# Problem Solving: The Breakfast Room Ceiling

I still have quite a bit of work to do in the kitchen before that room is finished, but I still feel like I’m on the home stretch.  I’ve only gotten some of the prep work done on the wall of cabinets, but barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will have some painted cabinets to show you tomorrow!! It won’t be the entire wall, but it’ll be a start!

A few of you have asked me what room is next, so I’ve given it some thought, and I’m pretty sure the breakfast room will have to be the next room I tackle.  After all, I can’t very well enjoy my newly remodeled and decorated kitchen if my view from that room looks like this…

Granted, right now that room is just filthy.  Every single surface is covered with dust, and I have piles of construction (destruction) debris everywhere.  But even if it were completely cleaned up, there’s nothing pretty about that room.  And my soon-to-be pretty kitchen will deserve to have a pretty neighbor, so the breakfast room must be next in line.

I’ll admit, I’m dreading tackling this room more than any other in the house.  So many things about it leave me confused and wondering just how in the world I’m going to make it work.

The main problem is the ceiling.

I’m not sure if you can tell by the pictures, but the ceiling in this room is about five or six inches lower than the rest of the house.  And I only have 8-foot ceilings in the rest of the house, so it’s not really like I have any room to spare up there.

The reason that this room is like that is because it used to be an outdoor space that connected the house to the garage.  The original exterior wall is the one that I took down between the kitchen and breakfast room, where the peninsula is now.  So when this room was closed in and made into an interior space, whoever did the job just decided to follow the roof lines of the house and the garage on either side to make one continuous roof line over the breakfast room.  And then they made the ceiling as high as they could make it while keeping the majority of it flat.

They still had to angle the ceiling at the back side of the room because of the rafters at this end.

See how it angles down?  You can really see it here above the door that goes into the sunroom…

So thinking about this ceiling just gives me a headache.  I honestly can’t decide if it’s worth the money to have a framer come in here and reframe the ceiling over this room.  I haven’t had it priced yet, but I did have a general contractor say that his framer would probably charge about \$1500 for a job like that.  And is it worth the extra money just to gain five or six inches of space up there?

And reframing the ceiling would not get rid of that angled ceiling at the back end of the room.  There are still rafters there that can’t be moved.  And in fact, raising the ceiling would then create another angled ceiling situation at the front of the room, because again, the ceiling rafters meet the walls on those ends.  So the higher the ceiling goes, the more angled area will show at each end.  Here’s a (very not-to-scale) diagram so you can get a visual of what I’m talking about…

The front of the house is the wall where the three windows are, and the back of the house is the wall with the two windows.  The red ceiling line is the current ceiling, and you can see that it’s angled at the back of the house because of the rafters.  So if I raise the ceiling any (the green line), that will also create an angled area at the front of the room because that new ceiling will hit rafters as well.

I really can’t decide if it’s worth it just to gain a few inches of ceiling space.  What would you do?

At the very least, the dark plywood is coming down, the ceiling is getting new drywall, and I’m painting that ceiling white.  I think that will go a very long way towards making this room feel lighter and brighter, and that alone will probably make the ceiling feel higher.  And then the walls will also be white…eventually.

Maybe I could just go ahead and buy a gallon of white primer (it’s only about \$15), and put that on the ceiling in there just to give me an idea of what the ceiling will look like when it’s white.  That might help me decide if just painting it white will be enough, or if I won’t be happy with it unless the ceiling joists are actually reframed.

*Sigh*  Add that ceiling issue to the fact that the floor in that room still needs to be leveled (it’s the only room in the house with a solid slab foundation), plus the fact that the walls are covered in a hodge podge of plywood, leftover pine paneling, and original shiplap siding, and you can see why I’m dreading working on this room.  But it needs to be done.  And when it’s finally finished, it’ll be so nice having a finished kitchen and a finished breakfast room that we can enjoy.

So if this were your room, what would you do?  Just tear down the plywood on the ceiling, add new drywall, paint it white, and call it a day?  Or would you consider it a worthwhile investment to spend \$1500 (at least) to have the rafters reframed so that you could gain about six inches of ceiling space throughout the main part of the room, making most of it level with the rest of the house?

I’d seriously love your input.  And while y’all are sharing your thoughts on that, I’m going to go get busy on those cabinets!  Tomorrow…GREEN!

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1. Andrea says

My first inclination would be to get it done completely… meaning having the re-framing done to heighten the room. If you are going to tear it down and re-drywall might as well make it worth it. Plus it will be one more area that’s been gleaned of any future issues that could cause a disaster later on.

But… you are redoing it to a certain extent when you re-drywall it without heightening it, so as long as you don’t have any Harlem Globe Trotters over to play X-Box with jumping and all that in THAT room- what do you really have to gain except to shell out more \$\$\$?

But can YOU live with it visually? Does it make that much difference visually to be 5-6″ inches lower than the rest of the house?
Yeah, I got nuthin’ for ya on this one. I’m still inclined to just have it done to height. Heads or tails moment?

2. Laura says

I wouldn’t do the framing. For me, part of the charm of old houses is the quirky little things like this, I really believe that they give a house character and a look that they evolved over time. Of course, I say this as a person with an old house with plenty of “character”.

• Gayle says

I agree- leave it and show us what would look great!

3. Candice S says

If it was my room, I’d open it completely to make a vaulted ceiling.

• Leslie says

that is exactly what I was thinking!!! open it up and have it vaulted. I am sure there are a whole bunch of reasons why this isn’t feasible but think of the space you would gain….

• April says

Is that a possibility? ( sounds like an great idea, but I don’t understand a lot do the structural and insulation issues that may or may not exist)

• Linda says

This is exactly what I was thinking too. If not possible, do not do the reframing. If you start doing that, you may open a Pandora’s box, and \$1,500.00 will be the least amount you pay. The shorter ceiling has character.

• says

Yes- vaulted! Love that! And then spray it out all white for a really airy feeling!

• Phyllis says

Exactly! I would open it up as high as I could. It would look great and make the whole areas feel larger.

• Sydney Andrews says

Hi, I was thinking to open it up and let it be as high as possible. You could paint the ceiling with character. A sweet vaulted ceiling in the breakfast room might be just the quaint touch it needs. I like that idea. Are you thinking of code at all? or are you just doing??? Sometimes we just…do. huh?

• Trudy says

WOW, a faulted ceiling sounds great. I’d figure out which window get the most sunshine, how much natural light you want, paint it according to that, I’d leave the ceiling and work something fun and exciting with it, but a treatment that wouldn’t look too heavy. It’s low enough already, How about making it look larger or more unique with paint? You can get any look you want. Then I see Ceiling to floor white cotton country curtains, which will make the room look larger. Then paint the floor a wonderful light, color, and if you want, paint a rug on the floor. There are some wonderful paint options out there.Or even a bamboo or short light industrial burber carpet if you want to go to that option. This can be amazing. Think on it for a while and don’t worry about it, and then before you know it, a great idea will come to you which will be perfect. If you like the outdoors, outdoor prints on the wall, nice and light and airy would again make the room look larger, but yet homey.

• Trudy says

A VAULTED ceiling, not faulted.

• Lindia says

I would also vault it completely to open it up… Even if you have to put beams in for structural reasons or to make it appear balanced. Then leave the beams natural and paint white in between on the actual ceiling or do white planks. This would really open it up and you wouldn’t feel like you were throwing \$1500 out the window just to gain 6″ of height. Houzz, of course, has almost 20k examples…

• Rosie says

I agree: Take your slightly FAULTED
and make it fully VAULTED.
With beams exposed and painted white,
when it’s all done you’ll say ” JUST RIGHT!”

• Tina says

I agree. Just open the whole thing up and make it a vaulted ceiling. Would be very cool looking, especially if painted white.

4. Peggy R says

Hi Kristi: i would lift it, because if nothing else you will have two angles one on either end. This will make the space looked balance and more intentional. The way the space is now it looks like you have a problem with the construction. I also would look at putting in painted concrete floors. You can do some amazing things with it and it will solve the issue of leveling. It will also tie in nicely with the kitchen. I think you will regret having this nice space with a not so nice ceiling. My experience is, do it right the first time. You will save money in the end. Looking forward to seeing the cupboards. Have an amazing day.

5. terrillr says

Could a vaulted ceiling be done without ripping everything out? I don’t know enough about construction, so I’m just wondering.

• terrillr says

I meant to add – the angles on both ends would work well too. We have 9 or 10 ft ceilings in the living room and kitchen of my house and the outside walls are angled. works fine and give the area some detail.

6. Trace says

I would take the paneling down and see what you got going on up there… Maybe the beams are super cool and you could just paint them? No reframing involved just expose the beams. I also love love love the original shiplap. However, I can’t tell where it starts and stops so it might be funky but it might also be really cool. Do you know what floors are going to put down in that room?

7. Lori says

If you’re considering the expense of reframing the rafters, is there any way to vault the ceiling so the angle at the roof line looks intentional?

8. Kim in Houston says

I might be odd man out here, but I like the quirkiness of the oddly sloped ceiling. Your home is an older home. If you wanted a perfect home, you could have built a new one. That sloped ceiling, to me, is part of its charm. It shows the history of the house. In the grand scheme of things, \$1500-\$2000 is not that much money if you truly wanted to fix it, but if it were my house, I’d replace the paneling, add the drywall, paint it up and then use that \$1500 on some super cute furnishings and accessories for the room….and when people ask, I’d tell them the story of the tiny little house that was expanded and ultimately turned into your beautiful new breakfast area.

• Theresa says

I agree with Kim. Quirky is good!! If you wanted a perfect house, you’d have bought one. there are a lot more “fun” things you could spend that money on.

9. says

So, even WITH the reframing, the angle will still be there, right? The real question is, is 6 inches worth \$1500? Or is that money better spent somewhere else? I say slap some drywall up there, paint it white and call it a day. It’s an old house…it’s not MEANT to be perfect.
You remind me so much of me…..20-25 years ago. I just ITCH to get in there and do stuff like I used to. My mind tells me “Oh, go ahead…you can rip that wall down”, but my body says, “Are you NUTS??”
You’re doing an amazing job!

10. Cate says

My vote is to raise the ceiling. You’ve done so much already, I think it would be beautiful to have it as close to possible, the same height as the rest of the house. Can’t wait to see the green cabinets!!

11. JJ says

Just wondering…can you make it a cathedral ceiling and find some sky lights at the restore? i am thinking about doing this in my sun room.

• Brenda Pawloski says

Yes JJ! I was thinking the same. A Vault with a skylight. More expensive of course but daylight is precious, I don’t think you can have too much of it. Another alternative is a tray ceiling. We had a master in a previous house with a tray created with just framing and drywall. Something half haphazardly slanted would drive me batty and I know my husband would not be able to quit staring at it and commenting on it. Sure we can deal with imperfections but not a warped ceiling (or walls for that matter.)

• Margaret says

I was thinking of vaulted plus a skylight (or 2) myself. Nice to have the natural light.

12. Laurie says

Kristi, I think it depends on you. If every time you walk into the room you think about the ceiling then fix it. If you can completely let it go , then don’t bother.

13. Lena says

If it were my ceiling I would have a framer come in or do it myself and create a tray ceiling. This would hide the sides slope down and make it look intentional everywhere. Yes it would be lower there, but raising it in the middle would make it feel roomier and wouldn’t feel like it was so different from the rest of the house. I did this in my old house in the kitchen when I removed one of those recessed box lights I enlarged the whole area in the middle and it made a nice feature and also made the place feel more spacious and not like it was pressing down on me. We are fairly tall people so that extra foot made it feel very nice vs. the 8ft ceiling originally there. It also was nice as we entered the kitchen from the living and dining which had a very tall ceiling so the contrast wasn’t as bad.

• Becca says

Love this idea! Tall or short people alike can feel the difference of a low ceiling. It doesn’t create a pleasant atmosphere.

14. Melody says

Hi Kristi-I love how your kitchen is coming along! The counters turned out amazing, and yes, I too, am excited to see green in there! (:

I don’t think it’s worth the investment of \$1500 for only 5-6 inches for a couple of reasons: this is a secondary nook (you will have another dining room, right?) and that it will not get rid of, but maybe even enhance the angles of the ceiling. Leaving it lowered, I think, will add some charm to the room. Painting the ceiling white will visually have such a big impact! Why do you want to remove the plywood from the ceiling? The seams also look like they add character. (From the pic it looks smooth and even, but sometimes you get such a different feeling when being in the room in person.) BTW, the last comment is not typical of me–I normally like a clean, fresh start to everything, but it LOOKS like it would be a good paint-worthy canvas. (:

My parents have a low-ceiling breakfast nook, and it’s a daily hangout spot for everyone (they have a home with 8 college-age kids) and game center. This has worked out for them the last 6 years, despite having students who are well over 6 feet tall.

Wish I could meet you in person and tour your home–love what you’re doing!

-Melody in CA

15. Trina says

I am not a designer nor a contractor but I was wondering if you could do something like a tray ceiling design so that the rafter area looked like it was part of the design and the center part could be raised higher to give more impression of space inside the rafter space. Possibly?

16. Syble Mc says

I hadn’t thought of vaulted, but that would be amazing. Other wise I would leave it because if you raised it, you would have two angles that are not the same. Since the one angle is on the back of the room and you are doing white paint on ceilings and walls, I think it would be fine as is. Plus who knows what can of worms you would be opening up by re-framing it. Which green did you pick for the cabinets? Can’t wait to see.

17. Heather says

Have you considered a tray ceiling? It could give you additional head space and also add a great architectural feature to the room. I also agree with others that going with a vaulted ceiling or ceiling that had angles on both sides of the room would be more “intentional” looking. If you’re going to pay for someone to lift the ceiling, I would consider spending a little more to have something fantastic!

18. Sheila F says

So many good ideas! My first thought was to take down the panels and any drywall behind and see what you have to work with. A vaulted ceiling or a tray ceiling could be the way to go. Then you may have height to hang a beautiful chandelier. I am looking forward to seeing the cabinets. And I hope you plan to enjoy the 4Th of July and not work through it!

19. lilacpr says

It will continue to bother you so eventually you will either make it vaulted or raise it. The wuestion is are you ready and able to do it now? Perhaps just paint the ceiling and see and then decide. But I think you will want it to match the beauty of your kitchen!

20. Lora says

Have you considered an angled tray ceiling?

21. Maxine says

I vote for opening up the ceiling and exposing the beams. I don’t know if it would work in your home, but a breakfast room with exposed beams sounds like something you would do. I’m sure whatever you decide will be great.

• Becca says

Another great idea! Love exposed beams!

22. Deb says

Mimic the angle at the opposite end of where the angle is now so it looks like an intentional design feature. Lotta work, but I would do white planks on that ceiling. Saw a beautiful job on a ceiling by the milk paint gal, Miss Mustard Seed. Check out her website. I think she did it in her master bedroom.

• Nicole says

I was thinking the same thing. If it were me, I would mirror the slope on the other side of the room to make it look intentional. Since the breakfast room is attached to the kitchen and does not open to other rooms in the home, it is essentially an extension of the kitchen. So while I like the look of vaulted and tray ceilings, I think it would create an awkward transition since the kitchen ceiling is flat and white. As such, the breakfast room ceiling should be flat and white. The angles add character. I would not spend the money to reframe if the problem still would not be corrected. Who knows, it may actually make the problem worse. I don’t comment often so I can’t close without adding, you do incredible work! I envy your freedom to create. My husband won’t even let me hang a picture on the wall. Seriously.

23. says

I’m wondering if there is any way to remove the whole ceiling and just have exposed rafters. Is there any way to make that look OK?

24. Tess says

I’d probably spend the money and do it properly. Can you maybe do a tray ceiling? You know the picture in your “problematic breakfast room walls” post with the horse artwork on the wall? I love love love that ceiling. Maybe the slant can be disguised???

25. sonny says

I agree with Candice-her comment above. Cathedral the ceiling and make a bad situation into a major focal point of beauty.. The cost should be about the same as having it reframed to 8 ft– maybe less…
wish I could go up there and look around to see if its applicable.. some of the guys you ask will automatically say no- just cause they cant get their brain out of the box it lives in:)

26. Alta says

My first choice would be to open the ceiling all the way up to expose the rafters, if that is feasible. If not, my second choice would be to just paint the ceiling that’s there. Why rip out the still good plywood to replace it with sheetrock,which is not as sturdy? Why not just paint the plywood white? That would be economical and a LOT less mess and work. I agree with those who say to honor the quirkiness of an older home. If you plan to use that end of the room for a sitting area, the drop in ceiling height would add to the charm.

UNLESS, you just can’t stand it. Then, you must do what must be done, and pay what must be paid, to get it where YOU can live with it.

But, I think I’d put my money into the walls and floor.

27. Char says

Get a framer to put in a tray ceiling. The lowest level of the tray would be level with your current ceiling. This would be a beautiful architectural detail and in my opinion would be money well spent.

28. Linda says

First of all LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all your work in the kitchen… Now here’s the question, is the ceiling something that bugs you and if you don’t do anything with it will you always look at it going, “I should have” … if that be the case you know that you have to spend the money. You’re the one that will have to live with it. Don’t go down that road of “woulda, coulda, shoulda.

29. glenda says

I think if your don’t raise the ceiling you would be satisfied overall, but if you do raise it I think you will be very happy with the choice and amazed at how much bigger the room will feel. Also the angles will add some interest to the room. Wonder if it would be a little cheaper if you demo the old ceiling before the framer came in? Love following the progress you are making. You are such a hard worker I envision music playing (when the power tools aren’t going) and a cat rubbing up against your leg as if to say, I am here for you. Glendasuzie

30. vi says

for me, it would drive me nuts to have the ceiling lower so i would raise it
if you can live with it……. then save the \$ but i would go nuts with the different levels

31. Sandy says

First things first. Really enjoy all the hard work you’ve done in the kitchen. It’s amazing and you
deserve to enjoy it before tackling another major reno. I see that several comments were about
a tray ceiling or vaulted. Love the idea of a cove ceiling and if it’s staired( for a better word) I think it would be
very appealing to the eye.

32. says

I would absolutely raise it if it were my house, no question. I’m 5’10″ and short ceilings make me feel claustrophobic. I would think the resale value would be greatly improved by even 5 or 6″ (not sure if eventual resale value is a consideration for you or not). I like the charm of old houses, but I do worry that a random angled slope on the ceiling would make it look like something was structurally off, and there would be an issue with the integrity of the structure, foundation, etc. My vote would be to try to work out some kind of intentional tray ceiling or vaulted ceiling, where the angle was matched on 2 ends, or on all 4 ends, so that it looks like it was done on purpose, rather than out of necessity. Maybe something like this?

http://www.dongardner.com/images.aspx?pid=2699&fn=interiors\1013dining.jpg

• Alta says

Wow! I LOVE that! Great idea!

33. Sheila E says

I’ve seen curved/sloping plaster ceilings in person and in magazines. They can be beautiful if done properly. I think the moldings in those rooms really set it off too. IMO, that’s what I’d pay a professional to do. Didn’t you say that you never wanted to hang drywall again, or something like that? Heck girl! You deserve it!

34. Rachel says

I love your work. And I love how you share your successes, setbacks, and fixes with all of us. It gives me hope when I mess up!

I would go for vaulted first, leave alone second, and the 6 inch fix third.

Go big or go home. Quirky is cool. Or blah, blah, blah make it look normal.

35. Jan says

The cheapest and easiest way to find out is to paint the ceiling white… if a gallon of paint helps relieve your anxiety about the ceiling, its well worth it.. why pay \$1500 to fix it when paint may make you feel better about it. I’m also with those who suggest leaving it, and enjoying the quirkiness… its things like that that make a house interesting. I personally have a feeling getting the rooms walls finished, and painting out the ceiling will make a world of difference in how you feel about that space.

36. Brent says

I guess it depends on how much you genuinely dislike it, and what your threshold is for ignoring something you aren’t wild about. If it really bothers you, budget it in, and change it. This is your home, so ultimately splurges for things like this do matter, especially if you know it’s going to nag at you.

I personally like it. I love those unexpected and unusual details that show a little bit of the history and charm of the house in a kind of historic context. If it were me, I’d paint the ceiling white, and install a reclaimed wood beam (perhaps with a few strategic exposed bolts) right where the downgrade begins. Nothing crazy over-scale, but just enough textural contrast so it looks like an intentional architectural choice, rather than a byproduct of enclosing the wall. If re-framing isn’t worth it to you, make those odd quirks work for you!

If I was seriously considering splurging on something like this (and I knew that a rough estimate just for flattening it out would start at around \$1500 anyway,) I’d go for angled skylights. This is just personal preference, but they’d flood the breakfast nook and a good chunk of the kitchen with even more natural light, which would mitigate some of the loss of vertical space from the enclosure. If I’m going to splurge on something of this nature, I’ll take it one step further :p I looked on Pinterest, but most of them have much more exaggerated angles, or are more industrial than you’d probably be interested in. Just thinking out loud.

If you’re still planning on incorporating copper in the kitchen, covering the downgrade in copper sheeting could also be super cool! This gave me a ton of ideas I’m sure you’ll decide on exactly what works best for you. Good luck!

• Pat says

Re: Skylights…. Brent, you took the thoughts right out of my head…. also…. instead of correcting the slant ceiling… why not go with it and “Bump” out the windows below with a GreenHouse or Bow window effect…. I don’t know what your view from the kitchen window might be but that can be left to a later garden DIY…. Nice way to start the day….. Lots of light and a pretty view.

37. Another vote for vaulted. Or tray. Vaulted with faux beans would look cool. My 2 cents: You’ll forever regret not raising the ceiling. Spring for the money, because high ceilings are associated with quality construction and low ceilings hint at trailer park living (no offense to those living in manufactured homes). An appraiser would give you points off for sub-standard ceiling height. Jus saying.

38. sue says

Just to put my 2 cents in here (by the way LOVE the concrete countertops!! that edge detail is to die for!!) I love the quirkiness of the sloped ceiling. I’d say just paint it. But if you feel like you’re in a Pullman car, then rip it down and see what’s up there. Personally I hate hanging drywall on the ceiling– what a pain!! But we do it then get an expert to tape and spackle because that’s really an art… and they do it like 100x faster! Or you can rip it all down and just drywall the roof, leaving the cross pieces exposed– maybe paint those or wrap them in pieces of thin plywood and stain them.. that way there would still be a higher ceiling but no structural mess. Maybe stop staring at it and focus elsewhere (cabinet door painting time!) and then one time when you walk in, an idea will just strike!

39. Karen says

I’m being practical and recommend painting the primer on what you have as a inow and let it sit for a couple of days, then decide. I’m quite sure that impressions such as how much a white (or dark) ceiling change a room cannot be subject to imagination alone – that might be my reduced ability, but I’m always amazed when I see things in reality.
btw, I love the idea of the open, vaulted ceiling (esp. with a skyline) but aren’t there weird leftovers from the heating system in your attic? I keep my fingers crossed that there won’t be any in this area, but am not so sure…
I’m looking forward to seeing green tomorrow

• Karen says

stupid typing error: I meant to say in the first line: on what you have as a ceiling now…

40. Barb says

Can you add small homemade beams starting at the slope to look architecturally intended and paint them? It would add alot of character.

41. Arlene says

I am going to comment without looking at anyone else’s, because I don’t want to be influenced. I would not spend the money to deal with the veining. Can you remove the plywood have the ceiling sheet rocked by a professional muddled and sanded? Paint it white. I think it would “open” it up and I think the angle will either recede or be an interesting look.I love what you do always. What if you did the top half of the room white like the ceiling and a chair rail and whatever color on th bottom to tie it into the kitchen? I think this would give the look of an enormous open kitchen. You have the amount of cabinets I can only dream about and I’m sure it will look beautiful whatever you decide…

42. Linda says

I wouldn’t change the ceiling for the slope. Instead, why not work WITH it? In my house this would be a prime location for shelves, perhaps mimicking what you’ve done in the kitchen with the wall of cabinets. It isn’t possible to have too much storage space! Check out this pic:
http://www.hgtvremodels.com/pro-galleries/dining-rooms/dining-room-shelves/5056/index.html
If you built something like this in this room at the point in the back of the house where the ceiling starts its slope, the slope would not be an issue.
Love what you are doing! I look forward to your reports and wish you the best of luck!

43. Mary Anne Looby says

Ok, before I even knew the ceiling was low I was thinking tongue and grroove beadboard. You can buy the good stuff in sheets now. I still like the look, even painted white, over sheet rock. It givesit a more homey feel. Now to the height problem….Matt’s ina wheelchair and you don’t look particularly tall….so don’t waste the \$1500. Once the floor is leveled what are your plans for it? Will youdo hardwood? I think I would look into tiles that mimic stone or brick. You want to acknoledge that this was a porch at one time. I think you had discussed the board and batton look once, but I would imagine that would requir sheet rocking the whole room. I would hire someone to do that….and do the finish work your self. I have a friend who used that look in a pre fab retirement home. She had the lumber cut at HD and then she and her husband installed it accouding to the drawing the did. They had a multi piece baseboard that was a good 6 inches, then every 10 or 12 incher they nailed a one by four. When that was finised they went back andcapped it with a multi piece chair rail. They went up just pasthalf way onthe wall. Then they painted everything with a white gloss paint. You would swear that the sheetrock was wood. It is gorgeous and looks so custom, and this was 10 years ago. I thnk that would be a stunning look for that room….homey yet custom and the walls abovecan be painted to coordinate with the kitchen. mho blessings

44. says

I would definitely go for a tray ceiling. Also, have you considered doing your back wall in your breakfast room in subway tile or subway tile above wainscoting?

45. Mindy says

I wouldn’t spend the extra money to gain just a little ceiling space. Personally, I would do the same type of ceiling you did in your condo with the plywood or another treatment that you’ve been wanting to try. I agree with some of the others regarding the character the ceiling provides. If it was me, I know I would have other areas in my house that I would want to spend the \$1500 on.

46. Gilmer Gal says

I agree with Brent. Keep what you have and place a beam across the ceiling where the ceiling starts to slope. I also thought of some wallpaper embossed in an old tin pattern. I have some of that and it looks like the original stuff, then you can paint it any color you want. Put it right over the existing plywood. Think of the fun you could have hanging wallpaper over your head for a few hours (JK, of course). First tho, need to see what is above the ceiling. The vaulting sounds really nice, too.

47. Erin says

Could you cove the sides to blend/hide the slant and then tray or vault the center. Option 2 would be to do some sort of floor to ceiling built in that could hide the slant.

48. says

Have you considered using this “sore spot” as a accent with a mural (breakfast nooks make for a great space for such) or something similar. Flaunt your flaws!!!

49. Vicki says

I have a 100 year old house with several different ceiling heights and I love it. It makes it very unique to say the least. I agree that the \$1500 (probably more) could be used on better things.

Thanks for your blog. It’s the first thing I do in the morning. My late husband and I remodeled our old house and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Lots of character.

50. Arlene says

One more comment. I forgot about the clapboard. Could you remove the top half of the clapboard wall and drywall II .And clapboard therest of the walls half way up. Or just pull off the clapboard and drywall it. .??

51. says

Before deciding anything for sure, I would start by taking down the siding and any other wall material you want to remove. See what you’re left with. 7.5 foot ceilings are pretty low and confining, almost basement-like. If you have to level the floor, I’m assuming that means you’re going to be raising it up with concrete leveler, and losing even more height. Just going off the photos, if I were you, I’d have the ceiling raised, possibly vaulted if it can be. The Kitchen/LR area is the heart of the home and you will be staring at it everyday kicking yourself if you don’t. Plus it will add \$1500+ in value to have it raised and looking beautiful!

52. Karla says

After reading some of the other comments, I have to agree that it looks good as it is, or would look good if you were able to open it up and have a vaulted ceiling. I don’t think paying the \$1500 for very little change to the ceiling is a good investment, but that is only my opinion.

If you left it as is, would you happen to know someone with an artistic flair in painting? Perhaps a scene (trompe l’oeil comes to mind) would sort of “hide” the slope in the ceiling or make it look like it was artistically done on purpose.

I like a lot of the other reader’s opinions on here, so I can only suggest that you write and construct all the various options that appeal to you and then decide on which one you can be happy with.

You have done such a great job, I can only imagine the breakfast room will be just as terrific.

53. Sue Schlange says

I would opt to spend the money to have a framer work on it. In the long run, you won’t regret gaining the extra inches of ceiling height. At the same time, to deal with the slants at both ends, what about having the framer make the ceiling slant MORE than what it already is, (existing on the back, new on the front) which would make it look like a deliberate design statement instead of the
sloppily-put-together-re-do that it currently looks like (on the back end). The ceiling slant could join on a lower place on the walls. What I have in mind with this suggestion is a “sort of” slanted roof dormer look, only not as slanted as a regular dormer usually is. Clear as mud?

54. Pauline says

Hi Kirsti am new to your page. Love what you are doing to your home. Regarding the breakfast room. I would rip out that panelling on the ceiling to see what is up there and at what is possible. I favour, (and here we use different words, lol) plaster boarding (think you call it drywalling), the whole ceiling but angle the boards to the slant. When its being plastered (mudding, i think), have it done taking in the slant. After this and its painting I think it will be fine. The others ceiling options sound fine, but its then a higher room to heat and keep warm. Good luck on your choice.

55. Guerrina says

a. What can you live with? You don’t like the angles now, so is painting sheetrock/plywood going to make you like it?
b. \$1,500 to still have angles you don’t like and only gain a few inches?
c. What will leveling the floor take away from the ceiling height?

So, I have to go with use the \$1,500 toward a vaulted/tray/exposed beam, you pick it style that would minimize or do away with the angles and, at the minimum give the illusion of more space that was originally meant to be and paint white to bring in brightness!

56. Kathy says

Paint that sucker, first!
Then decide.
I could think of 1500 things to spend \$1500 on and none of ‘em would be to gain 5 inches.

57. Julia says

Most definitely I would raise the ceiling as much as you can. Nothing makes a room feel more closed in than low ceilings. I like the idea of a vaulted ceiling if it’s doable. If not, give yourself that extra bit of space. It will make a difference.

58. Laurie L. says

What about a tray ceiling? You could add the inches in the center and the angle could be hidden…the lower outside “frame” would add balance all the way around…

59. Joy Davis says

I vote for opening up the celing and seeing what is in there. then decide on a raised celing or exposed beams or vaulted bepending on what makes you happy and what you feel you can do or afford to do.

60. Bonnie says

I think the slant is a charming part of the ceiling. I would move the window closer to mirror the front. The, I would do built in bookcases on the sides (maybe above) and buy a comfy loveseat (or build a bench ) for beneath the Windows for a cozy feel out to the backyard.

I like to play cards at a table, but not everyone does, so this would give extra seating for those that want to be a part of the group but not directly in the game.

Now…that’s if the house was mine, which its not.:-). Stay safe and Don’t overdo…

61. Glenda says

Could you take it to the rafters and install tongue and groove ceiling instead of sheet rock? How about beadboard on the walls in white? I’m not sure 5″ is worth \$1500 extra unless you could do a vaulted ceiling instead. You know best what you like, what you are capable of accomplishing and how much is in your budget. I think you have done a beautiful job. Did you finish your living room and decorate it?

62. Sheri says

Don’t spend that money on a room you won’t be spending much time in (unless that’s where you will be blogging).

63. Jenny says

I would absolutely say that raising the ceiling is worth the \$1500… And even a little more if necessary… Your remodeled kitchen is incredible!! A low ceiling in the breakfast room would really take away from that–both in “value” and personal enjoyment. IMHO. My husband is 6’2″, so he’s VERY aware of every inch of head room. However, even I at 5’2″ would definitely notice the difference in 7’5-6″. (You’ll also lose probably 1-2″ with your floor…) If you have “nice” beams… or can cover/square out what you have, I think a raised ceiling with the exposed beams just below it would be great… I’m guessing that you’re going to have to work with the beams somehow in order to raise the ceiling… The current ceiling is probably attached to them. Although a vaulted ceiling would be beautiful, I personally am not sure it blends with the older character of your home… A tray ceiling would look nice and blend well with your kitchen, but again, I think you’re going to be fighting with the beams. Hmmm… Maybe… Just maybe… Do a white ceiling and paint the beams the same green as your cabinets? I was originally thinking staining them the same color as your floors, but paint would work also. But … if you do the exposed beam look, consider wrapping your support beam above the peninsula to look the same. If you stick with wood/stain, it would give you some of the “wood” you’ve mentioned missing in the kitchen. You’ll figure out what you want to do… I know it will be great when you’re done… and you’ve gotten lots of great ideas. Have fun! And dream about the possibilities while you paint your cabinets.

64. Carol says

1st time commenter, but an ADDICTED fan!!!

I would try to make the ceiling work, afterall, that is the challenge…best result=least money.

Secondly. You have inspired me to go WAY beyond my normal DIY tendencies. Case in point.
I tore down a chunk of my wall in between my dining room and kitchen yesterday 1 hour before my husband came
home from work. We hadn’t discussed this….and when he asked me “why”? I said “It is Kristis fault! She makes
me think I can do ANYTHING!”.

65. Rose L says

Kristi, the ceilings in my house are all 9ft. except in the kitchen addition which includes a very small bedroom. I have 30″ kitchen cabinets and they sit up against the ceiling, that’s how short the ceiling is. At the back of the house (back of the kitchen) it has a slope that takes the wall height down to 5ft. Yes, believe it. I have a great swirled texture on almost all of my ceilings in the house including in the kitchen. I painted my kitchen ceiling white and it’s beautiful! It’s the lightest most airy feeling room in my house. I don’t notice the slope much at all anymore and company always comments on the beautiful ceiling texture but never once has anyone mentioned the sloping part of the ceiling. And I love being in my kitchen! I don’t think it’s worth spending good money on at all. Good luck!!

66. Kay Mc says

The old saying “If your going to do something, do it right the first time” comes to mind here. I think the ceiling bothers you the way it is now or you wouldn’t be thinking of changing it so if you don’t change it, you’ll always be looking at it and thinking you should have. I don’t believe a vaulted ceiling was one of your choices but if that’s a possibility, it would be amazing. It would open up ideas about using beams, but of course it would also cost more! Anxious to see what you decide!

67. Sharon says

Firstly, Kristi, I am a HUGE fan of your work, you are absolutely amazing and extremely talented and I can’t wait to read your blog everyday. You’re such an inspiration. I really love your new kitchen and can’t wait to see the end results. For your breakfast room, I agree with many of the other comments and if it was also my home, I would go for vaulted ceilings in that room. I think the vaulted ceiling would make that room stunning and give it the ‘wow’ factor!

68. says

Maybe you could do some kind of tray ceiling where the edges of the ceiling are at a lower level (you know where the rafters come down) but the center of the ceiling is higher. Of course I don’t really know if that is possible because I cannot see the whole room or whole ceiling, but just a thought. The main thing is I think the ceiling would look better if it was stepped down to the lower level instead of being sloped. Did that make sense?

69. Margo says

Hi Krisit……just wondering, when will you be showing the completed living room / entry? Or did I miss that post?
Have a Blessed Day

• Margo says

*Kristi* Oops….I hate typos…sorry about that.

70. diane says

Before I painted primer, I would (shudder) force myself to go into the attic and see what is above the existing ceiling. If it looks pretty open I would go with a vaulted ceiling and exposed rafters. Paint it all white for a crisp look. You all live in Texas, with those windows and a vaulted ceiling it could be the most comfortable room in the house. Hire the drywalling out for those heights!

71. Tonya says

I would think about doing a tin ceiling. This would cover up what is there now and you could paint it. It also has seams to it so I would put a seam along that spot where you have a slant. I think the tin would help that slant to not show so much. There are so many different designs in tin, you could have ornate or not so ornate, depending on what you like. You could also leave it tin colored which could help lighten the area or painting would do the same especially if you want white. I have used it in different applications and have found it to really add to a space while being very cost effective. Something to consider…best wishes to you! Love to watch your progress!

72. Sue says

I agree that a vaulted ceiling would be great in that room and make it nice and open. However, you need to have a contractor look the whole thing over (in the attic and in the room) to make sure: a. that its doable structurally; b. will give you the hright and openness you want; and c. what it will cost. Old houses can hold some very nasty surprises sometimes when you try to do one simple renovation and can lead to other issues and a LOT more \$\$\$.

I have no idea what you can do to the walls (I personally love that green tongue and groove wall) besides drywall and paint. My only ‘real’ suggestion is to take the door out between the breakfast room and the sunroom. Make it into wall space OR a two sided open shelving thingy for both rooms. I know. I know. I’m out there. : )

Happy Independence Day!

73. Tess Matthews says

You probably don’t need 92 opinions on this but here’s mine anyways =)

Don’t do it!!! You’ll still have an angled ceiling and be out of \$1500. Think of all the other projects you could tackle for \$1500! Your ceilings will look so much better once they’re white and have drywall. I think the dark paneling and the piece of trim running along side the ceiling angle are exacerbating the angle/low ceiling problem. Once everything is white it’ll look great.

• Tess Matthews says

Orrrrrr…..you could pay \$25,000 to have your ceiling vaulted =)

74. Lisa says

I live in a house that is around 190 yrs old, the farm hand house from the original farm. Everything in my house has character except for the master bedroom and small bath we added 20 yrs ago bc the house was so small and had only one bath for five of us. Anyway….I would take down the ceiling and see what the beams look like…you can do that yourself and then maybe keep it that way if it looks good….that’s what we did. I wouldn’t fix the odd ceiling…it’s part of its character!

• Dawn-Mari says

I agree. I was just in an old 1800 carriage house where she redid her kitchen and removed all the ceiling drywall someone else had added and left bare beams, and you can see the wooden floor( the second floor above showing in between he rafters). She stained it a darker color, and had the cabinets done in a distressed green. I thought immediately of you, kristie! It looked wonderful!
PS. She did this 10 years ago!

I like the idea of opening it up. If you can raise it, great, for me I would go fully open- that said, it is yours . Do what you love and don’t go for saving the bucks. My dad added an addition onto his house. The new roof angles looked odd next to the old one, and Didn’t blend well, and looked like an obvious addition. The contractor wanted to charge him another \$10,000 to fix it. He didn’t do it and now says every time he drives into his driveway and sees the roofline of his house he wishes he had just fixed it! 16 years later.

No regrets!

75. Babs Gibson says

Would adding in a few sky lights help?

76. Phoebe says

Too much of a mess in there to decide now, I’d say. I would:
1) Level the floor (isn’t this what you have to do first anyway?) This will make the room look more continuous with the kitchen, and maybe take some more inches off and make a difference?
2) Get rid of the wood on the ceiling and see what’s under it (with the things you’ve been discovering who knows what you’ll see under it? Maybe extra space, like you found in the doors. Maybe a treasure to let you buy a mansion. Maybe a dead body and they’ll send you in a high-ceiling prison for it).
3) IF you decide to temporarily paint the ceiling white, maybe do the same with a wall? The whole room feels too “heavy” right now, I doubt it’s just the ceiling…
Once you have the ugliness out and you start feeling it more like an extension of the kitchen you may or may not get a better feeling of what you want to do. In general, delay the decision as long as possible, and fix what you can to see where the room is heading.

But as far as ceilings are concerned, angled ceilings can be a decorative element – and you can’t avoid it anyway. Height-wise, just how tall are you anyway? If you aren’t insanely tall, I don’t think there’s a problem – once the ceiling doesn’s have this depressing colour I doubt it would be that bad. Just avoid socialising with basketball players!

77. Laurie says

I’d say do it. You’ll always regret it if you don’t and think why didn’t I raise that ceiling!

78. Vickie White says

How about a trey ceiling? Would that work? I like the vaulted ceiling idea but may be quite costly.

79. Sharon says

I say re-frame it, or open it up as the others suggested.

80. Rebecca says

I’d say do the minimum, drywall and paint white. Then in decorating draw the eye away from the ceiling. If there are interesting things below to look at people wont notice the ceiling.

Vaulting the ceiling I think would add thousands to the cost. Nice to look at but a big splash of cash.

81. Aleksandra says

First-time commenter here… Vauling, of course, sounds great, but is expensive and could be really awkward-looking in this space, if at all doable. Reframing clearly is a compromise solution and hardly worth the money. I’d say, work with what you have. Just paint the thing white and add some clever lighting to draw attention away from angled part. Maybe some strategically pointed string lights (not sure how they are in English, sorry. The kind on the metal string with individual lights that can be pointed in different directions). This way you can lighten the lower part making it visually higher. Or maybe even something like this: http://www.ciburbanity.com/2013/12/30/fairy-fying-our-playroom/ . Not so “fairy-sh”, of course, but with the same idea: lots of small individual lights hanging at varying heights. Probably some “bulb-on-the-cord” things. Here are some cool examples: http://www.homedit.com/cords-lighting-simple-design-but-with-a-big-impact/ . This would draw attention away from unwanted feature while adding character and visual interest. You can use cords in your favourite colours, this would look amazing against white walls!
Anyway, I’m sure whatever you decide would be great, because it always is You never fail to impress!

82. Michele says

Wow, lots ‘n lots of opinions on this issue! I love symmetry, so I vote to raise the ceiling thereby creating that angle on both ends of the room. If it’s not cost prohibitive to make a vaulted ceiling, then I say go for it! In the long run you will be so glad you did. I could see some beautiful ceiling fans up there, and as others have noted, white white and more white. The airy feeling will be so nice, especially because of all the windows in the room. One thing that keeps me coming back to your blog is your bold style. It’s so uniquely you. And your work turns out just beautifully. So scheme, and diagram and dream, and wow us again, OK?

83. Regina says

Exposed rafters would be beautiful. If you don’t like that, I would raise the ceiling so that it would be balanced on both sides. It would drive me crazy to have the dip on one side of the room.

84. My first thought would be what’s up there? Is it possible to rip the ceiling down and paint everything white? There are lots of images of painted rafters online. I think that would be awesome. If that couldn’t be done i would just pocket the fifteen hundred paint it white and call it what it is charming. Cheers

85. Mary Anne Looby says

Hi Kristi, hope you are kicking back a bit and getting some down time over the holiday weekend. It all goes so fast! I fogot to ask earlier, but how exactly do you make a solid slab floor level? I am guessing that since this was an outside space at one time, that it is concrete/cement. Do you acid etch it and then pour new product and level it, or does that not stick together? The only other way I could think of would be to level it with thin strips od wood till you hit the level point abs i guess they would get bolted down then a whole new floor laid on top. Sounds complicated, and I am probably way off. You will have to let us know! Blessings~

If it were my room I would make the low ceiling visually interesting. I would use big planks painted white with beautiful crown molding all around the room. By the time you work your magic on the window treatments (I see you have a wall of windows) drywall the walls and redo your floors, it could be a cozy room off your beautiful kitchen. P.S. I love your work. Anna

87. says

Kristi, first, you are amazing! That kitchen has me on pins and needles to see each step completed. I would drywall the ceiling as is and paint it white. With your mad skills you will have that breakfast room looking fabulous and cozy too. I agree with old house lovers, the quirks are what give a home personality.

88. froot loop says

Since you asked… I’d call the framer.

89. Chelle Ellis says

You’ve gone to a good deal of trouble and expense to create a nice flow from the kitchen to the breakfast room with the opened wall and peninsula. I don’t think you’d be happy with a ceiling that chops up the continuity of that flow, even though it has to change up at the rafters. Just my hunch.

90. Janpartist says

take the whole ceiling up to the rafters-have a framer do it.

91. Genelle McDaniel says

My question is, do you really need that access to your sunroom since you have access to the sunroom through the music room????? If not, frame in that back area of the breakfast room and make it into deep storage closets. The slanted ceiling will no longer show. Then drywall and paint the rest of the breakfast room ceiling while, leaving it at the height it is.

You might or might not want to remove the two windows that would then be in the storage closet.

Seems very simply to me. And the breakfast room is too large the way it is, anyway.

• Rosie says

Wow! An arched vaulted ceiling.

92. annie says

I would hire framer to add the height and have the dry wall installer finish it all. For resale the height is the way to go. Also, you’ve put so much work into the kitchen it would be a shame not to make the breakfast room as wonderful.

93. sarah says

I say roll with it! I know you don’t like to take the short or easy route but if the results are very miniscule it would not feel worth all the hard work , money and time. I would paint the wood that is up there and distress it, making it fee like the rustic cozy room it is. My grandma had one room with lower ceilings and it really felt so homey that I still think about how much I loved that room. The wood looks in good shape, and the slant would hardly be noticed if the white was distressed anyway.

94. Darlene thinks says

If at all possible, opening up the ceiling would be ideal. If not feasible, raise the ceiling – not necessaryly reframing the rafters – a slopped ceiling on each end would add some character in the room. When you level the floor you might lose another inch or so, and with the current ceiling height, you might only be able to serve company in the dining room, not the breakfast room.

95. Alexander says

Personally, I would find myself a way to adjust. Unless you have guests in the house that exceed 7′-6″, it’s more an issue of appearance. Not only would you have two sloped ends to your ceiling, but one of them would be longer than the other. That would drive me insane. I’d recommend just focusing on the floor and walls instead.

96. Connie says

Well, Kristi, I am with the majority on this one. I think the vaulted ceiling would be beautiful and would really add to the charm of the room. But, I have to take into count that low ceilings do bother me in some rooms. Also, I would get more estimates from other carpenters don’t work for a builder. Even if they do some work for builders, get your estimates directly from the person themselves. Often, when construction people work both for builders and for individuals they don’t use the same cost scale. While getting some bids, ask the pro for any ideas he/she may have. Most that have been in the business for a number of years have framed out about every unusual situation under the sun (oops, roof), particular under circumstances like yours where someone is remodeling an older home. That is such a popular option for so many people that those in the trade have a lot of experience with it.
If it were me, my first thought would be whether or not this is the way I want to live with this room my whole life. (or however long you are in the house). If you make the decision to stay with the low ceiling and you’ve completed the work, it is unlikely you will go back and redo it at another time. Most likely, there will always be something else that is a higher priority at the moment. So consider how you may feel after 5 years, 10 years, etc.
OH I ALMOST FORGOT! Vaulted would not be the only option I would consider. Tray ceilings can also make a world of difference and are often possible where a vaulted ceiling is not. There are so many different designs of tray ceilings that your options are only limited by what’s possible due to your current attic framing but frequently they can be accomplished with less re-framing than a vault. I have two different types of tray ceilings in my house, bedroom and dining room, as well as a vaulted ceiling in the breakfast area. It is easy to tell that the framing drove the design. (Although the architect probably considered this when drawing the plans.) A tray might be a good solution that would allow the incorporation of the two low sides of the room. By making all four sides flat at the low point for about 18 inches (determined by attic framing) then go up to form the tray at a higher point.
I know whatever you decide will work. You always come through with something creative.

97. Deb says

I’d pay to have it raised and then I’d put up a beadboard ceiling. If the angle is still there, perhaps you can create an angle on the opposite side of the room to mirror the look – making it a design feature.

98. Dorth says

Vault that ceiling and have two skylights installed. After all, it is a breakfast room, you need sunlight.

99. Angie says

I think a vaulted ceiling would be neat. But I kind of like the look of the ceiling with it being sectioned out. How about paint it white and accent the projected pieces (add to them?)?

100. Jenny Ballard says

If it was my house I would just paint it white. I think the slope and different height are part of the house character. It is what it is, why hide it. Just my thought …and taste.

• Alta says

sorry, that’s the wrong URL. try this one:

• Alta says

well, for some reason neither of those is the right URL. Sorry, guys!

• Alta says

Ah, that’s the one! Thanks for editing, Kristi!

101. Katie says

I would add faux beams to make the slope look more purposeful. They can be painted the same white as the ceiling, but can take something that looks awkward and accidental and make it look like a design element.

102. Rosie says

So much varied and well thought out input here from your adoring fans!
I can’t wait to see what you choose to do! I am so glad I found your postings.

103. Lynne says

You are such a creative genius! I know you could paint the current ceiling, maybe adding more thin strips of wood to make a different pattern, and paint it white and it would look fantastic! It sounds like this is your forever house and you are making this house perfect for you and your husband. You aren’t a very tall person so does the ceiling height really matter that much? I have a vaulted ceiling in my family room and I honestly think high ceilings are not cozy. I also don’t think it would look right in a ranch style home. I can’t wait to see what you are going to do! I’m trying to convince my husband to let me plank our ceilings and cover up all the popcorn I despise! I think it will add a lot of character to our home, and it will look different than any other house here in Kansas City.

104. Candyce says

My mother vaulted the ceiling in her breakfast room and put in a skylight. It completely changed the look of her house!!! It truly is amazing, and added so much value to the house! I say vault those ceilings + skylight + an awesome unique chandelier.

105. Kristi, first, you are marvelous and how about doing something like this. I think the vaulted ceiling would be beautiful and would really add to the charm of the room. I love your work. Best wishes to you! Love to watch your progress!

106. Kathy says

OMG, Kristi – tear the whole ceiling out, then put in a coffered edge with a barrel vault. I’d do it in a flash!! So much drama!