[You can see the spectacular great room this cupola graces in Michael’s other post, “Pro Install: LED Lighting Behind Flying Crown Molding“.]

Hey Ken,

I just discovered your website, The Joy of Moldings. I am a trim carpenter in Connecticut who is working for a general contractor with his own, in-house trim crew. I love your site and hope you keep up the great work.

I had a special chance to trim the interior of a cupola; it was fun, back-breaking work.

This is one of the most technically difficult projects I have had the opportunity to accomplish. It is very common that windows are not installed plumb or square, and in this situation, square to the other windows. In my field, everything is price driven, so the window installers have to be fast, and their major concern is about the exterior trim.


The majority of components are poplar hardwood. It’s a two-piece crown molding that’s centered on the electrical box. The bottom of the crown lands on the window jamb extensions with a 1/4″ reveal. Each jamb extension is tapered to deal with the windows being out of plumb and out of square with each other.


The jamb extensions land on top of a window stool. The framing is slightly of square and out of plumb, so I had to correct that in the window stool so that the recessed paneling terminated square on the bottom. This was done with furring strips that gave me a 1/4″ reveal on the underside of the window stool.

The bottom of the recessed panels are finished with 1″X6″. It’s elevation is set below the finished drywall so I wouldn’t have to scribe the wood. Consequently, a hard, square shadow line becomes visible.


I am 25 feet in the air, and worked with a cut man when needed. The cupola took about a week to complete. I also had to drywall the entire structure.

Hope you enjoy the pics.

-Michael Stiller, Finish Carpenter