Tin, pan­els and planks have de­sign­ers and home­own­ers look­ing up with pos­si­bil­i­ties

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - HOMES - LAURA SEV­ERS

You might be floored by what you can do with ceil­ings to­day.

Ceil­ing de­sign has come a long way from painted dry­wall or stan­dard tex­tured fin­ishes. And while you’re at it, for­get about those lack­lus­tre and bland base­ment drop ceil­ings de­signed to hide duct­work, plumb­ing and elec­tri­cal that some­how still seem like they’re rem­nants from a by­gone era.

“There are a lot more op­tions than there used to be,” said Lo­gan McPhail, gen­eral man­ager of the Ceil­ing Cen­tre. “Cus­tomers are de­mand­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent than the generic school or of­fices­tyle white ceil­ing tile with per­fo­ra­tions.”

In­stead, think of ceil­ing tiles as fea­tures that will en­hance your liv­ing spa­ces. Pic­ture tin pan­els, spe­cialty tiles that mimic cof­fered ceil­ings, or wood-like planks that are rem­i­nis­cent of shiplap, then add in a mul­ti­tude of colour se­lec­tions or geo­met­ric de­signs, in­clud­ing con­crete replica fin­ishes or pan­els that re­sem­ble wood.

“Peo­ple are sur­prised by the choices,” McPhail said. “It’s con­stantly evolv­ing.”


While drop ceil­ings are gen­er­ally thought of for base­ments, McPhail notes that to­day’s choices give home­own­ers op­tions they didn’t have be­fore. Now a drop ceil­ing can be ap­pro­pri­ate for vir­tu­ally any room.

The cof­fered or raised panel tiles can give main floor rooms a to­tally dif­fer­ent feel. Con­crete ceil­ing tiles can add a more in­dus­tri­al­ized look, and wal­nut-like pan­els can en­rich a den or of­fice’s ex­ist­ing look.

“Tin re­ally pops in kitchens,” McPhail said. “Some­times we use it as a back­splash, or some­times the full ceil­ing is done.”

Bars and home theatres are other spots where ceil­ing tiles are be­ing used. “Any­where you want a more in­ter­est­ing ceil­ing, the dec­o­ra­tive pan­els or the tin are re­ally sought af­ter,” McPhail said.

For ex­am­ple, in­cor­po­rat­ing black tiles can work well in a home theatre to re­duce glare, or just to give the room a more dark­ened, theatre-like at­mos­phere. McPhail has also seen them mixed with white tiles to cre­ate checker­board pat­terns. And while the tiles — mea­sur­ing two feet by two feet — are gen­er­ally in­stalled in a stan­dard straight­for­ward grid pat­tern, out­side the grid think­ing is a pos­si­bil­ity.

“You can change the typ­i­cal grid,” McPhail said. “You can do a sub­way tile pat­tern. You can mix in two-by-twos with two-by-fours. You don’t have to be con­fined to one size.”

If you’re still not sold on a drop ceil­ing, or the idea of a T-bar frame to hold in the tiles doesn’t work for you, there is an al­ter­na­tive. De­spite be­ing a stan­dard size (two feet by two feet), Vec­tor Edge ceil­ing tiles mask and hide the grid be­cause they snap in from be­low, as op­posed to be­ing an­gled in a typ­i­cal drop or sus­pended ceil­ing. As a re­sult, this type of sus­pended ceil­ing only re­quires a two-inch drop, where a stan­dard drop ceil­ing needs to be at least three-anda-half inches be­low the ac­tual ceil­ing.

An­other op­tion, McPhail said, is to opt for what is called a cloud, or lay­ered, ceil­ing. Es­sen­tially, this is a smaller ceil­ing be­low the main ceil­ing.

Depend­ing on the space, you could have a num­ber of these smaller ceil­ing for­ma­tions sus­pended be­low the ac­tual ceil­ing, such as rec­tan­gu­lar-shaped ob­jects that give the up­per part of the room a sense of depth by cre­at­ing dif­fer­ent lev­els. Also, if bud­get is a con­straint, one could opt for a more cost-ef­fec­tive ceil­ing tile to be used for the over­all space, while adding the cloud for­ma­tions that would house the more ex­pen­sive tiles as a dec­o­ra­tive ceil­ing ac­cent.


Nan Mar­shall wanted some­thing dis­tinc­tive for her lat­est project. An in­te­rior de­signer who works with the show home di­vi­sion de­sign team at real es­tate com­pany Qual­ico was con­tem­plat­ing a fea­ture that would make a new Pace­set­ter home even more at­trac­tive.

“In our show homes, we al­ways try to have some­thing dif­fer­ent, some­thing edgy, some­thing peo­ple haven’t seen be­fore,” said Mar­shall, who works on between 10 and 15 show homes an­nu­ally for Qual­ico’s de­sign wing, known as De­sign Q.

Mar­shall was tasked with en­hanc­ing a 2,345-square-foot two-storey home lo­cated in a new home de­vel­op­ment. “Peo­ple tend to take ceil­ings for granted,” said Mar­shall.

The home’s eat­ing nook, just off the kitchen, al­ready has a cof­fered ceil­ing. But Mar­shall wanted to take it a step fur­ther.

“This eat­ing nook has a ceil­ing de­tail in it,” said Mar­shall, who is go­ing to have tin ceil­ing pan­els in­stalled in each of the cof­fered sec­tions. “I’m su­per ex­cited about it.”

Mar­shall said she was sur­prised by the ceil­ing choices she saw.

“I was com­pletely shocked at the num­ber of dif­fer­ent styles of tin, and that they also of­fer cus­tom paint colours for the tin pan­els,” Mar­shall said. “The home I’m do­ing the tin in, I like to call it mod­ern global in­flu­ence — it brings de­signs and prod­ucts to­gether from all around the world — has a lot of black and gold mixed into it. Lo­gan (McPhail) was able to do a cus­tom black base with a gold ac­cent on the pat­tern. It is amaz­ing.”


Mar­shall’s Ceil­ing Cen­tre trip yielded even more re­sults, in­clud­ing an idea for Qual­ico’s Ster­ling Homes di­vi­sion. A Mir­roFlex prod­uct — deeply tex­tured, three-di­men­sional wall pan­els and ceil­ing tiles — caught her eye for the fire­place wall of the Thomas, a 2,547-square-foot, two-storey show home, also lo­cated in Ed­mon­ton.

As the Thomas is a more con­tem­po­rary of­fer­ing, Mar­shall wanted to bal­ance the home’s warmth and min­i­mal­ism with a fresh, daz­zling ef­fect. That’s where the Mir­roFlex Kala­hari wall pan­els will come into play. The pan­els, which have a wave-like pat­tern and bronze strata fin­ish, will be used on the fire­place wall in the main floor great room to add im­pact to the de­sign.

“I’m putting these on the wall, but I also think it would be a great fea­ture for a ceil­ing,” Mar­shall said. “It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing that we have so many ceil­ing op­tions, and if you can think out­side the box the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less.”


Typ­i­cally a plain, more tra­di­tional ceil­ing tile, rem­i­nis­cent of the stan­dard white ones with per­fo­ra­tions, start at about $1 per square foot.

Mir­roFlex dec­o­ra­tive ceil­ing tiles, which come in a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent de­signs, start at between $3 and $5 per square foot. Sim­i­larly, Vec­tor Edge ceil­ing tiles have the same price point, in­clud­ing the Tbar sus­pen­sion frame that holds the tiles in place.

Tin and Mir­roFlex pan­els can also be also glued to ceil­ings, elim­i­nat­ing the need for a T-bar sys­tem. Tin ceil­ing tiles start at about $4 per square foot.

Plank ceil­ings — a PVC prod­uct with a vinyl wrap — are avail­able in white and wood tones and start at about $5 per square foot.

Tin ceil­ings are be­com­ing a more pop­u­lar de­sign op­tion, adding a dis­tinc­tive edge and pop of so­phis­ti­ca­tion to mod­ern kitchens.

New ceil­ing de­sign op­tions, which come at var­i­ous price points, can breathe new life in your liv­ing space.

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