THE UNSUNG HEROES of traditional home interiors, wood moldings are key pieces in the jigsaw puzzle that is a complex room. Originally made from marble or plaster, they’ve been part of the classical-decorating toolbox since ancient times. But although everyone from the Germans to the Greeks had the know-how to wield the crowns and ogees of their day, it took the much-copied French to elevate the light-and-shadow effects of moldings to new and singular heights.
“plain” molding has right-angled upper and lower edges. A “sprung” molding has upper and lower edges that bevel towards its rear, allowing mounting between two non-parallel planes (such as a wall and a ceiling), with an open space behind. Moldings may be decorated with paterae as long, uninterrupted elements may be boring for eyes