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Island Housing Trust
South Mountain


Moldings, Not Mold
Stylish, Yet Simple and Affordable

Paul Lazes

All rooms start as a box - unless you are Anton Gaudi or Frank Gehry. What begins to separate various periods of design and architecture and the overall feel of a room is the use of moldings , either simple or ornate.

Typically the Vineyard is both the simple New England “Cottage” style and the more ornate Greek Revival.

Moldings on and around ceilings and cabinets were eliminated from what most people consider “modern” architecture - the International Style of Mies Van der Rohe and ultimately replaced ubiquitously with the invention of the acoustic tile ceiling and sheet rock replacing plaster (eliminating the need for plaster craftsmen to create ornate ceilings). Moldings on ceilings went from wood & plaster to tin and ultimately flat sheet rock. One can see the importance of moldings in rooms dating from before the industrial revolution back to even before the Renaissance. In many of these rooms, there was hardly a need for even furniture to make a room “cozy” with a human touch. The moldings on the walls and ceilings created a “finished” look even without much furniture.

So, we’re left (unfortunately) with ceilings and walls devoid of character. Fortunately, they are blank canvases onto which we can apply our personality - either left alone, with small moldings or rich with various contours and molding designs - which are infinite. That’s part of their attraction. There are certain rules, but once you know them, the sky is the limit - similar to whipped cream.

One personal thought is; nearly never (in my opinion) paint them with a semi-gloss paint, but rather a flat paint, which softens the moldings and renders them with a look more like plaster rather than plastic. With your typical room with white walls and ceilings, keep them the same color as the walls and ceilings. It works aesthetically and simplifies the painting process which gratefully results in less labor cost.

Experiment with moldings. It’s easy and affordable and it is meant to be.

If you want a consultation about how to apply such moldings, please give me a cal at 774.253.3828. I'd be happy to drop by your job and see what help I can be.

Contact me with your thoughts, what you found valuable with this article and any questions you might have about the subject matter.