Saturday, July 30, 2016


It seems a bit premature to be trimming out the apartments. We are still slowly moving towards our plumbing inspection aka I am painfully dragging all parties along whilst fueled by frustration and panic. My calls and texts to all parties involved have probably become more frantic and deranged, but no apologies. 

And while the flow of the project is a bit herky jerky, it is flowing. Trim is going in and I can finally really see the rooms coming together. Upstairs we salvaged as much of the old stock we could from both apartments. I wanted to complete one unit as much as possible with old moldings so that the new molding profiles wouldn't be as noticeable. The upstairs had the most trim still in place, which easily decided where the salvaged trim would go. Most doors were missing pieces here and there and half of the baseboard was missing part of the molding profile. 

The baseboards were made with two separate pieces, flat stock and a decorative cap. We opted to recreate the look downstairs with a speed molding, a single piece of stock created to look like the original two. 

We also steered clear of any special order profiles and instead ordered items that were similar in shape and proportion. I kept to profiles that could have been found in a neighboring house but weren't an exact match for our original trim. There is a thing called a budget, yo. And whereas said budget has been blown to smithereens by such sexy additions as a new sewage waste line, upgraded electrical panels, new to code and sealed gas lines, I am trying to claw back whatever savings I can. (Is it really savings when you buy something and spend money on it if you hadn't intended to spend the money on it in the first place) Whoa. I just got philosophical there. Time to back the truck up. 

Way up. Up to the top of the windows up. Trim profile style. 

The original headers on the windows upstairs are what referred to as Boston Headers. They are built from three pieces. Two of the pieces, the sill (bottom piece) and the flat stock are super easy to mimic. We adjusted size a bit to make it larger while keeping the proportions. 

Reasoning for the sizing up is that the other items of the room have been sized up as well, opening between kitchen and living space, doorway between hall and living space, kitchen window doubled in size, living space in general is simply larger than it was before. Keeping it all in proportion! 

Baseboard is a similar profile but again, we went for the speed moulding, same basic shape and height. The decorative trim forming the "legs" around the doors and windows was originally composed of three piece. I loved the heft and shape, but on our floor, the outermost piece, the back band, had been removed from all but one brightly painted door for some bizarre reason in some previous remodel (1950/60s I'm looking at you). 

It isn't an exact match but now that it is in place around the first window, it feels right. That is all I was hoping for. And when looking at pictures of the new and the original size by side, it redoubles my trust in my original decision. It isn't the same, bit it still looks like it was built from several pieces and frankly I like how the crown piece on the Boston header hearkens to the outermost piece of our trim mold. It is the little things that make me happy. 

For the private spaces in the 1st floor apartment, i.e. bedrooms, bathrooms, we're using mitered corners instead of the larger more formal header. In the bathrooms we'll move away from the decorative stock all together and use flat stock. Surprise, it doesn't all have to match! I know, I know, breathe, it will all be ok in the end. The trim work gives clues as to the function of the rooms, more utilitarian rooms like kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms *sigh* get more utilitarian moldings. Public spaces like dining rooms and parlors (we've combined ours) get more public and grander profiles. See there, logic prevails.


  1. I just skimmed your entire blog...what an endeavor to take on-- renovating a row home WITH units. Way cool. I'll be sure to visit again and see new developments! I hope you get out of the dark basement soon! Really love the bit about unearthing past paint colors and wallpapers. I think that would be my favorite part of renovating an old home. Imagining the lives of past occupants. And being inspired by their color choices. With the preservation society program are you restoring to its original shape with modern upgrades?? Those old paint chips could inspire some fun color choices! :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by! We are retaining any remaining original items still in the house, which is sadly not much. Doors may move locations and some woodwork as well, but we'll keep it and reuse it. For new build, we are trying to stay true to the age of the house, keeping in mind that it needs to be functional for a modern day renter, and for us. This has been an interesting balancing act and I hope it will become more apparent as we start adding the finishes, tile, lighting, paint, etc. Speaking of paint, I do love a mossy green we found in the master bedroom on our floor, once the front parlor. We'll be using a similar color, and refinish the woodwork.