Exposed beams transform boring ceilings

No matter the look of a room’s interior or the style of the decor, exposed ceiling beams can add depth and warmth to a home’s ambiance.

The trend is more than a decor choice. Starter homes with listings that featured farmhouse or rustic details, including exposed beams, sold for nearly 30 percent above comparable homes, according to a recent report by

You don’t need a load-bearing wall as an excuse to install a stunning beam that runs the length of the room.

When their space began to look outdated, Joe and Rhonda Nelson didn’t stop with a new coat of neutral paint on the 25-year-old walls of their Summerlin home. They turned their attention to the stunning vaulted ceilings that were a selling point when they bought the house brand new.

“We have these huge vaulted ceilings — something we still love about this house — and realized we could make those a bigger part of our decor,” said Rhonda Nelson, a fan of HGTV and farmhouse chic. “My husband laughed at me. He hates the phony farmhouse look and shiplap, but I think he just didn’t want to do the work.”

It wasn’t as difficult as they imagined. After an online binge of home improvement videos and a trip to a local lumber yard, the Nelsons installed faux wood beams on their 15-foot vaulted ceilings in a weathered grey. Joe Nelson was surprised at the ease at which the lightweight wood went up, as well as the effect it had on the room.

“I thought it might look like an old barn in our living room, but it feels more open and cozy at the same time,” the retired mechanic said. “People come in and just go ‘Wow.’ It feels like a whole new house.”

They mixed the rustic charm of the weathered wood with their sleek modern leather furniture and decor.

“It gives a texture and a contrast to our sort of minimalist style,” said Rhonda Nelson, a retired schoolteacher. “It flips that modern look a little, gives it more depth. There’s a comfy feeling in the room now. It’s a show-stopper for sure.”

The exposed beam trend may have begun in French country house kitchens, but it has become a popular trend that has expanded to other areas of the home. A plain kitchen can turn into a dramatic gathering space with the addition of exposed beams. A fireplace can become a standout decor piece in an otherwise bland room.

The exposed beam trend has been building with local homeowners in the last decade, said Cindy McCombs, who owns Realm of Design in Henderson with her husband, Scott.

“It gives a face-lift without major renovation,” McCombs said. “It’s a transitional element that goes with the style of any room.”

More homeowners have popped into Realm of Design’s showroom in the last few years to consider faux beams for more than just ceilings.

“We manufacture all types of architectural products at our facility in Henderson,” she said of the family-run business that opened its doors in 1991. “We have many examples and sizes on display in the showroom. We make them unfinished so you can create the final finish for your space. We have many standard profiles to choose from, as well as the capabilities to create any custom design to meet your needs.”

The McCombses, dedicated environmentalists, began the company to provide designers, architects, builders and homeowners with one-of-a-kind architectural elements. Scott McComb holds a patent for Green Architectural Stone, or GreenStone, made from 100 percent recycled glass aggregate and 99.8 percent renewable materials. The couple recently recycled 500,000 beer bottles to create a GreenStone façade for Realm of Design’s manufacturing facility next to its sprawling showroom.

Both have been featured on many home improvement channels, including DIY, Real Green TV and HGTV, as well as the French network France 5.

The company uses 3D scanners, modeling and a five-axis computer numerical control machine to create sculpted stone, clay, wood and 2D and 3D renderings for clients from around the world.

But it’s the artistic touch found in each piece that brings warmth to projects.

“It’s exciting, really,” McComb said. “It doesn’t matter what their style of home is, whether traditional, contemporary or if they are trying to recreating a space to look like it’s in Italy. We love to help people and create a space for them to enjoy for years.”

Wood or faux wood, metal or Greenstone, beams can enhance a room or add dimension to an otherwise bland space.

“It creates a unique atmosphere,” she said. “It can be used to separate a space, add dimension to a hallway, bedroom, family room or kitchen. We manufacture rafter tails, headers and corbels for interior/exterior use, too.”

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