Victorian historic home

A Victorian house in Tucson.

Joe asks:

I have  question regarding Victorian moldings.

Historically, in a room with entablatures above the doors, how were the window surrounds treated?

Did they have entablatures also?  If so, were they of equal size or smaller?  Or, not at all with only window casing treatment?  – Joe

Ken’s Answer

[This is part of my How to Install Moldings series.]

Here are three door/window trim combinations I’ve noticed in American Victorian homes.  These are just generalizations, you are sure to find other combinations in your own city’s historic homes.

1. All Window & Door Trim Moldings the Same in the Whole House

I’ve observed this molding combination in rural Victorian farmhouses built by homeowners of modest means, where every single door and window is either given a full surround with entablature,  surrounds with corner blocks, or surrounds with simple casing molding.

You can see this same combination in this Craftsman historic home I recently visited in Tucson (modest Victorian and Craftsman style homes often have similar moldings and pattern combinations).

2.  Entablatures on Ground Floor with All Casing Upstairs

Think of this trim combination like this.  When you go downstairs you wear clothes appropriate for a public space, if not formal at least respectable.  But when you go upstairs you throw on casual clothes.

Since entablatures take more skill and material to build, then installing them just on the ground floor makes sense when you are working on a limited budget.

3.  Entablatures on Doors and Casings on Windows

This is a very nice combination, perhaps my favorite for a simple/grand combination.  There is something immediately sensible about a room where all of the doors have full surrounds with entablatures, and then the windows are subordinated with casing.

Still Relevant Molding Combinations

All of these molding combinations are still relevent.  I encourage you to apply them to you home, no matter when it was built or what your decorating style: Traditional, Victorian or Craftsman.

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