The Bay Area is one of the few locations along the West Coast where you can enjoy the amazing architecture of the Victorian, Gilded Age, Craftsman, and American Bungalow-era homes – all in the same neighborhoods.
More contemporary homes often lack the gorgeous architectural features and details that make the aforementioned homes so charming and visually intriguing.
Add Your Own Favorite Architectural Styles to an Interior Design
The good news is that your inability to land a (maintenance-heavy) Victorian-era home doesn’t mean you have to be without intricate wood details. Just because you don’t own a Craftsman-style home doesn’t mean you can enjoy a pillar or column here or there, and your lack of a Bungalow doesn’t mean you must live in a home without arched features.
What is means is that you need to add those design details post market, and here are some examples of how you can do it.
Glam Up Those Entryways
Does your home’s entryway serve as an independent space with a doorway into the main living area? If so, you can make a statement using wood details to frame the inner-entranceway. Choose moulding and wood details that suit your particular style. If a rectangular door way is tall enough, or you have the room/ability to knock a little out from the top – you can even change your rectangle into an arch with the addition of the right trim piece.
Reframe the Walls
One of the simplest things you can do to dress up a room – especially a formal living or dining room area – is to add chair railing along the walls. You paint the trim and voila! Your walls are instantly more elegant. If you’re up for it, I recommend taking that idea one step further and using wall moulding to create boxes or rectangles. If you leave them empty afterwards, they are a nice, simple touch. If you have an art collection, hanging one piece – or a grouping of pieces – inside the frame will really showcase your favorites.
Give Your Stairway Some Pizazz
Removing a standard staircase and replacing it with a wooden one adds unarguable charm, but it’s not always feasible. Instead, I recommend replacing or dressing up one or more of the elements that comprise the staircase so they have a little more character on their own. The newel, for example, is the vertical column or post that lives at the bottom of a straight stairwell and supports the handrail; consider replacing it with a solid wood or metal version. Replacing the handrail is another option.
Coffer the Ceilings
Coffered ceilings are impossible not to notice, and they are such a rarity these days in homes built after then 1940s. However, coffers add a style and class all on their own, and they don’t have to look traditional if you don’t want them to. Another benefit of coffered ceilings is that they can make a ceiling feel taller, or a room feel larger, because they draw the eye upwards and the “recessed” portions make it look like there’s more vertical space than there really is.
For a more muted effect, you can simply paint the coffered trim the same color as the ceiling – or use a semi-gloss finish in the same color for a little extra luminosity. If you are aiming for contrast, consider using solid wood coffers in a complimentary stain or paint the coffers a contrasting color for a little more oomph.
Add a Cornice or Applique
Cornices and appliques will dress up existing or prospective wood trim even more. A patio room may opt for a pineapple motif to add that indoor/outdoor tropical flair, while a traditionalist may prefer to add a fleur-de-lis applique to the wood paneling on the front of the kitchen island or on the cornices or plinth blocks of a door frame.