The Turmoil of Trim

Hello, spring! Real estate season is HERE. Holy cow.

5 closings and 2 new projects before May, yaaaaay.

Good news! We got heat in the Kenwood house a couple weeks ago. The technician was very friendly. We are less than a month from completion and chomping at the bit to get this on the market. Hyde Park has very little inventory right now and school’s out soon – perfect timing for a family ready to move.

This leaves us with one of the final items of finish carpentry: trim. I walked into the house to find 4 sweating men huffing and puffing next to a stack of solid wood.


“Wow!”, I said

Chris, a carpenter, replies “Yes, but we have problem.”

Of course we do.

The crown molding delivered is too big. Too big meaning it doesn’t fit above the window casings – there is no gap between the window and the bottom of the crown molding. Basically, if we put it up, we look like we are desperately compensating for something.

Ally: “So, we need to haul all of this back?”

Chris: “Yes, I think so.”

I would have banged my head against the wall except that the drywall cost a bundle. So, let’s take a few step backs and talk about trim selection. Trim can have an insidious effect if there is not a clear vision of the final product. This is challenging because the final product is not always easy to visualize until it’s installed. This is also challenging because installation takes time – a lot of time. I just recently had a client ask why the Finish Carpentry phase of construction was so long – “I mean, it’s just trim, right?”

Have you ever seen a high-end, molded window casing assembled at the hardware store? Probably not. Finish carpentry separates the good from the great:

Step 1: Pick your trim.


Step 2: Cut your trim to size and at identical angles.

Step 3: Nail your casings together.


Step 4: Level the trim on the wall in a time-effective manner.

Step 5: Fasten the trim to the wall without breaking it.


Step 6: Wait for Ally to tell you what a great job you did.


Step 6 is optional.

That was one window. We have 19.

So, the best way to avoid confusion is to get samples of your trim. Get enough for one window, 5 feet of crown molding, and 5 feet of baseboard. You will need about 6 hands that are not your own so that you can stand back and see it. Bring it home, assemble a few window casings, hold everything against the wall. Take pictures of each. This process may seem arduous; however, it allows you to visualize the trim in the actual setting that it will be installed and bring up any installation issues with the product – such as the wood being exceptionally hard or flimsy. Trust me, it’s worth the delay of a day.

All in all, we opted to forego the crown molding and focus on the door and window casings. We installed large baseboards. The result? A place to call home.


Also, congratulations! If you are reading this blog before April 1, 2015, then you are previewing the launch of my new brand: Integro. Same company, same people, same hairstyle, new name.

Please also join me in welcoming our latest project: Wolcott. Onward and upward.


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