Interior And Trim Finishes For Luxury Homes In Louisville

Interior And Trim Finishes For Luxury Homes In Louisville

Welcome to this edition of the Louisville Custom Home Builder podcast series, brought to you by Louisville’s leading luxury construction team, Artisan Signature Homes. I’m Greg, your host and for today’s episode we’re joined by Louisville’s best known, and most accomplished, custom and luxury home builder, Jason Black.

Jason, good to see you. How are you?

Jason:    I’m doing great. Great morning to you as well, Greg.

Greg:    Thank you. We’ve been kind of on a run lately with, I don’t know if you’re calling it your 101 series, or your custom home series, or whatever you’re calling it, you’re sort of walking us through the different steps… I think over the last couple of weeks we’ve talked about doing some rough-ins, electrical, and plumbing. You’ve talked about some exterior work that you do, bricks and some of the options on the outside of the home, maybe some dry wall in there. I’m not sure what comes next. I don’t know where we are in the process.

Jason:    I know you say 101, and that sounds so elementary. Maybe we should go like 201. This is a two-on-one. We’re a little more advanced then 101 here. No, that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re going through the building process and we’ve gone through the steps. We’ve roughed in all the stuff, we’ve gotten all our inspections. We’ve dry-walled, we’re working on the exterior. Now it starts getting really exciting. We’re going to do interior finishes as the next step. Once the drywall is hung, everything’s all swept out, you’ve almost got an empty slate to start the finishes, and that’s what happens next.

Greg:    This is probably the step where most of your clients are most excited about. This is where a home becomes individual, right, where it’s really their colors, their finishes, their vision.

Jason:    Yeah. All up until this point they’ve been seeing progress, but it’s not necessarily exciting stuff for them because they don’t get to see all their hard work really paying off. One of the first things I like to do is once the house is cleaned out, drywall is done, I like to bring the painter in, and we will prime the walls. That gives homeowners a chance to see their colors transform from a two by two swatch of paper onto, actually, a room painted a particular color. It really helps seal the drywall as well, so it’s doing two things.

One, it’s priming the walls and putting a little bit of color on there, and then it protects the drywall a little bit. As an added benefit, the customer or homeowner gets to see, hey that … Good, I did a good choice or a lot of times, that’s not what I thought it was going to be. Luckily, it’s just a primer. We can change it or add another coat to it, no big deal. I do like to get that preliminary coat on the walls and let people live with it for a few weeks. We can adjust it as we go forward.

Greg:    I guess I don’t really understand what primer is. I thought primer was a neutral color that just sort of sealed in the drywall.

Jason:    No, you’re right. What we do is we tint the primer to match the finish coat. Grey is very common right now. Instead of just priming the wall white, we’ll go ahead and say we’re using … Coventry Grey right now is a very popular color, I think, by Benjamin Moore. We’ll get that color, we’ll get it color matched into the white primer. When we put it on the wall the Coventry Grey color does come up. Again, it just puts a little bit of color on the wall and shows that shade for the end user to see.

We get the walls primed, we prime all the ceilings. Everybody is feeling good, they’re like, “Yeah.” Then we bring in the trim work, and this is when fun really starts happening. One little caveat, by chance if we’re doing a sand and finish floor this is the time, before the trim work comes in I would bring in the hardwood. We’d go ahead and lay the hardwood, and then we’d trim on top of it. All the other prefinished flooring that we would do would come much later in the process.

Like I said, if by chance you’re one of the few customers that still likes to do the sand and finish, which we have and we still like, we would go ahead, and get that in early and let that acclimate, and go ahead and trim on top of that.


Greg:    I have a floor meets trim question.

Jason:    Bring it on.

Greg:    If you’re going to do your trim first, if a client has gone for prefinished flooring, how do you make sure that the trim that sits on top of the floor will sit on top of the floor when you bring in the prefinished flooring?

Jason:    We do a couple different things. One, we’ve talked about all along how important it is for the customers to make their decisions early. Once we pick out that floor we will know the thickness of it. With the prefinish, they can vary from a quarter inch, nine-sixteenth, half inch, three-quarter… There’s a wide variety of variations. We need to know that when we’re putting in stair treads and landings, so we can match that. The thickness of the floor is different. When we go putting the trim up, we’ll set the baseboards a certain height. Then we’ll set the casings a certain height. Once we come in with the hardwood floor, and you’re ready to finish it, we will use what’s called a jamb saw. We will undercut any trim that’s been laid on the ground, so that hardwood slides right underneath.

Anything that doesn’t require a jamb saw or any kind of undercutting like that, we will cover with what’s called shoe moulding or quarter round. It’s where the floor meets the wall or the baseboard. It just covers that gap where you can’t quite … Nobody is perfect enough to cut the hardwood exactly into the wall where you can’t see where it meets. Almost every house you see has a shoe mould or quarter round that covers that gap, and that’s how we hide that.

Greg:    The client needs to know what kind of flooring they’re putting in, and then you bring the trim people in one way or another.

Jason:    That’s right. Sand and finish floors are down, then the trim guys come in. We bring all the interior doors, the interior casing, baseboards, crown moulding. Of course, the shiplap we’ve talked about, any wainscoting. Really, anything that’s going to cover up the drywall, that’s what we do. The process is we’ll set all the interior doors. Then we’ll run the crown moulding. We’ll put all the casing around the doors, around the windows.

Sometimes in our more common areas on the first floor we’ll do decorative panels under the windows just to spice it up a little bit. Sometimes we’ll put decorative heads over the windows and doors, running crown mould, coffered ceiling, any beams. We’re doing a lot of those rustic beams, white-washed beams, coffered ceilings and what not. That’s taking place at this time.

Again, like I said, the shiplap and the wainscoting, we’ll do the wainscoting up the stairs. We’ll put hardwood on the steps. A lot of times we’re doing white oak or red oak on the … It’s just a common building material. We’ll run that on the staircase and then set our trim on that and then do our wainscoting up the stairs, put our handrails up, put our spindles in, put the balusters in.

Greg:    This is a pretty big list.

Jason:    There’s a lot that goes into trim. It depends on the size of your home, but we could be trimming anywhere from two weeks up to several months depending on the scale of the project and the size of the trim crew.


Greg:    Where in the process would your client have picked all of this out? You build some really large homes, it seems like this would take a while to really go room by room and figure out what you want on the wall, what kind of crown moulding you want, what kind of doorway you want. There’s a lot to really spend some time on and making sure you get right.

Jason:    We spec out the trim before we start the project with our spec sheet. Then I like to walk… As soon as the house is dry-walled we’ll usually do a trim walkthrough again with the trim guy and the homeowner and really hone in on the details. That’s when a lot of times people will bring their Pinterest boards, or their Houzz boards, or their Southern Living magazines or House Beautiful. Any of those types of pretty glossy publications customers will bring.

Then we’ll meet with the trim guy, myself and maybe Jimmy or whoever else is involved. We’ll just start laying out built-ins. How do you want your built-ins in your great room? Where are you going to put your TVs? Do you want those over the mantle? Do you want them in the built-in? A lot of times again we’ve already determined where the TV is going to go, and we’ll build the built-in around it.

We’d also at this time build the cubbies in the mudroom and that type of stuff, media walls. We’d build in cabinets around the big screen TVs. Gosh, just anything, barn doors… We’re doing a lot of barn doors now, so we’d hang the tracks for the barn doors. Decorative wall treatments, ceiling treatments…

Greg:    What about a kitchen? Is that at this point, or is that something different?

Jason:    That will come soon, but I like to get all the heavy … When you’re dealing with the interior trim work, you’ve got boards that are 16 feet long. You’ve got four by eight sheets of plywood, and MDF or medium density fiberboard, that you’re constructing your built-ins out of. There’s a lot of nicks going on. The walls are going to get dinged up. It’s not the best time to bring in the cabinets in my opinion. I wait just a little bit more before I bring the cabinets in.

Greg:    As we continue our series it sounds like this is a full step in and of itself. We’ll probably come back and talk about the next one. Can you give us a little teaser?

Jason:    As we wrap up the interior trim we’ll start bringing in some additional finish crews like the tile guys, the painters and again, really starting to hone in on the finish interiors of these custom homes.

Greg:    One more question before I let you go, you’ve mentioned a couple times, you talked about a graph before of the homeowner’s experience, the ups and downs. You called it a roller coaster. You said framing was a pretty big high. Where does this fall on that graph?

Jason:    In the emotional curve … As you get drywall you start … That was a low point. You drywall, you’re starting to creep up. As you start to get more of these finishes in the trim starts creeping up a little bit. In the next episode when we get into the tile, and the paint work and interior, finish is coming a little bit together, that emotional curve is climbing, climbing that roller coaster again. It’s a good time.

Greg:    I’m looking forward to next week’s episode, and I will be here to learn.

Jason:    We look forward to having you back. Thanks, Greg.

Thank you for joining us in this episode of the Louisville Custom Home Builder podcast. If you’re looking to build a home and would like to reach out to Jason with any questions about the process or maybe just your individual needs and desires, please visit the website at We appreciate your time with us today and look forward to bringing you another episode next week.