Tag Archives: diy moulding

The Power of Trim

We’ve been writing Red House West for about a year and a half, and the other day I was reflecting on how much it has changed the way I look at houses and spaces and design.  I have a new lexicon of design terms (Anaglypta, portiere, and Gustavian – to name just a few), and a much keener eye and appreciation for design detail.  Writing posts has forced me to look critically at spaces, to analyze and verbalize just what I like about them, and to then look at designs and plans for my own home through this new lens.

I no longer stop at the thought, “oh, I like that.”  Now I also, almost unconsciously, itemize just why I like it.  One thing that I was completely oblivious to in the dark days before RHW (BRHW) is the difference that trim or moulding can make to a space.  I can’t remember ever noticing it, much less remarking on it, but now it’s one of the first things I see when looking at a room.  It may not be the star of the show, but it’s one of those seemingly minor design elements that has major powers of transformation.

When it’s done right, moulding works like a picture frame – highlighting the beauty of an adjacent room.  Like this:

The downstairs of our home is much more finished than the upstairs.  It was remodeled twice by previous owners, and since moving in we’ve done some work of our own – including painting every room.  I love the trim in our downstairs.  It is substantial but simple – a perfect complement to the 1930’s farmhouse architecture.

Red House West || The Power of TrimThe upstairs, by contrast, not only features a patchwork of industrial carpet instead of the original fir floors, but also has puny trim that makes it feel disconnected style-wise from the downstairs.  You can see what I mean in this photo of the doorway in our bedroom:

Red House West || The Power of Trim

Can you spot the RHW DIYs in this photo?

As we work on this house little by little, one of our major goals is to unify the upstairs with the downstairs by installing wood floors, using a cohesive paint palette, and by changing the trim.  The one space we’ve tackled upstairs is the Chamber of Secrets, and I think the trim goes a long way to making that room feel well done and connected to the rest of the house.

Chamber of Secrets trim before (left) and after

Chamber of Secrets trim before (left) and after

To make the trim we used a six-inch board as the lintel and four-inch boards on the sides with a one inch-wide strip sandwiched in between.  We attached everything with small nails and glue, filled in the cracks with wood filler and caulk, then sanded and painted.  We decided to make the baseboards thinner than the six-inch ones downstairs, so that they would seamlessly connect with the toe kick at the bottom of the bookcase and windowseat.

Red House West || The Power of TrimWe also trimmed out the closet to match the rest of the room:

Red House West || The Power of TrimI never would have guessed that I’d be so satisfied by such a simple change, or as excited as a I am to replace all of the upstairs trim to match the rest of the house.  Do you have anything new on your interior design radar?  Perhaps even something you didn’t notice BRHW?  Have a great week!