Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What Happens When You Integrate Reclaimed Lumber, Bead Board, and Engineered Joists?

On every project, I seem to get carried away on one feature.  It becomes a bit of an obsession and requires lots of time and money!  And when I get carried away, I do it in style :-)  For this house, it's the original ceilings in the living room and kitchen.  I've made the plumbers, electricians and carpenters a bit crazy - but wait till you see it!

New Steel Beam with a mix of old/new joists tying into it
You see, like many old houses, this one doesn't have high ceilings.  But since the original beams were left exposed, it still feels pretty tall.  And I love the look of exposed beadboard on the underside of the floor above.

How many guys does it take to get a steel beam into an old house?
But, to maintain this look is a HUGE job.....the old beams were over spanned, making the floors upstairs a bit like a trampoline (not a huge selling point, I might add).  So we installed lots of new load carrying beams, to strengthen the ceilings/floors and allow our open floor plan.

New LVL and steel beams installed in ceiling for additional structural stability
That created some challenges for the look I was hoping to achieve.  First - how in the world do you install plumbing and electrical, when you can't run anything through the ceiling (and of course I want recessed lighting!!).  We finally decided to create a 1 1/2" channel, to accommodate heating, plumbing and wiring.  And then we installed new beadboard, to hide all the mechanicals.  Second, how do you hide the joist hangers, that are required to lock everything together?  That takes a lot of fancy carpentry!

Finally, I wanted to make sure we incorporated the original 1906 Soule-Willard signature, that we found on one of the original studs.

To provide a venue for the sign, we decided to take the reclaimed lumber (that we saved from the second floor), and wrap the new, load bearing beams. The signature will be the last thing we install, after all the painting is done.

It took the talented Waterhouse Builders team two full weeks to do the detailed carpentry required to finish the ceiling.  We joked that they needed neck massages at the end of each day, since they spent the majority of the day looking up!
Don't you love how the reclaimed lumber gives character to the ceiling?
They did a fantastic job incorporating reclaimed lumber, dado'd trim to hide joist hangers and cove molding to dress up the edges.

And look how amazing it looks now!  We need to do a bit more sanding, but once the woodwork is painted white, it will really stand out against the reclaimed wood that's been added to the beams.
All the old brown beams will be painted a crisp white

So, after all this work, what do you think?  Was it worth it?

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  1. Stunning. I have to live vicariously as our area lacks the appeal and I'd lose my shirt on such a project! I'd kill to do one, though....!

    1. Thanks! So glad we can help you with a vicarious thrill :-)

  2. I like it, I like it. Can't wait to see it finished, it will be tres chic.

    1. Très chic - that's what we're going for!!!


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