52 Weeks of Home Project – Woodwork! (Week 5)

It’s February! And I’m pretty delighted that winter seems to be hanging around. Condolences to all the people out there who don’t like snow and cold – I understand you, and I hear you. But I do love some winter, and I’m not quite ready for it to be over yet.

I’m glad I’m doing this photo project. The last steps of the bathroom are taking forever (and we’ve been busy), and I feel like we’re not making any progress. I know we are, and I know the end is in sight. But looking around my house for the things to photograph for a list I made over a month ago – it’s making me just appreciate what I have, what’s to come, and what we’ve done in the 5 years we’ve lived here. I don’t ever want a room to take over a year again. But it will – and I need to step back and realize that this is such a marathon with a finish line that constantly moves. I need to look at the house with a new set of eyes – and this week was perfect. Because this is why I fell in love with this house.

Week Five : Woodwork!

Show us your mouldings, your gingerbread, your carvings, your craftsmanship!

The baseboards and window mouldings are simple, but so stately (in my opinion). They don’t vary room to room, which is nice – somehow, with all the things that have happened to this house over the years, the majority of the woodwork is intact, and maybe only 20% is painted. That’s pretty awesome.

The casings go from plain to amazing when it comes to the turret – I love the curve of the wood!

That’s what most of the house looks like. But what made us fall in love with the house was the Entrance Hall, with the staircase – it was the first thing we saw when we came to look at the house when it was in foreclosure. I’m going to do full staircase pictures on a later week, and really just want to focus on the detail of the wood for this week.

The light was better on the collonades, but this detail is on the stairwell as well. The detail work, to me, has always reminded me of a peacock. And since then, I only every see peacock – jewel tones around the first floor. So this little piece of wood, has inspired the future color scheme.

Underneath, is this string of bells. I’m sure it’s meant to be floral (like a bell flower) but the musicians in us LOVED this detail.

Whenever the work of this house gets to be too much, I just have to look at the stairwell. And it makes us feel so incredibly lucky. The amount of love that went into the making of the stairwell floors me.

It’s perfect.

The sun was just coming down as I took these pictures, and it was fun to play with the light. 

This detail is towards the top of the stairwell column, and the “feathers” solidify my notion that the public spaces downstairs are, in fact, peacock and bird inspired. Check out the little stars between the tops of the feathers. Those are SO easy to miss – I think we had lived here a year before I saw them. 

We only have very sparse (and new) gingerbread. It’s not old at all. And there used to be gingerbread – or something – everywhere in the Parlor and Entrance Hall. And we WISH we knew what it was, or what it looked like. Because I would LOVE to put it back.

How do we know something was there? You can see the ghost line on all the woodwork, right in the center. I can’t imagine finding someone to make us some, or how we’d ever afford it, or how we’d ever decide what it should look like. But I’d LOVE to return this moulding to the house.

One of the great mysteries about the stairwell was why the spindles changed color and finish about two-thirds of the way up. The spindles are so lovely. If you’ve read the blog forever, you’ll know why they are two-toned….


Because when the house was apartments, the space above the staircase was a room, and the spindles were all chopped down to make room for the floor. And in the 1980s, when the picture below was taken, the Beidlers restored it – and a local hobbyist woodworker turned new spindles and built a new top to the staircase, for $300.

When we heard that story, we knew we’d never try to match the finishes. The story is just too miraculous. (If you missed that story the first time around, you can find it here.)

And in case you think it’s all awesome woodwork in this joint, never fear. Here’s the 2×4 handrail to the third floor!

That’s our woodwork!

Photo Challenge Info: 

If you want to play along and share your pictures (I’d LOVE to see them!), use the hashtag  #52weeksofhome 

You can also tell us which week you’re on, by including a second hashtag #52weeksofhomeweek5  (etc.)

Please share with anyone you think might be interested! If you missed the first weeks, WHATEVER! Do them anyway! Jump in whenever and wherever you want.

Here’s the list (also in pdf format : 52 Weeks of Home), of all the challenges for each week : 


  1. Your staircase is GORGEOUS!

    Your “peacocks” are classic anthemion designs, and I have the same motif all over my 1894 house, including all the door hardware.

    I love love love that you resurrected the brutalized staircase!

    A thought? The non-original fretwork looks…not right. I would SO have to remove it! It kinda diminishes the beauty of all the luscious original bits.

    1. Our plan is to remove it at some point, and hopefully replace with something more appropriate in all the places where it’s missing! But, removing it takes time and effort – and our order so far has been to get holes in ceiling and walls fixed, and make baths functional, and then get to things like this. They’re pretty secure in there, and we’ve fallen into the trap before of “this will just take a minute!” and somehow, it turns into a project to fix and repair that we don’t have the time for. So, for now, anything that’s well-installed and not damaged, stays put!

  2. I love your blog! I’m a fellow Hoosier (from Columbus) who is currently renovating my first house, and am on a quest to aquire a clawfoot tub. I’ve had a great time looking through your posts and getting inspired for my future projects.

  3. While the replacement fretwork panel is not quite right, I don’t think it looks bad enough to take down.

    Sketches and photos of authentic fretwork panels can be found in many period millwork catalogs (quite a few can be found online at places like archive.org). You could either duplicate ones you find in a catalog, or use them as inspiration for an original design of your own. I would kind of lean towards the latter, as you could choose a theme based on other cues in your house to design your own panels for each location. The ghost lines should give you an idea of the approximate size, and you could vary the details around the same theme for different rooms and spaces.

    Building them wouldn’t be that difficult, just tedious, but from all the other work you’ve done, you both clearly have the patience for that kind of work. It might be a nice job to save for when “everything” else is done (wait, maybe not quite that long, because that time never comes, haha!).

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