May 12, 2012

Sneaky Little Soffits

Whether it be an architectural condition such as AC, or a solution for dropping the ceiling to add recessed lights, soffits often end up in interiors.  Rather than simply working around them, or all together ignoring them, I often try to either minimize their presence or work them into the crown molding detail.

When approaching the fine details of the interior, you have to also keep in mind how the eye reads and translates space.  When you break up your visual plane, which is often what happens with soffits, your eye will inevitably relay that as a smaller space.  Therefore, blending in the soffits helps to keep a visual continuity and thereby maximizing the visual size of the interior.

Below are a few good examples for "solving the soffit".  Enjoy!

Look closely, but you can see that the underside of the soffit was paneled to match the top panel of the wall design.  This then leads into a rather tall crown molding, so the entire elevation reads as millwork, thereby minimizing the soffit's presence.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that  undersides of soffits need to be treated like ceilings because they are both horizontal planes.  In this example, to wallpaper the soffit simply helps to make it disappear.  Had there been a flash of "ceiling white" it would have been like lipstick on your cheek and your eye would go straight for it.  Continuity is key! 
We clearly see that soffits are in place to hold vent equipment, but applying detailed trim work to the vertical sides of the soffit help to blend into the crown molding and is a much better solution than to leave it unornamented.

Another example of how applying decorative trim to the vertical surface of the soffit minimizes their presence as it simply blends into the crown and the detail ceiling ornament.

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