In Love with Groin Vault Ceilings

First, before I start, for my regular blog readers, I’m cutting my posting back until the Fall… I will be posting Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays instead of Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. I have found that blog readership is way down right now because everyone is out keeping themselves busy right now in Summer… Myself included. Who wants to sit inside in front of a screen when it’s so beautiful outside! I certainly don’t!! Anyway on to the topic…

I fell in love with groin vault ceilings a little while ago. I think they are so interesting.  Below is a picture of a groin vault ceiling, as an example

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If you don’t know what a groin vault ceiling is, I thought this diagram below was really helpful in showing the different types of ceilings.  

I love the look of the groin vault ceiling down a hallway like this… with a pendant hanging down from the center of each one.  

I really really wanted my long hallway in my house to have groin vaults down the whole thing.  It would have looked so cool! Pendants down the center and all.  Like below.

Except, it’s not going to work out.  For several reasons – one, by California law we have to have fire extinguishers installed in the ceiling in each one of the groin vaults – it is supposed to run down the center but since you would put a pendant there, you would have to cut an extra hole running down next to the pendants that is off center. This does not look pleasing to the eye. But I thought, okay, well I can live with that.

The other problems is that one area of the house the living room will be on the left and the dining on the right – both with tall ceilings.  If I want the groin vault, I would have to either significantly raise the height of the hallway or drop the living room or ceiling heights (reason – because the groin vault drops down several feet from the ceiling, as you can see below).  I am not going to be able to do this.

So no long hallway for me with pretty groin vaults. 

 But wait. Maybe I can work it somehow into the entry?

Hmm, I need to go back to the drawing board and measure around. Maybe that would work.

 I found this picture below pretty interesting – it shows how the groin vault is made!

 So long, dreams of long hallway with groin vaults.  Also don’t want to have too many interesting architectural features – otherwise it will seem too over-the-top.

So, do you like the groin vault ceiling? Do you have one in your house?

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  1. July 18, 2016 / 8:56 pm

    Oh my goodness, I can see why you fell in love with these ceiling they are marvelous. I love the one
    with all the Paladium windows too. They are fabulous every single one of them. Have never seen them
    any where before.
    Thanks for showing them to us.
    Blessings, Nellie

  2. July 19, 2016 / 8:14 pm

    These ceilings are absolutely beautiful! I love the look. I adore arches and these are a beautiful extension of arches, in my opinion. I am so sorry that it isn't going to work out for your long hallway. What a disappointment. πŸ™

    We just have regular old flat ceilings in this house. Maybe some day.

    Have a beautiful day!

  3. July 21, 2016 / 8:39 pm

    Hi Angelina,
    I wrote a college paper about groin vault ceilings. Depending on the desired height of your ceilings, there is a possibility you can install smoke detectors that will go unnoticed. Have you look into the recessed smoke detectors? That could be an option. After your home passes inspection, hire a faux finisher to come apply a finish to the gaudy plastic so it will seamlessly match the ceiling. Almost all ceilings that are architectural in nature are finished using plaster techniques.

    Don't let the words faux finish frighten you. There are finishers that specialize in European-style finishes. That's all I will say. If you decide to go that route and need help finding someone, let me know. I personally know several people and they do gorgeous work that I'm positive you will love. Connie Harris Bourgeois is my friend. Look for her on Facebook and add her as a friend. Artists are not Johnny on the Spot with updating their websites. They do update FB. She is in Louisana, but she is well connected with people all across the country.

    Just don't let a little thing like an ugly smoke detector keep you from having groin vault ceilings. There are so many ways to hide the ugly or at least use a little trompe le'oeil trickery to keep the eyes from going to the big red nose on the ceiling.

    • July 22, 2016 / 2:56 am

      You are welcome! I had to say something. No woman that has an opportunity to have ceilings like that should ever pass it up. πŸ™‚

      I'll keep my eye out on the Pro Faux FB groups I'm involved with. Someone is bound to post something similar. Even switchplates can be fauxed to match wallpaper or tile. Most of the time a person has to be right up on top of it to notice.

  4. July 21, 2016 / 11:33 pm

    The ceilings are gorgeous. I don't have them although I do have vaulted ceiling…nothing as beautiful as these.

  5. July 25, 2016 / 12:40 am

    These ceilings are simply majestic.
    I learned so much from reading this post.
    Thank you for joining us at Thoughts of Home.
    Hope to see you next week too.

    White Spray Paint

  6. July 25, 2016 / 1:40 am

    Oh I am in full agreement. I too love a groin vault ceiling. Thank you so very much for linking up this week at Thoughts of Home on Thursday! We love the special sparkle that you add to the gathering.

  7. August 9, 2016 / 5:23 pm

    absolutley beautiful. would love to have a huge chalet with the.

  8. wabio
    September 26, 2016 / 1:26 am

    "The other problems is that one area of the house the living room will be on the left and the dining on the right – both with tall ceilings. If I want the groin vault, I would have to either significantly raise the height of the hallway or drop the living room or ceiling heights."

    Maybe I'm not completely comprehending the technical aspects of your build, but having higher ceilings to the left and right of a groin vault hallway is possible. Our house has exactly this layout. A large living room with a 23 foot ceiling to the left, and a dining room with 18 foot ceiling to the right. The groin hall itself (sandwiched between both rooms) is 11 ft. tall.

  9. July 26, 2017 / 4:27 am

    Just beautiful. I have gathered photos from France to share in French Design on Friday that show rib vaulted celiings. The photos you have collected of current houses is just stunning.


    • July 30, 2017 / 3:43 am

      I love these all but alas a groin vault ceiling was not possible – I may have been able to do it, but it would have been ruined with fire sprinklers most definitely. I'll have to stop by – I am a bit behind in reading all of my favorite blogs!