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Brian Moloney of the Finishing Company installs decorative molding. (Photo by Ash Daniel)
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WHY: People want to increase the definition of areas within the home, and moldings are a way to do that. Crown moldings draw the eye upward, adding an airy feeling to a room and making it seem bigger. Finally, there is the practical aspect of protecting stair walls or areas where chairs are used by placing a rail molding to buffer access to the wall surface. “Is there ever going to come a day when people don’t want moldings?” Moloney asks. “I don’t think it’ll happen anytime soon!”
COST: Adding one-piece crown molding to the entire first floor of a 2,000-square-foot open-plan home would cost about $1,100. Adding chair-rail and shadow-crown molding to a 14-foot-square dining room would run about $1,350.
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WHY: People request wainscoting — ridged paneling — in mud rooms and laundry rooms, areas where they want to add a design element as well as the functionality of being easy to clean.
COST: Adding wainscoting to one room, or up a stairway, may cost about $850.
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WHY: Homeowners often want to cover a brick fireplace. Moloney has to size and design the new layout to fit from scratch, rather than being able to use pre-milled materials.
COST: A mantel runs about $1,250.
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WHY: The coffered ceiling is the biggest va-voom, high-end look homeowners can add to an existing ceiling, which needs to be 9 feet or taller to achieve a successful installation.
COST: Because this complex finish is the equivalent of adding a cabinet to the ceiling, involving a significant amount of joinery, this is the company’s most expensive project, in the $5,000 to $7,000 range.
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WHY: The Finishing Company recently has added stair renovation to its mix of offerings. Homeowners often want to replace a house’s original builder-grade balusters with wrought-iron ones. Newel posts also are replaced for an elegant look that is also quite strong.
COST: For the most popular iron twist-and-basket balusters, it takes one to two days to replace a set of 60 at a cost of $2,000.
Brian Moloney no longer carries a sample box filled with every architectural detail a carpenter can fabricate. Since starting The Finishing Company in 2007, he’s found that despite the different options available, people generally choose classic looks: crown molding, wainscoting, chair rails. And homeowners like to be able to commission “just the small bits,” Moloney notes, so his niche business offering the finishing touches finds ample demand.
The Finishing Company works on site at homes, most of which have been constructed in the past decade, and can turn around a project in a day or two. “The customer’s house or garage is my workshop,” Moloney says. The “semi-custom” elements are installed primed but unpainted, as about 75 percent of homeowners prefer to handle the painting themselves.
The addition of trim carpentry is an affordable upgrade that distinguishes a house from its neighbors. While architectural trims may not raise a home’s actual value, they do increase its selling power — as well as the residents’ aesthetic enjoyment of the space.
We asked Moloney to introduce several of his most popular products.