There’s that scene in the first Harry Potter film when Harry, Hermione and Ron walk into the excellent dining hall at Hogwarts for the first time. The area is vast and has a ceiling that seems to disappear into the night skies, including mystery, magic and wonder to the spectacle.
One of the ways we can capture that same feeling in our own homes would be to utilize a barrel vaulted ceiling. These ceilings open up and provide height to a space, allowing views to the skies and landscape outside. And these ceilings can be finished in a range of different substances, from white painted shingles to beadboard to stenciling and much more.
Architects and designers often will utilize a barrel-vaulted ceiling at a dining room. While the ceiling leaves the room grand, family and friends gather around the table to enjoy a fantastic meal and conversation. The experience is a wonderful mixture of spaciousness and intimacy all at the same time.
Arthur Dyson Architects
A barrel-vaulted ceiling captures and frames a gorgeous view. If you place a piece of paper over the surface of the picture, you will see precisely how much the barrel vault increases the sense of distance and how it is able to make the landscape part of the home. Without the barrel vault, it just would not be the same.
Frederick + Frederick Architects
A barrel vault is the best shape ceiling to get a dining area like this. The ceiling’s extra dimension and height adds spaciousness to a space while its shape — an arc that defines an encompassing circle — creates intimacy. It’s like we’re outdoors with the vault of heaven above as we gather around to savor decent food and good conversation.
Bud Dietrich, AIA
With windows on three sides and an elliptical window at the vault, this breakfast area enjoys lots of sun. It’s a great spot to view the yard, treetops and sky when having that morning cup of coffee or enjoying the Sunday crossword puzzle.
Open to the kitchen at one end, in addition, it provides a mild and bright space for children doing homework while the cook is making dinner.
The doors and windows, in conjunction with linear layout of the timber ceiling complete, take out the viewer to the landscape outside.
Within this large dining area for 12, the half-circle shape of the vault adds the required height and spaciousness. Sliver-like slots are introduced into the ceiling sides to increase the total amount of light coming into the space and prevent a monolithic vault.
Fine Art & Portraits by Laurel
Barrel-vaulted ceilings can be richly decorated. This often works best when there’s no opportunity for a large window to catch light and view. Whether decorated as a tapestry or alternative pattern, a ceiling like this adds a richness of detail that’s hard to beat.
Red Barn Studio
A soaking bathtub is the centerpiece of the charming bathroom. The ceiling vault and large window give emphasis to the bathtub whilst allowing the vanity to be a more intimate area with a lower ceiling. The beadboard finish of the ceiling is a nice touch as it softens the design of the space just enough.
Vanni Archive/Architectural Photography
This contemporary-style bedroom employs a warm, wood-finished vault to attain a clean and spare spaciousness that goes well beyond just white walls. The timber finish visually reduces the ceiling, giving the space more intimacy.
Scott Cornelius Architect
Here is another barrel-vaulted bedroom. This has a more intimate scale and a more conventional decorative — proof that a barrel vault can bring any kind of room to life. The gentle curve and only colour blur the distinction between wall and ceiling, making the room intimate and peaceful while the barrel vault allows for height and light.
Following is a wonderful office and certainly a place I would not mind working , although I likely would spend the day sitting by those doorways daydreaming! The ceiling comprises two classic design elements: a shallow barrel vault and coffering. While the coffers add structure and formality to the space, the shallow vault ensures we do not take it too seriously.
Tongue & Groove
A barrel vault is a nice way to make a transition between rooms. This barrel vaulted ceiling is set lower to give the passage between rooms a more human scale. It’s also nice that the entrance door and the vault share the same geometry, linking the two spaces together.
Frederick + Frederick Architects
This passing between two rooms uses the vault to conceal indirect lighting and supply a screen space. The abundance of detail is wonderful to see in a little (and often only pragmatic ) area.
Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co..
This is an especially wonderful perch from which to gaze onto the landscape. The expansion of the barrel vaulted ceiling from inside to outside increases the sense of being above and detached from the surrounding landscape, but still part of it.
Small dormers at the sides of the barrel vault allow in extra sun and mild. And the simple molding laid out in a grid gives the ceiling interest and structure.
Sagan / Piechota Architecture
I love the way this barrel vaulted ceiling seems to float, an effect achieved by having that”shadow line” between the onset of the ceiling and the soffit above the kitchen sink.
The curved, timber laminated beam that forms the arc of the vault is structural and left unfinished. The warmth and richness of the timber and gentle curve of the vault provide a wonderful contrast to the kitchen’s white, metallic, shiny and hard surfaces.
Fiedler Marciano | Architecture
An old building with a large and tasteful barrel-vaulted ceiling becomes the ideal setting for this modern kitchen and dining area. While the age, size, scale and design of the vaulted ceiling gives the room permanence and history, the”floating” kitchen and dining areas — and the contemporary plywood furniture — give a feeling of the transient. It’s a perfect balance of old and new, modern and contemporary.
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