A Nursery With a View From the Crib
TOH reader Stephen Forman had a plain white room in need of transformation, and a vision inspired by Victorian plaster work
Who: Stephen Forman
Where: Amherst, N.Y.
What: Built an ornate coffered ceiling.
There's nothing like elaborate molding to add character to a room, so as we built our house we added it throughout. We wanted something special for the nursery, and the curved geometric patterns that were painted and plastered on 19th-century ceilings gave me an idea for this unusual coffered ceiling with built-up crown molding.
Shown: Stepped trim, a picture rail, and a ceiling with curved coffering give the redone room a whimsical formality enhanced by a calming two-tone paint scheme.
I make millwork for a living and have an extensive workshop, so with the help of computer-assisted design (CAD) software and a computerized router I cut patterns out of MDF to use as bending forms.
Shown: Before renovations, the nursery was a plain white box.
Then, using the forms and a vacuum press—beats steaming and clamping—I laminated thin pieces of poplar to make four sections with mitered corners. Using a scaffold and braces, I was able to assemble the sections on the nursery ceiling, screwing them into blocking already in place. All told, the project took me about 130 hours. Someday, I'll tell Charlotte all about it!
Shown: The curvaceous coffering is made with seven pieces of trim laminated with the help of a 21st-century vacuum press.
To ease assembly, the curved sections with mitered corners were built
in the homeowner's workshop and then installed on the nursery ceiling.
Stepped details and corners, based on Victorian designs, help make the standard 8-foot ceilings feel loftier.
A state-of-the-art workshop in homeowner Stephen Forman's backyard—it's bigger than the house!—enables him to mill custom woodwork for his home.
Arched doorways and a traditional palette add to the new house's old-world flavor. Stephen built the curved door casing used throughout, cutting down standard solid MDF doors to fit.