Chicago architect Fred Wilson knows smart detailing can enhance a home -- and keep your budget looking pretty darn good, too, by skirting the expense of a to-the-studs remodel. That lesson comes through in Wilson's work on a remodeled 1920 Colonial, where artful architectural touches and easy room changes add to the home's traditional look, yet accommodate the family's contemporary lifestyle.
Moldings and trim add both age and character to the reborn rooms. And other savvy style upgrades make a big impact with small changes. Click ahead to check out 19 ideas taken from this refreshed house that could make a big difference in your home, too.
Widen standard door openings with fixed sidelights to extend sight lines and light from room to room. "They give you the poetry of French doors without their cost -- or the expense of the hardware you'd need to make them operable," Wilson says.
Use stock trim pieces to create the effect of an expensive paneled wall. Here, white moldings surround a geometrical grouping of portraits for additional visual impact.
Add detailed richness to an intimate dining room by applying stock molding to a drywall ceiling. A coat of bright, fresh white paint makes it look like the treatment is original to the home.
Think about the best use for a room, rather than the room's original purpose. These homeowners chose to make the original dining room into a much-used family room, left, conveniently adjacent to the kitchen. Meanwhile, a too-small den near the front door became the cozy dining room (previous slide).
A built-in family room cabinet offers multiple storage options. A large flat-panel TV hides behind doors, while speakers sit in cabinetry above. Two deep drawers below, detailed to look like eight small drawers, provide the perfect cache for games that come out on family fun nights.
So much of what's stored in a kitchen isn't stuff you want in plain view. Be smart: Dress up existing cabinets with door fronts that include glass display windows only across the tops. They lend old-fashioned charm without revealing everything inside.
An oval window offers an appealing alternative to a standard rectangle. Use divided-light glass doors on display cabinets. Brighten things up even more with lights inside the cabinets. Combined with task lighting below, they make the pantry glow.
Inject a little drama into an all-white kitchen with new knobs and drawer pulls. In this kitchen, black metal cup pulls really pop.
Lay inexpensive white subway tile vertically and horizontally to bring subtle style to a kitchen backsplash. Decorative brackets are another nostalgic, character-rich (and easy-to-install) feature.
A narrow, rectangular, stainless-steel trough sink adds style to the pantry. Plus, it's handy for cleanups. Filled with ice, it becomes a self-serve beverage cooler during parties.
A pullout counter, like this one in this pantry, offers function and flexibility. Supported by retractable brackets, the ledge makes a handy spot to assemble drinks or dessert, then slides away when not in use.
Achieve architectural interest by setting white risers and spindles against stained treads, newels and railings. Edge-banding the carpet runner adds to the look.
Moldings connecting stairwell windows act as graphic "frames" for family photos.
Frame a bathroom wall mirror for a simple yet impactful touch. Floating a stock drawer unit between a pair of vanities creates a custom, furniture-style look and offers extra counter space.
Uncover extra storage area in rooms like the master bath by utilizing space between wall studs.
Basic ceramic tiles cover large areas of the master bath, while pricier mosaic glass pieces appear only as accents inside shelves and on the backsplash.
These bedroom draperies hung above the window frames create the illusion of taller ceilings. So do vertical-stripe curtains. Create a custom look with a single fabric by adding a ruffle in the same pattern, but turning the stripe on its side.
Easy-to-install beaded board and trim add cottage style to a hardworking back entry. A bench offers a seat for changing shoes, while large cabinets conceal coats, sports clutter and more.
Add a pillared portico to bring new emphasis to an entry. Sidelights and transoms will flood a foyer with light.