After pulling out the scaffolding and packing up our tools from this Porter Ranch crown moulding and ceiling medallion installation, the homeowner continued with other work including hardwood floors, painting, installing new lighting fixtures and opening up the wall to their kitchen from their dining room. Quite a transformation from the stark interior it began as a home in a gated community. Like many new homes, the path for crown moulding is often obstructed by heating and air conditioning vents and the air return vent was in the path of the crown in one of the hallways. Rather than stop the moulding on either side which would draw attention to the vent I fabricated a section of moulding to pass through the vent area.
Starting around the 1980’s, tract homes began appearing around Southern California which to this day often lack warmth and refinement.
I regularly get calls from folks in areas like Walnut, Chino, Diamond Bar and Upland who are the second or third homeowner and the discussion is very often the same. They desperately want to make their home feel more refined, more finished looking, but they’re frustrated by the randomness of the ceilings and the lack of traditional space found in other homes. The challenge with such homes has to do with the tall sloping ceilings which can make rooms like the living and dining room feel empty and lack warmth. Contrary to what most people might think, adding crown moulding will not solve the problem – in fact it will usually emphasize the issue even more. Here’s an example of crown moulding on a sloping ceiling that I installed a few years ago.
Once the homeowner saw the picture, they agreed that adding crown moulding wouldn’t change the look of their rooms. After sharing lots of pictures from my portfolio and considering our options with the homeowner, I recommended a wainscot effect achieved by meticulous layout with laser and skimcoated walls rather than adding bulk to the walls with wainscot panels. The goal was to essentially ignore the slanted ceilings and draw the eye down making the room feel more finished. I also emphasized the windows and niche by upgrading the window stool, apron and casings.
Inherent in these types of homes are some insurmountable obstacles to good design, but these kinds of decorative remodeling changes are well worth the money compared to the much greater expense of complete home renovations. An alternative to wainscot/wall frames for ceilings like these is to add a beam treatment or other ceiling treatment like this:
Visit spectaculartrim.com to see more examples of our work.
Last year, I had the pleasure of restoring the crown moulding in a large home in Pasadena that was designed by the famous architect Myron Hunt, the same architect who designed the Huntington Library estate, the Rose Bowl and other renowed and historic properties in the greater Pasadena area.
The 9 bedroom estate built in the early 1900’s which was purchased around 2013 was originally going to be lightly remodeled before being moved into, but the new owners discovering that the home was painted with lead base paint took the home down to studs and restored it to its former glory. When I was asked to do the layered crown moulding restoration work I jumped at the opportunity as its not often that a finish carpenter has the chance to work on historic layered custom ceiling work like this in Southern California.
After waiting for more than one month for the mouldings to be reproduced from samples taken from the home, the mouldings were primered by the painting crew to prevent twisting and warping. The mouldings were stored in site made racks inside the home to allow for acclimation while I fabricated blocking to support the 3 and 5 layer crown moulding treatments throughout the home.
Working on ceilings that are 10 ft and higher downstairs is a slow, painstaking process but the results are satisfying. As I did the work, using the best and most efficient equipment available for cutting, shaping and installing architectural woodwork, I kept imagining how slow and laborious it surely must have been for the original carpenters who built this home and others like it.