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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > June 2017 > Design details Exposed beams

Design details Exposed beams

Could uncoventional structural components create a striking focal feature in your home? Emily Smith looks at how to add this detail
This conversion by Evolution Design retains much of the 19th century chapel’s original detailing and character. Wiring connected to exposed roof trusses enables a suspended storage area for pots, pans and kitchen utensils

Exposed beams have the potential to become an attractive design feature and work to draw the eye to a building’s heritage or construction method. But don’t assume they only work in traditional-looking houses or industrial conversions – bare timbers and steels can look striking in contemporary settings.

If you’re renovating a heritage property, you may be lucky enough to already have exposed beams that boast rustic character. In medieval times, timbers supporting the upper storeys were often left bare, aligned along low hanging ceilings. As the centuries went on, this look fell out of fashion and original beams were often concealed behind ornamental plaster ceilings. Once you start ripping back the layers of a period house, you may unearth some lovely timber detailing, but make sure it fits with the style of the rest of the property. Some older beams may have fallen victim to decay or distortion, so consult an expert to see what repair is needed and if they need to be replaced.

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About Build It

The June edition of Build It magazine is packed full of inspiration and advice for your self build, renovation or extension project - including: • An amazing oak frame self build (page 20) • Total makeover of a 1960s house (page 39) • How to self build on a budget (page 64) • Can solar hot water panels save you money? (page 71) • Design details: exposed beams (page 74) • Guide to designing the perfect barn conversion (page 90) • Assessing a building plot's potential (page 100) … and more!