I think we're going to stick with the euro spelling of moulding rather than molding for now (at least for this post), though we're decided flip-floppers on this.

A little while ago we filled you in on the progress we've been making on the master bathroom beadboard wainscoting. I can't tell you how great it felt to get it up on the wall, and how much it made us feel like we were finally moving in our long overdue bathroom work. The vertical beadboard pattern along with the horizontal bullnose ledge we placed as a wainscoting cap work wonderfully together to dress up the space and add some great visual interest.

However, as great as it felt to be moving forward, I knew there was still some major work to be done before we could call it complete. More specifically, we needed to add a moulding detail of some sort to make the transition between the bullnose cap and the beadboard look more fluid.

A while back someone wrote us inquiring about our process for working with trim moulding. He was referencing the wainscoting I had done in the guest bathroom and stairs and said that it seemed that moulding "spoke to" me. I had never heard it quite put that way, but in a way, he is right. 

I don't know what it is, but after years of staring at moulding catalogs, woodworking websites and magazines, and the detail work in various open houses and museums, I've begun to really develop an appreciation for a well executed combination of profiles to delivery a visually pleasing end result. I think a lot of it actually came from watching old episodes of the New Yankee Workshop.

Now I can look at a moulding profile and know how to combine that profile with other profiles to give a detailed and unique look to a standard piece of moulding. Wouldn't you know it, we had to do this very thing when dealing with our bathroom beadboard wainscoting project.

When we installed the beadboard and bullnose I left a rather large overhang of about an inch and a half. I had always intended to do a multi piece moulding detail below this to help the transition from bullnose to wall. It's more a personal preference than anything, but both Wendy and I really like this type of look. But the question was, what sort of moulding would we use? 

I brought out a few pieces of scrap moulding we had in the basement from previous projects and starting to hold them up under the bullnose. 

First I gave the moulding we used in our guest bathroom a shot. I've always liked this small detail and hoped it would work in this bathroom.

Unfortunately, the small bead and understated appearance felt a little bit too confused between the larger bead of the beadboard and the bullnose.

Next I tried a piece of ogee. It's a similar size to the first, but the detail is more subtle and natural than the first.

Wendy and I both really liked the way this one looked, but still felt it was too small to really carry the transition on its own.

Since the overhang was large enough on most of the walls, and we had a little room to give, I decided to bump the first moulding down a little with a spacer piece and see how it might look with an additional piece of cove detail.

This felt much better, but again, the moulding wasn't working for us. We had the same concerns as when it was alone. So we tried the same approach with the multiple pieces on the second piece of rake moulding that we liked.

And with that, we had a winner! It's substantial but not too busy, and together it almost feels like crown moulding for the beadboard. The two pieces feel a lot more significant and "dramatic" than a single piece of moulding, and it gives a lot more depth to the transition.

This is the sort of minute detail that Wendy and I will often debate for hours or days before making a decision, so it felt great to get the choice out of the way. I found the profile we needed and headed off to our lumber yard, Smoot Lumber, to pick up about 32' of it.

I'll tell you, there's almost nothing I like doing on the house more than this type of finish moulding. I was firing up the compressor and miter saw no sooner than I had the moulding in the house. I started by ripping some spacer pieces of wood to provide a consistent gap between the bullnose and the rake moulding. Together, the spacer piece and first few pieces of rake began to really make the moulding look great.

I planned out the whole room's cuts carefully. Since I couldn't put up full length pieces on the long wall (16' is too long for our car to handle), I made sure to hide the cut behind an area that will ultimately be covered by a cabinet. If I had just started slapping up pieces of moulding we would have had a cut almost dead center behind the vanity, which would have looked terrible.

Much like putting up crown moulding, I had to measure the angle of each corner in the room to determine the correct angle to make the miter cut. Would you guess it, there isn't a single 90 degree corner in the room. We were looking at a bunch of 89, 91, and 88 degree corners. Oh the perils of old home moulding work.

The bullnose was actually a little different on the window wall of the bathroom. Because of the wall, old plaster, and other issues, the bullnose was actually a different depth off of the wainscoting. This meant we had to rip down both the rake moulding and the cove molder to be a bit shallower. I tackled this on both the table saw and by using the hand plane. 

Beyond the corners, and modification to the window wall, I had to do a variety of different treatments on the end terminations. Between the door to the room, the window, and the edge of the shower, I ended up with several different approaches to ending this crown that would look best in each situation. It wasn't a one size fits all by any means.

The termination from the side wall into the window needed to end rather abruptly into the moulding. For this termination I just had the moulding run straight into the casing with a slight detail on the bullnose and cove to make it feel more subtle. (That cut and gnarly moulding is part of the original window casing, so we kept it intact.)

On the other side of the window I wanted to stick with the same feeling, but it was coming from a different angle, so it was more of an immediate stop. I did end up doing a small return on the rake moulding to give a little finished feeling about it. I also filled everything with epoxy and sanded it smooth so it will appear as a single piece when painted.

While the windows had one look (and will ultimately be covered by window treatments), the area by the edge of the shower will be out in the open. To handle this I ended up doing a full return on all pieces of the moulding with a chopped return on the bullnose.

The final area of the room where we needed to do something a little bit different was under the shelf area that will go above the bathtub. Since it's a considerably larger overhang at about four and a half inches, we needed to be sure it was properly supported, especially if we're setting candles on it or hanging towels. We ended up buying two inch and a half wide brackets from House of Antique Hardware.

We debated (for quite some time and in a rather heated manner) between using something wooden or something more like an antique cast iron bracket. While I loved the cast iron, given how the moulding around them would work, it was best to stick with wood. They're small but substantial enough to do the job we'll need them to do.

I was able to pretty seamlessly integrate them into the moulding and put them in place with a few screws to really add support. I then filled the countersunk screw holes with epoxy and sanded the filler smooth. Once it's painted, you'll never see how they were put in place.

So there you have it, our wainscoting crown detail is complete. All of the nail holes have been wood filled and sanded and a few isolated areas caulked. Next up, we just need to apply some paint to really make it look great. All in due time.

What do you think? Did we do an adequate job of allowing the moulding to speak to us? Do you like the larger detail, or are you more of a minimalist when it comes to moulding application?

Comments 9


12/13/2013 at 1:17 PM

So much win. Great choice on the shelf brackets! They tie in seamlessly.

12/13/2013 at 1:34 PM


12/13/2013 at 2:02 PM

That's some quality ring density on the brackets. You don't see that too often nowadays. Those will last forever.

12/13/2013 at 2:39 PM

Teaser! I can't wait to see it finished..... You do such good work!

12/13/2013 at 4:10 PM


12/14/2013 at 8:14 PM

Looking great!

I'm curious, why didn't you prime all the wooden pieces before installing them?

9/25/2014 at 9:44 AM

If you want to add just a little beadboard to the space, consider making the beadboard an accent on the sink wall. This look works particularly well if a pedestal sink or wall-hung sink is being used, because vanities may cover too much of the beadboard, but small or open vanities also work well.

1/11/2017 at 12:33 PM

Please add the wainscoting tag/category to this post!

These posts are going to be so useful when we finally get to work on our own bathroom walls. Thank you SO much.


Done! Glad it might be helpful.

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