EXPOSED WOOD BEAMS AND WHITE PAINTED CEILINGS

As a designer I find that few things transform a space as easily and dramatically as a coat of bright white paint.  I'm also one of those people who firmly believe that most wood plank and beam ceilings should be painted white, all white! (The same goes for wood paneling on walls, in my opinion.)

In almost every case, except maybe a ski lodge that calls for an ultra "woodsy" feel, I believe white wood is the way to go!  It's amazing the amount of increased light that fills a space when it can reflect and bounce off white ceilings as opposed to being absorbed and muffled by too much dark wood.

For example, can you imagine how much heavier this living room in Amy Butler's home would feel if those ceilings and beams were a dark wood tone?

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And by comparison, even this beautifully-styled space is weighed down by all the dark wood... 

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I recently advised my dear friend Ali to go with white on the ceilings of her newly purchased home. 

Check out the transformation ... I mean the second photo just makes you feel like you can BREATHE better right!?  (Accenting the french doors and fireplace brick in black and hanging that gorgeous wrought iron lantern also helps this space out a TON.)

BEFORE
ROSA BELTRAN DESIGN
AFTER
ROSA BELTRAN DESIGN
(The paint color we used is Benjamin Moore "Simply White" OC 117, by the way.)

Here are some other massively transformed "before & after" wood ceiling projects I came across:

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(It's a little sacrilegious for a preserverationist-minded architecture buff to mess with original period woodwork, but if I ever owned a Craftsman bungalow like the one above I would totally paint all that dark wood paneling white!)
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Obviously it took a hell of a lot more zsushing than just white paint to bring the room above into it's current state ... that's a pretty drastic "before & after!"

Need more convincing?  Feast your eyes ...

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I can also get behind exposed beams finished in a very light weathered grey tone like so ... although it can be much costlier to achieve this effect than simply painting over the wood ...

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Anything that veers into the territory of white ceilings with the beams left dark just leaves me cold ...

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Even in this very beautiful room, I kind of feel like I'd like it better with white beams??

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Pretty much the only time I find myself enjoying the look of beams left dark is if they are ultra-aged and weathered and distressed.  Like these beams that are obviously ancient and would silly painted anyhow.  They lend great character to the right space ...

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Maybe it's all related to my lifelong aversion to the look of Tudor-style houses?  There's something about all those dark lines against the white walls that I find too busy and distracting ...


Which brings us to our next design challenge at my friend Ali's house.  It's a Tudor cottage that the previous owners painted white with brick red lines.  This isn't it, but you get the idea ...


So we'll be thinking up a more subtle and pleasing color palette when the time comes to re-paint the exterior.  Thus far I'm liking a combo of grey and ivory tones the best ...


That's a wrap!  Hope your week is going swimmingly!

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CIRCA LIGHTING LOOK-ALIKE LAMP BARGAINS!

Ooh I have such a juicy bargain tip for you today!

Who doesn't love a good deal right!?  Do you regularly check out blogs like Copy Cat Chic to see what fabulous high-end design has been made available somehow, somewhere, for way, way less?  I totally do.  Because it happens!  Yes, sometimes the old adage "you get what you pay for" holds true, but sometimes you really do find amazing design+quality at seriously low prices.  Anyone who prowls thrift stores, or Homegoods, or appreciates the non-stop hit parade of Nate Berkus for Target can attest to that :)

I just made one such exciting find while sourcing lighting for my newest project, an attractive bungalow in the Larchmont Village pocket of LA (great little neighborhood, by the way, with a totally fun and walkable vibe to it.)  

So I came across this line of lighting made by Uttermost, and it's a pretty close design substitute for some of my favorite GORGEOUS (and very expensive) Circa Lighting lamps.  

These Circa lamps generally run $300-700 apiece.  They are SO lovely and well-made yes, but a little pricey and maybe out of reach for some budgets.  

The Circa originals ...

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CIRCA LIGHTING


CIRCA LIGHTING

And here are the Uttermost lamps I found that look a LOT like Circa but cost significantly less!

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And for the cherry on top, did you know about the Lamps Plus "Open Box Outlet?"  Somehow it's a relatively new discovery for me!  It's the part of the online Lamps Plus site that sells off seriously discounted lighting because it's been opened and returned but is otherwise just fine.  And there are some DEEP discounts to be found!  The Uttermost lamps usually retail for $200-400, and here you can pick them up for $100-200 apiece.

So.  You're welcome.  Hope your week is off to a good start today!

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PROJECT SNEAK PEEK: DELUXE CANOPY BED

As promised ... here are the photos and a bit of "how to" from the custom canopy bed installation we did for a client last week!  

I've told you before about this very "Versailles" bedroom project, and the other day I showed you a glimpse of the leopard carpet that recently went in.

Our inspiration was this fantastic canopy bed we found in an online image search ... from a design showhouse in Atlanta ...

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Here's a BEFORE shot of the bedroom (complete with decor from the previous owner) ...


This 4-poster bed that my client had needed some re-working because the cross bars were too low and not sturdy enough to support the rosette fabric ceiling and all the drapes we were adding to it.  


So to truly re-create the look and feel of the bed in the inspiration photos, we decided to hang our canopy structure directly from the ceiling.  The extra height would keep it from feeling too low and claustrophobic, and attaching everything directly to the ceiling would ensure a solid, sturdy install. 

For the canopy frame I flipped a piece of baseboard upside down and added crown moulding trim ...


Then I devised a system of staggered curtain rods for the canopy ceiling, valance and all our drapery panels to hang from.  I honestly just wandered the aisles of the hardware store until I had cobbled together some unusual materials that would get me there!  

Do you ever do that?  It's kind of one of my favorite things to do ... roam my art supply and hardware store while problem solving design dilemmas.


I settled on some closet rod, copper plumbing pipe, and pipe straps for mounting them, and had my carpenters build the whole structure and paint everything white.

Here it is going up ...


I gave myself a serious case of "staple gun thumb" upholstering these 1/4" plywood boards to create that amazing rosette fabric ceiling.


If you're considering doing something like this yourself, make sure to use the thinnest chiffon because anything else would be too bulky.  I first covered the plywood with ivory satin, and then stapled the pleated chiffon to the board section-by-section.

I used a little jigsaw to hand-cut a half circle shape from the center of each panel. At the end I stapled the two wood half-circle wood scraps together to make a ruffled centerpiece cap using chiffon scraps and hot glue.




 We selected this pretty ivory tonal fabric for all our curtains
(bought at my favorite fabric store Home Fabrics in downtown LA) ...




And here's the finished canopy bed all put together!




We have some gorgeous monogrammed bed linens on the way ... 
can't wait to show you once the entire room is completed and styled!



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