Category Archives: Trim, Casing, and Doors

Gettin’ Down with the Crown

Now that the kitchen cabinets and built-ins at the front of the house have been installed, we were able to proceed with installation of the remainder of the crown molding on the first floor. This bit of trim was the subject of lively debate among (and between) us, the GC, our first architect, Ben, and our current architect, Natalie. Basically, the molding spec’d by Ben in the plans turned out to be humongous.

The GC was so skeptical about the selection that Dave sent me the following picture one day to confirm that this was really the stuff we wanted to install:

Frankly, we really didn’t know whether this was, indeed, what we wanted. The questions from the GC and the noble attempts by Natalie to identify an alternative drove us to reconsider the molding. This is how the crown molding was spec’d in the first floor living area elevation:

The key element is the scale of the molding relative to the beam up front and the bulkhead at the back (the top elevations in the plan above). The molding lends weight and substance to these elements, and our discussions with Ben affirmed this.

Moreover, based on our interest in having windows as tall as possible, the crown was selected to descend from the ceiling to the top of the windows, with no casing. If we went with smaller crown, the space between the bottom of the crown and the top of the windows would be awkward.

Yet, still, we questioned the choice, to the point of checking out the look one night after work to try to resolve our angst:

In the end, we trusted the initial design. Good thing – it worked out perfectly. This is the scene right before the molding started snaking across the ceiling:

And after:


Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Trim, Casing, and Doors


Random Updates

During the past week, the finished floors were covered and protected, and progress continued on trim work, bathrooms, and paint selection. Most significantly, the kitchen cabinets finally arrived, putting the project back on track for substantial completion in August (although installation of some electrical fixtures will lag beyond that, due to decision fatigue on our part . . .).

With respect to trim, finishing the new landing area and tying this into the millwork from the original house was one of the first things that was tackled after the floors were done:

Finalizing our paint selection also was on tap. Samples of the various shades of taupe (or putty, or ecru, or latte, or tan . . .) that we requested arrived from the painter for our consideration, in consultation with Natalie.

We selected our wall paint and trim paint, which finalized the materials for the house: floors, cabinets, paint, and first-floor countertops:

In the meantime, tiling continued in the guest bath. The darker color upon installation got us spun up initially, until we understood that this was simply the effect of the residual moisture from the mortar bleeding through. It should lighten up when the tile dries . . .

Tiling was completed in the master bath, which now awaits grouting:

This is the north wall of the master bath, where the vanity and mirror will go. The dangling wire on the left will be connected to an outlet inside one of the vanity drawers.

And, at long last, the cabinetry for the kitchen, wet bar, pantry, and knee wall arrived at Wolfe Street:

Our kitchen designer, Tricia, worked with the guys from the truck and Freddy to inventory each arrival.

We received everything but the kitchen sink (cabinet), which now has to be tracked down . . .


Posted by on July 1, 2012 in Bathrooms, Kitchen, Trim, Casing, and Doors


The Doors

In early June, the interior passage doors from Smoot Lumber finally arrived. All of the doors are 5-panel, similar to our old doors, but the rails and stiles have crisp, straight edges, similar to the kitchen cabinets, rather than the raised-panel style of the original doors (all of which are now in the basement awaiting an undetermined fate). 

Delivery of the doors took longer than planned because Smoot ordered all of them from the same source to ensure that the proportions of the five panels and the edge characteristics were identical across all doors. We appreciated this, since there was a risk of subtle but noticeable differences if the doors came from different sources; as you’ll see, many of the doors are in close proximity.

Here’s the initial shipment, right off the truck:

The doors span type and style (hence the alternative option to obtain them from different sources with a quicker turnaround that had been considered, but not pursued):

  • Single swing doors for the three doorways in the upstairs hallway (master suite, guest bedroom, and guest bathroom). We specified extra thick doors (1 3/4″) for all of these, based on the doors that one of our friends installed during their renovation, which made a noticeable difference in look and feel
  • Double swing doors for the coat closet and powder room on the main floor and the guest room closet upstairs
  • Pocket doors for the east wall on the main floor (the opening between the doors above) and all of the master suite doors (bathroom, walk-in closet, and utility closet)

As you’ll see throughout this and later posts, we’re also using three casing styles to trim out the doors. Although this may seem to introduce unnecessary variability among doorways in such a small house, there’s a method to this madness and a set of business rules that guide which casing style would be used for which doorway.

The first doors to be installed were in the master suite. All of them are pocket doors, but the utility closet is the recipient of double doors. The casing style here is traditional Craftsman with no decorative header on the outside and “flat jam” on the inside (to highlight the tile in the bathroom, rather than any trim, and to provide space for the closet components in the walk-in).

Dave had to remove a portion of the drywall to install the track for the double doors for the utility closet (which has walnut trim to blend in with the floor).

Next was the guest bath door (the guest room door had not arrived, at this point). The casing style for all of the doors in this hallway is traditional Craftsman with the full header, which we really dig.

The guest bath and guest bedroom doors provide a good example of why the use of absolutely identical doors was important. Not only are they in close proximity, but they share the casing in the middle, all the way to the header. The integration of the casing for these two doors is out of necessity, but it also ended up looking very cool, as you’ll see in a subsequent post on the finished floors.

The supply of doors-to-be-installed downstairs dwindles . . .

Here, the coat closet doors have been installed. This doorway has traditional Craftsman casing with full header, although it’s not yet complete in this picture.

One more down . . .

Freddie (Dave’s apprentice) installs casing around the doors on the inside of the closet:

The finished product:

Installation of the ridiculously narrow powder room doors:

Although we bemoaned the loss of the original, narrow, linen closet door in the upstairs hallway, the powder room doors are carrying on the legacy.

We specified these doors with an astragal (the strip in the middle) over the gap between them. However, both we and Natalie assumed that the astragal would be on the inside, to provide a clean look on the outside. There’s actually a functional problem if the astragal is on the other side of an inward-swinging double door, so we may need to live with this (but we’re still considering our options).

The guest room doors have finally arrived and Dave preps them:

At this stage both the double doors for the closet and the thick passage door have been installed, but only the passage door casing has been added:

A shot from the other side is below. The casing and header had to be removed to install the door.


Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Trim, Casing, and Doors