Interior Design Inspiration: Modern Ceilings

Interior Design InspirationUncategorized

Kenwood Library restored ceiling


It took Michelangelo four years to paint his famous frescoed ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Edwin Howland Blashfield adorned the dome of the Main Reading Room inside The Thomas Jefferson Building of The Library of Congress with an homage to several countries and their contributions to human progress. And Antonio Zucchi painted 19 detailed panels that wash over the ceiling of the Great Library at Kenwood (above), a historic London estate originally designed by Robert Adam in the 1700s. A few years ago, the home underwent a multimillion-dollar restoration and was brought back to its former neoclassical glory. I love the fresh palette of pale pink, baby blue and white—just think of all of the fabulous stories this ceiling has to tell!

Wilmette Historical Home, Living Room With Graphic Wallpaper Ceiling, Yellow Sofa, Interior Design by Summer Thornton Design


Decorative ceilings have been part of history for centuries, with one more intricate and ornate than the next. Not too long ago, I took a trip to Paris, Italy and Russia and was so inspired by the historic palaces there that I came back and vowed to incorporate more decorative ceilings into my work. Every surface in your home is an opportunity to push boundaries, and ceilings are no exception. But it’s almost 2017, and decorative ceilings have gone through a major renaissance of their own. So for a glamorous, historical home we designed in Wilmette, I went bold and graphic for the ceiling. The homeowner wanted color and, even though we added lots of it through vintage furnishings and accessories, a Mondrian-inspired pattern was the pièce de résistance for modernizing the traditional bones of the house.

Ekaterina Fedorchenko, penthouse Ostozhenka, Russia, decorative modern ceiling.


Ekaterina Fedorchenko used her own twist on Mondrian’s style for the ceiling of a penthouse she designed in Old Moscow—we used blue as our accent color and she used peach. She was able to capture the opulence of Russian grandeur with a mix of metals, marble and that fabulous take on a Sputnik chandelier, but she did it in a super modern way that I just love—so much so that you can find it on one of my Pinterest boards.

Christopher Spitzmiller Bedroom Ceiling


This next ceiling is so grandma chic and I love every second of it! It’s a guest bedroom inside the New York home of Christopher Spitzmiller and Sam Allen. In a stroke of genius, the entire space—ceiling and all (even the stairway leading up to the room)—is sheathed in an Albert Hadley wallcovering that Harry Heissmann had custom made. Not to mention the plum color is killer, and the room feels so fresh and airy even though it’s an attic space. I pinned this, too, because obviously.

Rafael de Cardenas artistic ceiling


And of course—because who doesn't love malachite—I couldn't leave out Rafael de Cárdenas in a blog post about modern ceilings. This living room that he designed in a Greenwich Village penthouse gives me all the feels. The hypnotizing ivory swirls are anything but “beige,” and they play so well off of the Mark Grotjahn artworks and blond herringbone flooring. It’s such a great example of why layering patterns is always a good idea.

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