An Affordable Ceiling

When we first started planning the ceiling in the lodge at CLR, we talked about all kinds of different options. Vaulted, flat, tile, fixed, wood, and even tin. In the bedrooms, the ceiling was easy–we went for classic New Mexico style. We had 100 year old vigas we had salvaged from an old hotel that was being torn down. We cut them in half lenght-wise, so they up with flat tops that tongue and groove boards fit on perfectly. We’d talked to other folks who had noted that the round viga is a great dust-trap and spider home. The flat vigas are beautiful and solve those problems.

But in the great room, we have different space sizes and also a span of twenty-four feet! That’s where we started to look at an affordable ceiling.

Ceilings can cost a lot–and that’s not a sustainable option. So we started hunting for ideas. Two ideas stuck. One is that bamboo is a very affordable and sustainable material. And the other is that bamboo fencing is something we could put up ourselves. That was a factor.

lodge ceilingWe ended up hanging rough cut boards–from our local lumber mill, K&B Timber–and then purchased the bamboo fencing from CaliBamboo. They also had lots of great ideas in their photo gallery. Then it was time to put up the bamboo.

The hardest part was getting the wood to hang that would hold the bamboo. We used wire to hang the wood and angled it to give greater stability. We also had to figure out how to attach the ends of the bamboo so that it came down below the soffit attic vents. We hit on letting the sides flow down naturally.

Lodge Ceiling - with gapThe ends went up very easily, but we needed tall ladders and a lot of patience for the middle sections.

While we’d talked about a vaulted ceiling, one winter had convinced us that a better idea was a lower ceiling to keep more of the heat in the room–there’s nothing like visiting another house to make you aware of the problem of heating a very, very tall ceiling.

Putting in the ceiling gave us an affordable ceiling that we were happy with and did ourselves. And now this summer it’s onto finish the floor with real adobe floors! That’s going to be fun.


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