Custom Mouldings: Jewelry for the Home

custom moulding, trim moulding, crown moulding, architectural millwork, architectural woodwork, Boston, Massachusetts, New EnglandUpscale interiors require a custom, personalized look that can only be achieved by considering every last surface of the room.  That means that architectural details like custom trim and moulding, must be of the highest quality, and must be carefully chosen to further the aesthetic of the space.

Better Homes and Gardens explains “trim and moulding are like jewelry for your home: made to give basic walls, ceilings, entryways, and furniture a finishing look.  Trim and moulding make a powerful design statement by highlighting distinctive features and creating focal points in rooms.  Whether your home’s style leans classic or modern, you can customize it with gorgeous architectural details.”

custom trim moulding, baseboard, picture rail, casing, architectural millwork, architectural woodwork, Boston, Massachusetts, New EnglandConsequently custom trim and moulding are design elements that can add depth, detail, and richness to a room.  Whether it is baseboard, casing, chair rail, or crown moulding, South Shore Millwork stocks hundreds of knives to create virtually any moulding profile.  And if we don’t have the profile in stock, we will have a custom knife made to fabricate any special requests.

If you are looking to add that extra something to make your next renovation project or new home stand out, South Shore Millwork can help.  Our Boston, Massachusetts area based luxury architectural millwork company can create custom mouldings and other woodworking elements to fit any design style.  Services include design, engineering, project management, fabrication, finish, delivery, and installation provided in the Boston area, throughout New England and beyond.custom moulding, door casing, architectural millwork, architectural woodwork, Boston, Massachusetts, New England


Boston Luxury Home Market Spiraling Upwards

boston luxury home marketBanker & Tradesman reports that April sales of Boston area luxury homes “suggest the past month will be the highest total for $1 million-plus single family home sales since 2008.  While the final tally is not yet rung, the (94) $1-million plus condo sales recorded in April are at the highest total for that month in more than 10 years and the second highest single sales month for luxury condos since August 2003, which has (117) $1 million-plus sales.”  Banker & Tradesman also notes that “it’s not only the Hub and its spokes which have seen a revival.  The Cape and Islands are also seeing brisk sales.”

So how does the Boston market compare nationally?  Redfin, the online real estate brokerage, reported on their blog recently that Boston ranked fifth in the top $1 million-plus home markets in the country based on homes sold January 2012 to March 2013.  Boston is the top market outside of red-hot California.


  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Los Angeles, CA
  3. Silicon Valley, CA
  4. San Diego, CA
  5. Boston, MA
  6. Phoenix, AZ
  7. Seattle, WA
  8. Chicago, IL
  9. Washington, DC
  10. Dallas, TX

luxury housing market, custom architectural millwork, woodwork, Boston, MA, New EnglandLack of inventory seems to be the key reason for the rise in luxury home sales.  Banker & Tradesman notes that “[luxury market] buyers and sellers have the resources to hold out for the property or the prices they really want, and are less likely to be in a rush to secure a mortgage at a given interest rate.”  But with the limited availability of luxury homes for sale, buyers are feeling pressure to make a decision more quickly on a property they want.

Furthermore, the low inventory and strong demand in the marketplace is creating bidding wars. CNN Money reports that “in Cambridge, two condos that have been combined into one large home hit the market…for $800,000 each” according to Pat Villani, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New England.  Pat says “the brokers stopped taking names after the number of bidders reached 250.  The winning bidder offered $2 million for both units.” Gradually more inventory will become available but it will take awhile to meet the demand.

Whether you plan on renovating or building on your recently purchased luxury property, South Shore Millwork can help.  Our Boston Massachusetts area based luxury millwork company provides all types of custom architectural woodworking such as custom cabinetry, doors, windows, and trim. Services include design, engineering, project management, fabrication, finish, delivery, and installation provided in the Boston area, throughout New England and beyond.

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Custom Staircases: Form Follows Function

mission style custom staircase detailStaircases are basically a method to get from one point to another.  Most designs stick to the basics, putting safety and stability before aesthetics.  But when form is considered as important as the function, staircases become a focal point.

Above all “stairs, rails, and handrails are subject to building code requirements.  Code restrictions apply to rise, run, handrail, and guardrail heights, structural strength and other issues” according to the AWI book of Standards.  Once code requirements are met, limits are only as small or large as the imagination.  Each of the pieces and parts of a stair can become an important design element.
stairs, staircases, stairways, architectural millwork, architectural woodwork, Boston, Massachusetts, New England

Below are some examples of staircases using creative components that South Shore Millwork helped create.  Note the interesting design elements for each one.

The stained handrail and gooseneck adds flair to this traditional staircase.stairs, staircase, stairway, gooseneck, baluster, architectural millwork, architectural woodwork, Boston, Massachusetts, New England

In contrast to the traditional staircase, this example shows a staircase designed in the Mission style.mission style stairs, staircase, stairway, baluster, newel, architectural millwork, architrectural woodwork, Boston, Massachusetts, New England

Curved handrail and fluted balusters create interesting dimensions to this staircase.custom staircase, stairs, stairway, handrail, baluster, architectural millwork, architectural woodwork, Boston, Massachusettts, New England

This starting newel makes a strong statement…

custom staircase, stairs, stairway, newel, architectural millwork, architectural woodwork, Boston, Massachusetts, New England

The dark stained stair tread is a nice contrast to the white painted riser.

custom staircase, stairs, stairway, treads, risers, architectural millwork, architectural woodwork, Boston, Massachusetts, New EnglandPaneling dresses up this staircase stringer.

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If you are looking to make your staircase’s form just as important as its function, South Shore Millwork can help.  Our Boston, Massachusetts area based luxury millwork company can create custom staircases and other custom woodworking elements to fit any design style. Services include design, engineering, project management, fabrication, finish, delivery, and installation provided in the Boston area, throughout New England and beyond.


Movement in Woodwork – You Can’t Stop It!

Most finish carpenters and homeowners are aware that seasonal changes in humidity and temperature cause windows, doors, trim, and flooring to shrink in the winter and expand in the summer but few realize how closely movement of woodwork is tied to moisture.  Wood is a hydroscopic material, and will shrink or expand based on relative humidity; expanding when it takes on moisture, shrinking when it loses moisture.  The chart below shows how drastically relative humidity can change the moisture content in wood.architectural woodwork, architectural millwork, Boston, MA, New England

In addition, did you know that if wet and dry pieces of wood are placed together in the same area, they will absorb or lose moisture until all pieces have the same final moisture content?  This is called Equilibrium Moisture Content or EMC.  The chart below shows the moisture content of wood based on relative humidity and temperature.

architectural woodwork, architectural millwork, Boston, MA, New England

At any rate, wood moves and while you can’t stop it, you can avoid potential problems.  Even the best of workmanship cannot prevent moisture-related defects and unfortunately, most moisture defects are irreversible.  Moisture defects include surface checks, cracking, bowing, twisting, and warping.

So how can you avoid moisture problems in woodwork?

Some tips taken from and Lingomat’s

  • Use a moisture meter to determine the wood moisture content and relative humidity.  Proper temperature and humidity levels need to be consistently maintained to limit wood movement.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends a humidity range from 30% to 50% in a building and a temperature range from 60° to 80° in a building.  If you stay within the recommendations, the amount of expansion and contraction is limited.
  • If wood has been recently transported, allow the wood to acclimate to its climatically controlled environment.  The acclimation duration will vary depending on the material.
  • Applied finish does not stop movement but will slow the rate of moisture exchange thus reducing potential problems but the wood will eventually acclimate to EMC.
  • Follow manufacturers directions for maintenance.  Properly maintained woodwork will reduce problems including mold, dry rot, and condensation.

And for all you woodworkers, carpenters, and builders out there, here are some additional tips from the Architectural Woodworking Institute:

  • Kiln dried wood should have a moisture content between 6-12% but it is important to note that once the wood is kiln dried, the moisture content will change during manufacturing, storage, or transportation.
  • Large assemblies such as ornamental beams, cornices, newel posts, stair stringers, and handrails should be built from relatively small pieces.
  • Wide door and window casing, and base moulding should be hollow-backed.
  • Backband trim, if mitered on the corners, should be glued and splined before installing.
  • Large solid pieces, such as wood stile and rail paneling, should be designed and installed so that the panels are free to move across the grain.  Narrow widths are preferable.

For in depth information regarding moisture and movement of woodwork, please use the links referenced (in blue) in this blog.

Custom Architectural Millwork: When Only the Best Will Do…

Mudroom custom cabinetry, custom bench seating, custom storage, custom woodwork, custom architectural millwork, Boston, MA, New EnglandWhen looking for a high-end architectural millwork company for a new home, remodeling project, or commercial space, it’s important to look at the credentials and experience of the potential supplier.  South Shore Millwork not only has the credentials and a wealth of experience, but over the years we have earned an excellent reputation too.

AWI Quality CertificationSouth Shore Millwork is an Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) Certified Quality Woodworker, which shows commitment to achieving the highest levels of craftsmanship, customer service, and overall excellence.  The AWI Quality Certification Program sets the industry standard when it comes to high-end architectural woodwork.  “Credentials are earned through comprehensive testing and inspection.  Woodworkers need to demonstrate the ability to fabricate, finish, and install work in accordance with quality grade criteria set forth in the Architectural Woodwork Standards” as stated on the AWI QCP website.

In addition to South Shore Millwork’s accreditation from AWI, we have over 20 years of experience creating commercial and residential custom architectural millwork.  Since 1991, South Shore Millwork has helped make projects successful throughout the Boston area, New England, and beyond by providing the finest custom cabinetry, doors, windows, paneling, and trim.  Architects, builders, designers, homeowners, and other industry professionals choose South Shore Millwork when only the best will do.
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Recent comments from our valued customers:

“…very impressed with the quality of all of your millwork as well as the installation.” ~General Contractor, Commercial Project, Boston, August 2012

“We appreciate South Shore Millwork’s high quality, teamwork, and can-do attitude.” ~General Contractor, Ecclesiastical Project, Metrowest, October 2012

“…very impressed with the high quality of your work.  I like the fact that you were very confident and cared about what you do.  Your shop drawings were the best I’ve seen.  Everyone I dealt with was very down to earth.”  ~Architect, Residential Project, Metrowest, October 2012

“I wanted you to know the door package got high praise on the site from the clients, the architects, and our crew.  Thanks for doing your part.” ~General Contractor, Residential Project, Boston, October 2012

“From start to finish South Shore Millwork has been a true pleasure and partner for our recent job.  We look forward to the opportunity to work with such great craftsmen again.” ~Architect, Commercial Project, November 2012

“…all of the windows have been delivered and installed and the meeting room is ready for use…and thanks to South Shore Millwork for a quick turn around on production!!  They look and operate great!!!  What a difference!” General Contractor, Residential Project, Boston, January 2013

“…appreciated your high quality workmanship and attention to detail.” ~Architect, Residential Project, Boston, April 2013