Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Time for Trim, Craftsman Style

We're down to the final stretch in our kitchen remodel. Those finishing touches that add that extra sparkle to a finished space. Yes, the trim.

I'm glad we remodeled elsewhere in the house first as it's given us perspective and time to figure out how to approach this. And also a chance to research different options. When finishing the basement (our first big project), we went with cheap modern trim options. Not quite as basic as plain ranch casing, but not very consistent with a 95-year-old house either.

However, we wanted our kitchen to flow with the rest of the house, and making the trim similar is an important part of accomplishing this. While we saved all trim that was removed before our remodeling, we quickly realized there would not be enough and without thing feeling too disjointed, we would have to get new trim for most of the kitchen / family room area. Our bungalow has trim pretty consistent with traditional Oak Park area arts and crafts homes, in that the casing for doors and windows is plain and squarish with no mitered corners.Original Arts and Crafts Bungalow Doorway Trim
Original Arts and Crafts Bungalow Doorway Trim
Replica Arts and Crafts Bungalow Trim
Replica Arts and Crafts Bungalow Trim
The doorways all have a 9" plinth block at the base to transition from the baseboard trim, which is a 3-piece system of a tall baseboard with a separate curved cap, and then shoe molding along the base (similar to quarter-round) to finish it off. At the tops of the doorways and windows, there are no mitered corners. Instead, the 4" vertical casing ends against a small bullnose piece of trim about 3/8" tall. Above this is a square 1x6 board, with crown molding attached to the top. The trim throughout most of our workingman's home was done in pine or fir instead of the more expensive oak. However, the pine of 95 years ago was old-growth pine, much harder and more durable than today's pine.

During this process, the book The New Decorating with Architectural Trimwork, with detailed descriptions on built-up arts and crafts trim was a great resource in identifying the finer points of our home's style.

A quick trip to the local bigbox hardware stores revealed that it would be tricky if not impossible ot try and replicate this with today's trim options. So it was time to investigate some specialty suppliers. David suggested we check out OWL Hardwood or Hines lumber.

Replica Door and Window Craftsman TrimArmed with the renovation experience of having to make multiple trips for any given project, I naturally chose the closer of the two. And learning that Hines Lumber also has a commitment to sustainability was a big plus as well. In fact, they even carry Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) rated lumber. While this certified sustainable lumber is intended for framing and not trim work like we needed, it was good to learn they backed up their word and weren't just trying to "greenwash" their business.

One of the other decisions we had to make was to decide whether to go with pine (cheaper) or red oak (more expensive) for the trim options. David mentioned that since both are harvested locally (within 200 miles), the sustainability factor was sort of a toss-up. It really came down to what we could afford and prefer.

After a thorough analysis, we decided to do a mix of woods. All the baseboard trim would be in pine, and all door and window trim would be in oak. That way we could add a greater sense of character to our newly renovated kitchen / family room area and still blend it with the rest of the house. And once the trim is stained, there shouldn't be too much of a difference.

Replica Craftsman Archway TrimFrom working with the helpful reps at Hines, we were able to find trim profiles that were actually really close to the trim elsewhere in the home. The only thing that is really different is the crown molding profile, but it isn't too noticeable unless you really study the two side by side in the hallway.

Realizing we may have to repaint, we've taken an unconventional approach of installing all the trim before staining and finishing it due to some time constraints we're working with.

There are few more elaborate craftsman-style trim details we plan on stairwell shelves and the column dividing the hall and stairs from the family room, but we'll post more on that another time.

But so far the transformational results have been amazing, and the house really flows well now, with a nice blend between the "old" and the "new."

December 2008 Update: We finally did stain the trim and finish the stairwell.


Anonymous said...

You did a fantastic job. The woodwork looks great and I'm all in for no mitered corners!

Jennifer said...

THe new trim looks really great! I'm gathering ideas for how to trim out my house with NO original trim left...

Sandy said...

The trim looks great, and I love that door!

jay said...

Thanks for the comments all! Funny thing about the new back door... We bought that when there was a local "Door and Window Sale" at our big box hardware store right after purchasing Humphrey House, naively thinking we would be starting the kitchen "soon". Three years later, it finally left our garage! :-)

randyandi said...

Nice work on the door and window trim. The only thing I would have done differently is to set the width of the header the same as the width from outside to outside of the stiles. Thanks for the pics, I enjoy them.

amerimax windows said...

Thanks a lot for this post. It’s quite informative. You have good reputation on a particular niche...

Anonymous said...

I love your trim! The top moulding that replaced the old crown is especially nice touch. What is its profile? It is hard to tell from the picture.

Catherine Aird said...

This is a great post; it was very edifying. I look ahead in reading more of your work. home remodeling northern virginia

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