Architectural Woodwork Design Element: Corbels

Corbels are a functional, interesting, and versatile architectural design element.  So what exactly is a corbel?  “A corbel is an architectural bracket or block projecting from the wall and supporting (or appearing to support) a ceiling, beam, or shelf.  A corbel can be made of wood, plaster, marble, or other materials” as defined by Jackie Craven who writes about architecture on About.com. 

A little history lesson from Shoshana Gosselin on Houzz “The earliest use of corbels was to support structures.  They were simple, unadorned and made of stone or concrete.  Over the years, they began to get fancy, full of intricate carvings and meant to add beauty.  Today, many corbels are made from wood or resin and are decorative rather than load-bearing.  They come in a variety of sizes and types and can be added to cabinets, furniture, and walls in any style of room.”

Check out these masterfully crafted corbels that South Shore Millwork created (pictured lower left.)  Made from stain grade mahogany, they dress up this fireplace mantel beautifully.  The picture in the lower middle shows the amount of detail we provided in the shop drawings in order to fabricate them to exact specifications.  The lower right photo shows how the corbel was also cleverly used as space divider.corbel, architectural millwork, custom woodwork, fireplace surround, paneling, moulding, Boston, Massachusetts, New England               corbel, architectural millwork, custom woodwork, Boston, Massachusetts, New England               corbel, bookcase, architectural millwork, custom woodwork, Boston, Massachusetts, New England

In another application, corbels were used as countertops supports for the kitchen we custom fabricated.  Gosselin advises “If you do use them for physical support, make sure your corbel depth is three-quarters of your countertop overhang.”

custom kitchen island, corbels, beam ceiling, custom kitchen cabinets, Boston, Massachusetts, New England

If you’d like assistance incorporating corbels in your next remodeling project or new home, South Shore Millwork can help. Our Boston, Massachusetts area based luxury millwork company can create corbels and other custom woodwork elements to fit any design style. Services include design, engineering, project management, fabrication, finish, delivery, and installation in the Boston area, throughout New England and beyond.