When working with a pro is best

Okay, this title is misleading. There are lots of times working with a pro is best (electrical, plumbing, haircuts…), but I want to talk about two wonky living-room spaces I couldn’t have figured out without help from a general contractor who knows how important it is to make new spaces match the existing style of a house.

When we bought our home, the front room looked like this:


How I convinced poor Lonnie to buy this place with the décor it had at the time, I’ll never know. The sellers left the stained-glass panels over those square windows, and when I removed them, I realized the wall had some weird niches above the windows—that’s why those glass panels were there:


What to do with this weirdness? Our contractor asked if he could think on it and get back to us with ideas. He built these (before paint):


And after:

We love them. The shape of the detail mimics the gingerbread trim outside:


Guests always ask if the millwork above those little square windows is original, and that’s a pretty good compliment. Good job, contractor friend (if you live in southeast Idaho and want info on our GC, leave a comment with your email address).

I was stumped about how to make this wall look right. At first, I thought arched windows must have been there first, but I’m so glad I did not have arched windows installed because I later acquired photos of the house in the ’30s and ’40s, and the windows there were always square with the arched detail in the wall (see below).


The little details make the biggest impact, and repeating similar themes throughout your house makes things feel cohesive and professionally done. So go pro when you ought to—you won’t regret it. •

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