Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Let's get it correct. 'Vaulting'.



I get really pissed-off. I'm constantly hearing people refer to 'Vaulted Ceilings', where they really mean 'Beamed Ceilings'. 

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vault_(architecture)

I first noticed this on a TV country-house finding programme; much loved by Lady Magnon. Every bloody house that had nice old beams was referred to as having 'vaulted ceilings'. It drove me nuts!

I've even heard architects (who OUGHT TO know better) wrongly talking of 'vaulted ceilings'.

So, let's get things right. The above illustration is of a vault; either built in stone, concrete, or brick, they are constructed over a template with considerable weight being added to the top to hold it all together once the template is removed.

A beamed ceiling is constructed of wooden beams that hold either an upper floor, or a roof.

Amazingly, when I was looking for a good illustration, I referred to Google Images and found almost nothing but photos of beamed ceilings. The rot has set-in even further than I'd imagined.

I don't know why this should annoy me as much as it does; the problem is, there are far too many people who claim to be experts, but who obviously aren't. Just look in any Estate Agent's window for proof.






44 comments:

  1. We have a beamed ceiling over our kitchen-living area. As far as I'm concerned it's a darned high ceiling and the beams gather dust.
    Thanks however for a lesson. Sure does get on your nerves I can tell!

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    1. It does, because it's such a simple matter. It's only in the past few years that the misuse has taken hold, and I fear that it has taken over.

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  2. Guilty, but at least I am thinking of high curved ceilings, perhaps supported by beams.

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    1. If they are high and curved or rounded, and there are no beams involved in their construction, then they are vaulted.

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  3. I can't recall ever hearing anyone refer to a beamed ceiling as a vaulted ceiling, and it would annoy me just as much as you if I did, so I would have noticed if someone did it in my presence. I suppose now what is going to happen is that I will start hearing it everywhere now that you've alerted me to the problem.

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    1. There is a TV programme called 'your cottage in the country' (or something similar) where they say it all the time. It is driving me to despair.

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  4. The other thing that annoys me is the moment they walk into the kitchen and he says "and here is that great entertaining space you were looking for" and they stand oohing and aahhing about a bloody kitchen with a range and an island. That's without the beam bit when the beams are usually there doing nothing at all, just for show, and he says "and" (with emphasis) "you've got this wonderful vaulted ceiling". Makes me want to scream but the entertaining bit makes want to scream more.

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    1. I pleased to hear that someone else has noticed it. Dreadful. And they all want bigger kitchens (even though they're huge), bigger sitting rooms, bigger bedrooms with en suites, and all for £200,000.

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    2. And what is it with bedrooms? The master bedroom (we never called them that either) is never big enough. Just what do they do in a bedroom that requires it to be the size of a drawing room?

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    3. I imagine they have huge chandeliers.

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  5. I have never heard anyone refer to a ceiling with beams as vaulted. What a sheltered life I must lead. I have heard tour-guides call the Bath Palladian architecture 'Romanesque' though.

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    1. It just shows how quickly true meanings can change. This has taken just a few years and already it's in current usage.

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  6. I imagine there are similar folk in all walks of life - so many people call themselves 'experts' these days.

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    1. And they are given titles to go with them. An 'Exterior Environmental Expurgation Operative' is of course a Road sweeper.

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  7. Definition: Vault = an arched form extruded into the third dimension used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof. For the sake of argument, however, this article refers to vaulted ceilings as any ceiling that is higher than the standard 8'-10' ceiling height (arched aspect not necessary).

    Taken from google, but not exactly what I would refer to as a vaulted ceiling.

    My understanding of vaulting is that it works on the arch principal, a very strong form of construction which relies on the weight at either side of the arched structure to prevent spread and collapse.

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    1. That sounds about right. The 'buttresses' only being unnecessary where the Vaulted structure was underground (as were so many).

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  8. The ceiling in the oldest part of our home is a wooden hipped one and when sitting in my chair night and looking up I often fancy that I am living in an upturned boat.

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    1. Is that what we call a Cruck Beam Construction? Very nice too. Our house has very old and complicated beams at one end, and bog standard modern at the other.

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  9. I learned something today. I hadn't really thought much about it but I will get it right next time. Being 5'2'' all ceiling look vaulted to me. Thanks Cro.

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    1. I'm a little particular about words being used correctly; especially ones that have been used correctly for centuries (up until just a few years ago).

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  10. I have a vaulted ceiling which is about 15 feet high and curved. In my former house, I had a beamed ceiling which, of course, had beams. I watch the House Hunter series and it annoys me when a couple with one child says their 2500 foot house is too small. I know it is all “show business” (fake) and the couple has already bought a house but I do love to look at houses and how people live. My favorites are the International shows as their homes are so different than ours.

    I wish I had a bigger kitchen.

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    1. Most vaulted ceiling here are in basements. Nowadays they are made into beautiful bedrooms.

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  11. One of the benefits of living in the brand spanking new U.S. of A. is that there are so few vaulted or beamed ceilings that we hardly ever have to make the distinction. But now that I know, I will never mistake one for the other.

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    1. Glad to be of service, even if you will never be in need of my rant.

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  12. It's what you do to a 'horse' - when fit and full of gymnastics.

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    1. Or in my case... what you crash into when unfit and full of gymnastics.

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  13. Did you ever visit the basement of the Galerie d'Art Lithos in Villefranche (before it became a cafe)? It had the most amazing vaulted ceiling. I used to love their window displays too.

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    1. It was a very strange (sophisticated) shop for V du Pd. No I didn't visit their basement, but there are plenty around.

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  14. Ah. The problem is that 'beamed ceiling' doesn't sound as grand as 'vaulted ceiling' when the real estate agent or developer gets to marketing the place. Lots of 'vaulted ceilings' in the Okanagan.
    My person pet peeve is 'country kitchen', used to describe some enormous overblown monstrosity of a room. As someone who's spent almost 60 years in and around REAL country kitchens, I can tell you they look nothing like the ones filled with highly expensive fixtures found in the $1+ million homes around here. In fact, some of the most amazing meals I ate as a child came from some downright tiny and minimally equipped kitchens one would ever see.
    The ultimate irony is that many of these big kitchens are seldom used for actual cooking - they're just one more set on the stage.

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    1. That is absolutely right. I often shout at the TV "Yes, but you can cook an omelet?". If you showed some of these people a real 'Country Kitchen', they'd have it pulled out at once!

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  15. I'm not a pedant. I don't mind much about spelling or grammar. But I do understand this - that one is one and the other is the other and the point of them being named differently is so people know what's being talked about. So for all that I rarely mind where people put their apostrophes I completely agree with you about ceilings.

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    1. Thank you Lucy, we obviously think alike.

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  16. I can hear you shouting at the telly and I'm with you on this and many other inaccuracies. Bad grammar drives me mad. I especially hate the now common substitution of the word like for as though.

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    1. I sometimes feel as if there is a conspiracy around, to change the meaning of words; just to confuse.

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  17. Is the oyster bar under grand central station vaulted as i said it was? Please let me know as i dont understand

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    1. It certainly is John. A modern version, but built on the same principal.

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  18. The " country kitchens" in such shows all have units that match! My experience is that such kitchens have different surfaces, cupboards and shelves etc. The would-be country dwellers are also swayed by the presence of an Aga, which if they really want they could install themselves. Thanks for the definition of vaulted/beamed ceilings. I guess I knew it but hadn't thought about it (one of our rooms is beamed)

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    1. I am a country boy, and have always know proper country kitchens. They may have one or two pukka kitchen units, but otherwise they usually have dressers, cupboards, etc, all free standing.

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  19. I think that, with time, the term "vaulted ceiling " may have taken on the meaning of "high ceiling". Just another example of language moving away from the literal meaning but not easy for those of us who are sticklers for correct form. There are so many examples of this kind of thing and I fear we will lose out ... or die out !

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    1. It's a losing battle. Of course language is always changing, but when people start calling a Cat a Dog, then I get annoyed.

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  20. PS. I love the look of these " Country kitchens" with their Belfast sinks and wooden benchtops but cannot imagine that wooden benchtops would be very practical compared to other modern alternatives.

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    1. There's nothing to beat a good old big country kitchen

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