Monday, August 27, 2012

Rustic Ceiling Beams: Old World Ceiling Design

Greetings to everyone!
How the time keeps flying by!  Like so many others that I have read, these last few weeks have been so busy its been hard to find time to visit all of my favorite blogs regularly.  Here's hoping that things start to return to normal this week.
When we met with our builder this week we discussed  rustic beams that will be installed throughout the house.  As of right now there will be beams in the master suite, the kitchen, and the dining room.  Today's post showcases an array of old world style beams.  Hope you enjoy.   We would love to hear which is your favorite?
This beam system is actually functional, holding up the entire ceiling.  It is also a photograph that we took while visiting a Jack Arnold home in Colorado.  These beams were located in the master bedroom and are being considered for ours as well.  The hip roof in the Master suite allows for a unique layout.  Also notice the added detail of the iron turnbuckles.
This is the Kitchen from Jack Arnold's home.  For all of the long time followers, you might recall that we found this inspirational kitchen at and (thanks Holly and Tina!) a few years ago.  We loved it so much that it lead to our using Jack Arnold as our architect.  We love the large rustic beams which appear to be supporting the smaller beams in this kitchen ceiling.
 Jack Arnold Homes of Elegance can be found HERE.

Similar to Jack Arnold's kitchen, the larger beams appear to be supporting smaller floor beams.  This kitchen also has a small cooking fireplace with a wood beam mantel.  It also comes complete with pizza oven.  What a gorgeous space with the blue cabinetry.
Period Architecture LTD. 

Yes I realize this is not in the ceiling, but this rustic beam mantel over the fireplace would look great with matching ceiling beams.

These wood beams show every mark made by the ax as it was hand hewed. Old world, rustic, and amazing to think that these were once milled by hand for every structure.
Traditional Home 

Another fine example of hand hewed beam detail.

These truss beams have been fabricated for a scenario similar to ours.  The beam is designed not only to look amazing, but to be functional as well.  These beams will actually hold up the ceiling and be tied into the frame of the house.  Notice again all of the hand hewed details and the addition of turnbuckles for strength.
Vermont Timber Works 

This wood beam design also appears to be supporting plank wood floors from above.  This is a great combination and brings so much detail to a space.
Michigan Design 

This beam system also appears to hold a plank wood ceiling.  More importantly on this photograph you can see the detail of the wood pegs used to tie authentic beams together.  Simple details that can be added to any faux (box) beam for a more authentic appearance.

Many of you can probably identify this kitchen really quick.  Yes it belongs to Tina of The Enchanted Home.  Head over to Tina's to see the construction and design of her beautiful home.  We actually took this photograph to our architect and builder and said "see these, make these beams happen in our kitchen."  So we owe a big thanks to Tina!  Her cute Teddy also made this photograph.  Is he looking for something to eat?
These rustic ceiling beams blend in beautifully to the entire space.  From the rustic stone wall to the limestone fireplace mantel.  I would love to sit down and enjoy those glasses of wine!

Again I love to see the hand made details in a rustic hewed wood beam.

This ceiling left the entire beam in tact so that it appears more like a log beam ceiling.  It has a more rustic lodge look in my opinion.  Very similar to the Jack Arnold design above in concept.

Another take on a wood beam truss system.  This one is minus the turnbuckles but also gives a more open feel to this kitchen.  The lanterns have been perfectly placed to fall down through the beams.

We also want to start sharing more of our life around the house.  Since so many fellow bloggers share great food ideas, we thought we would share one of our typical outdoor summertime weekday dinners.  An arrangement of fresh veggies and herbs from our gardens, some roasted chicken, and fresh fruits and chocolates to finish.  We will do a few variations of this every week.  So easy, quick, and delicious. 
To wrap up today, thanks again to all of you that continue to add us to your blog lists!!  It is amazing to us how busy this site is becoming and just how many emails and suggestions we receive!!  We are having a blast because of all of you.  We hope to see you back here again for our next post in a few days.  Have a great week!
Tonya and Rob

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

French Style Fireplaces and Mantels: Which is your favorite?

Good morning everyone!

The most recent discussion with our builder has focused around if we should construct four full masonry fireplaces. As with anything there are pro's and con's.  Our builder no longer recommends that solid masonry fireplaces be constructed due to energy efficiency.  Our state has enacted energy codes that all new homes must meet.  Since masonry fireplaces are responsible for a great amount of energy loss in our homes (especially during a cold Indiana winter), it has been recommended that we use sealed inserts.  Additionally our design only calls for the mantel to be exposed so the design of a solid masonry fireplace would go unseen behind the walls.  The debate goes on!  Let us know your experience good or bad with solid masonry fireplaces.

To the more exciting part of today's post......we want to choose a mantel style before searching the yards and warehouses for the "perfect" mantel.  There are so many great choices, but we want to know which is your favorite.

We really like the look of this Limestone mantel.  The design has what I call a rustic elegance.

This cast stone mantel has a more traditional look with defined columns and a french arch.  Our ongoing full masonry debate is evident in these first two choices.  The first choice has no insert and is open.  This second choice has an insert (notice the black trim going around the firebox) which is covered by the fireplace screen.

Love the large cooking fireplace.  Okay so this won't go in our living or family room, but its still a fun choice.  A similar picture actually lead to our desire for having a mantel like hood over the kitchen range.  Look at the size of logs you can fit in the firebox!  The arched limestone ceiling is also amazing.

This limestone mantel looks great with the rustic stone.  I can't get over the height of the firebox.  This is certainly on our list of favorites, but would not work with an insert.

We took this photograph while touring a Jack Arnold home in Colorado.  This cast stone fireplace mantel style is high on our list, in addition to choice 1

We really like the angle above the mantel in this fireplace.  We also like the rustic wood beams and ceiling in this photograph. How great does that wood arch look? -Barbara Gilbert Designs

Another great limestone mantel.  I see this being used in a very formal setting.

This fireplace mantel seems to encompass the entire firebox.  A very simple design.

Another simple and elegant cast stone (limestone?) mantel used in this bedroom.  This scenario is very similar to ours.  If the mantel and firebox were not there, it would be difficult to detect a masonry fireplace behind the wall.

This cast stone fireplace is obviously for a grand space with tall ceilings.  We have 21ft. ceilings now and are over them.  Still like this formal look. This appears to have matching limestone shelving.

If we had to do a stone fireplace, this would be the one.  Such a rustic pattern and love the blue colors in the stone.  Does anyone know what kind of stone this is?  If we build a solid masonry fireplace this is the kind of detail we want to bring out of the wall.

Our bedroom has a corner that could accept a nice cozy fireplace.  We also have a wall that could benefit from the small limestone mantel shown in choice 9.  We thought this would be a different approach to creating a corner fireplace.  What do you think? Like it or no (the design not the stone)?

We like how the firebox is lifted slightly up off of the floor in this design. 

Another great solid masonry fireplace that showcases all of the stonework.  The stacked wood next to the firebox is both functional and looks great.  Maybe we need to build a lodge in the country also?

Hope you enjoyed some of our mantel design style choices.  We are curious to hear what you like.

Also we have updated "Our Favorite Blogs" shown in the right column.  We removed some that have quit updating, and added new blogs that we currently follow.  Check to make sure your blog is there and let us know if you would like added.

Hope everyone has a great day!

- Tonya and Rob

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

European Style Fountains and Water Features: Which is your Favorite?

Good morning everyone!

Who doesn't like a good water feature or fountain?  Its been so hot this summer that I could sit in one all day!

Right now the site plan is being prepared for the house.  (Psssst...if you missed our home's exterior view from the plans featured in our last post you can see it HERE.)

The site plan will show us the house placement, the pool placement, the utility placements, and the driveway placement.  Right now the plan is to have a single drive come off of the road which will lead to a circular drive in front of the main entry.  Another drive will exit the circle and head to the side load garage (if you are looking at the plan, the garage is hidden on the right side).

Now the focus is on what fountain to place in the middle of the circular driveway so plumbing can be planned.  We want it to be a main focal point while still keeping with our style of  home.

Today's images (and there are several) include sample fountains from our inspiration file.  If I have missed a credit please let me know.


This home has a great fountain sitting center stage in the circular driveway.  We also want to have enough room to plant boxwood's or roses around the fountain base to form a hedge.  The individual sprays shooting towards the center (like a crown fountain) appeal to us, but we are not sure about the two tiers emerging from the center.  Keeping the tiers clean is always a hassle at our current home, so we may want to skip those and only use water jets to create the water feature.


We took this picture while vacationing with some friends in Jamaica last year.  The property had about ten large fountains, all equally beautiful.  While I would take this fountain in a heart beat, it would look out of place in front of a French Old World style home. The fountain has four horses around the base that shoot water into the pool below.  The pond size and spacing is just right for plants and grass. I guess we will just need to visit this fountain more often!

Love this fountain with both cherub's and lion heads.  I only worry that the water might get a little too close to the edge with a good wind and run the fountain dry during the day.


This fountain got me off track and thinking in a new direction.  I was focused on having a circular driveway, but this courtyard with its drinking style fountain looks amazing.  It has a very rustic old world appeal that would match our homes style.


This fountain has several of the individual components we like all wrapped up into one. The crown jets shooting from the outer edge of the pond, an urn that overflows into a tiered basin, and a single jet shooting up in the center.

This one is not in the running for the focal point of our drive, but it was too fun not to share!  Our dog would do the same thing given the opportunity!


For a courtyard driveway this Roman pillar drinking fountain would be a great choice.  This still might get tucked into a corner near one of the two veranda's if we don't do a courtyard driveway.


Another European style drinking fountain.  I just love the color.


This is another great fountain for any style driveway.  It appears to be a modification of an old world drinking fountain.  Perhaps this was once a main water source for the village?


This cast stone fountain is very similar to the village fountain from above.  It has great details like the scrolled copper spouts.


Yet another cast pillar fountain


This fountains pond basin is close to the size we had in mind.  The three tiered cast stone fountain in the center may be slightly larger than necessary when compared with the basin.


These small fountains are really starting to stand out.  Modern versions have an on / off handle for water conservation.

Another interesting trough style fountain.


This style of urn fountain is high on our list.  The pond size is just right.  There is enough space for boxwood's to grow around the outer edge.  There is a single jet of water coming from the center to add some height.  Its not so large that it overwhelms the space.  What a great little fountain.


This one too is on our short list.  Again, very simple in design with only a few jets creating a crown feature.  If this had a single water jet coming straight up the center it may be perfect.  The pond size is great, and there are no statues or cast stone tiers to keep clean!


This fountain is a perfect size and style for this house.  It incorporates stones from the exterior of the house to tie the two together.  It would have been nice to see the center water jet shooting slightly higher to add a focal point to the fountain.


Yet another cast stone fountain with three tiers and a cast stone basin. 


Now here is a different approach.  I like the square basin that seems to vanish into the ground.  It also has a beautiful overflowing urn.  Too much for the driveway of an old world french style home?  Maybe for a courtyard on the side of the house?


This cast bronze fountain is amazing.  There is so much detail in the figures.  The overall appearance is well balanced between the basin size, fountain size, and home.  For our old world home, this fountain may have too much detail!  I expect that there will be a few boxwood's going in the exposed soil surrounding the fountain.

These little lions won't help with the driveway fountain, but they may just show up along the end of the swimming pool.  A pool is a great source for creating a water feature.  A few simple jets shooting up from and back into the pool makes for a great effect.


This three tiered fountain may have too much water flowing for its size.  With that much water, one needs to think about the surrounding buildings and how the sound will bounce.  I imagine this is quite loud, although beautiful.


This multi tiered fountain could be a little bigger due to the large inner circle created by the driveway.  All of the color and material selections in this home tie it together nicely.


I don't know..too much?? 

Of course it is but I bet it's fun to watch.

Which fountain would you like to see in front of your home???

We hope these images help inspire you to install a water feature at your home.  They sound great, attract numerous birds, and help to calm you down after a long hard day.

Until next time.....

-Tonya and Rob