In 2014, when a custom home builder needed an experienced millworker for a 10,000 square-foot new build in the established Uplands area, he turned to Erik Larsen of Larsen Group for his masterful millwork skills. The builder had an opulent vision for the home but needed an expert to inject the right amount of character and charm into the manse. Having worked on many homes in the idyllic seaside area for over a decade, Larsen brought the home a traditional elegance that only custom millwork can provide. Given carte blanche in 10,000-square-feet of fresh drywall, Larsen and his team brought a modern interpretation to the classic Uplands manor.
“The builder had a sense of where he wanted particular interior elements, but he didn’t have drawings or images of his ideas. So we did what we do best — a quick team huddle to determine a cohesive design direction followed by eight months of intensive custom finish carpentry and cabinet building. We completed all the interiors from the floors, doors, coffered ceilings, cabinetry and mantels,” adds Larsen. Collaborating with Geoff Hobson from Hobson Woodworks, Larsen credits Hobson’s team with the vanities, built-in desk and bar to complete this grand home.
Adding a hand-crafted quality to rooms, architectural detail can elevate a house from being a place where you live to an atmosphere that enhances your lifestyle. Designed to suit your own unique space, custom millwork adds a luxurious feel to any room and can range from custom kitchen cabinetry to crown mouldings, built-ins and bathroom vanities. Modern and sleek for minimalist spaces or ornate and detailed for a more traditional look, custom millwork can suit any style you are trying to achieve for your home or office.
One key vision the builder had was to create a traditional dining room and a formal great room that back onto each other and share a pass-through fireplace. Adding dimension and character, built-ins and coffered ceilings define the space and speak to the home’s sense of traditional charm.
Originally, interior architectural details served a more utilitarian purpose. Wainscotting was a decorative armour on the lower half of walls, coffered ceilings covered exposed beams and crown moulding allowed for an easy joint between the wall and the ceiling where plaster can crack. Today, these items are considered to be “lipstick” extras, but they still serve a very utilitarian benefit while adding value to homes often overlooked by homeowners.
“In terms of value-added to a home, anyone who has read a realtor’s description of a home has seen the list of desired items that include crown moulding, built-ins or custom fireplace mantels. These items are considered desirable luxury features that obviously add value and help with resale. However, beyond the mere monetary aspect, architectural millwork can enhance your home to take it beyond mere walls to give it unique character and personality,” states Larsen.
Both decorative and functional in nature, millwork can facilitate a homeowner’s vision of how they want to live their life. Larsen adds that “in terms of my own value set, I personally value the fireplace mantel. A mantel might create a special place where you read with your children before bed or a built-in banquette in your kitchen could be where you spend slow Sunday mornings with your family, for example. There’s something very primal about gathering with your family around the fire — it’s the reason why our mantel was one of the first things I built for our home — the proverbial heart of the house.”
“A home built for entertaining, Larsen created a showstopping staircase as the home’s focal point. “There is something very Gatsby-esque about the impressive entrance with the top floor landing overlooking the front entrance. From a design and construction perspective, I love the challenge of a custom staircase because it is an opportunity to build on a grand scale. They’re massive pieces that have an immense amount of detail that also have to be strong enough to withstand years of foot traffic and be compliant with stringent building code requirements.”
Maximizing every square inch of your home, built-ins can be tailored to your space to create storage and display solutions. They can transform dead space and create design cohesion by merging with the rest of your home’s aesthetic. The builder of this home wanted to create a multipurpose library/office with a large bathroom and fireplace that could easily convert into a guest quarters. The library bookshelves were built on site and are joined to a small kitchenette that works well for guests or coffee and snacks in the office.
Larsen credits Hobson and his team with building a beautiful walnut desk that tucks seamlessly into a corner niche. Ideal for running a home business, the multi-use room enjoys an adjacent side entrance and mudroom with seating area and custom shoe storage.