WRITER | LIZ JERORE
PHOTO | HOME CABINETRY & INTERIORS
The Magic of Millwork
Detailed trim takes a beautiful home to the next level
There’s something about the way sunlight creates ever-changing shadows on trim detail in a home, delivering texture and warmth. Whether your home is grand or modest, detailed millwork creates a visual feast. Properly fitted trim details instantly elevate a home and add value.
What is Millwork?
Millwork is a term used by carpenters and builders that refers to milled trims such as base, casing, chair rails and crown molding. These begin as lumber and are then milled with specialty knives at a lumber mill, hence the term, “millwork.”
Casing and Baseboards
One of the quickest ways to update your home is to replace your interior doors, baseboards, door casing and window casing. The current widely embraced proportions are typically 6-inch baseboards and 3.5-inch casings. For the past decade, most homeowners favored painted trim over stained wood, but emerging trends featuring light warm wood tones are being introduced into newly designed interiors.
If you are considering updating these in your home, select a casing and baseboard style that relates to the architecture of your home. For example, a simple craftsman bungalow may look best with a flat square simple style and a traditional more formal home may call for a more ornately detailed style.
Crown molding is installed where the ceiling meets the wall, like a crown around a room. It has always been a feature in upgraded homes and is still trending today. Crown molding can be plain or more ornate. More detailed and ornate molding is typically associated with more formal or traditional homes.
Wood paneling traditionally installed to prevent damage or scuffing to expensive plaster walls is called wainscoting. It has been featured in the most elegant of homes throughout history. Today, we see wainscot paneling emerging as feature walls as well as in whole rooms. Wainscoting is typically placed 36-42 inches high off the floor, however a taller two-thirds of the space from the floor to the ceiling proportion is also visually exciting. Consider using wainscoting when creating a fun coatlocker area in your mud room. Most everyone appreciates the beauty and usefulness of a simple wainscot panel feature wall with coat hooks and a shelf for baskets.
One of the most underutilized surfaces in our home is the ceiling. It is a large blank canvas just waiting for your creative expression. Consider adding tongue and groove or shiplap, or maybe add a boxed beam. Even a simple inexpensive flat-applied molding can create an interesting geometric pattern on your ceiling.
Updating the look of your home with new millwork is a moderately challenging DIY project. If DIY is not for you then consult with a professional designer who will help you create the design and secure a skilled carpenter.
The biggest decision now is which room will you start with?