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Dec 22 2015

A couple buys a traditional home in Rock Creek. What they do to their ceilings next is outrageous!

131This month we were asked to help new residents of a Rock Creek dream home add dimension to an open floor plan great room. The owners wanted to coffer the ceiling in a particular area.

To coffer, in architecture, is to create a series of sunken panels in the shape of squares, rectangles, or octagons in a ceiling. Coffering uses the traditional look of bold beams to add dimension and character to a plain room.

The idea of coffered ceilings dates back to ancient Rome and Greece. In fact, the word coffer comes from the ancient Greek word kophinos, which means basket. Sometimes coffers were used to disguise the architectural engineering, where one beam or brace would be structurally necessary but others were built for visual symmetry. Hollows were sometimes used for structural weight distribution. Coffers have always been used decoratively.

Today, coffers are more about defining space and lending ambiance to a room, particularly in an open floor plan. Coffers can be elaborate, or quite simple. Real beams can be used, or simple 1X6 material attached to the ceiling, with appropriate trim, can achieve the desired effect.

Care to coffer your opinion?