Dimensional Decisions

Our little Vashon Island house was built in 1925…in SeaTac. Now for those of you who know the area, you will recognize that these locations are separated by a large waterway. How did our house get to the island? In the late 70s the airport expanded into some existing neighborhoods. Many houses were just bought by the airport, but a handful were moved. Ours was one of those, and got to take a boat to Vashon Island! They added a full walkout basement, new foundation, new electrical and new plumbing. Basically we now have the best of all worlds…old style and charm with newer bones and structure!

The house has undergone many remodels. More than we had even guessed now that we are ripping into things! We have found walls behind walls, old doorways within walls, openings that are now closed and vice versa…yea, it has changed a lot.

One item in particular that changed: the trim. We love craftsman style and a big part of that are all the window, baseboard and crown moldings. Well, our house does not have much in that department. Boring 2.5 inch wide around the windows and some very generic builder grade shape in a few more updated rooms. Time to get back to the roots of this house!

We decided to overhaul the moldings in our house. We scoured inspiration online and came up with a scheme we liked, then it was off to the lumber yard to see what we could afford!

INSPIRATION:

Curved  Curved Header with Neck Band  Practically universal in middle-of-the-road Foursquares with no strong stylistic pretensions,this treatment is common in bungalows, too, but separated from overtly Arts &Crafts woodwork by the spare use of a few rounded edges. Most obvious is the header,which though primarily a flat board about 5 wide, is crowned by a minimal cap mouldingthat is returned at the sides. What makes the header so characteristic of the 1910sis the small neck band—only ...:

Molding Inspiration for our New Doorway | Beneath My Heart:

Luckilyy Compton Lumber (GREAT place in Seattle) had exactly what we wanted, options and lots of patience for our questions. To get the profiles we wanted we are doing a mix of MDF and primed wood pieces. All painted, it will look seamless.

(ready for the very technical download of our decisions? Awesome. Read on…)

But then we had to decide on casing dimensions. This is the straight part that goes down the sides of doors and windows. There were a few considerations to weigh here. How wide do we want? How thick do we want? How do each of those align with the baseboard? And then there was the lingo. Don’t even get me started on how confusing it was to ask questions about ACTUAL dimensions of the boards vs. the name of the size…some are the same, others not! So confusing! Luckily the guy helping us was more than patient. He laid out options for us so we could see the final look. We took some measurements home and came back to negotiate a new scheme. The biggest issue was achieving the width casing we wanted while maintaining the offset where it hits the baseboard (we did not want them to be flush, therefore, the casing has to be thicker). Our ideal scenario was 1 inch thick casing with ¾ inch thick base (dimensional speak…in lumber terms these are 5/4″ and 1″ respectively…go figure!) But the 1” thick stuff was only available in 3.5” wide or 5.5” wide boards (actual)…and we really wanted 4.5”. I know I know, 1 inch does not sound like much, but when you are upgrading molding (ie: lots of work and expense) you really want it to be just right! After hemming and hawing with a tape measure at home it became clear that we really needed a 4.5” option. So back to Compton. Lukily, there is a 4.5” option…in the ¾ thick dimensional. With this, we would have lost the offset with the base. Then the clouds parted: we could do a 1/2 inch base! Now this is a tad problematic because ½ is pretty thin…and not exactly the rich chunky look we wanted. However, the baseboard is 7.5” tall and should look good even thinner than planned. We also decided to just go with the same width casing all around windows and doors. Some houses have wider pieces at the top and bottom, but for simplicity, we are going 4.5 all the way around.

Final decision? 4.5×3/4 inch casings with 2 extra pieces of top trim, 7.5×1/2” baseboards, plus crown and an extra decorative piece of crown for the wall. It is going to look AMAZING!

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