Traditional hardwood planks have long been the leading material for residential flooring. Combining superior durability with eye-catching good looks, oak, cherry, walnut, or other solid-wood floorboards add value and beauty to any home they grace. But these days, handsome timber planking is found not only underfoot but also on the ceilings of many camera-ready homes, whether newly built or freshly renovated. Here are some recent examples of the intriguing trend.
The angled gables in a Wainscott, New York beach-house bedroom gave Sandvold Blanda Architecture + Interiors the perfect surface to clad with floorboards. The firm chose quarter-sawn white-oak planks that they had wire-brushed and waxed but left otherwise unfinished. The tawny-color wood doesn’t cover the entire ceiling but forms a kind of cross between an extra-deep cornice and a floating dado—a broad swath of warmth and texture overhead that envelops the room without in any way overwhelming it.
In a Baltimore, Maryland kitchen, Melville Thomas Architects turned what could have been a vast, characterless expanse of sloping ceiling into an architectural statement by covering it with cypress planks. Given a whitewash finish, the boards create visual interest while helping keep the large space light, airy, and dynamic. Naturally lit by clerestory windows and skylights, the blond wood seems to glow softly, contrasting pleasingly with the richer tones of the cherry cabinetry and green granite countertops below.
An American classic, the center stair hall, gets a refresh via a ceiling of reclaimed tongue-and-groove oak floorboards in this Six Miles, South Carolina house by Markalunas Architecture Group. As the designers note, no stain was used on the recycled timber, which has been left its natural hue: “The supplier runs it through a planer and due to the varying thickness and wear on the wood you end up with a variety of colors and surface textures.” White-painted shiplap walls and café-au-lait oak floors keep the space crisp and all of a piece.
Melville Thomas Architects, Inc.
608 West University Parkway
Baltimore, MD 21210
Markalunas Architecture Group
307 Falls Street
Greenville, SC 29601