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About Ken O’Brien

custom historic fireplace

Me at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Hi, my name is Ken O’Brien, and once upon a time I bought a house with moldings so small they looked more like architectural decals rather than architectural details.

So I set about teaching myself how to decorate my home with moldings.

Like many homeowners, I was on a very tight budget.

While I knew I wanted really nice moldings, I also knew I’d have to install them myself, and that the materials would have to be affordable — no custom milled moldings for me — I’d have to buy inexpensive, off the shelf moldings.

The Learning Curve

I didn’t know a thing about woodworking, let alone moldings, so I toured expensive new homes to see what kind of moldings they had.

But time and again I came away from these homes unimpressed.

The moldings were not as beautiful as the kind I saw in historic homes. They were more like watered-down versions of what moldings used to look like.

Historic Moldings for Modern Homes

I had no desire to renovate an historic home, yet I dearly loved the warmth, charm and romance I found in the level of architectural detail they have. No doubt you feel the same.

So I determined to copy the crown molding, baseboard, door trim and wainscoting patterns I saw in these historic homes, and dismiss much of the moldings I saw contractors installing in newer homes.

For me it was the right decision and has guided my molding designs ever since.

Not really a molding snob!

Not really a moldings snob!

The Joy of Moldings is for You!

This website, The Joy of Moldings, is my way of sharing with you my unique approach to designing, installing and painting moldings.

And the best place to start is by reading through my How to Install Moldings series. It’s taken me two years to put it together and includes as many of my tips and techniques I can think of.

Read more at My True Story: Birth of a Molding Snob.

I’ve Come Home to Metro Detroit

In late April 2013, I moved from Tucson back here to my home state of Michigan to be near my parents.

My parents are at the age where they need more help around the house, especially dad, who’s health is very poor, and so I’m glad to be home to help them weed the garden, clean the gutters and make all the home repairs that they can no longer do themselves. (read Why Moldings? I Am My Father’s Son).

I dearly loved Arizona, where, after the housing bubble burst, I changed careers and worked in wildlife biology and conservation — my first love — the field I should never have deviated from in the first place.

Even though I’m no longer living my Animal Planet kind of life in the Sonoran Desert, it is very good to be  back home in Michigan.

Cheers,  Ken O’Brien

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