Clean, uncluttered minimalist design is a modern look, appealing for what it leaves out, such as installation of door, floor and window trim. Certainly there will be a savings with such a design, since the carpenters get to skip this step and go home early?


Actually, the reverse is likely to be true. To understand why, one needs to understand the function of trim on windows and doors. Typically, wooden door jambs are not structurally sound until the door casing (trim) is installed. So if you want to go for the trimless look, you need to build a stronger doorjamb, one that is stable on its own, without the support of the trim millwork.

You will also need a lot more attention to the plastering work, as in the case of this Icelandic style Cambridge home. it is the plasterer who is providing the wall finish perimeter terminations, not the carpenter. Typically our plasterers don’t need to give us a smooth surface right up to windows and doors, or down to floors, nor do they need to furnish finished corners. This is because the part of the wall covered by trim doesn’t need perfect plaster.

If there’s no trim, you need to finish the plaster right down to the floor. To produce a plausible transition, we stop the plaster substrate (called blue board) a half inch off the floor and furnish a J bead to finish the edge. The gap between plaster and the floor is backed up with wood and painted black.

In a sense, the minimalist look is a bit of an illusion. A great deal of care is required to “finish” all the transitions, and that care must be hidden. It is a great look, but hardly a cost saving strategy.