The Importance of Ceilings

Photography by Anton Grassl

In the late 1960’s, a prior owner of this historic McKim Mead and White mansion completed a redesign that was “on trend”. They dropped the ceiling of the powder room, added a curved wall at the window wall, and installed flower-power wallpaper on the walls. When we got the assignment to bring the house back to its original splendor, we not only raised the ceiling back to the original height and created a vaulted shape, but we also conceived of a tile mosaic with diagonal ribs that would give scale to the narrow space. By adding large opposing mirrors framed by 19th century looking pilasters, the space was expanded visually. The clients report that when guests walk into the powder room, they hear audible exclamations of “wow” before the door closes. We consider the results a transformation, rooted in tradition but with a creative twist.

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