Installing Craftsman Window Trim (Finally)

A while back, we published a post about selecting douglas fir lumber from the odd lot section at our local lumber yard to use for window trim. That lumber sat for a while in the basement while we worked on other projects.

We (or should I say the husband) decided it was finally time to get to work on it. It went something like this: “The lamps, the pillows are nice and everything, but maybe you 3 could work on some projects that will get the house done.” He’s so practical (and right).

Just as a reminder, we had 9 windows without trim. The windows came from Loewen, a company from Canada. They make beautiful SDL (simulated divided light) windows – you can check out their website. One thing they do in their fir windows is mix a vertical grain (vg) fir with a less costly flat grain to make them more affordable. To save costs, that is what our plan entailed as well for the trim and we saved even more money by going to the odd lot section. We told ourselves that we would be ok with imperfections such as knots, and once everything was up, the knots did just become a natural part of the window.

Here is one example of window sans trim:

Windows for a Craftsman Style

Our craftsman trim design was pretty simple – Continue reading

Craftsman Bathroom Remodel

Our 1926 house came with that classic unlovely bathroom – made worse by multiple cheap additions over the years:  linoleum floors over hex tile, “marbled” bath surround, a tiny triangle sink with hideous plywood cabinet, crumbling plaster. I wish I had a before picture for you! Sadly not. It was so ugly I never photographed it…

It was such a good day when my husband and I got out the demo tools – we have a special iron bar we call the “persuader” – and we persuaded every inch of that bathroom into the dumpster. Well, almost. We saved the original cast iron tub – which I think everyone should consider doing – cast iron holds heat like a champ, and the shape of the tub is really nice. There are companies that will re-coat the surface – just do your homework and find a reputable service. Bonus – you will save a lot of money – a nice tub is not inexpensive!

Original cast iron tub. We’ve not re-coated it yet, but it’s a great option!

Notice how the tile at the back of the tub is narrower at the right side and wider toward the drain? It’s not a mistake, the older tubs are like this so that the water will drain out – check this if you are considering tiling yourself!! (Put a level on the edges to confirm if it’s angled or level.)

We painted the trim a white that contrasted with the “bright porcelain” white of the tile and fixtures. Better to be obviously different than a bad match!

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Craftsman Trim

craftsman interior, craftsman wainscot, craftsman fireplace

This week we are excited to feature a very special guest posting by two friends who specialize in the restoration and design of Craftsman homes. Ellen Mirro and Howard Miller are both associated with The Johnson Partnership, a local Seattle architectural firm noted for their architectural, historic renovation, and low impact “green” services. They have graciously written a short piece for us on Craftsman trim, a very distinct and traditional style of trim found in many Seattle homes of the early 1900 vintage. We hope you enjoy it!

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Installing Door Trim

DIY Craftsman Door Trim

Finished Trim, 5 Years Later!

The moral of this story is that you are a lot more likely to do those pesky projects that you’ve put-off when you have the help of your friends – plus it is way more fun. You tackle things you wouldn’t normally dare to do, learn lots in the process and have extra sets of hands.

The scoop: I think everyone would agree that after you go through a major remodel, the last thing that gets attention is the trim work. You are just tired tired tired. So finally after 2 3 5 years of putting it off, with the help/nudge of Monica and Mary Jean, we finally got around to installing the trim around the doorways on our 2nd floor addition.

Design:  The house is a 1911 Craftsman style. The trim on the first floor is very traditional for Seattle, the top horizontal piece is slightly thicker than the vertical sides, extends beyond the sides, and ends in a slight taper.

Craftsman Trim Styles

1st Floor Traditional Craftsman Trim

Our 2nd floor addition is a little more modern than the rest of the house. For a cohesive look, we decided to keep the general style of the 1st floor trim, except leave off the tapered overhang due to the fact there were already a lot of angles with roof/ceilings. We decided on 1″x4″ verticals and 5/4″x6″ for the horizontal header piece, with the horizontal piece extending 1″ beyond the verticals. These dimensions are a little smaller than the trim on the first floor, but thought it was acceptable to scale down for the second floor – the spaces are smaller, plus we could go with standard size lumber, which is less expensive.

Materials: We used re-claimed fir trim for most of the natural wood trim upstairs. But for this project (door trim), we needed a lot, and we were going to be painting it, so we decided the best route was to go with a manufactured product. Normally I wouldn’t go there because MDF (medium density fiber-board) seems fake and plastic-y and not very environmentally sound, but did a little research and found some moulding by Spero© that is LEED certified, does not contain urea-formaldehyde, and uses recycled content and wood that is harvested from sustainable sources. It paints up really nicely too. Dunn Lumber is a lumber yard here in Seattle that carries it.

Green Building Materials

Prep: We measured all the openings (11 doorways) and made a big list of verticals and horizontals. (Mary Jean did this part, she is very good about writing things down in an organized manner. Her charts look like a computer generated spreadsheet.)

How To Install Trim

After picking up the Spero© trim at our local lumber yard, we set up a little assembly line where Mary Jean and Monica measured and marked the pieces and I cut them on the chop saw. It went really quickly. Then we laid all the pieces horizontally in the basement and painted them. We used Daly’s C2 – 430, Potato Leek, which is a really nice off-white. The boards were pre-primed so painting went quickly too. It was way easier to paint them before they were installed – we didn’t have to be careful and there wasn’t much of a chance for drips. There will be some touching up required later after we fill the nail holes and caulk the joints.

Installing: After waiting for the trim pieces to dry, we hauled them from the basement. Because there was so much trim to install we used a nail gun with an air compressor to attach it. It was very handy, one of us held a piece in position and another used the nail gun. If you don’t have a nail gun (or for smaller projects) just use a hammer, finish nails and a nail setting tool.

DIY Installing Craftsman Trim

It took us a couple workdays to get this project done, but considering we put it off for 5 years, it actually didn’t take any time at all! Next we will need to caulk the gaps between the trim and the wall, and fill/sand/prime/paint the nail holes. Hopefully it won’t be another 5 years before that happens! Will keep you posted.

The final results:

DIY Craftsman Door Trim

Hallway Trim – Before and After

DIY Craftsman Closet Trim

Bedroom Trim – Before and After

Door Trims Meet

Bedroom Trim – After

DIY Craftsman Door Trim

Hallway Trim – Before and After

See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.