June 3, 2009

Hiding Ceiling Pipes

black and white movie still

One of my all-time favourite decorating movies is Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House with Cary Grant (I also love when Mia Farrow redecorates her apartment in Rosemary’s Baby but we’ll leave that for another day). Again, keeping my rubble-wall infatuation in mind, I love these movie sets that scream Conneticut country house. With the Blandings house I love the oversized fireplace and exposed beams in the great room.

Shot of Meg's basement

So here is my dilemma, I have a gas line and some plumbing running the length of the “family room” area in the basement.

close up of Faux Wood Beams

I could pay to move and hide them and get a nice flat ceiling, or I could use a terrific product in which they would be encased. sells fake rustic beams made from high-density polyurethane that not only look real but are hollow and U-shaped so you can hide pipes inside them. This would give me the look of an exposed beam in the basement. But white-washed, of course, to lighten it up.

Both will cost the same but which to choose? Here are two inspiring shots of exposed beams painted white:

living room shot with sofa

One from a Vermont country house shot years ago for us by Montreal photographer Robert Pelletier (notice how this look doesn’t date), designed by Montrealer Scott Yetman.

white beams with table

And another from the Remodelista website. I love the look but I do realize the ceilings in these rooms are probably 15 feet — unlike mine, which are under 7. Curse this low ceiling, it’s messing with my plans! But I haven’t given up on this look completely. I wonder if a beam the length of the room would be claustrophobic or cosy…

Photo credits:
1. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), from 
Meg Crossley
4. December 2006 issue of
House & Home, Robert Pelletier Photography
5. Remodelista February 3, 2009