Design Details


Design Details

Sunday, July 12, 2020

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“The details are not the details; they make the design.” — Charles Eames


In interior design, one has to approach the space, bearing in mind architectural features, preferences, styles, concepts, ideas, and tastes. All these elements have to then be translated into the actual space, with careful consideration given to every single detail. Because in the end, the finished space has to be well thought-out and executed to leave the client with a cohesive and beautiful space.

It's no secret that in my personal design approach, one very important detail is wallpapering, a detail that adds so much character, interest and style to a space. Subtle or bold, traditional or modern, funky or stately, there is a wallpaper design for every space. But just because it is wallpaper doesn't mean it's reserved only for the walls in a space… what about the ceiling? What if we consider the ceiling the “fifth wall”, or simply incorporate the details in the ceiling, into the design.

That's just what I did in this space. This home had wonderful architectural design details already existing in the ceilings and around the windows, doors and casings. To further enhance those design elements, I opted for a wainscoting detail for the bottom half of the walls and painted the upper half of the walls a calm and serene blue. This went a long way towards enhancing the architectural detailing in the space.

The entry and dining rooms had a lovely tray ceiling design, complete with rope lighting, but were just painted white, like the rest of the ceiling. When it came to the ceiling, there were a couple elements at play. The client was adamant that two existing (very traditional) chandeliers in the two spaces had to stay and he was also very clear that he wanted to somehow enhance the tray ceilings in the entry and dining rooms. He had one idea he said from the time the design detail was created; I had another: Wallpaper.

And as it is with all things in the design process, you don't know the right one until you see it.

I searched online and through catalogues for the right paper for that ceiling; I would know just the right one when I saw it. And that's precisely how it happened. In Brewer's Home Centre in the UK, while on vacation. The perfect papers, one in a silvery blue, with fine black tree branches, perfect for the blue, white and gray colour scheme in the living room and entry, depicting the blue of the sky and the branches of trees, perfect for a ceiling and the illusion of looking up to the sky. The paper had texture, which was perfect to create a 3-D effect and a slight bit of shimmer to the colour finish, which reflected the light perfectly. The complementary solid blue was perfect for the dining room, and this paper I also carried down onto the walls.

One tip to tackle any ceiling installation… wear a cervical collar. This wonderful invention, intended to aid with recovering from whiplash, is the perfect support for your neck as you can rest your neck on it while working. You'll thank me later.

Not many people think about the ceiling when designing and decorating a space, outside of function, lighting and fans for cooling, so little attention is paid to the ceiling, but so many details could be added to the design. It's all these details, though separate, that form part of the whole.

Even in considering lighting and ventilation, design has to be a detail. Lighting that is functional as well decorative. Fans that are also functional and decorative. Moulding, beams, gold leafing, murals, medallions and motifs, just some other ways that you can add detail, to your design.


Angelie Spencer

Principal, Interior Decorator

Angelie Spencer Home (ASH)


Tele: 876-805-5427

Address: 9 Devon Road, Kingston 10


Photos: Anna Spencer

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