Will this low-hanging I beam bother us?

last month

We are in the middle of a renovation that involves knocking down several walls on the main floor of our house, adding an addition, and creating a large open-concept kitchen/living room space. To eliminate the need for unsightly/inconvenient support columns, our architect drew plans that required a 38-foot beam that runs the length of the house. The beam is 21 inches high, which meant (according to our architect) that it would hang down from the ceiling about 9 inches. He was assuming the floor joists in the ceiling were about 12 inches. We weren't thrilled with that, but figured we could live with it. But today, our contractor informed us that the joists are only about 7-8 inches (our house was built in the early 1970s), which means the beam will hang down about 14 inches. And the ceilings are already just under 8 feet high, so in the portion of the house where the beam is running through the ceiling, the height clearance will be less than 6'10". Not great!

Any thoughts on what to do about this? We really want to avoid adding a support column, mostly for aesthetic/functional reasons, but also because it would mean having an architect redraw the plans, waiting possibly several weeks for county approval, and basically pressing pause indefinitely on this major renovation that's already well underway. On the other hand, this is the main floor of our house and we don't want a huge low-hanging beam to ruin how it looks. (Will this be as much of an eyesore as we are worried it will be?)

Any guidance would be helpful!

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