Overhead Spaces

by Kacey Larsen
Bauer Whole House, ceiling

Although the first project these Raymore, Missouri-based clients did with us was a Tuscan-themed basement remodel, the overall look of this home is Old World. The homeowners wanted to add more elegance and clean lines to the design of their home’s first floor, as well as update the functionality of the kitchen. This was brought together by many different elements of the remodel.

The design of this project was a joint effort between the homeowner and Allen Harris, CR, president of ALH Home Renovations. In typical production of a project, the entire design and all details are finalized before demo begins. With the Bauers, we take a little different approach. Because they want to be more involved, we step away from our usual process and work more hand-in-hand. 


The trusses above the eating area were Allen’s idea. They were installed to not only hide the many angles—which the homeowner previously referred to as a “geometric disaster”—but to create a focal point in an otherwise big, void space. It also ties the kitchen and dining areas together in a seamless way, giving it purpose and making the overall space appear grander than it would have otherwise. Plus, it is in keeping with the Old World look the homeowners wanted.

To create the dramatic design element, 6- by 12-inch Douglas fir timbers were custom-milled and integrated into the existing vaulted ceiling. Wood planking was installed on top of the trusses and painted the same color as the walls to finish the look and hide the many angles. Ultimately, the homeowners liked this look so much they came back to us in order to do the same thing to the ceiling of their den, which is located off the dining room.

Another important feature is the original wood trim throughout the house, which was kept and refinished with layers of lacquer over the pre-existing finish to hide/disguise the red and orange tones of the stain. The final color was then replicated to the espresso finish of the beams and trusses. Our very skilled custom-finisher went back-and-forth with the product supplier to find the best products to hide the original red and orange tones but still have the natural grain of the wood show. Extra trim around the existing windows and door casings, as well as existing railings and built-in cabinets, were also stained with the dark espresso finish.

It was imperative to also incorporate the second window over the desk into the design. To do so, the arc above was designed to emulate the curvature of the trusses in the same area. The effect was then also mirrored at the window over the kitchen sink.

Helping deliver the client’s desired open concept, the kitchen was enlarged through the opening of a doorway and the removal of a pantry. Keeping the island at bar height serves the dual purpose of defining the kitchen and living room, while also hiding the cooktop and providing access to outlets. The selection of a countertop to tie the entire space together became critical to the space’s design. With its off-white background and espresso veining, National Treasure Granite delivers the desired look.

The original idea of the coffered beams in the kitchen also helps creates visual separation within an open concept floor plan. They eventually housed duct work that allows the air taken in from the cooktop on one end of the kitchen to be vented out an exterior wall on the opposite side. The coffered ceiling and faux beam layout then was strategically designed and placed around the necessary duct work. |QR

Allen Harris, CR, president of ALH Home Renovations, has been involved in renovation work since the age of 12, when his father became his mentor in the remodeling business. His main motivation at ALH is delivering unique and personal designs to each invaluable client while maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty by continuing his own education and growth in the remodeling industry. Harris has been leading the ALH team since 1999.

Elizabeth Pohl, interior designer at ALH Home Renovations, graduated from Johnson County Community College with an Associates in Interior Design. Her love of art and creativity inspired her to use her knowledge to help others. Most of her experience comes from 15 years in the paint and home décor industries. Pohl began at ALH in March 2015.

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