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Like hardwood floors, formal dining rooms and wallpaper, custom molding has fallen in and out of fashion with home builders and owners throughout the decades. These days, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to include custom molding in your home — no matter its age, your style or your budget.

It goes far beyond baseboards and trim. Custom molding is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to create a distinctive look in any room and increase the perceived value of your home and property.

“Molding gives owners and builders a way to set themselves apart from neighbors,” said Jeff Pagnier, division manager of the mill department at Mans Lumber and Millwork. “It’s becoming more and more prevalent.”

For the first time, the cost to create and install custom pieces in any home has significantly decreased. This makes it possible to use molding for unique DIY projects or full-scale professional ones in both new builds and renovations.

Look around any room in your home, and you’ll find molding that can be swapped out and customized, as well as places where it can be added to create a unique look.

How custom molding can make over a room

With molding and millwork, you can:

  • Give kitchen cabinets, closet doors and light switches a facelift, by adding details and depth.
  • Make over staircases and mantels with corbels, columns, corners and more.
  • Add flair to ceilings and walls with shiplap, paneling and wainscot.
  • Create an accent wall in any room, to turn basic builds into something custom.
  • Personalize the inside and outside of your home, to distinguish it from others in your neighborhood.
  • Re-create historic accents for less, or give any room a noble feel.

Molding reflects overall homebuilding trends

In the past, molding was a way for tradespeople to customize their work. Pagnier said that until the early 1900s, molding was how skilled carpenters, builders and others put their personal touch on projects for clients.

“There was a certain amount of pride associated with woodworking, and the manufacturing and installation,” he said.

Molding fell out of fashion during the World Wars. As the country shifted its focus to supporting the troops, homes were pared down. Function was the prevailing trend. Homes were streamlined and simplified. Special touches like custom molding were left out, explained Pagnier, who has 17 years of experience with Mans Lumber.

“During the post-World War 2 era housing boom, it was about getting a house that would hold the family — it didn’t matter what was in it,” said Pagnier. That era wasn’t focused on having a unique home that suited your personal style.

At that time, molding was only used in large projects, as seen in historic homes and estates in neighborhoods like Grosse Pointe or Birmingham.

Since the 1990s, custom molding has seen a resurgence, starting with simple and classic additions like crown molding and chair rails, then evolving into more ornate and customized pieces.

Molding previously was made only from solid wood (usually white pine), but the weight often limited builders’ ability to create large custom pieces. Now, Pagnier said, molding can be made from medium-density fiberboard, too. MDF is lighter than solid wood and more affordable. “It’s a greener, sustainable option,” he said. And there’s no limit to sizes or shapes.

Owners and builders are spending more time customizing homes with hardwood floors, granite countertops and features that suit their personal style — using molding.

“An entire shift in the business came after the economy rebounded,” he said. “Homebuilders made certain amenities standard, including molding.”

How Mans can help you make over your home

Pagnier and his team work with builders and homeowners on projects large and small. Mans Lumber is among a select number of independent businesses that still offer custom molding and millwork, for all budgets and projects.

“We have a lot of folks here working for Mans who’ve been in the business for decades,” he said. “They have that expertise that comes along with that experience — the combined talent is extraordinary.” 

Whether you want to install a shiplap wall in your downstairs powder room using YouTube videos or are working with an architect and builder on a historic renovation of your living room, the Mans team can help. Call ahead to set up an appointment with one of the molding experts on staff, or stop in to see what’s available.

Mans stocks a huge selection of standard moldings and trim, and the team can work with you to create custom versions, too. They offer personalized attention to detail and a showroom stocked with samples and brochures to help you find exactly what you are looking for.

“We like to say we make custom seem standard,” said Pagnier. “We can be particular and detail-oriented for home owners who need that, so they can relax about it a bit.”

 

Ready to install custom molding in your home?  For more information, contact Mans Lumber & Millwork and their team of molding and millwork experts.

 

Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.

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