I was sorting through my picture file recently and came across a few photos of a project I did several years ago. I thought it might make a good show-and-tell, since rustic beams are very popular right now.
This was a large room addition with a kitchen and living room, plus a whole-house remodel of the rest of the structure. It's a much bigger project than I take on these days, simply because I enjoy the smaller repairs more.
Take note of the beams. The cross-beams are real, very heavy, 4"x8" cedar beams. On the other hand, the gable "rafters" you see aren't really structural pieces. They are simple 1"x4" cedar boards which are screwed over the Sheetrock ceiling and into the real rafters.
This is a neat way to have the character of "exposed beams" while keeping the lower cost of standard framing. As a builder, my favorite part was that the false rafters went right over the Sheetrock joints, so I didn't have to tape, mud or sand the ceiling. The homeowner even saved money on labor.
I do think that the real wood is superior to the faux stuff made out of Styrofoam. Real wood has a texture and visual depth to the surface that synthetic materials just can't match.
The homeowner picked out some really cool details to play up the beams, including two wrought-iron chandeliers which draw the eye up so that you admire the ceiling. There's also a ceiling fan in the top (which you can't see at this angle) to help moderate the room temperature.
The dark kitchen cabinets set off the room with a medieval look, and the collection of globes on top of the cabinets also draws the eye upward.
This was such a big job that the property was practically my second home for six months. It makes me a little nostalgic for my days as a builder. Then again, I still get to do a lot of