The Importance of Aligning & Centering
As DIY Ally, I never get tired of emphasizing the importance of aligning and centering. Last week I wrote about helping a client to design a reflected ceiling plan. This week’s installment is a sequel to that post.
Upon proposing a design, I found out that there were a few additional elements to consider. Namely, the existing windows and the openings from adjacent rooms.
My client emailed: “So I sketched up the room as best I could quickly… not to scale. But I think we may need some assistance with the window layout and locations. We purchased the bay window, which is 7’ wide x 5’ high. The other double hung set of 2 and the 3 individual windows are all left over from this addition and we don’t have to use them all. I hope my sketch helps conceptualize the room. It will primarily be used as a glorified playroom for our daughter. My mother’s opinion is that there is not enough wall space using the current window layout, so I defer to your expert opinion.”
Also, he wrote: “We are not set on anything except the exterior layout and the openings into the other rooms. We want to reuse the headers as much as possible.”
In response, I mused about maintaining the central axis — arched openings working together with the bay window. I thought that the windows on two other sides should be symmetrical. Thus, I took the course of aligning and centering.
Aligning brings continuity and coherence while centering balances elements
My client wrote: “So my wife would like to maintain the two entrances, the reason I drew them as arched is because we have a large great room off the kitchen that has a 16-ft arched opening into it, so maybe the arch is very soft, not round…I think the 3-window side is too much window since that faces west and the windows will seldom be open or shades up etc. I guess some rough sketches of your ideas will help my wife decide.”
Here’s what I did. Please note that all of the dimensions are on center (O.C.).
- Arched openings are centered on the north wall and the bay window is centered on the south wall.
- Arched opening on the east wall is centered with the window on the west wall.
- The window on the east wall is aligned with the window on the west wall.
- At the top, all openings and windows are aligned.
- Since there are 3 windows of one kind, we can use two on the west wall and one on the east wall.
As such, I organized the reflected ceiling plan as follows:
- The majority of the ceiling plane drops approximately 12” to create two lighting coves that run continuously along east and west walls. They stop about 2 feet away from the south wall with the bay window where the ceiling height is the lowest. It is flat there.
- Wooden beams run across, as if supporting the floating plane of the ceiling. They “die” into the walls.
- The beams correspond to the openings below, as if there were an imaginary grid. Every element falls into place.
- In addition, there’s an actual grid of recessed architectural-grade 3” in diameter light fixtures. They are as inconspicuous, as possible.
- Each row of recessed lights is centered between the beams in north-south direction. Running the other way, the three columns are centered on the opening s on the north wall.
Well, I hope this makes sense. In design, when facing a blank sheet of paper, the easiest way to approach it is to establish constraints or guidelines. Even if it’s as simple as making a decision about aligning and centering. Would you agree? If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask here.