Barrel Ceiling

I've looked at flooring from both sides now...

Just a slight barrel, it's a small room. Most of the ceiling is flat but with a very gradual slope toward the center it seems more rounded than it is.

Tom Sepe's bike

The barrel ceiling was in part inspired by the back of Tom Sepe's motorbike.

I might cover the line of nails in the ceiling with copper strips someday, but for now it looks OK. I took a lot of time cutting each strip to length so I wouldn't need any trim on the ends. But, again, I might do some copper there someday.


I made a jig of the ceiling corner and the curve I wanted. I cut scraps of thin plywood to fill the space. That told me the width of each backer strip I'd have to cut and nail to the ceiling to create the backing for the curve.

Backer Strips

Cut and nailed into corners.

I could have just cut a few ribs and probably worked just as well. But I had a lot of scrap plywood and it seemed like a safer bet given I'd never done this type of ceiling before.

It did work out well for the exhaust fan. Gave me plenty to connect the cover to later.

I painted the ceiling almost black, looks slate in the picture. I didn't want white showing through if any gaps opened up. Plus it seals the drywall.


Nailing the wood strips to the backer. The first piece, against the wall, is ¾" x ¾" soild Brazilian Cherry and is screwed to the wall so it can be removed later for paintng.

The wood strips are pre finished Schön Brazilian Cherry engineered flooring meaning it is basically plywood. ⅜" thick, 3 ¼" wide, mixed lengths. But using the longest from each box I had just enough for the whole ceiling without any slices (butt joints). I ripped each board to remove the tounges and then ripped the boards in half so they were about 1 ½" wide. I think that was important so it didn't look like a floor on the ceiling. Plus the narrower strips made a smoother curve in the corners.

I stained the edges of the strips dark to hide any light wood sides that might peek out.

I got this wood via EBay. I search using their distance from a zip code to find local sellers. For heavy and over sized items sellers will sometimes specify local pickup only. That limits the buyer pool big time. 132 sq.ft. for $99.

I used a pneumatic brad nailer for the first time ever. Very nice. Surprised how well it worked. It would have been a bear doing this with and hammer and set.

Nailers aren't very expensive. $100 for an air compressor off craigslist, $89 for the gun, $25 for hose and the nails are flying. Plus, I can always sell it on craigslist for what I paid or maybe a bit more so the actual out of pocket is near zero.

Exhaust Fan

I made an exhaust fan cover with Red Oak and finger joints. I like the older look of finger joints much more than dovetails. The joint ends haven't been stained yet in the photo. The wood was already finished because it was scrap from another project.

Took me about a month to make the finger joint jig. Sometimes I just obsess over a project.

Exhaust fan cover installed and a grate off Ebay. Crappy plastic fan covers, I see them in even high end bathrooms. I hate'm.


The lamp is an Art Deco Lincoln bronze chandelier from EBay, $10. It originally was meant to hang down on chains but I wanted it closer to the ceiling, I don't much like chains and the room is too small for a hanging chandelier. I fashioned a center post out of copper pipe so the fixture does hang down about 1", enough to present it as a hanging chandelier.

Five CFL bulbs throwing 300 watts of light for 70 watts of power and way less heat.