What About That Space Over the Window?

What About That Space Over the Window?


I don’t know how the rumor got started.

You’ve heard it……the one about old farmhouses and molding.

Someone….somewhere started telling the town crier that old farmhouses are full of moldings and decorative details and beautiful old trim.


Umm.  Negative.


Now maybe there is a farmhouse built somewhere in a land far far away by an overly exuberant farmer with a fine decorative eye who was light years ahead of his other farmer friends.

But he sure didn’t live here.

I think our farmer was too busy….well….farming.  You know….milking the cows, feeding the horses, cutting the hay, checking on the crops and all that.

Which didn’t leave much time for crown molding.



Here’s what we started with.

Well…actually we started with faded printed wallpaper…..with a border of cupids feeding grapes to each other from grecian urns.  But that’s a story for another time.

We had an abundance of urns and cupids and fruits off the vine…….and an absolute dearth of crown molding.

And unlike that farmer from long ago…..we don’t farm, or milk cows, or cut hay…..so we have plenty of spare time left over for moldings.

Crown moldings and door moldings and ceiling moldings and floor moldings.

Let’s just say….we never met a piece of molding that we didn’t like.

And after the house was all “moldinged up.”  I was so happy.  Which made my husband so happy…….

…..because he thought we were done.


He should have known better.

I was just getting started.  I mean, we hadn’t even begun to address all the empty spaces over the windows.




If you have ever priced out molding, you know how expensive it can be…..especially 10″ window moldings.

And we have four children to put through college one day.

So here’s our $22.00 molding solution.


Crown Molding


(1)  We had Home Depot cut down a sheet of 1/4″ plywood to 8″ strips.

(2)  My husband cut down the 8″ strips to 36″ in width (you would cut it to whatever the width of your window is) and then he nailed them above the 5″ piece of pine that was already on the window.


Gap between board and molding


(3)  Next we added 3″ crown molding to the top.  And then noticed all the gaps.


When you are built in 1918, nothing is ever level.

And there is always an extra space here and there.


Picture Molding to Hide Gaps


(4)  So no worries…..we just added picture molding to cover the gap.

(5)  Then we caulked.

(6)  Then we primed.


Smocked Burlap Curtains


(8) And painted the moldings with one coat of glossy white paint.

(9)  We let it dry and painted it again.


(10)  After you finish the project, add burlap curtains, count your pennies and buy a milking cow with the money you saved.


I think it’s a lot of window drama for only $22.00.

I wonder what that farmer would think of his front parlor windows now?

Probably not too much.

He’d probably just shrug his shoulders and tell me the plywood should have been used to patch up the barn 🙂


If you want more molding inspiration….click here to check out all my other molding projects.


PS  If this project seems a little overwhelming….you CAN do it!  Just remember that paint is your friend and…..a little plywood goes a long way.

PPS  If you read this blog back when Downton Abbey was just starting…..you might have seen this before.  But I’ve re-written it and fancied it up a little.  Mr. Carson would be proud. 🙂

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  1. What is picture molding and where does one get it?

  2. Kimm at Reinvented :

    Beautiful! We’ve got some plans to molding up our basic builder home this year. And when I say “we”, I totally mean “me.” :). Hubby always comes around to my ideas eventually, I’ve just got a little more convincing to do. 🙂

  3. What a great idea for a perfect window dress up! Love the burlap curtains!

  4. What a clever solution! Your results look fabulous – $22 never looked so good!

  5. That’s the biggest 22 $ bang for your buck EVER! I love it.
    I hate to ask this question because I’m certain you’ve answered it somewhere, but I’m new here 🙂
    Where did you get your dining room drapes…those are so charming 🙂
    Have a great day my new friend~
    All Things Heart and Home

  6. That is amazing what $22 can do! Love those burlap curtains too!

  7. I love the details and this is the easiest and most beautiful way to build up the presence of windows. Thanks for sharing this great solution.

  8. Girl, you are brilliant! What an excellent solution. Carson would be proud of your cleverness as well.

  9. One can never have too much molding in the home! Love your solution that looks so beautiful.
    Mary Alice

  10. What a statement those windows make now! For only $22?? Wow!! Great job!
    Have to admit, there is crown molding in our old farmhouse, not near as nice as yours and pretty sure it’s not original. It’s curvy and kinda plain, but I have no idea how to fancy it up…yet. I’ll keep looking.
    Debbie 🙂

  11. I loved this idea the first time around … and am still loving it one year later!

    🙂 me

  12. I’m pretty positive Mr. Carson would be proud! I think that’s some of the best use of $22! Really gives the windows more presence! Nothing I’m sure your farmer would have been interested in! Did you do that all over your house, or just in the dining room? 😉

  13. You forgot to add the most important component of this project – the man that actually did all of the work. If you don’t have a handyman living at your house and you, yourself are not friends with a straight edge and a saw – you are in trouble. Looks beautiful!

  14. Beautiful KerriAnne! Someday we may address the lack of crown molding around here.I am always inspired by your beautiful home!

  15. I WAS married to a contractor and we remodeled several homes including our own cape cod, I must say “Sweetie” You both did a “PINspiring” JOB!
    Just Lovely! Blessings <3

  16. Oh my goodness! I am putting this into my file for when I move into my own home. Maybe I’ll be able to create something a little older-looking out of a modern, small home.

  17. My motto…you just can’t have enough great molding!….you certainly have transformed many of your areas with beautiful molding and the best part is that it was done with love by your resident carpenter!!…Have a great day Kari!

  18. Love your ‘old’ farmhouse moldings =) They look like they’ve been there since the cows grazed the fields, and the chickens clucked in their coop. Beautiful, as always!

  19. The farmer’s wife would definitely be pleased. What an amazing transformation for just $22. It looks great!

  20. Genius!

  21. Fabulous! I had to show the carpenter husband this one! Our ceilings are so low that there really isn’t much space above the windows, but still…perhaps we could create a similar situation going that bit of distance to the ceiling. I’m trying to imagine what that might look like…

  22. Looks great..Heaven forbid that there’s any empty space..still love those curtains..

  23. Lol…your posts are delightful. I feel like I’m always grinning while reading them. 🙂 The windows are amazing too. k.

  24. KariAnne, This is such Perfect timing for me!! We just bought a Home in WA State and all my Windows with the Exception of the Dining Room are just like yours were. These Mouldings are just beautiful and look like they were always there, just updated with paint.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Huggs, Nancy

  25. Brilliant! I’ve been looking for a way to dramatize the windows in our money pit’s living room. Huge room with high ceiling, but the windows seem small, and there are lots of ’em which can be cost prohibitive to do much with. Picture molding to cover the cracks – Genius! I also can not love those curtains anymore. I have bolts of burlap just waiting to be sewn into curtains, but haven’t been too inspired lately. Only wish i knew how to create or make a cheater version of that smocking.

  26. Seriously, I thought your gorgeous window trim was original to the house. Looks just like the trim on the windows of a couple of houses we own that were built in 1917. Well done Karianne!

  27. “Now that is what I would call a nice window!” exclaimed the Dowager Countess,
    in her very Dowager Contess voice.

  28. I love the trim and the molding, very pretty. By the way, those curtains are gorgeous!!


  29. Great job, Karianne! I love the way this looks and it fills that space over the window beautifully!

  30. Oh to have high ceilings! You’re so lucky! I love the window molding- it’s so clever and looks very period appropriate to your house. Well done!!

  31. Oh, my Lord! This is so beautiful and so is your dining room.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  32. Once again, you are an INSPIRATION! I have a “music room” (the narrow room with my piano and organ that used to be a porch off our dining room that was enclosed in the 30’s when they made the upstairs a separate apartment) that has the only plain window trim in the HOUSE! Now I know how to get it to match – or to even look BETTER! 🙂

    Bless you!

  33. I SO want to try this.
    What a difference it makes!

  34. Great use of space! and the moldings had such a design detail to the room. Beautiful for a farmhouse, XOXO

  35. I just wanted to say that I love your blog, Karianne. You not only have a great sense of style, color and proportion in a room, you express yourself well in a way that makes me want to sit and chat with you. Just lovely. I get a real charge every time I see Thistlewood Farm in my email inbox! Thanks for writing a great column and for bringing us into your life, home and world. For me, it’s better than sitting down with a glass of nice, red wine.

  36. OK, where’s the cow? 😀

  37. Brilliant!!! Now you have me looking at my ‘bare above the window’ area. Hmmm, guess this is one of those ‘eyelash batting’ times.
    Luv it KariAnne.
    Hugs, Gee

  38. I pinned this a long time ago Kari, it’s one of my favorite projects you’ve done. So creative…and on my list of things to do when I get some extra time and money. 🙂
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss)

  39. Wow, that looks fantastic! Thank you for the inspiration 🙂

  40. Thought I would let you know that I finished my little room makeover and posted about it today! How is yours coming along??

  41. Oh, this is just brilliant!

  42. I just love these windows! I know crown moulding usually is angled away from the wall, so was just wondering if you created side pieces also to go on the sides of the crown. You can’t really tell in these pics. If so, would love to have your hubs teach us how to do that too! Your windows are very close together, and with the curtains down the sides, you wouldn’t notice if the crown pieces didn’t have sides; but I have a wall of windows & french doors that are spaced out, so you see the sides of each. Thanks!

  43. Brilliant. It adds hight and dare I say “majesty” to your room. You are crazy creative!! I just LOVE your blog (and you by relation).

  44. What a great idea, Karianne–it adds both height and drama to your windows! And yay Downton Abbey 🙂

  45. FABULOUS as usual!

  46. Loved this post the first time, and am glad to study it again! I need to get my husband to start reading your blog. I got him on Pinterest, that’s the first step!! I was having KariAnne withdrawals….Im sitting on a windowsill in a tee tiny hospital room in NY, flew here for a surgery of my dads, its been three days and I begged my brother for his laptop. I needed to touch base with the real world!! 🙂 Thanks for indulging me~

  47. I love what you have done with that place! One of these days I’m going to give into the temptation to hop in my car and drive south to see you – is it warmer there than it is here??

  48. That’s a great looking $22.00!


  49. My favorite room… sigh! Can I have it… please!

  50. Yep-Great update and I think it is a wonderful idea. It’s amazing what a little ingenuity can do- xo Diana

  51. My husband refers to this as headers. He did the two doors in our living room with headers, our windows didn’t have enough space above them for it. He was supposed to do all the downstairs’ doors like this…..that was about 5 years ago. Oh, did I also mention that he is a trim carpenter by trade? Yeah, they always work on their own homes last! LOL! Your windows look great, well, heck the whole room is gorgeous! Blessings, Tammy

  52. I LOVE this look!!

  53. You’ve done a fantastic job with those windows, well, with the whole room actually! I love the curtains, would you mind sharing where you got them? I didn’t realize burlap could be semi-sheer like yours.

  54. As someone else already asked, was wondering whether there is a return at the ends of the crown above windows? It is such a lovely solution. I’ve often thought, since it’s now au currant to hang the curtains near the ceiling, that it leaves such a dead space and actually accentuates small windows/low ceilings, so I was glad to see this. I tried wooden fretwork but your solution is much better. Great job!
    Your blog writing is so entertaining as well as visually beautiful, thank you. I look forward to your post daily. Debra

  55. Damn I like you house………………………….love the look………….

  56. What a great idea to create windows that make a statement! Thanks for sharing your brilliance!

  57. I think the old farmer would be very happy to see how lovely his farmhouse is now. I’m pretty certain his wife would wonder why they didn’t think of that! The moulding is beautiful.

  58. Wow! It really makes a big difference – great job! I love your dining room by the way!

  59. THAT is gorgeous and smart! I will definitely be using this info when we move, to make my own little place look more… moldy 😉

  60. I love this idea. Probably more than the milking cow! I might try this!

  61. How smart are you, cute girl??? I love it!! Your home is just gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing.
    And yes, Mr. Carson would be proud!!

  62. Too funny! I just wrote about Mrs. Patmore on my blog. Glad to see I’m not alone when I consider what Downton Abbey characters would think of my achievements!

  63. Marcia Robinson :

    Beautiful! I love how the colors work in the room. The trim work makes an impressive statement, and I too, adore the curtains! Did you sew them? If not, please disclose your source! Thank you for sharing your creativity!

  64. I have this same problem…thank you for this wonderful step by step trim work post!!!!

  65. GENIUS!!! genius! love this. so, someday when we buy our old farmhouse, i am going to need all of these tips!

  66. This is absolutely spectacular! The change from a great room to an elequently great room is amazing. You have a truly wonderful eye.

  67. Very pretty indeed! 🙂

  68. great idea ~!! i’ve seen it done with floor base molding, but never windows !!! it totally looks original and i agree…a lot of drama for a little price…great job !! (and i love the drapes too)

  69. I wish I had space over the windows just so I could fill it up as you did! Great job and beautiful room!

  70. Loved your post, your windows look amazing!

  71. I’m amazed at what a difference it makes!
    I pinned it so we can add it to some of our windows. 🙂

  72. Wow, Love your blog!! You are super talented!!
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, I truly do appreciate it!!

  73. May I ask where you got drapes and what they are made of?

  74. This is truly brilliant. The windows look amazing! And 22 bucks?! You can’t beat that!!

  75. Could you please tell me where you got your curtains or step by step on how you made them…Thank you!!!

  76. Oh my goodness this looks amazing and your curtains are just beautiful!

  77. Pretty dining room, great idea! Our place is old too, a 2 story farmhouse built in 1903. Lucky for us, someone thought of the crown moldings before we got the place! And you are so correct, there is an abundance of crooked character in these old places, part of the charm I suppose!

  78. Trisha Buse :

    where did u get the curtains!! love all of it.

  79. I love this post and keep coming back to it! I just moved my curtain rods higher and this is the greatest idea to fill in the space! Not to mention making the windows look so elegant! Thanks again!

    Linda at The French Hens Nest

  80. Way to go! I love the trim! It reminds me of the architecture in my
    doctor’s waiting room.

    Could I do this over the doorway, too? Boy, I am going to glam up my living room.
    Thanks for sharing!