Blog - Providing Insight into Residential Architecture and Construction

Exploring a Vaulted Option

Vaulted Ceiling After purchasing a one family, one story house, our clients contacted us for some interior improvements. Working within a small budget (they had put a lot of money into buying the home), the clients were looking for options to make their living area spacious.

nj architect Standard Ceiling
nj architect vaulted ceiling Vaulted Ceiling

We decided to totally open up the living area to connect the space with the rest of the floor plate. By eliminating existing partition walls, the space immediately felt larger - check out our thoughts on open vs. compartmentalized floor plans. We went a step further and redistributed the roof’s load which allowed us to eliminate low ceiling joists and create a clean slate for our architectural intervention – a vaulted ceiling.

The vaulted ceiling is the dominant feature of this residence. We clad the ceiling with beautiful pine boards that are protected with a clear coat fireproofing treatment. By running the boards parallel to the length of the house, the interior is elongated. 

While vaulted ceilings create a more spacious atmosphere, the design also has energy drawbacks. To prevent energy loss due to heat gain, we insulated the ceiling and used a radiant barrier to block excess heat from entering. We also penetrated the ceiling with a series of skylights that not only create different light and shadow conditions throughout the course of the day and the seasons, but also filter the hot air that accumulates in the vault.

Structural modifications are a major component of vaulted assemblies. One cannot simply eliminate the ceiling joists to achieve double height space, as the joists prevent the roof from buckling. For this residence, we added a large ridge beam beneath the rafters to prevent buckling, and also highlighted the element in a different material to allow it to become an interior feature.

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