How was your Memorial Day weekend? We had a really good one with lots of relaxing, hiking in the North Georgia Mountains, and grilling. (You can see some of those pictures on my Instagram.) I hope you have been well! Life has been really busy lately, but all with good things. Our our oldest son, Wesley, just completed his freshman year of college at University of North Georgia and is back home working for the Summer; our middle son, Tanner, just finished a busy lacrosse season and his sophomore year in high school and is also working this Summer; and our youngest son, Colby, just wrapped up his freshman year of high school. These years are flyin’, but it’s so nice Summer’s finally here and we can relax a little and enjoy a slower pace! 🙂
A few weeks ago, Mark and I finished a kitchen and family room project using AZ Faux Beams thoughout both spaces. It turned out amazing! Today I’m going to share that project with you, as well as some before and after pictures of the 2 rooms. But first, let me explain how I came to the conclusion that I wanted to add these beams to the spaces. Our home is 13 years old and has not had any major renovations structurally. I have painted and traded out old furniture for new, changed window treatments, one chandelier, and various home decor, but that’s about the extent of it. About 10 years ago, I painted the kitchen and family room in a Duron Paint Color called, “Brushbox,” which is a warm tobacco tan/brown and a very cozy, livable color. I loved it and never tired of it-in fact, I used the bottom 4 paint colors from the card throughout the house and loved the gentle transition.
I loved the griege and gray tone paint colors that are so popular now, but knew that I would have to take into consideration other rooms that opened up to these and their undertones, etc. Changing paint colors in established homes with existing color schemes/fabrics, etc. is not always the easiest of tasks! So I started looking at kitchens and living rooms I had pinned on Pinterest, and saw that a lot of the ones I was drawn to had creamy white walls. Creamy white was what I decided on, but ahh, the daunting task of choosing the perfect one. In April, I had been to the Atlanta Symphony Show Home, and one of the spaces I loved was Patricia McLean’s beautiful guest bedroom. I talked to her for quite some time the day of the tour, and the paint she used for the room was Benjamin Moore’s Linen White. She said she’s used it many times because it’s the perfect creamy white. So that tip was my starting point when I decided to go with that color….Thanks so much, Patricia! (Show Homes and model homes are great places to see paint colors in use, by the way)
Linen White by Benjamin Moore
As I was continuing to think of ways to enhance our kitchen and family room and add character, I remembered AZ Faux Beams from Haven Conference last year. I read an email I had from them and contacted David Ellwanger of AZ Faux Beams to inquire about their products that might be right for these spaces. He told me of some other bloggers he had worked with that had added faux beams to some spaces in their homes, so I went to their blogs and read about their experiences. Traci, at Beneath My Heart, added beams to her bathroom ceiling, Beth at Home Stories A-Z added them to her kitchen area, and Jesse at Scout and Nimble to her living room ceiling. I looked at the “after” pictures on their posts and was intrigued by the difference the beams made in their spaces! I then talked to my husband about it (the same husband that would be helping me put these up throughout the 32′ kitchen and family room space….it was pretty imperative he was on board, right?) We read the tutorials and thought it sounded easy enough, so I emailed David back and said I was interested in reviewing the faux beams on my blog. We sent him a detailed floor plan and he suggested the types of beams that would be right for the width of these rooms. We wanted them spaced approximately 4′ throughout the width of the rooms to add interest and detail to the ceiling. Knowing I was going to have this open area painted Linen White helped me choose which custom finish would look best for the beams. I requested and received about 3 samples, and I chose Fall Leaf Brown, a nice medium brown with no red tones in it.
The types of beams that David suggested were the 3-sided Sandblasted beams, which come in 5″ x 4″ x 16′ and would work perfectly throughout the 2 areas. He suggested that we add an additional 3′ x 7″ to the 16′ beams in the family room area, and then conceal the joints with a few flex straps that they sell. Originally, I wasn’t too hip to the idea of a strap interfering with the flow of the beams in the space, but he found out that they could be stained to blend with the beams after they were installed, and I ended up loving the result!
As I waited for the custom stained beams and straps to arrive, I continued to look at inspiration pictures of beams. I especially loved these two:
Aren’t they so pretty? I love the character they add to these kitchens! And do you see a common theme here? Creamy white walls with the beams. Here’s a before pic of the kitchen and family room with the old paint color:
Before I begin explaining how we added the beams, let me share a few very impressive things we learned about AZ Faux Beams prior to this project:
- They are made of polyurethane.
- They are made from the molds of actual wood beams.
- They do not split, crack, or dry out like real wood.
- They are super lightweight making them easy to ship and install.
- They are termite resistant.
- They can be painted or stained.
- They look exactly like real wood!
- They come in a variety of finishes, sizes, and styles.
Superior Building Supplies is the manufacturer of these faux beams and the straps that we used for this project. Our project is very much like the other blogger’s, with one exception: we had crown molding throughout the kitchen and family room, and we did not want to remove all of it! We started researching different ways to do it, and the method that ended up being best was to cut the space for the beam in the molding with a fein saw before dropping the beam into that area.
Here are the basic steps we followed for the faux beams:
Step 1: Gather supplies. You will need a level, tape measure, chalk, chalk line, pencil, stud finder, and iphone ( calculator ), table saw, feign saw ( if adding beams to crown molding), anchors, screws, 2 x 4’s, and finishing nail gun with nails. Really pretty basic tools. The hardest part of this project was the angles that required careful precision cutting after some algebraic math formulas ( thank God Mark went to Georgia Tech!!! Sadly, that type of thing is not my thing 🙂 )
Step 2-7 ( pictured left to right in order ):
Step 2: Measure spacing for beams against ceiling or crown molding and mark with a pencil. Ours was every 4′ to accomodate architectural and necessary items in the spaces like built ins, stove, bump outs in room, etc.
Step 3: Snap a chalk line ( 2 person task! ) using the previous pencil marks across the room to insure even beam placement.
Step 4 & 5: Cut 2 x 4’s into 1″ blocks.
Step 6 & 7: Drill holes at 2 centerpoints on the 2 x 4 pieces and then drill screws into them. ( I marked each 2 x 4 piece and Mark pre-drilled all the pieces and then put screws in. It made the process go a lot faster! )
Step 8: Using a stud finder, screw wooden 2 x 4 blocks into ceiling after screwing anchors in to the ceiling first.
Step 9: Mark 2 lines on crown molding where beams will go and center over the existing chalk line. After measuring the width of the beam, carefully cut area with a Fein saw. ( This was not an exact science. Some beams varied just a tad, making it tricky to get the space just right, but you can always use putty and then paint to disguise the extra width if needed. Most of them we got just right, but there were a few that areas that needed a little cosmetic touch ups )
Step 10: Place beam over 2 x 4 blocks into cut crown molding notches, then nail beam into place using a finishing nail gun. ( Another 2 person job )
TIP: One thing that Mark did that was very helpful before adding the faux beams was to mark where the 2 x 4 blocks were with painter’s tape. This helped him know where to shoot the nails to secure the beams to the ceiling.
Step 11: Add straps if necessary with glue or finishing nail gun. Once in place, add stain if desired to disguise joints.
The process is time consuming and requires at least 2 people, but the steps are really very basic. As I mentioned earlier, certain angles on the crown molding made it tricky, but thankfully I had Mark to figure that out. This project took us one weekend, plus another Saturday to finish all the details.
And now, the AFTER!!!
I am so, so happy with the way it turned out! It adds so much Country French charm, which is just what I was hoping for. I love that the Fall Leaf Brown stain and Sandblasted finish adds warmth and architectural detail to the ceiling in this open floor plan area. The newly painted Benjamin Moore Linen White ceiling and wall color is also warm, while adding a new freshness to the kitchen and family room. I went to a lighting sale in my area after we had completed the project, and found a new chandelier to go over the kitchen table that I like so much better than the old one. Here is the one I added last year:
And here is the new one:
It’s just much more what I had I had in mind for this space originally because of its French look and more chunky, ornate appearance. Also, I wanted a crystal chandelier over the island and ordered 2 Camille chandeliers from Ballard Designs, but only ended up using 1. I really wanted double chandies over my kitchen island, but one was sufficient in this area because the island is not really that large. It instantly added a beautiful touch to the kitchen, and I loved the way it looked with the beams! We added a ceiling medallion to cover the previous light outline, and that little detail, plus the beautiful crystals were like icing on the cake to this little space over the island.
The next area of lighting I addressed was in the family room where the ceiling fan was. For a long time, I have wanted the ceiling fan gone in that room, but it really does provide good additional cooling in the warmer months. I started looking at chandelier fans online and couldn’t find anything that I liked, so after studying how they looked, I thought maybe a flush mount light would work. I bought this Allen + Roth one at Lowe’s, and Mark wired it to the fan after removing the existing light kit. It really took it to a whole new level! A fan + chandelier= a fandelier! Form meets function…YES!! I ended up spraying a few fresh coats of oil rubbed bronze paint on the old fan to give it new life.
A few shots with the new lighting illuminated…..
I have a dimmer on the chandelier over the kitchen table, and I think I’m going to do the same for the one over the island. I have dimmers on almost every chandelier and overhead light in our home because I don’t like lights too bright, but mostly because I love the ambiance it adds.
A few months ago, I added another club chair to the family room and moved the pair across the room.
Another thing I changed was the mantle color. When the painter was here painting the walls and ceiling, I had him paint the mantle the same satin black as I did the bookcases last Fall.
I kept the window treatments the same for now~ a relaxed London style burlap atop a black Greek key trimmed shade underneath, but I’m still searching for inspiration and a new fabric I really love.
A few other pictures around the room…..
My Sweet Sadie Blue Girl
One more Before and After of the kitchen and family room:
After installing the AZ Faux Beams to these open areas in our home, I would highly recommend using them to add to a space in your home! We had a great experience with the company and their products, ( David was so nice and easy to work with, and always so prompt with his email responses! ) and I will definitely recommend the use of their products to my readers, clients, friends, and family interested in added character and architectural interest to a space. AZ Faux Beams also sells faux stone panels, corbels, mantles, and more. Click here to see more of the products they offer, or click here to contact them to see which products might work best in your space.
Thank you for reading today! I hope you found some inspiration and were encouraged to try something new in your home like these amazing faux beams. The combination of the beams, new lighting, and paint color provided a beautiful transformation to our kitchen and family room that looks both timeless and rustically elegant.
Have a great week! 😉
Disclaimer: All my opinions and comments about this product are completely my own. I was compensated with products in exchange for a review of this product. We were extremely happy with our results and this was our experience!