You don't have to be familiar with the hotel scene in Austin, Texas, to lust over its new debut, the LINE. The third location to open after D.C. and Los Angeles, the LINE Austin is a hospitality venture that seems to be made for Instagramming: midcentury architecture, rough concrete surfaces, hanging planters, pink walls ... You get the idea. But the one feature we can't stop looking at? It's the ceiling, which designer Sean Knibb says is one of the most remarked-upon aspects of the whole hotel. In passing you might think it's just another aggressively spackled surface—this 1965 structure was a Radisson for many years, after all—but upon closer inspection it comes into focus as something much more interesting, with folds and pleats under a coat of shiny paint.
To cover up a tectum and T-bar ceiling, the material of choice was canvas, specially treated to meet building certifications. Sean's team cut the material into big four-by-eight-foot pieces, folded them up to get them good and winkled, and then stapled the sheets to the ceiling in irregular, lumpy patterns. "It was just to make the space feel unique and worn, but in a comfortable sort of organic way," Sean says, "since the place is pretty austere and the rooms are pretty austere." To keep the surface from feeling too rough, the team coated the material in several coats of high-gloss interior latex (though in the past, Sean says, they've used reflective traffic paint to the same effect). Against the raw concrete and wood pieces that decorate the room, it's a lustrous but not-too-perfect counterpoint.
At home, faced with an unfortunate drop or popcorn ceiling, you could definitely try the same thing using drop cloth or old sheets (though we suspect Sean's team makes the whole process sound easier than it really is). Just don't forget the glossiest paint you can find, which will turn the random stapled fabric into a lunar-like topography on your ceiling.