Launch Slideshow

With every room opening to the outdoors, this Napa, Calif., house promotes a casual relationship with its site.

Great Rooms with Wood Ceilings

Great Rooms with Wood Ceilings

  • This California home's stone-and-plaster walls conceal a high performance core built with insulated concrete forms.

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    This California home's stone-and-plaster walls conceal a high performance core built with insulated concrete forms.

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    Tim Maloney

    Architect: Taylor Lombardo Architects, San Francisco; Builder: Jim Murphy and Associates, Santa Rosa, Calif. This long, tall great room in a Napa Valley weekend retreat includes massive wood beams separated by columns of sticks left in their natural form. The dark wood and organic textures add a homey atmosphere to the copious space that is enhanced by golden plaster walls. Circular clerestory windows highlight the wood ceiling and are mimicked by recessed pin lights. Click here to see more of this house and read the complete profile of the builder.
  • A wall of lift-and-slide doors opens the great room colonnade to a covered terrace with an outdoor fireplace.

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    A wall of lift-and-slide doors opens the great room colonnade to a covered terrace with an outdoor fireplace.

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    Chris Larrance

    Architect: Taylor Lombardo Architects, San Francisco; Builder: Jim Murphy and Associates, Santa Rosa, Calif. A wall of lift and slide glass doors connects the great room to a covered terrace. A beamed wood ceiling also covers the terrace, and both spaces boast oversized fireplaces. Click here to see more of this house and read the complete profile of the builder.
  • With every room opening to the outdoors, this Napa, Calif., house promotes a casual relationship with its site.

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    With every room opening to the outdoors, this Napa, Calif., house promotes a casual relationship with its site.

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    Tim Maloney

    Architect: Backen Gillam Architects, St. Helena, Calif.; Builder: Jim Murphy and Associates, Santa Rosa, Calif. Exposed wood trusses are linked by smooth planks lending a traditional element to the open clean lines of this Napa, Calif., great room. Click here to see more of this house and read the complete profile of the builder.
  • While the forms and materials used in this residence make reference to vernacular agricultural buildings, the craftsmanship and performance are contemporary.

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    While the forms and materials used in this residence make reference to vernacular agricultural buildings, the craftsmanship and performance are contemporary.

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    Tim Maloney

    Architect: Backen Gillam Architects, St. Helena, Calif.; Builder: Jim Murphy and Associates, Santa Rosa, Calif. The peak of the vaulted ceiling is capped by skylights that allow natural light to filter down through the trusses. The trusses align with the segmented wood floor to further break down the continuous space. Click here to see more of this house and read the complete profile of the builder.
  • Clerestory windows feed light from the uphill side of the living room through a wood-and-steel roof structure.

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    Clerestory windows feed light from the uphill side of the living room through a wood-and-steel roof structure.

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    Michael O'Callahan

    Architect: Darryl Roberson, STUDIOS Architecture, San Francisco; Builder: Jim Murphy and Associates, Santa Rosa, Calif. Architect Darryl Roberson speced a three-dimensional wood and metal ceiling treatment for his own home. Square clerestory window symmetrically punctuate the linear design while the light wood with dark gray steel palette is echoed throughout the great room. Click here to see more of this house and read the complete profile of the builder.
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    Christopher Barrett

    Architect: Farr Associates, Chicago; Builder: Goldberg General Contracting, Chicago. Blond wood beams support the butterfly roof that appears to be floating above this Chicago-area great room. The light wood provides definition and depth to the pale color scheme in the space. Read more about the builder of this house and see more iamges of the project here.
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    Christopher Barrett

    Architect: Farr Associates, Chicago; Builder: Goldberg General Contracting, Chicago. The beams extend beyond the transparent walls of the airy space to support a wood-clad overhang that shades the glass. Read more about the builder of this house and see more iamges of the project here.
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    Barbara Karant/Karant⡲⚭

    Architect: DeStefano and Partners, Chicago; Builder: Goldberg General Contracting, Chicago. The tall, narrow great room in this infill house is made more personal by a ceiling finished with finely detailed wood panels placed asymmetrically in different directions. Read more about the builder of this house and see more iamges of the project here.
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    Barbara Karant/Karant⡲⚭

    Architect: DeStefano and Partners, Chicago; Builder: Goldberg General Contracting, Chicago. The pale wood panels have variegated depths to increase interest and texture on the ceiling. Read more about the builder of this house and see more iamges of the project here.
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    Sharon Risedorph

    Designer/Owner: Sagan Piechota Architecture, San Francisco; Builders: Loring Sagan, San Francisco; Paul Woo Construction, San Francisco. This 6,000-square-foot former industrial building was gutted and renovated by the owner as a live/work building. Leaving the building trusses exposed gives rhythm to the mezzanine living spaces.  Read the complete feature story on this project.
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    Sharon Risedorph

    Designer: Sagan Piechota Architecture, San Francisco; Builders: Loring Sagan, San Francisco; Paul Woo Construction, San Francisco. Sandblasted sliding glass doors close off the living areas for privacy while allowing light to filter in from the atrium. Read the complete feature story on this project.
  • Inside, a ??tree house????the master bedroom closet??floats above the living room.

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    Inside, a ??tree house????the master bedroom closet??floats above the living room.

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    Derek Rath

    Architect: Glen Irani Architects, Venice, Calif.; Builder: Irani / Projects Inc., Venice.  Architect Glen Irani describes the playful wood slats wrapped around the cantilevered master bedroom closet as a "tree house" that floats above the sleek great room. Read the full story on this award-winning house.
  • A cascading stairway leads to guest rooms and eventually the roof.

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    A cascading stairway leads to guest rooms and eventually the roof.

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    Eric Williams

    Architect: John Senhauser Architects, Cincinnati; Builder: Allen Builders & Remodelers, Cincinnati. Wood slats on the gently upward-sloping ceiling continue down one wall to wrap the flowing living spaces of this modern log cabin in warmth. A stone chimney anchors the increasingly taller great room and pierces the roof to generate an outdoor fireplace as well. Click here to see more iamges of this award-winning custom home.
The phrase “great room” evokes images of open, airy, expansive spaces capable of housing various activities with multiple gathering areas. The idea of families being able to cook, eat, do homework, read by the fire, watch a movie, entertain, enjoy surrounding views, or sit down at the piano in one all-inclusive room continues to be a desired feature among homeowners. Great rooms often have vaulted or double-height ceilings to generate a sense of awe, but such large volumes also can be overwhelming or cold if not thoughtfully designed. Adding wood to those high ceilings is one way to mitigate an unfriendly feel. It brings warmth and texture into the space, plus it can be detailed to blend with a variety of architectural styles. We’ve gathered a gaggle of gorgeous great rooms that manage to convey a cozy vibe thanks to interesting ceilings detailed with wood beams, panels, or trim.