Covering My Mistake with This New (and Better!) Design

crown molding

The crown molding model I made based on design elements from our new light fixture.

[This is part of Our Molding Makeover series  and my How to Install Crown Molding Series.]

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.

Kichler bathroom light fixture

Behold, the new light fixture that solved all my design issues.

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.

bathroom crown molding

After installing the ceiling flat-stock wrong, the bed molding will no longer fit.  That ended up to be a good thing.

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 Consequence

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.

crown molding diy

A bed molding (also called a glass bead molding) makes the lowest detail in the buildup.

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.

This pre-primed mdf flat-stock is left over from ripping PM-008 down for the wall panel inner detail, and will make up the second piece of the drop.

I thought it might come in handy for something, so I’m glad I didn’t throw it out.

crown molding diy design

Flat-stock molding and bed molding combination that will make up the crown molding drop.

I glued the bed molding to the flat-stock and then tacked it in place with 23 gauge micro pins.

crown molding buildup

Temporarily tack the drop in place with 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.

crown molding mdf

The first piece of crown molding 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.

crown molding

Deciding Between Two Step Sizes

I’m undecided about what size the second step should be, so I made two different versions to test.

crown molding buildup

I’ll test two different widths.

Version 1

The first version looked fine, but didn’t grab my attention.

crown molding

Version 2

The second version Jennifer and I both liked better.  I based the reveal loosely on the golden mean.

crown molding

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.

crown molding diy

The model will live here for a few days before I commit to cutting the rest of the material.

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!



Related Posts

Why I Don’t Install One-Piece Crown Moldings

Four Ways to Terminate a Crown Molding

Our Kitchen Moldings

How to Install Moldings Series

[This is part of my How to Install Crown Molding Series.]