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For instance, when using a pedestal, Asher Benjamin divides the entire height of the Doric order into 80 parts. According to Benjamin, the pedestal should be “two diameters and thirty minutes high.” Here’s how I look at it: Take a room with a 10-ft. Height isn’t the only problem we encounter when we install chair rail.
Now we need to find out the exact size of each molding, from the plinth or baseboard, to the chair rail.
Ask most carpenters and they’ll either say 36 in., 32 in. There are some 18th-century pattern books that show the chair rail at 24 in. But get the chair rail wrong, and the room feels wrong—I can guarantee it. All of the classic architectural orders—the Tuscan, the Doric, the Ionic, the Corinthian, and the Composite—have strict rules of proportion. That is why you can walk into an old building and it just “feels” right. Multiply the column width by 2 1/2 to determine the height of the pedestal: 22 1/2 in. Benjamin also suggests that the pedestal should be 15 parts high. Obviously, unless chairs were much shorter back then, the height of a chair has nothing to do with the height of the chair rail! But pattern books seemed to go by the wayside as minimalism and modern styles reduced the importance of moldings, and finally production trumped design. Going back to William Pain’s book, we next divide the diameter of the column into 12 parts (9 1/4 in.
or they’ll measure the back of a chair and tell you to lay it out so the chair won’t scar the wall. These rules of proportion were specified back in the first century BCE by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman architect and engineer. The reason it feels right is because it is symmetrical and harmonious to our own size. It’s no wonder that we so often hear from carpenters with questions about molding profiles, placement, and proportion. ÷ 12 = 3/4 in.) Pain then instructs us to divide one of those parts into 5—so 3/4 in. (Well, not exactly, but it’s close enough for our purposes.
But the designer on the show Hilary Farr insisted in an interview that the tension is all real:“The show is not at all scripted and the reactions of the homeowners to renovation realities and bad news is very real.