Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Rim joist moldings at stairs + living room crown

Loyal reader,

I don't have much to say on this post except there is a detail in this house that I really look at and appreciate from time to time.

Upon realizing that the entire upstairs of the house was being held up by a 1x8, I had to quickly come up with a game plan to save the house from further sinking and/or collapse.

Over the years, the center of the house (at the stair opening) has sank steadily, only on the 2nd floor.  If you have been to the house, you have noticed it.  Walking upstairs in the hallway sort of feels like this:

My hallway is about as balanced as our judicial system. Above is a scene from the spinning tunnel of a fun house.  Just subtract the word "fun" from "fun house" and you have.. well... my house.  I feel just slightly less giddy than these folks when walking through my hallway.
I'm not exaggerating much. The hallway is about 5' wide at its widest area (top of stair landing) and it is seriously 2 inches out of level.  I lasered it in penney's room when I was renovating it, and its about 3 1/2" drop over about 9 feet.  In short, I have few good things to say about the people who built this home.

So, all of this drama is rooted with this staircase.  And the trim** that covers the joists (between 1st floor ceiling and 2nd floor, uh, flooring was out of level by about two (2) inches.  I can't remember the exact number because my brain has opted to black out that portion of out-of-level-ness in the interest of my own self preservation and well-being.

Since I leveled the ceiling downstairs (which was out over 4"!) I was stuck with a tough detail where the new level plane of the ceiling hit the stairs.  Those of you who have re-leveled a ceiling, you know your new ceiling resides at the lowest point of the old ceiling (if you care about preserving every micron of your ceiling height).  Thus, at this point in the house, I had to make up about 2".  And, to make matters worse, this is the point where I tie the new moldings into the old [way out of level moldings].

Anyway, I pulled the old trim and came up with a whole new profile that slowly regained that two inches back.  I gained about 1" ripping the backs of the moldings and making at custom profile which steps up, and cut a few discrete tapered pieces and voila!  The whole thing came together pretty nicely.

Aforementioned detail.

Really, what I appreciate most about this detail is the say the 3-piece custom (sneakily stepped up) stair trim hits the crown molding.  The outer most piece of the stair trim has the same ogee shape as the top most profile in the 3-piece crown of the living room. It took a lot of planning to land that last full 16' piece of crown, make the return into the wall, while simultaneously seamlessly transitioning into the stair trim.

I know that its hard to visualize in words, and the picture above doesn't even show that transition that well.  But, I'm not easily impressed.. by anything... especially anything that involves me.  But this small detail in this house is noteworthy.

This concludes this evening's masterpiece theater.  I hope you enjoyed it and we will see you next time.

** Bonus points for who can tell me what the name of this trim is?  I don't even know the architectural name for this detail in a house. I'm at a loss.


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