all your baseboard are belong to us

Whilst flirting with builders over the past week, the illustrious subject of baseboards came up. What type of baseboard would we be using? We hadnt really discussed it with The Architect and left it, at the moment, with your basic baseboard. The gold standard for modern houses is something from Fry Reglet in which the drywall extends all the way to floor except for the last inch or so leaving a gap such that the drywall appears to float. Its a crisp lean look that is rather stunning. It is also rather expensive (due to the material and expertise to achieve the look), hence the builder asking, in essence, Would you like Frys with that?

The good folks over at BUILD have a post concerning their preferred modern base details. They prefer four inches of wood or MDF on the bottom (better for taking toe and vacuum cleaner dings) and then a 5/8-inch gap achieved with a piece of Z-metal they say can be obtained from the drywall shop (you can also find all kinds of reveals at Fry Reglet). From an energy efficiency perspective, having that gap at the floor or wherever on the inside of an outside wall may not be such a good thing for heat flow and/or air flow, although, if done right, I suppose air flow wouldnt be too much of an issue.

I do like the look of the baseboard flush with the drywall, so I wonder if its possible to modify their approach by inserting a piece of aluminum angle iron in between the baseboard below and the drywall above such that the aluminum cups the drywall above. The aluminum could be left aluminum to halo the room. It might could also work with a simple plate of aluminum that extends out 1/8 or ¼ of an inch from between the baseboard and the drywall, but that would require careful taping to the aluminum. Perhaps that would look better with one by two instead of one by four And perhaps something like this is only done in the public rooms (living room, dining room) instead of the whole house.

Indeed, all your base(board) are belong to us!

[image respectfully cribbed from BUILD]


  1. Speaking of metal, do you know where folks get the metal for those cool, modern, rusty-looking garden boxes that are popping up around town (e.g., at the L-shaped remodel off Shoal Creek from this year's Cool House Tour)? I love the look of them.

  2. Don't know: we love that stuff too. You might try this place: http://www.trident-metals.com/ since it looks like they will cut to size. Let us know if you find a good place!

  3. Funny, the "floating" drywall-sans-baseboards is one of the very first things we discussed with our architect. I'm glad I found your blog, looks like lots of good information. Check out our project in Arkansas at http://www.raisingmodern.com/blog
    Oooh you have posts tagged with "audio"...

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Andrew. We will be sure to check out progress on your house. Modern in Arkansas? I bet your architect loves you. Be forewarned that, based on our experience, it really hard to get trades to do something they're not used to...