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Opening up the old ceiling was just the start.

Opening up the old ceiling was just the start

Small changes can make huge differences. Like many of its era, this Portland house had little use for the dead space in the gable above the living room's 8-foot-high ceiling. It was filled by only "darkness, stuffy air, cobwebs, and old wasp nests clinging to the rafters' before architect David McNiven opened the old ceiling to the roof line, cut a large half-moon window into the gable, and replaced lower windows with a big panel of glass.

Now, the house looks more modern from the street, while inside its living room feels bright and open.

During the remodel, McNiven also took down the wall separating the living room from the dining room. A bedroom directly above the dining area received an interior window--also semicircular.

Throughout the house, old plaster was replaced with new gypsum board; a new cast-plaster facade replaced the original mantelpiece. All wiring and plumbing were brought up to code. To help unify the spaces and visually enlarge the house, McNiven had all interior walls painted the same light color and installed low-pile wall-to-wall carpeting.

Photo: Big glass semicircle cut into gable, and solid rectangle below it, give 1950 wood-and-brick house a contemporary lift

Photo: Soaring ceiling and glass in a former attic space give living (and adjacent dining) areas spacious feel. They also leave room and provide light for three big potted ficus

Photo: Dining area's lower ceiling makes way for bedroom above--whose interior window borrows shape from larger exterior one

Photo: With tops of windows in line, bedroom brightens with outside light and looks roomier without compromising privacy
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Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jan 1, 1988
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