No matter how much you loved your house when you bought it, eventually things start to look a little tired and the idea of a renovation takes hold and just won’t let go. Unless your house was a custom build, or you were able to add upgrades when you built, chances are good that the problem is your rooms lack individuality.
Adding custom millwork to your rooms creates those camera-ready details, so flip through some shelter mags or Pinterest for some ideas, and get out your hammer and miter box to make it happen. Or ask your carpenter to take care of the labor and you provide the inspiration. Here are a few ways that millwork takes your rooms from drab to dramatic.
If you’re not sure what millwork is, here is a quick tutorial. Lumber mills run raw wood through machines to manufacture the pieces used in construction, everything from contract-grade 2X4s to the most ornate balusters. This process is called milling, so the decorative trim woods are referred to as millwork. Moulding and millwork are almost interchangeable terms, but mouldings tend to be a little fancier and ornate.
Dado or Chair Rails, Picture Moulding
A railing that run horizontally along a wall at a height of 24 inches is a chair rail or a dado. It was a purely decorative feature in Greek architecture, but the practicality of the rail protecting the walls from chair backs and other furniture is why they’re called chair rails since the Victorian period. These are typically used in dining rooms or an entry hall where you might paint underneath the rail and paper over it.
Picture moulding dresses up the blank space under the chair rail. Make a frame from whichever milled trim strikes your fancy, and place a series of the frames at regular intervals along the wall under the chair rail. You can paint them to match the walls or use the same color in a different sheen, or wallpaper inside the frame.
Crown moulding is the decorative trim where the ceiling joins the wall. In it’s simplest form, a crown is a one-piece S shape that’s three or four inches deep. There are a few styles of crown mouldings that add instant style to a room–dentil, egg-and-dart, gadroon, and relief.
Dentil mouldings are a design found in Federal or Georgian (think Williamsburg and Monticello) architecture. It’s a row of little squares carved into the wood; they look like teeth–reminiscent of George Washington’s wooden choppers.
Egg-and-Dart mouldings are a little more Baroque in style, but add a ton of punch to a mid-century or modern home–even though they’re a derivative of a Greek architectural element. They feature a series of carved ovals separated by a dart or arrow shape and add a little definition to a boxy room.
Gadroon moulding sound quite exotic but is, in fact, a rather workmanlike design–a series of tapered or curved reeds or beads. Also known as nulling, this carving effect adds an elegant touch to a more formal space. A simple bead series along a plain piece of crown is also a gadroon; sometimes this is referred to as Bead-and-Pearl on a crown moulding.
Relief on a crown moulding is a highly stylized three dimensional raised profile; from the Italian relievare, which means to raise. Anything goes on a relief crown moulding, but Queen Anne shells, acanthus leaves, and other floral motifs proved lots of personality without going overboard.
Whether you’re a DIY whiz or have a great relationship with your carpenter, Worthington Millwork is your source for custom millwork in a wide range of materials.