One of my biggest building neuroses centres around ceilings, and this came to a head when we started talking about built-in pelmets and curtains. I nearly had a meltdown over this trying to explain what I wanted, because I simply did not know the right terminology. I tried to find pictures, but it was made more difficult by the fact that I didn’t know what I was searching for. I was looking for something like this:
It turns out that this is a recessed curtain track – the curtain tracks are recessed into the ceiling. And it’s considered a major architectural change, which needs to be thought of right at the very beginning. But because I was associating this with window furnishings – which is not part of building, per se – I didn’t mention it at the beginning. So, drama ensured.
By the time I got around to mentioning curtains, the “major architectural” stuff had been dealt with. Built-in pelmets with a hidden curtain rail had already been factored into the equation, but this presented me with another stress-point – I didn’t particularly like the look of built-in pelmets. Or rather, I hadn’t seen any pictures of built-in pelmets that I liked – it didn’t mean that they didn’t exist, it just meant I wasn’t convinced.
After much angsting, a solution was hit upon. Make the hidden pelmets wider so that they effectively turned into bulkheads. This would allow the hidden curtain rails to mimic the effect I was after without having to rework the design in a major way.
But, this brings me to cornices. Now, I love me a decorative cornice — except when it comes to bulkheads. Where bulkheads are concerned, I like to go sans-cornice.
Compare the following 2 bedrooms, both containing bulkheads:
The first one is very nice, but we wanted the modern lines of the second one.
So we ended up specifying shadowline ceilings in the areas where we have bulkheads – the entry, master bedroom, and open plan area. The builder didn’t want to do square set as it’s too prone to cracking as the building settles. Fair enough, we were happy enough to go with shadowline instead.
About Shadowline Ceilings
A shadowline ceiling has a slight gap where the wall meets the ceiling, and no cornice. It’s more labour-intensive than a corniced ceiling. The labour intensiveness comes from the fact that they need to be more precise when cutting out the ceiling sheets.
Here’s an example of how the ceiling is cut out when a shadowline is involved:
So, how do they do this shadowline ceiling? Glad you asked, because I wondered as well. They end up using these z-shaped metal strips, which they use to fill in the gap between the ceiling sheet and the wall. The gap is about 10mm wide.
Here’s what the shadowline metal strip looks like once it’s fixed in place:
The perforated bit is attached to the ceiling sheet, and the solid bit is used to fill the gap to the wall.
Then someone comes along and plasters it up to hide the perforated metal so it can be painted.
The thin solid metal strip is still visible at this stage, but it gets painted over directly when the ceiling gets painted.
So now that you’ve seen the detail, here’s the big picture:
We should be at lockup next week. Exciting times ahead, but I fear there will be fewer photo opportunities.