Our Favorite Architectural Details

Ideas to add character to a builder basic house.

Architectural details are the difference between builder basic and custom. Here are some of our favorite ways to add character during your remodel.

Make a statement with a custom staircase. When we deconverted this Lincoln Park three-flat, we replaced the walled-in flights of stairs with this eye-catching open staircase. The ornate handrail and delicate balusters can also work on a smaller scale.

Lincoln Park deconversion custom staircase

Think outside the doorway box. Gone are the days of rectangular openings—it seems like everyone wants round arches this year. In this Chicago remodel, the homeowners were inspired by their home’s one existing Tudor arch, and we replicated it throughout their new first floor.

Chicago remodel Tudor arch

Add period-appropriate woodwork to the walls. We added panel molding to this Irving Park Victorian to complement the original trim and doors. Wainscotting and shiplap are other popular wall treatments.

Irving Park remodel panel molding

Call attention to trim. If you have (or add) taller baseboards, authentic window casings, or crown molding, why not show them off? Painting trim a darker color than the wall will draw your eye to it. These Oak Park homeowners opted for blue-gray trim throughout their remodeled first floor.

Oak Park remodel blue-gray painted trim

Define a room with a coffered ceiling. In the same house, the coffered kitchen ceiling not only adds visual interest, elegance, and a sense of history; it helps define the space within their newly opened floor plan.

Oak Park remodel coffered kitchen ceiling

Add built-in furniture, bonus points if salvaged. The homeowners of the Irving Park Victorian scored a unique vintage mirror, which we installed in their hallway.

Irving Park built-in mirror

Expose brick walls. In this Norwood Park attic conversion, we were able to keep the brick walls of their new master suite exposed. Preferably, expose brick on interior walls; exterior walls may need insulation.

Norwood Park attic conversion exposed brick

Vault a ceiling and expose ceiling beams. Attic conversions are also a great opportunity to take full advantage of vertical space, as we did in this Jefferson Park attic bathroom.

Jefferson Park attic conversion exposed beams

If you have a house that’s lacking architectural details and you want to add period-appropriate character, don’t hesitate to get in touch!