I'm installing an extensive amount of wainscoting throughout our new home, and have been trying to figure out the best way to transition the chair rail into an archway that is next to the stair case. I have a light switch to contend with, so I had to raise the chair rail above it. It doesn't end at the same height as the rest of the chair rail. I'm finishing this off with picture frames and an 8 inch base molding. Does this look bad? My interior decorator does not care for it. What can I do to make it better/different?
The biggest thing: The light switch is the problem. You need to raise the light switch so the chair rail is the same on both sides of the cased opening. Once you raise the light switches then you can do a similar style to what you have - just make a larger drop on the stairwell side so that the entire chair rail is at the correct height.
I would also consider slightly changing the upper right horizontal section (coming out of the corner at the bottom of the stair well). I think it would look a little better if the upper horizontal piece was a little longer so that it passes the (8"?) horizontal measurement of the baseboard trim below. But that's a subjective thing.
Moving the light switches is a given though - you really need to do that first or it will never look right. It's not too difficult, you may get lucky enough to not have to splice wires. If you do need to keep the existing box as a J-box, you can instal a new one from the opposite side of the wall so that you can do a drywall patch on the existing light switch location.
Thanks for the feedback. Since the height of the chair rail passes under the light switch, what do you think about moving the light switch to the left (closer to the archway)? This would allow me to start the charm rail underneath it and bring the angle out under the right side of the light switch.
That could work. It's hard to tell exactly from the photos, but it looks like it could almost work if you ran the rail under the switches even without moving them.
Moving the electric side to side can be tricky. If the double box was installed as new construction, then it is already attached to a stud on one side. You only have a 14-1/2" space between the stud and you already have a 4" box in there, leaving just over 10" to make adjustments. The thing is though, if the stud that the electrical box is attached to is just to the left of the switches, then there is no moving in that direction. For a simple check, take something thin like a knife blade or flat screwdriver and put it between the outside edge of the electrical box and the drywall. You'll hit a stud on one side for sure if it's a new-work box. That will tell you really quick if moving to the left is an option.
It is also OK to 'box around the switch with the wainscoting. This means keep the switches where they are, come horizontally across from the left side under the switch until you are past the switch, then do a 90 degree vertically and then transition into the angle moving up the stairs to the right. After that, make another divot up and over to mimic the base and then meet up with your drop from the stairwell side.
It would be a host of angle changing but would look cool and be a great showcase for your trim skills.
Nice job so far BTW. What I can see from the pics looks very professional.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Jaybee,
Thanks Jaybee. I'm going to take your suggestion and bring the chair rail underneath the switch, bend it 90 degrees vertically and then run the angle of the stairs. The horizontal run may encroach a bit on the depth of the first step, but only by a couple of inches. I think that this will look the best, and will prevent me from having to move the switches. I'll be tearing it down this evening and will get some new pictures up this week after a day or two of priming, mudding and sanding. All of that chair rail is glued and nailed and will be sure to pull the paper off of the face of the drywall.
Just my opinion..... That's way too much wainscoting.. On the right side of the stairway, that's never going to dive into the wall below and look right. From left side to right side of the bottom landing is going to look ridiculous. I would bring it straight across and forget about the stairway.This message has been edited. Last edited by: ron45,
Thanks Ron. We all have our different opinions and styles when it comes to finishing a home. Fortunately, for me, I love the way that wainscoting looks and don't feel that it is too much. The stairway is in the foyer, which we're transforming into a very grand area of the home. I think that the size and style of the home call for great detail. Glad I didn't post pictures of the rest of the house. You'd probably have a heart attack.
No way, I too am a lover of wainscoting and would like to see the rest of the house. It looks like you really care about the work you do and it shows. This is the only reason I pointed those areas out that will not align up. BTW, what will you be using for the wainscot.?
Hows this sound... Under the light switch I would bring that straight over so it matches the other side of the wall. Then after wainscoting the stairs on the corners (to dive into the walls) I would use some very fancy wood corner protectors.. http://www.vintagewoodworks.com/squarcorbead.htmlThis message has been edited. Last edited by: ron45,
Ron, Thanks for the compliment. I've taken a liking to woodworking over the last couple of years, and this will be my 3rd wainscoting project. I don't know everything, but am enthusiastic to learn. Although all of my archways are made from poplar, I chose to use MDF for my wainscoting project. I'm using an 8 inch base molding, 3 1/4 in chair rail and a 1 in trim piece for making the picture frames. I had considered something very similar to your idea for the corners, but had thought about making my own. The base that runs up the stairs, on the outside corners is not the same height. The builder did a poor job with the trim in the house. I could pull those corners off and rip them to the same height. This way, I could carry the chair rail, under the light switch, horizontally. I think that my biggest hang-up here is that the wainscoting won't follow the angle of the first flight of stairs. For some reason, I am stuck on this and would like to find a solution. It sounds like it probably doesn't have to.