Oct 16, 2007

Julie's Bedroom - a study in color and design

Yesterday I met Brad, Julie’s carpenter, to go over the moldings we will use for Julie’s bedroom that will be a hybrid of "cottage style" or "English Country Style" , including wainscoting and decorative moldings and other fun details that say: "cozy".

We are working with an existing 2 ½ inch crown molding, just fine for the eight foot high ceilings in Julie’s bedroom. But we are now putting in new floors and beefing-up the wainscoting and baseboard, so the small crown molding would look wimpy by comparison.

We could pull out the old molding and replace it with expensive 5 inch crown molding, but I have a creative solution that is less expensive and intrusive and gives a more dramatic look:

We will place a 1 ½ inch base cap molding three inches from the bottom of the crown molding on the wall. Base cap is sometimes called wainscoting cap or wainscoting molding. It looks like the old picture molding, but with a flat, not rounded, edge at the top. If you are unfamiliar with types of moldings, it has a profile similar to most traditional picture frames.

Now here is where I get crazy. We will turn it upside down. Yep, that’s right.

Brad, the carpenter, asked me about three times yesterday, “Are you sure you want to turn it upside down?”

“Yes, why not,” I said.

“Well, then you can’t hang pictures from it!”

Julie and I responded, “But we don’t want to hang pictures from it!”

This is not the first time a carpenter has looked at me in unbelief.

Our goal here is to beef-up the crown molding, to fool the eye into thinking it is one large crown molding. Brad will paint the molding and the wall in between the same color - white, in this case - to make it look like one continuous molding. And by turning the base cap molding upside down, we give the edge a nice definition and finish.

You can see an example in Judy’s home:

Before (above photo), the 2 1/2 inch crown molding.

After (above photo), the beefed-up moldings and painted walls provide definition and character to the room.

See how before (above photo) the crown molding almost disappeared, providing little contrast or interest.

See (above photo) the difference beefed-up molding and paint can make! It really complements the other details in this older home, like the arch entries and niches.

You can also beef-up your baseboards this way. Many older homes have the typical 3 inch colonial baseboards. You can add about 2 to 3 inches up from the baseboard a 1 inch trim molding of your choosing, then paint the wall between the baseboard and molding to match.

Voila! You have instant beefed-up moldings that didn’t cost you an arm and a leg and are simple enough to qualify for a weekend DIY project.

What can you do with decorative molding?


Julie said...

yep, that looks really cool. thanks

G-Baby said...

The first time I saw that technique with crown moulding was a month ago in Atlanta. I didn't even notice it was paint until I noticed a point where the moulding ended around a corner (and I probably would have never noticed it if I hadn't been studying it). It is such a creative approach. My mother has moulding shaped into squares underneath her chair rail and painted white (along with the wall) to give the appearance of wainescoting in her formal dining room.

Dana's Design Studio & Wholesale Furnishings said...

Hi G-baby,

Thanks for sharing how your mother has used the same approach for her wainscoting.

If you have a photo of your mother's dining room and would like to share, please send to my email (dana@danasdesignstudio.com) and I will post it so everyone can see. Take your time if you do not have a photo handy...we can revisit this topic again!

Happy decorating!