crown molding
Photo: Erika Larsen
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Gustav Stickley Weighs In

Such ostentation fell out of favor a couple of decades later, when builders in the Craftsman style hung simple molding as a display of the wood's inherent beauty. Still, without the frills, it was no less important. Craftsman-pioneer Gustav Stickley wrote that molding should "have each room so interesting in itself that it seems complete before a single piece of furniture is put into it." But after World War II, during the American housing boom, such decoration was scaled back or eliminated altogether with the minimalism of the Modern style. Molding was elective rather than essential.

Shown: Casing originated as a method to hide the cut edges of door and window jambs and bridge the gap to the adjoining wall. Some taper inward toward the door or sash to create a light-catching frame. Fluted casings found in classical-inspired house styles mimic Greek columns. Casings on front doors can come with many embellishments, from sidelights and transoms to a header of crown molding that forms a complex reveal.
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