Architect's Toolbox: Inform the Story With Trim of a Home
The way the inside of a house becomes trimmed out contributes greatly to its overall character. In many ways, a nicely thought-out trim design may make a plain-vanilla inside into something rich and complex, as well as architecturally dynamic.
As Brent Hull of Hull Historical notes, trimming is one of the ways that you are able to tell your own story. As an example, if you’re more formal and elegant, a national or Georgian trim could be best for you. If, on the other hand, you are more of a hands on kind, a Craftsman trimming will likely suit you.
And remember, using trimming profiles that are stylistically incompatible with each other and the architecture of the home is a style faux pas. It would make for a strange interior indeed if the railings were Gothic, the baseboard Craftsman and the crown Georgian. And while blending trim fashions around on the inside is 1 thing, having a different cut on the interior from what you would expect taking a look at the outside creates a dyslexic design. It’s as if we picked everything on the menu because we couldn’t decide about the 1 thing that we really desired.
So specify the story you wish to inform and, for the sake of unity, consistency and clarity, use trimming profiles from all the exact same family, to tell that story.
The Protestant work ethic and an agrarian, small-town society are things which are connected with the Victorian fashion. Unlike its European contemporaries, colonial cut was simple and spartan.
Which doesn’t mean that it was puny and thin. In reality, this design has a boldness that is speaks to the boldness of this Declaration of Independence and American Revolution.
Though simple, colonial trim still abounded with detail. So things like an acanthus foliage in the mantel and a dentil at the summit were permissible to enliven and enhance the trim. And planks butted against each other in lieu of paneling will be preferable.
Surely, with its clean lines, simple styling and functional aesthetic, the colonial-style trimming works nicely for kitchen cabinetry — particularly when simple portrait hardware like strap and L-hinges is used.
Say you do not need the stained-wood appearance and the colonial style is just a bit too simple for you. If so, try the style. Much more curvilinear and flowing than colonial, this design is perfect for larger and more formal houses.
Details like large entablatures over taller and doors and deeper crown moldings that gently flow from wall to ceiling are all attributes of Georgian-style trim.
As are mantels that have an elegance and grace formed from these flowing and soft forms. So instead of each piece having a clear beginning and stopping point, Georgian moldings mix seamlessly into one another to reinforce the connectivity of each component and wholeness of this space.
From the mid to late 19th century, many houses and other buildings were constructed in the Gothic style. Echoing the fantastic cathedrals of Europe, the emphasis on the vertical dimension and workmanship makes the Gothic style perfect for the intimate.
Surely not suitable for rooms with low ceilings, this fashion of trimwork wants to be in an area that has a tall ceiling and spirals around the sky and skies, just like these old Gothic cathedrals.
Jacobean Transitional Door
Elizabethan- or Jacobean-Style Trim
since it could be adapted to big and small homes equally, the Jacobean or Elizabethan design was popular during the early 20th century. A reason for this popularity was that it supplied an old-world solidity whatever the size of the house.
Surely one of the most telling features of this design is your arch. Shallower and flatter than the Gothic and less round than the colonial or other classical designs, the Elizabethan arch is well suited to shorter rooms and doors with lower ceilings.
Modeled after the manor houses and estates of the British aristocracy, this design relies on dark-stained wood carved into simple and massive shapes because of its own aesthetic.
Though not at all common, the Elizabethan style can easily find its way into cabinetry design. The dark-stained wood and sense that the wood has been carved is ideal for an old-world cosmetic.
Arts and Crafts–Style and Craftsman-Style Trim
Any summary of trim styles could be incomplete without the addition of these two styles. Born of the desire to make something new that was a celebration of nature, hand-crafting and a honesty of materials, these fashions found their way into many houses, particularly bungalows and the homes by architects like the Greene brothers.
Produced from simple profiles and wood stained a rich colour, this trimming design came to define domesticity when combined with golden yellows, moss greens and musty burgundies.
Mark Brand Architecture
The design fell out of favor with the onset of the colonial revival and the desire to possess lighter and brighter interiors. The end result has been that the trimming profiles are still simple while the material choice now includes painted wood.
Mark Brand Architecture
The result: insides that are as light and bright as anything expected in a contemporary home.
The Difference Trim Can Make
BEFORE: The importance of a well thought-out trim can’t be underestimated. It’s a true truism that adding trim is one of the most cost-effective ways of altering a plain and boring space into one that’s rich and wonderful.
Have a look at this hallway. The trimming (casing) around the door is way too small for the size of this opening and scale of this space. And all of the wall surface over the doorway! It makes me cringe just thinking about having to oppose that portal.
AFTER: Here is the exact same hall trimmed out with some thought and attention. The large scale moldings over the doors remove all that extra wall space and reinforce the importance of travel from room to room. The addition of this chair railing strengthens the scale of the human body also provides another horizontal layer of space. While there was not anything but a big, cubic volume of space before, now there’s a series of layered spaces all characterized by trimming elements.
Watch more guides on using trimming