Ceiling Styles

Ceilings are always overhead, but they are often overlooked as places to make a statement in your home’s design. Considering ceiling color, texture, and architectural details can be an unexpected way to make the design of a room really pop. 

In houses with interesting roof lines, the slant of the ceilings provide a varied canvas to start from. This cathedral ceiling adds height to this home office. Lining the ceiling with rustic beams also draws the eye up and adds texture above the prominent crown moulding.

For historical homes, incorporating ceiling decoration in keeping with the style of the house lends an authentic feel. Exposed beams, for example, are trendy and consistent with this classic Tuscan style (bottom left). In a Tyrolean-inspired ski cabin (bottom right), we used a dark contrasting paint between the exposed beams for a cozy-elegant feel in the mudroom. 

A classic coffered ceiling is an elegant option for certain homes. The contrast color in this guest suite’s ceiling (below left) adds a modern touch to a classic design style, plus definition and height to the feel of the room. In this dining room, the ceiling adds historical context to the Greene and Green style house. 

A coffered ceiling can also be used to divide one area of a room from another in homes with large open living spaces, as in this variation of a coffered ceiling with clerestory in our Tuscan kitchen.

Painting this beamed cathedral ceiling all one color unifies the two areas of the room, and the all-white look makes the space feel larger. In a traditional project, we might have painted the large beams an accent color, but here minimalist white was a better fit for a contemporary look.

Whether you make creative choices with your existing ceilings, or work with an architect to install a unique ceiling just for you, careful treatment of what’s overhead can transform your space.

Paper Houses

Wallpaper has been in and out of fashion since the 1700s, when paper was handpainted for the walls of grand English and French country houses. It became accessible to everyone after the Industrial Revolution, when companies like William Morris & Co started machine printing their wallcoverings at great speed. Between the 1700s and now, and between hand-painting and machine-painting, there are so many options it’s no wonder wallcoverings are back in style!




Our favorite wallcovering company at the moment is de Gournay. With papers that look like they were pulled straight from Versailles, it’s hard to believe de Gournay has only been around since 1984. Since then, they’ve helped cover the walls of Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany & Co, and The Ritz. Due to the fact that de Gournay wallpapers are handpainted (and therefore totally customizable!), they’re definitely at the top of the wallpaper price range. But fear not! It’s 2016, and there are wallpapers available for every budget and need!



Soon after handpainted wallpaper became popular, flock wallpaper made its debut. True flock wallcoverings are made by gluing piles of cut velvet onto paper, as in the image above. These wallpapers are soft to the touch and stand out from the wall, but more affordable versions of flock paper are always being recreated. Most recently, tone-on-tone flock papers have been gracing the walls of homes – the pattern is often matte while the finish below is shiny or metallic.



We’re huge fans of grasscloth wallcoverings, and this braided option from Phillip Jeffries really added a new dimension to this contemporary San Francisco condo we recently completed. Like velvet flock paper, grasscloth brings a textural element to a space in the same way that a mirrored coffee table or fur throw blanket might. While more affordable than handpainted wallpaper, it enriches a room and, as you can see, really makes a big difference.



Finally, if you feel like wallpapering your whole entryway for the price of one handpainted wall, there is the option of machine-printed paper. While not customizable like the de Gournay, printed paper often comes in different color ways to suit the atmosphere of your space. Companies like Schumacher and Anthropologie make beautiful options which are usually always in stock, and are often self-adhesive (for all you DIYers out there!). Best of all, printed options can be vinyl coated, which means wallpaper is safe for kitchens and bathrooms!