Wainscoting, trimwork, crown moulding, cabinetry, fireplace mantels, coffered ceilings — these are all examples of custom millwork that can be built directly into the structure of your home. They can add texture and depth. Exude the timeless elegance of fine craftsmanship. Create unique storage solutions. And even increase your home’s value.
Safe to say…we never design a home without at least a few of these! Today, I want to share the ins and outs of this must-have feature with you:
- 9 ways to embrace custom millwork
- How we create millwork designs for new homes and renovations
- Design inspiration for built-ins, wall applications, and coffered ceilings
Whether you want to build a custom home, renovate your long-time residence, or update a newly purchased home before moving in, millwork is a design element you won’t want to skip. Let’s look at the possibilities…
How We Design Custom Millwork for New Homes & Renovations
Step 1. Identify Needs & Goals
Okay, how do we create these millwork designs? First, like any aspect of our design process, we have to understand your needs and the goals for the space in question. Do you have storage goals for this area? Are we trying to create balance or go for asymmetry? Are we looking for a feature that will create interest or visually break up a space? These are the questions we must answer before diving in.
Step 2. Assess the Physical Space & Budget
Once we have the answers to the questions above, we can start looking at the space itself and what it can accommodate. In the case of a new build, we’ll usually work with your architect on the architectural plans before any construction begins, like we did with The Jersey Palm Project. This is the ideal scenario, because we have the most freedom to create a custom look, feel, and function for you.
That said, we can design custom details for any full-home renovation, as well. Just note that since the structure is already in place, there will be limitations to work with. For example, low ceilings (below 9’) may not look great with coffered detailing.
Lastly, we’ll assess your overall desired investment to ensure that there is room to add in these custom features. Be prepared: It does require a decent budget, since we are modifying the home’s structure. But, it almost always increases home value, so we think it’s worth it!
3. Develop the Design Concept
Our next step is to transfer our ideas to paper, fine-tune them, and then detail the millwork design via official construction drawings. We take all details into consideration, from measurements to electrical wiring for lighting and outlets. These documents (called “elevations”) can then be handed to the millworker or custom workshop for final approval and fabrication.
I might be biased, but we consider our millwork fabricators the best out there! When you see the finished results below, I think you’ll agree. 😉 Let’s dive into some real-life examples of the 3 of the most popular types of millwork in a home…
3 Types of Millwork to Incorporate into Your Home
1. Design Inspiration for Built-ins
I can openly admit that we are obsessed with built-ins. They always make a statement in a room (especially dressed up in a vibrant color) and offer the perfect opportunity for styling. But, looks aside, built-ins’ ability to be crafted uniquely for a space’s function is unparalleled.
Looking for a bar area with a sink, wine fridge, and ice maker? Done. Office bookshelf and spot to hide the printer? You got it. Great room storage for family games, special occasion dishware, and electronics? All possible. I wasn’t kidding when I said the possibilities for built-ins are endless!
2. Design Inspiration for Wainscotting & Paneling
Wainscotting. Paneling. Board and batten. These are all wall applications that can look fabulous bordering the edges of rooms, trailing along staircases, or even running up entire walls. Design versatility is high with this type of millwork too, allowing us to customize the thickness, orientation, and layout depending on the type of space. For example…
In these spaces, we used various designs to create an appearance of additional depth, texture, and color. The Jersey Palm staircase (left) and Tea House Project (right)—even though they are all white!—feel textured and interesting. Or, you can go big with contrast, like we did in The Capital Craftsman Project (center)!
3. Design Inspiration for Coffered Ceilings
Ceilings, though often referred to as the “fifth wall” by designers, tend to get overlooked as places to add an extra design element…but it can make such an impact. Beautiful coffered ceilings draw the eye upward and create an illusion of spaciousness. As far as functionality goes—yes, they have a function—they can also help absorb sound and reduce echoes.
In the Mendon Project’s living room (left), coffered ceilings create spaciousness and grandeur that perfectly balance the fun, playful vibe of this family space. In the Jersey Palm Project’s dining room, the coffered ceilings also open up the space, while underscoring the more elegant and traditional elements of the room. Love it.
For more custom millwork inspiration, explore our Portfolio!
Convinced that custom millwork is the way to go? I would be more surprised if you weren’t. The next step for anyone looking to add millwork into their homes is to speak to a design professional who specializes in interior architecture and make sure to bring them into your new build or home renovation as early as possible.
If we’re on your list of candidates, we would love to discuss your project with you and see if we’re a good fit. Book a Discovery Call and let’s get to know each other.