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Details Make the Difference

When people discuss older, historical homes, many describe their affection for the “character” that older homes possess.

What is that character?

We believe it is the compilation of details within the home. These details may be the amount of wood trim around windows and doors and baseboards greater than six inches. It may also be wood paneling, coffered ceilings, or elaborate fireplace mantels. Some people like Sarah Susanka, may point to the details of built in features such as Butler pantries, a window seat with storage underneath, bookcases and cabinetry built into the walls of dining or living rooms, or closets that when opened reveal built in dresser drawers or china cupboards. Regardless, the special features people pick out are ones they find missing in newer homes.

Recently, the resurgence of people moving back into older intown neighborhoods has paralleled the interest in older home styles and the details found within those homes. Craftsman style homes are probably the most notable, where even furniture from that era has become popular as well as replications of vintage plumbing and light fixtures.

Character in the Details


Detail of panels between windows on first and second floor

Window Panel Detail

Jones Pierce strives to put that type of “character” into all our renovations and new homes. A recent example of how we incorporate detail into our houses, is a new Prairie Style home we designed where a single design motif was used in three different conditions. The first was on the exterior on the intermediate panels between windows on the first and second floor. We had 1” thick PVC board, a rot proof exterior material, routed and painted to match window trim with the recessed areas painted a contrasting color.

(1) View of the front “prow” of a custom prairie influenced home in Virginia Highlands. (2) Detail view of the custom laser routed panel.


The design carries through to the interior where it is mirrored to create rectangular panels for an overhead light in the entry foyer. Here we had polycarbonate panels laser cut with an additional layer of wood veneer stained to match the wood trim. Behind each panel exists a layer of stained glass (not shown). The picture shows a temporary patterned piece of acrylic.

(1) An arched door leads to a foyer with the custom lights. (2,3) Detail images of the 3 panel light under construction. The temporary acrylic panel will be replaced with glass panels once all 3 lights are installed.

In the same foyer, we modified the design to make it fit the glass panels of French Doors leading into an office. We had the pattern cut out of a film applied to the glass to give a frosted glass appearance.

(1) Across the entry is a set of french doors leading to the home office. A Custom frosted stencil design is applied to a standard stain grade french door to add a touch of character to the home without breaking the bank.

The result of these three details in conjunction with the interior trim and millwork sets this house apart from other new homes. The added details do not add significant cost to the overall, but give the home that extra level of detail that defines its character and makes it unique.

Cooper Pierce, Principal Jones Pierce Inc. An Atlanta based Architectural firm specializing in custom home transformations and custom retirement homes in fun places.

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