Demystifying design terms

Hello everyone,

I am sorry I have been out of the habit of posting. Summer is busy and beautiful in Maine! I have been working on some wonderful projects that I hope to photograph and share them with you. Keep checking back!

Today I wanted to share some charts that help to make design terms more understandable. I spend a great deal of time translating between client and contractor and vice versa.

I thought I might just go through a few things that may clarify things for someone looking into building an addition or better yet a house.

  1. Roof styles and modifications, contractors often use these terms but to do not explain them, so here are the basics.

roof styles

2. Window terms and styles…very basic but helpful.

basic window styles

3. Paint terms …from

Choosing a paint finish for interior walls depends on the desired amount of shine and durability. The most common interior paint finishes (paint sheen) are flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. Choosing the right paint finish for your interior project depends on the look, durability, and ambiance you want.

  • Flat finish: Available only in latex paint, a flat finish is opaque and sophisticated. It works great on interior walls and ceilings. As the least shiny finish available, it doesn’t clean well and isn’t suited for kitchens, baths, or children’s bedrooms.

    If you have kids, choose carefully. The only way to get rid of fingerprints and scribbles on a flat-finish wall is to paint over them.

  • Eggshell finish: An eggshell finish is often used for decorative finishes because it provides a low luster. It cleans up better than a flat finish, but probably not as well as you would want in a kitchen or bathroom.

  • Satin finish: The most popular paint sheen is a satin finish. It has more sheen than eggshell or satin and cleans better too. This finish is a good choice for woodwork, walls, doors, and hallways. It’s also great for bedrooms and dining rooms.Satin is washable but it isn’t scrubbable, so you probably don’t want to use it around your toddler’s craft table.

  • Semi-gloss finish: A semi-gloss paint will give your room a subtle shine. It’s scrubbable and good for moldings, doors, windows, kitchens, and baths.

  • High-gloss finish: A high-gloss finish has a shiny, polished look. It’s also stain resistant and very scrubbable, which makes it a good choice for the areas of a home that get the most wear and tear, such as kitchens and baths. Food splatter or even crayon marks will clean up easily on a high-gloss finish.

When you’re deciding on which sheen you want to use, remember the higher the sheen, the darker and more intense the color will be. Also, high-gloss paint reflects light — and makes imperfections in your walls more noticeable. So before you apply this paint finish, take the time to prep your walls and make them extra smooth.

Although most paint finishes are available in either latex- or oil-based paints, you’ll want to evaluate the pros and cons of latex- and oil-based paints to determine which is right for you.

4. Tile this is a very helpful chart that I got from


5. Stairs have lots of parts, and I have been designing a lot of railings and stairways lately and I find this chart is great for explaining everything involved.


6. Finally I speak molding, casing, baseboard, crown…but many people do not so here is a very simplified chart.


If you are planning a renovation this summer, let me know I would love to hear about it!

If you find this post helpful please comment or like the post 🙂



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