Ceiling Beam Designs – Frame and Panel

Our client liked the fireplace mantle we had built for them so they asked us to add wainscot to their foyer in the same ‘Mission Style’ architecture we’d done for the mantle. For their next project, we considered ceiling beam designs that were of the same style…

The Existing Ceiling Beams and Columns

Their living room and kitchen were all within one, huge room. It had beams of 16 feet and 24 feet supported by two support columns. These were I-beams and cylindrical post of steel that had been wrapped in simple pine boards previously. My photographs will concentrate on this one section (where the two ceiling beams meet) so you can appreciate the difference. Here you see the before pictures of that section, before and after we removed it…

plain ceiling wrap

I-beams exposed

I considered the columns & beams we had to box-in and what kind of ‘look and feel’ would be right for what we’d built for them so far. Here are two sketches (that I composited for this article), The left and top side drawing gives a sense of the over-all look and the inset drawing is how I wanted to handle where the beams sat on the posts. Notice that I added thick corbels that seemed perfect for this older look….

Ceiling Beam Designs sketches


We made the left, right and bottom ‘faces’ of the beam wraps separately and them joined them to one another…

ceiling beam wrap construction

Here you see the corbels made / they were laminated and left hollow to facilitate attaching them to the other work.

ceiling beam corbels

…. and one of the beams following our dark stain.

stained ceiling beam before installation

The Finished Look…

Trying to bring a single beam 24 feet long into their home was impossible (not to mention the difficulty of trying to install it with two men. So we elected to fabricate them in half lengths and we created a ‘cover box’ to hide the center spot where they met. Aesthetically, it acted much like a keystone in the center of a overhead transom. Here you see that join.

ceiling beam wrap with keystone

Here is that support column holding up the off-set 16’ and 24’ beams (where they overlapped) between the kitchen & living room…. as well as the second post near the other end of the 22 footer…

Mission style beam and column wraps

ceiling beams with column wrap

….and because a single photo can’t cover this 40 foot long project, here’s a very short vid that gives you a better sense of the work. It ends with a look at the fireplace mantle, whose look we kept carrying over to each subsequent project.

Russell Hudson / Hudson Cabinetmaking, Inc.