Chasing Trim

The worst thing the previous owner did was to hack up the door mouldings in the kitchen.

I don’t know what the previous kitchen looked like, but the one that came with the house was a misguided mess.


The realtor’s photos are really desaturated. Those walls are turmeric yellow, and that ceramic tile backsplash was painted over with cheez whiz orange enamel paint, and the grey is a very deep charcoal. The realtor also used that special lens that stretches and elongates rooms.

The cabinets were economical low grade wood grain melamine, painted that charcoal. I suspect they came from the ReStore, or were maybe free on Kijiji. They were just a little big for the room. The solution: cut out chunks of that 4.75″ wide solid wood original door casing, to make those cruddy cabinets fit. Argh !

You can see this in the first photo, with the cabinet over the stove. The range hood below was avocado green, also sprayed charcoal.

In the photo looking towards the powder room, the door casing was hacked into on the right side, to fit the uppers, and was completely removed and covered over with that painted tile on the other. I don’t have a photo of it, but the trim beside the fridge, for the doorway into the back room was also hacked up.

The fridge was huge, and oppressive. It didn’t even leave enough space for the drawers and cabinet beside it to open properly.

The way the cabinets jutted into the powder room opening really bothered me. His solution for this tight space was to install a folding closet door. That way you had to walk into the room sideways.

I mean – stirring a pot on the stove while being able to make eye contact with a person sitting on the toilet was not a great design feature, okay ?

What isn’t shown: a bottom-of-the-line prefab shower (ie Sears, c.1978) crammed into the powder room, blocking the window. This created a reason to hack up that door trim, too. This room is 4 x 6′ ! It didn’t need a shower, toilet and sink stuffed in there so tightly that almost everything was touching. It was painted turmeric yellow too, over shaggy old wallpaper.

The best $ 100.00 I spent was begging the furnace installers to remove the shower before I moved in. They did, and I could be in the terrible powder room without feeling smothered.

I haunted the ReStore and Kijiji, hoping that some trim with an identical profile would show up. It didn’t. It was an unusual profile, too, as I have never seen it appear .

Hoffmeyer’s Mill could make it, but they were backlogged. If they didn’t have the knives for that profile, they would have to be custom made. I needed a small amount – less than 100 linear feet.

I found a local place that claimed they could match any profile. I hoped that since they were local, they might have my profile in their knife inventory. I emailed with photos, and measurements and got a reply. Of course they could make it ! No problem ! Could I bring in a piece they could replicate ? Here’s some basic quotes that sounded reasonable.

Then when I called to follow up on this, the guy I had been speaking to was “away on holiday”. I stripped a piece, with a matching rosette and mailed it to them (they weren’t close). A few weeks later I phoned to follow up, and the guy I had spoken with no longer worked there, so I had to speak with a new guy. The same process started again. Then suddenly getting the knives made was some kind of problem, they would cost at least $ 600.00 to get made. I said “well maybe ?” (This was still going to cost less than tearing out all the trim to replace it). Then suddenly this dude was also “on vacation”. I think I emailed or called a couple more times then gave up. Obviously they didn’t want my business. Why wouldn’t they just say “Our minimum is $ XXX.00 or XXX linear feet” on their site, or in the initial email ? What a waste of time.

To fix the kitchen mess, I really needed some trim. None of the places I contacted carried anything even close to the width that was needed.

A friend helped take down several sections of the uppers. They came down with very little effort. The room was brighter but now even uglier.

My kitchen looked like this for months:


Did I mention that the formica counters (and several light fixtures and all the registers) had been sprayed with that faux hammered metal finish “bronze” paint ?

The door to the powder room was installed at the same time as the porch door. Due to the counter top’s excessive width the door could not be closed all the way. Even with this limitation it was still much better than the folding closet door.

The striped wallpaper was from the 70’s I guess ? I chipped away at the hateful orange painted tiles for a few hours here and there. Doing it just made me angrier. Under the paint they were a late 60’s or early 70’s circular pattern in avocado green. As I chipped more off, new tape and drywall was revealed below, so these didn’t even seem to date from a 70’s renovation in the kitchen. Damn you ReStore and stupid house flipper shows. Who made the concept of painting ceramic tiles some kind of reasonable option ? It was NOT, I assure you, and the awful orange was another level of indignity.

A young guy was recommended to me, who was starting out in home renos. I figured that some youthful muscle could easily get those rotten tiles off. He came to have a look. He did not even know what lath looked like. Then he said he was charging $ 40.00/hr. Nope. Nopenopenope.

Plinths were needed for the base of the trim, and six rosettes. I saw some come and go from Kijiji, with frustrating sellers who didn’t reply, or couldn’t be bothered to measure what they have.

Then one day there was an ad for a bunch of antique trim – enough linear feet with some even left over ! And the seller replied, and was even willing to deliver ! The profile wasn’t the same, but similar enough that I assumed it would blend in when it was all painted. The seller even had old baseboards, too !


A guy I knew from an old house forum spotted some plinths at his local ReStore and picked them up for me. They were the right width but stunk of cat pee.

Stinky wood can be sealed with shellac, which can be painted over. Stinky plinths were such a minor issue. I sealed them then sniffed them many times after. They were fine.


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