14ft high ceilings... what to put in that space?
May 2, 2007 8:25 AM   Subscribe

In June, I am moving into a 1000sf open space place with 14ft high ceilings. I have many large abstract paintings (5 and 6 feet high)... but what about the space above? Anything I can do with it that would maximize my space--for example shelves around the perimeter or...? Any suggestions for things that can go up high and look good and don't require constant access? Links to pix of what other people have done with such high ceilings appreciated.
posted by dobbs to Home & Garden (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
how about several lofts? one for your bedroom and one for your office.
posted by zia at 8:30 AM on May 2, 2007

Apartment Therapy might have some cool ideas for what you can do with the space.
posted by chunking express at 8:32 AM on May 2, 2007

Response by poster: There's already a 270sf loft which I wasn't including in the space, but thanks.

And thanks, chunking, that site's a daily visit for me. :)
posted by dobbs at 8:36 AM on May 2, 2007

Cool article from Dwell about smaller apartments.
posted by billysumday at 8:36 AM on May 2, 2007

May I ask where your new, fabulous digs are? 14ft ceilings and 1000sf sounds awesome.
posted by sid at 8:56 AM on May 2, 2007

In my opinion the point of having high ceilings is to put nothing up there. It is the grand luxury of space. That picture in the Dwell link looks like such a waste: you have all this room and you clutter it up! (I live in a 432 sq ft studio with 12' ceilings lest you think this is theoretical.)

Or you can do what my bf did and put in hanging storage, nicely decorated for seasonal things, luggage etc.
posted by dame at 9:03 AM on May 2, 2007

Not especially pretty, but if you have bikes, this would be a perfect place to store them with a lift system.

I bet if you looked, you could find an appropriately sized blue whale model to hang from the ceiling.
posted by Caviar at 9:04 AM on May 2, 2007

I agree with Dame and have also lived in a space with the dimensions you post. If you really want something up there, I recommend one object. As an example, something like a dragon kite.
posted by cocoagirl at 9:08 AM on May 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

  • Library-style bookshelves with rolling ladder? I've always wanted one of those.
  • I'm assuming this is a rental, but if not, are windows an option? Stained glass in particular might look nice.
  • Nothing. Just paint that wall a deep red or some other vibrant color.
  • A floor-to-ceiling mirror to make it look like a 2,000 ft2 space?

    What dame said on preview for item three.

  • posted by Terminal Verbosity at 9:09 AM on May 2, 2007

    Oh, and this is a little off topic, but for me the best solution to fitting in lots of stuff without making things feel cluttered is double-depth bookshelves as dividers: I have configurations of these around my bed, and my book collection has never looked smaller.
    posted by dame at 9:10 AM on May 2, 2007

    As soon as I saw this in my RSS feed this popped into my head. I don't know why. It's a terrible idea really, and I hope it doesn't already exist out there.

    Obviously, it's not to scale. You'd have to make sure that when either end is pulled to a reasonable (eye level) height that none of the other bits smack into the top, but I think that if you baseline it so that they are all in a perfect line in the middle (both ends 7ish feet up), it might work. I both advise against it and really want to see you do it.

    Disclaimers: Drawn in MSPaint and hosted on my website, but the link is right to the image so I hope that's kosher.
    posted by JeremiahBritt at 9:12 AM on May 2, 2007 [2 favorites]

    Alternatively, they could be clear plexiglass boxes to hold bits of ephemera, but that's just crazy.
    posted by JeremiahBritt at 9:14 AM on May 2, 2007

    Response by poster: Thanks for the answers, folks. Please keep 'em coming.

    Sid, it's in the west end around Roncessvalle. And yes, it's a rental.

    More info:

    Windows are not an option. One wall is exposed brick and already has a window. The other two are inner walls. One will be painted red for sure as it suits a few of my paintings (I have six large ones by that artist and another coming in the summer). Haven't decided on the other wall yet.

    I tend to agree that empty space looks great but I thought that it wouldn't hurt to ask--see if anyone had any suggestions that hadn't occured to me.

    I also have two 9ft tall bookcases (4 ft wide each), but I've always hated the fact that they take up space where I could hang more art which is why a single shelf above the paintings around the perimeter of the space entered my head--but it's not that practical.
    posted by dobbs at 9:27 AM on May 2, 2007

    JeremiahBritt's suggestion is one of the coolest things I've seen on Ask in a while. If you don't do it, I just might.

    (I don't have to use a picture of Steve Martin, do I?)
    posted by Terminal Verbosity at 9:29 AM on May 2, 2007

    Hang a mobile!
    posted by anaelith at 9:46 AM on May 2, 2007

    Since the space is reasonably large and you love the paintings but not the bookcases, have you thought of doing low shelves around the room? You could even turn the cases you have on their sides. When I lived in a tall, narrow room, I had long line of milkcrates as shelves, with wood on top for tableage, and that was great.

    Also, if you do go the loft route, I would recommend making your loft workspace and the below chill-out or sleepspace. Having to climb to get to bed gets old fast. Now I will stop posting. I just think about this stuff often.
    posted by dame at 9:55 AM on May 2, 2007

    There are two things that I always thought looked stellar in a big space like that...one is big flat (or wavy) fishtanks that are suspended and strapped by those metal braided cables. The tanks are only a few inches thick, but shaped like a large painting. They divide space, but do so transparently and with interest. They're quite expensive though.

    The other idea I found in the movie High Fidelity. The Lisa Bonet character divided her apartment by connecting a bunch of 1900-1940s windows/frames. The windows were painted differently and connected by chains and hung from the ceilings at various points. The glass is old and somewhat distorted. Looks rustic and super cool.

    Oh, and one more. It's always cool to have a suspended bed. Again, more metal cables. Those things are just so sexy!

    Oh, crap, one more. What if you made lightweight painted/textured walls? Hang them from the ceilings. Attach small shelves on one side. Put the paintings on the other.

    (really wishes she had a bigger apt.)
    posted by iamkimiam at 12:04 PM on May 2, 2007

    Hang a bunch of lanterns, different sizes and corresponding colors.
    posted by cior at 1:00 PM on May 2, 2007

    I second Terminal Verbosity's first idea. We have a similar space upstairs in our house and we also wanted to leave the walls open for hanging artwork. We decided to put in some rows of bookshelves that we can wheel over to on the same beautiful Putnam rolling ladder that we use for climbing into the sleeping loft (as well as for accessing a storage space and roof). Keeps the room feeling very open and uncluttered.
    posted by stagewhisper at 1:06 PM on May 2, 2007

    Sounds similar to my place. So far, I've stuck to "Nothing" -- I really enjoy having a big, wide-open space. I do, however, have low-voltage hanging light fixtures, which are both functional and reasonably attractive. Maybe you could do something with hanging lights and just remove them when you move out.

    iamkimiam, hanging bed, huh? Sounds fantastic, but wouldn't it.. um.. swing?

    JeremiahBritt -- very cool! I have a big wall that would be perfect for that, if I can find the right elements. It almost seems like it could be one's life time-line, starting with a baby picture (or even old pictures of grandparents) on one side and leading to, well, wherever you are now, maybe a wedding picture, college diploma, or whatever. And there's no reason (other than personal tastes) that it has to be quite so ordered -- the sections could be different heights and/or the cables could run at angles if you like. Lotsa room for creativity here!
    posted by LordSludge at 1:09 PM on May 2, 2007

    Suspended swimming pool!

    Okay, more seriously, you could suspend a large piece of 3D art. Or even a large picture suspended 4ft or so as a false ceiling. You could even have some low-voltage lighting hidden above it providing ambient light up and off the ceiling.
    posted by kc0dxh at 1:30 PM on May 2, 2007

    Why not just hang art from the ceiling? As in, floating a foot or so from the ceiling, parallel with the ceiling, something you'd have to lay on the floor to really appreciate. ;) Lots of art. Think of it as a whole new wall.
    posted by twiki at 4:07 PM on May 2, 2007

    I would get a 12ft tall tree or several and make it into an indoor outdoor-patio or a jungle. You can often find indoor plants on craigslist that have outgrown other people's houses
    posted by fshgrl at 7:41 PM on May 2, 2007

    LordSludge: You're right. 45* angles would make it much cooler, albeit with more initial planning needed. If you alternated the relative depth of the pulleys (and therefore that section of rope) you could allow for the "tracks" to be quite close together; adjacent articles could pass above or below one another while their position is adjusted along both the x and y axis. For even more fun, the individual frames could be clamped upon the rope/cable with the two end anchors being special frames with adjustable weight in the back, to ensure balance. If the clamps and were at opposite corners it would look super cool.

    This went from a weekend project to Major Ordeal, but I'll have to try and remember it for when I actually own a house.
    posted by JeremiahBritt at 8:10 PM on May 2, 2007

    Response by poster: Thanks all for the suggestions! I'm sure I'll be revisiting the thread once I'm in!
    posted by dobbs at 8:37 PM on May 2, 2007

    You crosswire the cables so that the bed doesn't swing. Unless of course...you wanted it to.
    posted by iamkimiam at 10:06 PM on May 2, 2007

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