Anatomy of an Upscale Home

Ever wonder what home designers get paid to do, that the average home owner couldn’t do themselves? Basic home design is fairly simple, pick a window trim and sill that looks good to you and is size-appropriate, then maybe some columns or cornices and you’re done. We’re going to take a look at an upscale home here and what exterior trim elements were used that you don’t find on any run-of-the-mill cookie cutter stucco home.

It’s worth noting that this particular multi(multi)-million dollar home went with concrete trim products the whole way around the home. The cost of purchasing and installing concrete decor runs into the tens of thousands of dollars, and possibly hundreds of thousands for this particular home. What’s important to realize though, is that all of the trims here can be supplied and installed at a fraction of the cost – giving your home an upscale look with a unique design. I also wouldn’t recommend that the average person use quite as much trim as this designer did on their home.



Medallions are purely ornamental in most cases. The majority of residential projects don’t incorporate any, which tends to make people take notice when one is used on a home. I say one, because typically that is how many are used. Medallions work best in most applications as a single, focal, center piece that act as a nice finishing touch. In this example, instead of being a focal point they are used as a repetitive element, which works well in this particular situation.


Pilasters are not overly common on homes, but it would be nice to see more of them. They visually give more of a feeling of “sturdiness” than typical moldings. To use them most effectively, either use them on the sides of doors or on the corners of your home as a substitute for quoins. Using them alongside windows is typically overkill due to the size, but in the example here the scale works well.