I'd love to add some height to my open-concept living/dining room by 'raising' the ceiling. I think that I have some room to play with, but I have no idea how to start. How big a job is this?
How do you know you have room to play with? Have you been poking holes in the drywall? Is the ceiling composed of acoustic tiles? In any case, you may have to perform the equivalent of a Brazilian wax - remove it all! - if you're determined to see whether a higher one is feasible.
Yes, it will be a big, messy job: You will find mechanical and plumbing fixtures, electrical wires and possibly some animals. But the results could be fabulous. As an alternative to putting a new, higher ceiling in, you could, after cleaning up the drywall dust, paint all the ducts and piping a matte black so that they disappear, then incorporate a variety of lighting options (dropped pendants, ceiling spots) to play up the new space. Whichever you do, always check your local Building Code to make sure you aren't removing a fire separation. And if this sounds like a foreign language to you, call an architect.
Architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace is the president of Taylor Hannah Architect Inc. in Toronto. Have a design question? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.