Looking Up

Whether it is the musty smell of 100-year-old wood and dust, or the rustic Douglas-fir beams, the more time that I spend in the completely gutted In Law unit, the more I feel like the “urban barn” look will work well in this space.  One thing, in particular, I have really been enjoying are the exposed wood beams in the ceiling.  Unfortunately, only a portion of the ceiling has the original old-growth Douglas-fir joists, but they are really beautiful.  So beautiful, in fact, that I’ve been thinking that we might keep them exposed.  Here’s a picture for you…


I have a meeting tonight with the electrician, which should clarify how we can approach lighting the room.  Once this is figured out we will know if we will need to cover the ceiling in drywall.  If it is possible to get the lighting that I would like while keeping the beautiful wooden ceiling that would be ideal.

To give you a sense of what I’m thinking of, here are a few ideas I’ve found that show what a space can look like with exposed joists & beams.






In addition to the ceiling beams, we have the large wooden columns in the middle of the room.  After consulting with the structural engineer, it sounds like we can potentially remove one of the two columns.  Whether we keep them both, or only have one column in the room, I’m looking forward to sanding it down and sealing it to expose the natural beauty of the wood.


  1. Tamsen said:

    I love the idea of the exposed beams. You will love it also. I took pictures of the beams over in France just because they looked so beautiful. Go for it.
    By the way, please be careful with the jack hammer. (Mom talking – forgive me)

  2. Nori said:

    Exposed beams can totally work. Nice! Speaking of structural engineers, I’m finally getting around to removing that weird little archway wall in my unit — not sure you remember it, but it’s in the way of expanding my kitchen into the living/dining room. Do you know of a structural contractor you’d recommend? I’ve got drawing from a structural engineer, but need bids on removing this wall and replacing it with a steel beam…

    • Hi Nori,
      I have two great recommendations. The contracting company that did our back deck did a really great job. It’s a beautiful deck and is probably the most structurally sound element to the house. I would recommend them for the quality of building, but they also had a tendency to try and slide in additional costs. Of course, when I held them to their contract they backed off a bit. They’re name is Mulhall Construction. The contractor I like working with the most and who also does excellent work is Desiree from Aurora Builders. She’s really great to work with and does excellent work. She is also exceptionally honest, which I value almost more than anything. She doesn’t have the huge crew of resources that Mulhall has, but for your job that giant crew probably isn’t necessary. Good luck!

  3. Shelly Coburn said:

    Wow, I am so impressed! I hope you can keep the beams, they are beautiful.

  4. Sandra said:

    Uh. Yes! What is not to love about the beams?!

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