Design resources?

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  #1  
Old 06-14-06, 06:05 PM
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Design resources?

We own a fairly new (2000) center hall colonial, with very standard 2.25" colonial wood casing around doors and windows. I think woodwork is one of the key things that give older homes depth and substance, so I'm thinking about some changes down the road. My summer project is to install raised panel wainscoting in our dining room and perhaps living room as well. But thinking about dimensions, I've realized that I'll be installing wainscoting right up to the door and window casing, so if I'm going to install new trim, it's now or never. Internet searches have revealed no end of options, including fluted casing, colonial casing, plinth blocks, rosettes, architraves, pediments, and keystones. But I don't really know what size and style is architecturally appropriate for the home and the room, and it's difficult to visualize the result before it's on the wall. Can somebody point me toward useful resources?

If anyone wants to give more specific advice, here's my dining room situation. The west wall has a large window, 66 by 65. The north wall has a single doorway, 36 wide by 81 high. The east wall has a wide opening to the living room, 58 wide by 81 high. My only design idea was that plinth blocks and wide fluted casing topped by an architrave or pediment would suggest columns for the large opening to the living room and might look nice. But I don't know if using the same wide casing would overwhelm the other doorway, and I don't know if using different casing would look funny. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-14-06, 11:22 PM
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A good book on installing trim and the best book on the Colonial Revival style is "Decorating with Architectural Trimwork" by Jay Silber from Creative Books. You can order it from amazon.com.

You didn't specify but since Colonial style is usually painted you should look at the Windsorone.com website. Their Colonial and Colonial Revival collections include trim pieces that might work into your plans.

As far as fluted casing is concerned, you could use, say, 6 inches wide for your large doorway and the same fluted case but at 4 inches for your smaller door and windows. The size can vary if the style stays the same within a room. The header on the large entry can be more elaborate but again using the same style pieces. Ceiling heighth can be an issue. A big header needs an equally impressive cornice molding and 8 foot ceilings can put the cornice and header too close together for the best style.

Before buying any casing you should finalize your wainscot plan. The commonest mistake with wainscot is to overlook what you're going to do when you come to doors and windows. If the wainscot stands further off the wall than, say, the door casing you can wind up with an awkward problem. A backband or a casing with a particularly thick outer edge like the Windsorone WOCS005, at 1 3/16", is the usual way to make sure that the casing turns out thicker than the wainscot. A backband doesn't work with a fluted case so building out the case is the only option. Something as simple as putting up a board and planting the fluted case on top of the board would give an 1 1/2" thick edge to work with. Of course the plinth, header, and base board need some modification when you change to thickness of the columns.

It's all doable but the wainscot is going to be the biggest investment in time and money and definitely have the biggest impact on the rooms appearance so plan the wainscot first and bring the rest into alignment with that.

Jan
 
  #3  
Old 06-19-06, 10:14 AM
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Hi Jan,

Thanks for the reply. I've learned that the chair rail part of my wainscot will be 3/4" off the wall, so I think you're right that I'll want door and window casing to be at least that thick. I like the WindsorOne Colonial Revival style you pointed me to, but I'm frustrated by the fact that there's no door header for this style. Are door headers even done with colonial-style casing, or is that strictly for fluted, beaded, or flat casing?
 
  #4  
Old 06-19-06, 10:04 PM
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Yes, you can have a header with Colonial casing. The book I suggested has several nice examples of just that. Since you found Windsorone.com, take a look at the header in the Craftsman collection. That one is particularly easy to build and the heighth can adjusted easily for the scale you need. In fact, I used something similar in my home office. It only takes a couple of miters to put that one together. Fancier headers just take more carpentry.

Jan
 
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