19th CENTURY MILLWORK
A RIOT OF EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR ORNAMENT IN WOOD.
Along with cheap labor, the new mechanical saws and mass manufacture that came with the Industrial Revolution created a burgeoning market for wood embellishment, inside and out. “Gingerbread” was even added to earlier houses, especially when the owners added a new front porch.
The Victorian era’s most common ornaments are still in production: from big wood brackets under the cornice to bull’s-eye corner blocks in window trim. The local millworks usually can closely match any surviving piece you bring in. Choose components cut from durable, insect-resistant, dimensionally stable wood with a low moisture content (kilndried poplar, Western red cedar, redwood, mahogany). For elements not at eye level, or in extreme conditions, today’s resin and engineered substitutes are a good option; when they are painted, it’s hard to tell them from wood. The keys to longevity are good design (including flashing as necessary), noncorroding fasteners, caulk, and paint. Before you install any wood ornament, be sure to prime all surfaces. Add two coats of paint to every exposed surface, and maintain the finish.
Handsome oak entry doors are period replacements for missing originals; the beveled-glass panels are also salvage and complement those still on the house. Staircase and trim are original.