Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What is a Ceiling Cove?

Everything you ever wanted to know about the ceiling cove

If you’re in the habit of looking up when you visit new homes and historical sites, you’ll know very well that there are many kinds of different ceilings. There’s so much more out there than what comes standard in a home. The standard is the way it is because it’s the cheapest and easiest way to build a room. But it’s not the only way; not by far. There are domes and groin vaults and coffered ceilings, just to name a few. But there’s one type that stands out from the rest. You guessed it; it’s the ceiling cove.
The ceiling cove can be installed with a standard ceiling or alongside virtually any other kind of architectural ceiling. Either way, it will make a rather big impact.

What is a Ceiling Cove?

Okay, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. A cove is simply a rounded framing detail that usually gets installed where your wall and ceiling meet. Many people install ceiling coves to eliminate that harsh 90 degree angle that naturally forms between your standard ceiling and wall.

Can You Dress Up a Ceiling Cove?

You can get about as fancy as your heart desires, installing coves with crown molding accents or even insetting a ceiling cove into your standard room to raise the height in a particular section. You can also install a ceiling cove where the wall meets the ceiling and a dome or a barrel in the center of the space. There are so many things you can do; it’s all about how creative you feel like getting with this project.

Will I Need to Install Crown Molding?

You absolutely do not need to install crown molding with a ceiling cove, but you can if you’d like. Some people prefer to have some hard edges to accent the curves of the cove. That’s perfectly fine. Others choose to install the ceiling cove in the first place because they want the room to have a softer feel.

Is it Difficult to Install a Ceiling Cove?

Of all our prefabricated ceiling kits, the cove is probably the easiest to install. The key is to get your measurements right and follow the step-by-step instructions. If you can handle a nail gun, you can install a coved ceiling.

As you can see, you have a lot of options when you decide to install a ceiling cove. You can dress it up or rely on its simplistic beauty. The choice is yours.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Give your design a lift with groin arches

Groin Arches Add Character to Your Home Design

Groin arches are among our most popular arches, and it’s easy to see why. Install them in just one room and you’ll quickly see how it transforms your entire home. Although it seems to be a very specific look, the groin arch can actually work with many different styles. With an intricate design and rich history, it’s easy to think that it should be reserved for Romanesque or medieval designs – but that’s just not true. Many modern homes incorporate groin arches seamlessly. It just goes to show that what you do with the arch is as important as the arch itself. The groin arch has its own character, but it really comes alive when you add a personal touch. Let’s look at a few examples.

This example shows that groin arches don’t have to be typical. Many groin arches are installed in hallways and entryways, and they span the entire width of the ceiling. This arch is inset into the center of the ceiling with a cove around it. When it’s dry-walled and designed, it’ll be a sight to behold. This design would be perfect to add character to a bedroom or media room.

And sometimes, groin arches are installed in small rooms to span the width of the ceiling. It creates a very dramatic effect, for sure.

When groin arches begin further down the wall, the result is always more dramatic. Up until now, we’ve looked at bare arches. So now, it’s time to see how a finished arch can give character to a home. Because the arches themselves are somewhat elaborate, even simple artwork can provide a major impact. Can you imagine a hallway like this one in your next home design? It certainly has character.

Now, let’s talk logistics. Sure, groin arches have that “wow” factor, but that usually means it’s not going to fit in your budget, right? Wrong. Actually, our arches are quite affordable because they’re prefabricated. That doesn’t mean you’re going to get a cookie cutter product, though. Every arch is made to your precise specs (within ¼ inch).

Want to get started right away (and how could you not with such great inspiration)? No problem. As soon as we have your order, we’ll start building your groin arch. In fact, it’ll be on a truck en route to you within just five business days. So, what are you waiting for? Get off the computer and get out the measuring tape. We only need three measurements to get going.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to Make Your Home the Envy of the Block with Interior Domes

Interior domes can help rescue your home from boring design

Just look around and you’ll see that this world is filled with domes and arches. Architecture was never meant to be boring. So, let’s pull ourselves out of this rut and draw some inspiration from the domes around us. Have you ever seen the Capitol building in DC? How about Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London? The Great Stupa at Sanchi? The Loftolla Mosque in Iran? From this diverse list, you can see that all domes are not created equal. But these domes are all visible from the outside, which not only makes them more difficult to construct, but it also adds a pretty penny to your construction costs. Instead, let’s draw inspiration from these architectural masterpieces and look at installing interior domes in your new home or remodel.


All of the exterior domes we’ve mentioned are half circle domes, which means that they are very pronounced. But, that doesn’t mean that your interior dome must be a half circle. In fact, if you’re looking to cover a larger space, a soft rise may be the best bet. The soft rise creates a domed effect, but it doesn’t have to be completely circular. A soft rise interior dome can be oval in shape, so it can cover more space without having to take up too much attic space. On the other hand, if you want to draw attention to a small space in the center of the room in an entryway, there’s nothing like a half circle. So, you have two choices here, and the one you choose will be the one that meets your design specs.


Installing interior domes has never been easier. Previously, every arch had to be constructed by hand by a master craftsman. Today, we do all the hard work for you. Our prefabricated arch kits arrive at your doorstep ready to be installed. And, this may be the best part, installation is a breeze. Even do-it-yourselfers are fond of installing our interior domes because the process is easy and it makes them look like pros. What could be better than that?


Design isn’t exactly our forte, but we’ve installed enough interior domes to learn a thing or two about what people like. Some people prefer to leave the dome painted the same color as the ceiling with a simple light ring installed to draw attention. Others opt to take advantage of the break in their otherwise boring ceilings and do something grandiose. Maybe they’ll commission an artist to paint a mural or add some cool lighting effects. Many opt to decorate the space around their interior domes also, to ensure that their efforts are seen by all. In these examples, you can see different painting techniques applied to a half circle and soft rise dome. If these aren’t exactly your taste, don’t worry. You’re free to design your arch as you’d like. Check out our photo gallery for some more inspiration.

While your home may never achieve international fame like the Capitol building or Saint Paul’s Cathedral, with some well-placed and designed interior domes, you can bet it will be the envy of your friends and neighbors. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Modern Living Room Design Spotlight: Magic Between Curves and Edges

Use this modern living room as inspiration for your next masterpiece

Don’t you just love checking out the artfully designed homes that grace the pages of the top home d├ęcor magazines? We do too, but we love it even more when we get to work on a home of that caliber. Of course, all the homes we create ceilings and arches for are special in their own way, but some stand out a bit more than others. This modern living room design is a shining example of the magic that lies between a curve and a straight line.

You probably already know that we love curves. Barrel vaults, groin vaults, coved ceilings and archways. Well, those are kind of our things. But, as you’ll see in this living room, our curves can play very nicely with straight lines too.

Let’s start with the ceiling. You can’t see the entire thing from these images, but there’s enough to see that it doesn’t have any straight edges. This is a perfect example of how something as simple as a coved ceiling can open up the room. Of course, it helps that it’s an extraordinarily high ceiling, but the cove almost makes it disappear.

Next, you’ll notice how the person who designed this modern living room alternates between arches and straight lines in the entryways. It starts with archways outside, moves on to very stark lines around the patio doors and continues with elliptical arches that serve as dividers for this massive space.

Look up and you’ll find more of the same. The stark lines of the accent windows are offset by more elliptical curves on the second floor. Take a closer look and you’ll realize that it’s no coincidence that the television is sitting against a backdrop of rectangular blocks. This was a well thought out design and we’re proud to say that we’ve had a hand in implementing it.

This modern living room design relies almost completely on the contrast between curves and lines, but if your thing is a bit more bold, we’ve got you covered there too. Here is just one example of the interesting accents that our curves can create in your room.

This radius ceiling accent was painted red and set against a rectangular black backdrop for optimal impact. Radius curves are a popular choice for drawing attention to light fixtures and breaking up an otherwise boring ceiling. That’s why their perfect for modern living room designs. And again, even though this design has a little more pop, it plays on the same concept of lines and curves. 

When you’re designing your modern living room, try alternating curves and edges to create your desired look. If you need more inspiration, check out our design gallery. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Groin Arch vs. Barrel Vault

Can’t choose between a groin arch or barrel? Here are some things to consider.

Are you torn between which arch to choose for your ceiling. If you ask us, you can’t really go wrong either way, but still, there are some things you may want to consider before making your decision.

Style is the most obvious consideration. Although a groin arch is made up of intersecting barrel arches, the look is very different. A groin arch will give your space a more gothic look, while a barrel vault is much more smooth and simple. It’ll give you the feeling that you’re walking through a tunnel whenever you enter your barrel vaulted space. With a barrel vault, you have the option of having an intricate mural painted on its inside. You could do the same with a groin arch, but it’ll seem busier. Most groin vaults aren’t heavily decorated because of their more intricate design. With all that said, though, a groin arch will create a more unique and awe-inspiring effect.

Because a groin arch is made up of intersecting barrel arches, there’s a bit more involved in its creation. Of course, that translates to a bit more in cost too. Those who add groin arches to their homes say it’s well worthwhile, but that choice is yours to make. If you’re looking for an extremely opulent ceiling, there’s nothing that will compare to the groin vault. There is one possible workaround, though. Going back to the style consideration, if you happen to be an artist or know one that would be willing to do a pro bono painting on your barrel vault ceiling, you can create a similar jaw-dropping effect with a custom-painted mural.

If you were having these arches custom built, time would be a consideration. A groin vault would probably take longer to craft than a barrel arch because a barrel arch is simpler in design. But with our prefabricated kits, there is absolutely no difference. From the time you place your order, your groin or barrel vault will be shipped to your doorstep, or at your jobsite, within five days. Period.

Effort to Install

Our prefabricated ceiling kits are so easy to install that it doesn’t make too much of a difference between barrel and groin. The biggest disparity of time and effort is going to be with installing drywall. Instead of dealing with the one curve you would have to drywall with a barrel vault, you’re going to have four with a groin arch. If you’re paying someone to do the drywall, the groin vault will cost more.

There are definitely a few things to consider before you decide to go with a groin arch over a barrel, but it’s your choice to make. Have a look through some of the pictures in our gallery to see what both look like when they’re installed and painted. If you’re wavering, a little eye candy should help seal the deal.

Design Ideas for a Barrel Arch

A barrel arch is simple by design, but it doesn’t have to stay that way…

Designing a new house or remodeling an old one is just plain fun. The possibilities are only limed by your budget and imagination. And if the sky’s the limit as far as budget goes, you can really have some fun. A barrel arch is extremely simple in design, so there’s a lot of wiggle room when it comes to creativity. You can either leave it simple – and it will still be stunning – or you can jazz it up with things like paint and lighting. Here are some ideas for boosting the dramatic effect of your barrel vault.

Install multiple arches

A barrel arch is really just a series of arches, so you can take it as far as you want and still have a simple barrel vault. But, try installing two or even three arches side by side for some instant drama. Most people let side-by-side curves stand on their own merits, but some choose to add a little more in the way of decorative elements. It’s all up to your own personal taste.

Paint a mural

If you’re an artist or even just an art enthusiast, your barrel arch is just begging to be painted. A subtly curved ceiling makes the perfect canvas for someone wanting to showcase her artistic talents. Plus, it’ll create an effect that is uniquely yours. Commission an artist to paint a mural on your ceiling and you can pretty well guarantee that your home will stand out from the others in your neighborhood.

Add impact with simple painting

If you don’t have an artist on speed dial, you may want to just consider painting the interior curve of your barrel arch a different color. It could be a stark contrast to the rest of the room or ceiling, or it could be just a shade lighter or darker. Either way, the difference will be enough to make your barrel pop.

Light it up! 

Just by adding some simple light fixtures, you can draw attention to your barrel arch without going overboard. Many people choose the barrel arch over a groin arch because they value simplicity. For those, a mural would be too over-the-top. But, some recessed lighting or even a chandelier can add just the right amount of pizazz.

 If you’re looking for more ideas and inspiration, be sure to check out our photo gallery. As you can see, there are a lot of options when it comes to designing a barrel arch. Just because you have the same curve in the same spot as your neighbors doesn’t mean it has to look the same. Use your imagination and have some fun!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Barrel Vault Definition

The barrel vault, by definition, is an arch that gets repeated over and over to form a ceiling.

You can find them in the Roman baths at Cluny in Paris and The Cloisters in New York City. What are they? Barrel vaults, of course. 
Still not clear on the definition? Okay, let’s delve a little deeper. 

Barrel vault definition: The barrel vault is essentially an arch that gets repeated over and over to form a ceiling. Have you ever seen an arched entryway? Imagine if that arch was duplicated, so it encompassed the entire room. That, in essence, is the barrel vault definition.

The barrel vault name: To understand the barrel vault definition, let’s look at the name. Why is it called a “barrel” vault? Well, because it looks like half of a barrel. If you’ve ever visited The Cloisters, you probably understand the concept. While all barrel vaulted ceilings give you the feeling of being inside a barrel, the one at The Cloisters is actually made of exposed wood, which looks an awful lot like a barrel. They don’t all have to be like this, though. Many barrel vaults are dry walled, so they are completely smooth.

History of the barrel vault: We have evidence that shows that some of the first barrel vaults were crafted by the ancient Egyptians, but it didn’t seem to be a popular ceiling at that point. They were built of sun-dried brick and spanned only two meters. Instead of being used where people could appreciate their curved appeal, they were almost always used for drains and sewers. It wasn’t until the barrel vaults made their way to Ancient Rome that they were used for more large-scale projects, but even then, it was short lived. The barrel vault was soon replaced with the groin vault, which is more complicated in construction and appearance. The barrel vault saw a huge resurgence in the Romanesque and Baroque periods.

Famous barrel vaults: These simple arched ceilings make a serious impact. That’s probably why they can be found in some seriously high profile places. Just tilt your head and look up the next time you’re at the Sistine Chapel or Vatican Grotto in Vatican City, or the Cathedral of Cortona in Tuscany, or Beverston Castle in England; well, you get the picture. The barrel vault definition may be a simple one, but when these arches are installed, they make a huge impact.

So, by now you should be intimately familiar with the barrel vault definition. You can picture them in some of the historic landmarks you’ve visited within your lifetime. Now, it’s time to picture a barrel vault in your own home.

The Barrel Vault Definition