crown molding
Photo: Erika Larsen
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Molding Makes a Comeback

With the passion for renovation of the past 30 years came a molding resurgence. From boxy to baroque, the options are endless, and homeowners clamor to add or restore decoration, bringing sophistication-and a higher resale value-to their homes. Hardware stores and home centers stock popular styles, and mills keep the different knives that cut historic profiles ready for the milling machines.

Shown: Typically featuring a pronounced round element, chair rail moldings protrude to prevent chair backs from scraping against the walls. They sit about 36 inches from the floor, where wainscoting would end and the upper wall, or field, would begin. The chair rail partitions the wall into pleasing proportions, giving it a sense of order and stability from the "foundation" beneath the unadorned field.
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