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Ceiling Height: The Highs and Lows

Growing up, I saw mainly your standard 8-foot ceilings. Then I lived in a flat in Germany where the ceilings (and the beautiful windows) absolutely soared. But I was only in Berlin for a year, so the culture shock I felt upon returning to the States did not involve ceiling height oppression. Now in new construction, ceilings seem to have shot up to a respectable 10 feet or so, but here I sit, writing this in a classic revival Cape with its 8 footers. Which frankly, never even caught my eye until I started looking into ceiling heights, and now I keep looking up, wondering if I ought to feel oppressed by my low ceilings.

According to an Apartment Therapy survey, the majority of people prefer a ceiling height in the 8-10 foot range, with ceilings that are ‘at least 10 feet’ a close second and very few people preferring 8-foot ceilings or something even shorter. Me? I loved the high ceilings I had in Germany and then again in Brooklyn, but I wasn’t the one paying the heating bills. And really, I love the coziness of my Cape – a quality that is in part due to the low ceilings. Also, I pay for heat now, so low ceilings are def a plus. In other words, I’d say there are benefits and drawbacks to every ceiling height, standard and taller. (I can’t think of any benefits of anything lower than 8, though.)

Since I’ve experienced plenty of both, I thought I’d talk today about some pros and cons of high ceilings and low ceilings.


The Pros: They look awesome, and some people find that they feel freer in a space with high ceilings. You’ll never have trouble decorating a space with high ceilings because you’re not limited by furniture height or the size of wall art. And you can toy with the idea of a painted ceiling, if you like.

The Cons: Supposedly, a room with a high ceiling can make inhabitants feel small and insignificant, though I never noticed this myself. In a room with high ceilings, the eye is drawn to the height of the room, making the horizontal dimensions of the room seem narrower. Spaces with high ceilings can be more difficult to heat and cool, depending on the design of the home.


The Pros: A lower ceiling can make a small room appear wider. Easier to heat and cool, if only by virtue of there being less airspace needing temp control. Some people find low ceilings cozier and homier than high ceilings.

The Cons: Decorative ceilings and thick crown molding and things like chair rails are right out, and tall people can feel decidedly cramped even if you don’t draw attention to the lowness of the ceilings. That feeling might be even more acute in a wide room. It’s tough to find the right ceiling fans and also to jump on the bed, boo.

I told you, now you tell me: How tall are the ceilings where you live? And what ceiling height would you actually prefer?

Making the Most of What He Has

Sometimes people live in small spaces out of necessity, and sometimes they do it for the challenge. I’m not sure why out-of-work architect Sergio Santos chose a small space lifestyle, but I have to admit he’s doing it more effectively than most. He rents a converted electrical closet in Delray Beach, Florida for a mere $150 per month. At five-and-a-half feet from wall to wall, you can touch both walls at once.

small apartment living 2

When you live in a space that small, there’s nowhere to go but up. The bed, television, and closet are suspended above Santos’ office space, and yet he still found places for a mini kitchen and a window sanctuary. Not even wallspace is wasted, provided you don’t call art a waste. Even the shelves have a second purpose, serving as the ladder to the upper level.

small apartment living

Santos built a small seating area, which he calls his terrace, below the room’s only window. It’s the homiest spot in the tiny little space he calls home. The only thing that’s missing is a bathroom, which I hope for Santos’ sake exists somewhere just outside his miniature living quarters.

Never teh Bride Loves: Purple!

I know that it wasn’t that long ago that I posted a selection of purple interiors — which y’all loved, yay! — but a recent search for purple slipcovers brought this versatile hue to the forefront of my mind once again and I started tooling around Amazon in search of cool stuff in said color. Here’s just some of what I found:

purple paring knifepurple graterpurple radio
purple office chairpurple toasterpurple ottoman
purple thermospurple coffeemakerpurple pillows
purple couchpurple lamppurple bottle opener

As always, click on any of the pics for more info. My faves are the purple slipcover (obviously), the purple coffee maker, and oddly enough, the wide mouth thermos. The lamp is a pretty close third, though!


Purple is associated with (among other things) royalty, imperialism, nobility, Easter, Mardi Gras, the upper class, poison, friendship, hope, and sympathy — in other words, it evokes feelings that are both light and dark, positive and negative. Perhaps these dichotomies exist because purple can be both intense and gentle. Think byzantium versus wisteria.

purple exterior paint

I long to see the rest of this building. In case you can’t see it clearly, the window itself matches the shutters. Don’t be afraid to combine purples to see what you come up with. If you need to ease into it, grab some paint chips and play.

purple paint

A little purple can go a long way, though as La BellaDonna frequently reminds me, more is indeed more. If you can handle a deep, saturated purple, go for it!

purple walls

Then again, this soft purple makes for a great background for blues and neutrals. It looks like the ceiling, rather than being white or cream, is a very, very light purple. I’m afraid to say all my ceilings are white, but I am fascinated with the thought of colorizing them.

purple kitchen

White kitchen? Forget it. If buying all new cabinetry doesn’t fit into your current home improvement budget, you can always paint kitchen cabinets to give your kitchen a makeover. (via)

purple sofa

Finally, purple is potent, which means even a few dashes of it here and there can really jazz up a room. You don’t *have* to commit to purple if you don’t want to!

Holy big beanbag, Batman!

I always thought beanbag chairs were kind of stupid. Yes, they’re comfortable when they’re not the really cheap kind from Wal*Mart, but they’re always just a tad too small for the grownup human being. I generally view beanbags as being something you stick in a kid’s room until they’re old enough to know better.

Damn, that’s a lot of beans!

Here’s me, eating my words as I contemplate cozying up to The Beard on this six foot beanbag from Studio OneUp. They still look like something you might blunder into in a stereotypical “mantuary,” but at least they’re big enough for two.

A peek into the world of Tyson

The Beard has been my linkman lately, and he did not disappoint today. His latest find was a pictorial tour of Mike Tyson’s former home on Illicitohio, an awesome (AWESOME!) site that documents the adventures of one anonymous urban explorer. The home has apparently been empty since the 90s and is mostly empty of furniture. It’s fun to look at what Mike Tyson’s decor guru thought was hot and what was left in the house after he decided to leave.

Love the room, hate the rug

The photos speak for themselves, really. There’s commentary over at Illicitohio if you’re interested in anon’s take on the house and the decor, but I’ll leave you with this thought before presenting a selection of photos: Everything you see, from the furniture to the rugs to the faux plants, was someone’s idea of a real stylin’ pad.


Seeing into other people’s lives

There are few chores sadder than taking stock of the possessions left behind by an older relative forced by circumstance to move into a “home.” The things we gather over time define us in our own minds, but say something completely different to the outside observer. Some people–my mother, for instance–want everything to be new and flashy and modern. To them, anything vintage or outdated belongs in the dumpster.

Me? I like retro anything, even if it’s so kitschy as to be rather…ugly. I wouldn’t want a room full of kitsch, but a few crazy pieces of tacky history here and there can make an otherwise bland a room POP. People who visit say, “Oh my goodness, where’d you get this? My crazy old aunt had one just like it!” A ceramic cat or a crazy lamp really take people back…to spring vacations spent at the houses of grandparents…to their own childhoods. Everyone sees something different.

It’s Aunt Bea’s kitchen, bizzitches! And don’t you forget it!

The story behind this photo and the ones that follow is this: I have a friend whose aunt is moving into a home, and it fell upon said friend to catalog the stuff left behind. His ladyfriend, Jennifer P., took pictures, and I found them to be quite moving.


Would You Consider a Wood Stove?

Continental Small EPA Wood Stove - C1100PL

I’ll admit that a wood stove would look absolutely ridiculous in my house. There’s a reason there’s no fireplace — the living room is properly cottage sized. But at the same time, I do occasionally dream of installing a sweet little wood burning stove somewhere in my abode. The winters north of Boston are shaping up to be just a touch colder than I expected!

Why heat with a wood stove? EPA certified stoves are a lot more efficient than the old school potbellied models that probably come to mind when someone says, “wood burning stove.” The also look a fair bit sleeker, though they are nowhere near as charming. Were I to redo my decor in a less modern style, I could probably incorporate a stove into my living room… and I could probably do it myself, according to this document from Hearth.com.

Am I ready to do something like punch a hole in my house for the purposes of adding more heat? Er, no. If my cozy cottage was a bit more cottage-esque, I’d consider it. For now I’m going to have to stick with my electric space heater for the foreseeable future.