Depending on where you go in the country, you'll find all kinds of different moulding styles. Take Seattle as an example, where our rich history helped to shape the local architectural landscape, including the use and variety of moulding profiles. At Dunn Lumber, we know that moulding can be extremely regional, which is why we went to several local remodeling contractors and asked what mouldings best represent the homes in Seattle's neighborhoods. They picked six different styles—including the mid-century modern profile—which are all on display at our Bellevue moulding showroom.
The mid-century modern style developed after World War II, while a new generation of homeowners built countless Capes, ramblers, and ranch houses in the rapidly expanding suburbs around the country. From the split level to the super modern, these houses featured clean, minimalist mouldings that reduced dust-catching shadow lines and often emphasized the quality of the wood. The signature profile of the era was the “clamshell” or sanitary molding, used in different scales for baseboards, casings, and more.
I sat down with certified interior designer Keith Miller of Miller Interior Design, who walked me through the history and appeal of midcentury modern-style moulding in Seattle:
“Mid-century modern was, like other styles, about reaction. Architects were looking for ways to reduce the house to only what was required to build it, leaving out materials that weren’t essential. One trend called international style worked its way through a lot of commercial projects and then moved into high-end residential housing projects across Europe and America. Lots of people with this particular skill had an ethnicity that was oppressed in Europe, so they escaped hardship, came to America and flourished.
Mid-century modern was very attractive to people in America who were wealthy and hungry for something new. This style embraced nature and encouraged homeowners to look outward rather than at themselves. But this was also the age of the rocket, and new technology was exploding from the prosperity of winning World War II. The whole world saw the United States as the most powerful nation, empowering our sense of growth and exploration. The environment really was like a playground, and the question became, “What can we do?” That moved mid-century modern design beyond the reductionist modernist who wanted to refine and celebrate only the materials themselves. We see some ornamentation starting to show up of a completely different style during this period because they were looking at aerodynamics, anthropometrics, and how people moved through space. Mid-century modern homes could lend themselves to the party, silliness, crazy, and fun of ornamenting, with some of the wild light fixtures and furnishings placed throughout the space. But it was also controlled and contained.
Mid-century modern will retain its historic note in the Seattle region and has become an honored historical style. There are regions and communities of people who really value mid-century modern, and we have a lot of housing in the Seattle area that can support that kind of look.”
At Dunn Lumber, we know moulding is worth experiencing firsthand. That’s why we created our Bellevue moulding showroom, where you can tour six different styles to see how they uniquely complement floors, walls, windows, and doors. Our showroom is a place for homeowners to envision their dream home, get answers from our experienced team members, or sit down with their contractor to lay out some plans and talk.