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Deuce Cities Henhouse

Closing the Gap

Picture Molding to Crown Molding
Okay budz, so I try to be true to the history of my 1910 home whenever possible, but there was just this one thing I couldn’t handle anymore. It all started way back when we bought the house in 2010 – we were touring the second floor and were checking out the master bedroom. I was pretty into the space but I stopped to ask the realtor about the strange and uneven crown molding. I asked him why it wasn’t touching the ceiling, my main concern was that the house unsettled in some weird way (which I admit was super novice, but I didn’t know). He explained that it was picture molding, something you might be familiar with if you too have an old house. The olden folks used it as a ledge to hang a hook that attached to a wire that attached to their pictures. All a very intense plan to spare their pristine plaster walls from nail holes. Typically picture molding is hung about an inch from the ceiling. Ever since we’ve moved in I have never understood or appreciated the picture molding, I am the worst.

I get it, great plan all you olden days people! However, you never planned on someone coming in during the 70’s and unevenly spraying the ceiling with gross popcorn texture. You didn’t know it would look super not cool with your really nice moldings. So sorrry victorians I’m not getting rid of that most-likely-asbetos-ridded-ceiling anytime soon, I’m getting rid of your utilitarian moldings instead.

Point is, the molding looks super bad, uneven, and unfinished. I have never hung a picture from it, and it’s historical value didn’t mean that much to me.

Being the handy gal that I am, I came up with a solution to close the gap between the ceiling and molding using 1″ pine cove molding. I am a genius, what can I say. Seriously though, using the cove molding to fill in the gap between the top of the picture molding and the ceiling basically disguises the picture molding as crown molding AND as a bonus, that original molding is still all intact if ever there is a day I realize the crime I’ve committed by altering it. It’s a real win-win, and I feel really happy since closing the gap.

Picture Molding to Crown Molding
Wanna close your gap too? It’s pretty simple. First of all the only show you should ever watch on TV is This Old House, reference this crown molding how-to specifically, Tom Silva is THE MAN. Secondly install that shit, if you’re smart you’ll use the pre-primed cove. Next, you’ll have to do the most satisfying thing ever and caulk it using some sort of quick drying paintable caulk. My brand of choice is “Quick Paint“. Lastly, paint it white bros. You’re in business.

Picture Molding to Crown Molding
This cost me $52 bucks! I would do it again in a heart beat.

Picture Molding to Crown Molding
in Around the House, DIY

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29 comments… add one
  • Kaylin November 4, 2014

    Your bedroom is looking awesome! Nicely done!

  • emily @ go haus go November 4, 2014

    Looking good! Where is your bed from? It is fantastic.

    • Scoops November 7, 2014

      Thanks, Emily! The bed is the “Upholstered Sleigh Bed in Pewte” from West Elm. They’ve got it priced really nicely, we love it!

  • Arli November 4, 2014

    Oh yeah, that is DEFINITELY the right move. Looks much better.

    • Scoops November 7, 2014

      Thanks, Arlie! We’re really happy with the bed on this wall.

  • beks November 4, 2014

    Very nice! At some point in the 70s someone took down the crown molding in my 1906 home and chopped it up or turned it around to shim out the walls for the wood paneling they put over the plaster walls. Total
    a-hole, but it does lessen the guilt when making alterations to the house.

    • Scoops November 7, 2014

      Why??? Who thinks that is a good idea. Did they take down the baseboard and trim too? Our house only has molding in this one bedroom, I like the look of the “flush” wall to ceiling transition too.

  • Anna November 4, 2014

    Who knew? Not me. That gap would make me think of spiders constantly. Looks so much better now, well done. Love your blog, just found it via House*Tweaking.

    • Scoops November 7, 2014

      Thanks so much Anna! I’m glad you found me, hope to see you around the blog in the future.

  • Lea November 4, 2014

    I feel you on the picture molding. I’m a bad person and took it down in my 1904 living-room because 1.) it had a horrible paint job 2.) years of soot had collected along the top from the wood burning fireplace and was not coming clean and 3.) looked way too tiny for the 9 foot ceilings in the room. I replaced it with more substantial crown molding. I do still have it in a smaller bedroom though that we haven’t redone yet – I just may have to try your trick and keep it now.

    • Scoops November 7, 2014

      I don’t blame you Lea, this picture molding is really puny isn’t it. I would want to beef it up in my living room too, especially if it was dirty and badly painted.

  • Allison November 4, 2014

    Wow! We have picture moldings in our house too, and I had never considered closing the gap. I have never minded the “gap” per-say, but I have always wished the moldings were more substantial, since they are so wimpy at about 1 – 1.5″. THIS would be a great way to beef them up and retain their original charachter at the same time! Alison, you really are a genius.


    • Scoops November 7, 2014

      Oh man, a genius, shucks. I probably wouldn’t have minded my molding either if it was all equidistant from the ceiling. It wasn’t though, and it just looked wonky and dirty. You should totally try this trick if you are considering a more beefy look for your moldings.

  • Clare November 5, 2014

    This confused me slightly at first, the picture molding so close to the ceiling. Picture molding was popular over here at one point, but normally about 1ft from the ceiling (so 12 inches rather than 1), which I have to say seems to make ten times more sense than an inch away, that gap must be he hardest place to clean and therefore get pretty disgusting over time! it looks SO much better with your addition, well done!!

    • Scoops November 7, 2014

      Hey Clare, I’ve seen it in farther from the ceiling like you’re describing.. Yes it was dark and dirty looking up there, it just didn’t look good. I like it much better now.

  • Vanessa November 5, 2014

    I think that looks fantastic Scoops.

    • Scoops November 7, 2014

      Thanks so much, Vanessa! It really does look so much better.

  • meghanssj November 7, 2014

    I want a time machine to go back to the 1970’s so I can personally slap the popcorn sprayer out of the hand of whomever decided that needed to be sprayed on every ceiling in the Twin Cities. I have the popcorn on my main floor which contrasts with the GORGEOUS probably asbestos TILES on the ceiling in the upstairs of my house. It looks like an elementary school. I am so distracted by that, I didn’t even bother to care about the gap between the picture molding and ceiling which I now see causes a shadow that makes the popcorn look DIRTY. I sort of wish I could go back to not knowing that. At least now I know what do to about it. :)

    • Scoops November 7, 2014

      Hey Meghan! I know, right? What were these people thinking. I seriously don’t get it, even if I try my hardest to understand, I just don’t get it. I have asbestos siding on the outside of my house that will be too expensive to ever remove, I can’t fathom that it was easier and less expensive for someone to re-side the house instead of scraping and painting the clapboard. I would die if I could see my house in clapboard. I feel for your acoustic ceiling tiles, maybe there will be a way for you to remove them some day..

  • qlkowa November 9, 2014

    I just love this wallpaper!
    Beautiful bedroom.

  • Jennifer @ Brave New Home November 10, 2014

    Yeah, that makes a huge difference! Good call on that one. I love that last shot of your bedroom. Looks so cozy for the colder months coming up.

  • shavonda@ahomefullofcolor November 12, 2014

    Ahh yes, you gotta love the ol’ picture molding! It looks great friend. I would’ve done the same thing:)

  • JaCqueline November 18, 2014

    I just love your wallpaper! You may have mentioned it already, but where is it from?

    • Scoops November 20, 2014

      Hey Jaqueline, The wallpaper is from Hygge & West, hope that helps.

  • aMELIA November 21, 2014

    Omigosh! I had no idea why the molding wasn’t touching the ceiling. I thought it was some crappy work that was done when our home was used as a rental. Now I get it. But, now I am concerned that I committed a grievous sin by putting holes in the plaster walls. Did I? Oops
    -from a fellow twin cities gal living in a slightly younger house (1914)

    • Scoops December 3, 2014

      Ha, I know that’s kinda what I thought about ours too. No, you can put holes in the plaster, everyone else has for the last 100 years.

  • Steph VW November 28, 2014

    THANK YOU! We have picture molding in our house and I am not a fan. The worst part about our is that it and all of the trim and doors in our house are still the original dark stained douglas fir. I’ve been trying to convince my husband to paint it for 13 years. I’ll be showing him this post.

    • Scoops December 3, 2014

      Oh man, it can be so hard living with dark wood work. I feel your pain. Ours is dark too (on the main floor), and I have the urge to paint it on a yearly basis. It’s in such nice aged condition though that I feel like it would be a disservice to the house. If it was hidden under layers of varnish I would def consider it. You’ll have to tell me what you do.

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