Re: ceiling heights
From: James Kacki (
Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2006 15:09:37 -0800 (PST)
Jenny, -8' is very standard. Building materials come in 8' lengths economically. It seems that the push for higher ceilings came about in the same way that the push for bigger cars, bigger garages, bigger houses etc. came about; i.e. material suppliers, developers, contractors etc. convincing people that they really need higher ceilings, bigger this, more of that, for a truly fulfilled life. As an architect, my opinion is that if you have the money and want to spend it, go for 9' ceilings or 10' ceilings if it will make you happy. However, my experience has been that 8' ceilings are perfectly fine and that spatial interplay, window/light manipulation, occasional high (even double height) spaces located for maximum effect will give you more 'bang for the buck' than an uninspired design with 9' ceilings. That's just my opinion, others may disagree, -good luck with your home design, & keep dreaming!

Jenny Williams wrote:
On a related note, I'd like people's input on ceiling height.  We're
desgining and building our house at Manzanita Village in Prescott, AZ,
and we have been planning 8' ceilings throughout.  Everyone is telling
me that we'll regret it.  With 8' ceilings, though, we will manage a
~6-7' high attic, which we could finish at a later date for a cozy spot.
We have height restrictions for building, so we can't go above that
limit.  If we even change our regular floors to 9' ceilings, that
changes the attic to 5-6', harder to do anything with.  Do you all feel
it's worth the trade off, to have higher ceilings but an unusable attic
space (for anything other than plain storage)?  Our house will be about
2200SF on two floors (not counting said attic).  On the upper level, we
will have a fairly open area for kitchen, eating area, and living room.
We plan on doing ceiling height changes, with some soffits in certain
areas, to break up the 8' ceiling.  Ideas?

I welcome all input.  Thanks!

jenny williams

-----Original Message-----
From: Hyghroad [at] [mailto:Hyghroad [at]] Sent: Saturday, February 04, 2006 6:45 AM
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ very small/ compact housing

My family of four is about to move into our 1200+- sq.ft. townhouse
(plus full unfinished basement) at Common Pastures in Charlotte, VT. One of the last design changes made was to get rid of a cathedral ceiling living room, to add a floor and add space on the second floor. I feel this is one of the best decisions we've made. In a small house, catherdal ceilings seem to be an unnecessary luxury, and I can just imagine all of heat that would have been trapped up there in the winter.

Two other things that, in my opinion, make small houses more livable

1) lots of windows

2) vaulted ceilings on second floor.

Space/storage is always an issue is small homes. For us (we are coming
from an even smaller house) it has been a great incentive to reduce our

Kelly Devine
Common Pastures
aka Champlain Valley Cohousing
Charlotte, Vermont
hyghroad [at]

In a message dated 2/3/2006 2:58:25 PM Eastern Standard Time, pnichols [at] writes:

We are family of four living in a 3-bedroom unit at Muir Commons. The
at 1,170 sq ft, has some inherent space inefficiencies that bother me,


a big u-shaped windowless stair cavity in the center of the house. It


has some nice touches, like 10-foot ceilings in the living/ dining


Private garage/ utility space is non-existent. If we had some private
utility space combined with a more efficient layout, then that would
probably keep many folks here from remodeling or at least thinking


remodeling when they could be thinking more pleasant, less expensive

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