Covering My Mistake with This New (and Better!) Design
Find Inspiration in Your Furniture, Lamps and Other Decor
A good place to find design inspiration for your moldings is in the decorations you already own, or the ones you’re planning on buying for that room.
Look for details that you can repeat in your moldings like scrolls, scallops, and, in our case, a series of flat steps.
It was the flat steps on the base of this light fixture that solved the crown molding design issue I’ve been wrestling with for two months.
Ever since I made that fatal, yet fortunate, installation mistake.
My Molding Installation Mistake
Not only did I install the ceiling flat-stock to the wrong layout lines (not following my own advice as posted here), but I also installed the wrong size flat-stock molding on the ceiling. It’s too narrow by two inches.
That was months ago, and by the time I noticed my mistake the glue had long since cured, gripping the molding solidly to the ceiling.
The bed molding I was going to use for the crown molding was not at all large enough to cover the gap left in the wake of my mistake.
I’d toyed with various combinations that included the bed molding, but none were satisfactory. I was stuck in the finish carpenter’s equivalent of writer’s block.
How the Light Fixture Solved the Problem
The moment Jennifer and I saw the series of simple steps on the base of the display light fixture in our lighting store, I knew that it should be reflected in our crown design.
The series of steps will be similar to the receding steps on the panels of a Classical coffered ceiling (see this Wikipedia page on Coffered Ceiling to get the idea).
Think about our bathroom ceiling as a single panel in a coffered ceiling and you’ll understand the effect I’m trying to create.
Making the Crown Molding Model Step by Step
Rather than stalling your crown molding installation because you can’t quite visualize how your design will look when finished, make a model of the crown, tack it to the ceiling and then live with it for a few days.
This will help you make design changes with confidence.
Here are some of my thoughts as I worked through the design of this crown molding.
The Crown Molding Drop
There is not much room for a crown in this room because of the low ceiling. So I do my conceptualizing above the door frame where I have the least room.
I’m working from the bottom up, and so I start with this little bed molding. You can see more about this molding profile PM-004 here.
I sketch an outline of its width so I know how wide the flat-stock will have to be above it.
I thought it might come in handy for something, so I’m glad I didn’t throw it out.
I glued the bed molding to the flat-stock and then tacked it in place with 23 gauge micro pins.
The Crown Molding Projection
The crown molding projection thickness is limited to a total of about 5/8″.
I’m limiting myself to a combination of two 1/4″ thick mdf board stock to make the projection.
Prime the Model for Better Visualization
I threw a quick coat of primer on the model to help me better visualize what the finished design will look like.
Deciding Between Two Step Sizes
I’m undecided about what size the second step should be, so I made two different versions to test.
The first version looked fine, but didn’t grab my attention.
The second version Jennifer and I both liked better. I based the reveal loosely on the golden mean.
Living With the Model
I moved the model over to the far wall where we’ll see it most often.
For the next few days, I’ll visualize this design each time we enter the room.
I’ll make revisions in my head, and even revise the model if I’m feeling a better design will be worth the effort.
This process of making a crown molding model and revising it is well worth the effort.
So if you find yourself undecided about a crown or any other molding design, then give model making a try!
[This is part of my How to Install Crown Molding Series.]