Although the formalized setting continues to be used in very fine homes at present, the open floor plan remains the standard for most residences. The open floor plan offers all of the spaces traditionally contained within a residential structure but without any of the walls to separate functions such as dining areas or living areas.
While the open flow is pleasant, the effect of an uninterrupted space can sometimes be similar to stepping into a gym that has furniture arranged in it - not so pleasant. This is a place where the use of wood interior columns can really solve a problem. The judicious placement of decorative columns in an open plan space can define areas without interrupting the overall openness that many people find appealing. In an open plan, for example, where the dining area is set in a corner near the kitchen area, one can reinforce the dining space by placing an arrangement of columns at the point where the interior corner would occur if walls were in place. It is important to emphasize the word "arrangement" as a single column will not quite do the job well. A single column will appear incidental, lonely, or curiously odd. But if a column is placed at the exact corner and then followed with columns that sit at the points where the walls would turn, the effect is sturdy and deliberate. The terminating points of the imaginary walls may be reinforced with half-columns thereby completing the effect without having interrupted the flow or visual expanse of the open floor plan.
As with the traditional arrangements, rooms with open floor plans also lend themselves to the use of turned columns as ways of giving much needed visual weight to mantelpieces and bookshelves. From the perspective of scale, these may be "beefed up" in order to create a substantial appearance in the larger open spaces they occupy.
The uses for wood columns in contemporary open rooms have not been fully exploited and are limited only by the imagination. A few guidelines will help achieve a pleasing use. Always use columns in a manner that is structurally logical. Even though wood columns rarely need to actually support any loads, using them arbitrarily and in places where they clearly do not support anything can create a jarring effect. The use of columns previously described to create a corner in a dining area is perfectly logical. You can create the appearance of necessary support by utilizing an architrave between columns to further define a space. The use of an architrave with an elliptical arch between columns is another excellent way of investing a sense of necessity to the columns. Use care when deciding how to finish columns. They create a great deal of visual interest on their own simply by their presence. Over-finishing them can be too much of a good thing. Remember that columns can be useful in reinforcing height: as a vertical presence, they will guide the eye upward. Finally, although a strict adherence to the corresponding elements of a given order is not required, acknowledgement of the keynote indicated by the capital will result in a quiet harmony that is both pleasant and tasteful.
We have had requests for capitals, pilasters, and bases for these architectural columns. If this is of interest, please contact us.