one, or maybe all three of the main rooms will have coffered ceilings. For infill, I'm thinking tin in the kitchen, and bead board in one of the other rooms. The coffered detail will be about 6" tall; I was thinking 12" where the rooms divide.

I know it's a very small house, so I don't want crazy high ceilings. I'll go 8' in the powder room, and maybe even the master suite to make it cozier. The house will have plenty of windows, in a private, wooded setting. Would 10' be too much, even with the coffered beams? As an aside- will coffered ceilings in the three main rooms across the back be 'too much'? FWIW, the house will be a one story Craftsman. Thanks!

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Ceiling heights V. room sizes?

I think somewhere around 9-10ft were standard in the smaller craftsman and folk victorians where rooms weren't large etc. We have 9ft in most of the house except in the living room where it is vaulted and it seems proportional everywhere. Even in the baths and our 10x12 bedrooms does it seem fine.

Your kitchen is larger than ours and your dining and living seem about the same size as ours. Our living is a bit larger.


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RE: Ceiling heights V. room sizes?

Personally, I would go 9.5'-10' in the coffered rooms. We toured a house with 9' ceilings and coffered ceilings and I felt a little clausterphobic--literally like the ceiling was closing in on me. Maybe I would have grown used to it if I lived there, but I don't know.

I think 9' in non-coffered rooms is plenty tall and still feels cozy. I would hesitate in doing 8' in any room if any of the other ceilings in the house are higher. We have 9' in our current home including the powder room which is pretty much the same dimensions as yours and it looks and feels fine--cozy yet open & airy at the same time. Summerfield so kindly helped with our houseplans too--sheer homeplanning genius!


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RE: Ceiling heights V. room sizes?

Jay- I like the idea of 9' to 10' ceilings throughout the house, too. As for the coffered ceilings...my advice would be to use it in the dining room (to set this off) and not in the other two rooms. I think if might be too much, but the division between the rooms, would highlight the coffered dining room ceiling.

The only other space I'd think about having coffered ceilings is the bedroom. It would look amazing and it's the one ceiling you really notice, each and every day. It would look very pretty and I'd even think about wood in that room, although I know you want to keep most of the trim painted, in the other rooms. That would make the bedroom really beautiful, but still cozy.

A tin ceiling is nice, but it can bounce around the noise, too. Beadboard might be softer, since you're basically all one big space and probably want to reduce the noise level, as much as possible. Just thinking less appliance noise, while trying to watch TV. Maybe a painted tin backsplash, instead? :)


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RE: Ceiling heights V. room sizes?

I don't know- I kinda had my heart set on doing the coffered ceiling in the kitchen. I saw a picture of an all-white kitchen with lots of windows, coffered ceilings, and schoolhouse pendant lights hanging down. It was love at first sight!


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RE: Ceiling heights V. room sizes?

I have 10 ft. in all the rooms and it looks great. Even the small foyer and powder room have tall ceilings. With those I painted the ceiling the same color as the wall and have wide crown molding in white.


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RE: Ceiling heights V. room sizes?

Jay- How goes the planning process? Are you going to post the changes, especially in the master suite? Looking forward to seeing it :)


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RE: Ceiling heights V. room sizes?

We have 9' ceilings throughout our house except where we punched up some tray ceilings for an even higher ceiling. We love it, but it does require beefier crown moulding and ceiling treatments. In the smaller rooms, to keep them from feeling like an elevator shaft, we painted dark colors on the ceiling to bring them down and make the room feel larger.

We debated about 8' ceilings in the bedrooms, but did the 9' and are glad we did.

You might consider using just a soffit instead of coffering between the kitchen and the dining room...then you can add your tin ceiling really nicely.

Another consideration is, if you are finishing or using the basement at all, you may want to think about your deck location. We did a full walkout basement with half finished so we have 9' ceilings down there as well. We added tray ceilings to mask the ductwork in the rooms. To keep those rooms from feeling below grade, we moved the deck behind the garage so the lower rooms get full sun. If the windows below look under a deck, it will always feel like a basement.


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RE: Ceiling heights V. room sizes?

I personally wouldn't do 8' ceilings anywhere - they feel really short. I was worried about the 10' ceilings in our new house but they don't feel "tall". I would hesitate to coffer all 3 rooms - that is a lot of coffer! They also open to each other without any break so it might be difficult to coffer one. I think if it was my house, I would raise the den ceiling a bit and coffer that only. I wouldn't want to lower the ceiling personally. The 10' ones feel too good, open and airy.

If I were to coffer the den (which would be a great place for it ), I would bump in the wall a bit in between the dining room and den (just a little - leave a huge opening but I would case it and bring it down a bit from the ceiling) so you have somewhere for the coffers to logically terminate. It would still feel like an open space but have a little more architectural interest. Just my 2 cents!


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One more comment

We had bypass doors in one room (guest bedroom closet). Our builder switched them to opening out. He doesn't like bypass doors, functionally or aesthetically. I think the mirrored bypass seem a little contemporary for your house too? We put mirrored french doors (narrow ones) on the opening to my closet and the linen closet (they are across from each other). They are BEAUTIFUL - and serve the additional purpose of somewhere to check yourself before you leave to be sure you are pulled together. They will also force me to keep my closet doors shut since they open out!


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RE: Ceiling heights V. room sizes?

I would not do 8ft at all. 9ft will probably work just fine, but 10ft might be better for the kit/din/liv area. We have 9ft in most areas and vaulted ceilings in Kitchen and formal din room. Our family room would have been better with 10ft instead of 9ft.


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RE: Ceiling heights V. room sizes?

It doesn't show in the sketch above, but there will be a break between rooms- probably a stub wall, and a dropped beam across the top. This will give a visual break between rooms while still being open. The size of these breaks will be determined during the build, as I have to see how it all 'feels'. That's one advantage of DIY building- changes like that don't cost much. They could even be added after the house is essentially finished, as they will be non-structural.


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RE: Ceiling heights V. room sizes?

What type of heat are you installing? If radiant you can go as high as you want. If baseboard hot water don't not go too high. If forced air do hi/lo ducts for the different seasons.
All new homes are super insulated, but HVAC must be designed for higher ceilings, etc.


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RE: Ceiling heights V. room sizes?

Our heat/A/C will be mini-splits, or ductless heat pumps. We may put radiant in the basement; the pipes will be put in the slab for that eventuality. The ICF walls will be R-25, and the ceiling will be R-40 plus, which should be more than enough in the mild SC climate. It far exceeds code.

Due to the size of the ICF blocks, the most efficient design puts us at 9'4" after accounting for the subfloor, floor, and ceiling structure. I think that height is a good compromise for a small house, and it is certainly a lot higher than our current 95" ceilings. The basement will be right at 8' after (if) a ceiling is installed.

I'm not sure if 9'4" ceilings offer enough room for a coffered effect; we'll have to see once the rooms are semi-finished. My coffer beams would only be 6" deep anyhow, but time will tell whether or not we go that route.


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