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Steal from Rich Men North of Richmond HEIGHTS

As you may know, there’s now a song at the top of the charts called “Rich Men North of Richmond,” in which a songwriter from Farmville, Virginia bemoans the existence of a wealthy and powerful elite in Washington DC that makes life harder for the rest of us.

So I’m thinking, doesn’t pretty much EVERYWHERE have a wealthy and powerful elite, even St Louis? While we don’t have a “Richmond” to look north of, we DO happen to have a Richmond HEIGHTS and — what do you know — our elite DO happen to live north of there, In places like Clayton, Ladue, Huntleigh, and Frontenac. Is this a coincidence, or some kinda inside joke we’re not in on?

But in my mind that’s where the similarity ends. Because I don’t think that as a rule our local elites make our lives worse. In fact, they often make them better. Many of them give us jobs (or in the case of Fix St Louis, work), and they throw in a lot of extras, like hospital wings, MUNY productions, museum exhibits, and exotic new animals at the zoo.

And to their great credit, they have the good manners NOT to invite the rest of us to do things they like but we wouldn’t, like attend debutante balls, pay for extra seats we personally won’t be sitting on to fill-up tables at fundraisers, wear kilts at awkward charity events for causes we don’t understand, or bid against others so that a daughter can spend a year as the “Queen of Love & Beauty.” (BTW, you should thank me for reading recent issues of the Ladue News so that you didn’t have to).

So instead of RESENTING our elites, why don’t we put our envy to good use. As civilized human beings, we’re not going to steal their stuff, but we are not above stealing their IDEAS on home improvements. The good news is that you don’t need to suck-up to a rich person to see what’s inside their homes to get these ideas. They invite Fix St Louis into their homes regularly, so we’ll spill the beans.

Crown Molding
Installing crown molding around the ceiling of an ordinary room can make it look a whole lot less ordinary. It kinda gives a room more “gravitas,” if you know what I mean. Mostly it’s seen in dining rooms, but it’s popular in bedrooms and hallways, too. And if you run crown molding through an entire house, it can feel like you’ve brought your home up to a new, higher level.

Most rich people seem to know better than to try installing crown molding themselves, because it takes some skill and experience to create those “compound angles” at each corner – where boards angled away from the wall come together at that corner. That’s why they call Fix St Louis to install crown molding for them.

For homeowners who want to spare their guests the hard work of looking UP at crown molding to be impressed with their homes, there’s also this decorative element called “wainscoting.” Wainscoting is decorative paneling on the LOWER part of a wall. The two most popular options are “bead board” that has a series of vertical grooves in it and “picture framing” in which trim is attached to the wall and arranged in squares and rectangles as if a picture belongs in the middle.

Ceiling Beams
If your home is your castle, why not run some stained wooden beams along the ceiling? Fix St Louis can actually do this – but we’re not about to haul tree trunk-sized lumber into your living room. These days they make prefabricated, realistic replicas out of foam, and assuming that your guests stand on the floor and don’t haul out oversized step ladders to inspect, they would never know the difference.

Coffered Ceilings
So, let’s take ceiling beams one step further and instead of running straight lines across your ceiling, let’s run tic-tac-toe grids. Coffered ceilings consist of a series of rectangular grids with sunken panels. Some rectangles might have crown molding along the upper perimeter of these sunken panels, and often there is a ceiling fixture in the middle. Fix St Louis can build these on your ceilings, too.

Front Entrances
Oh, why didn’t you mention you wanted to impress your guests right at the outset? Well then, the rich might tell you that you want fancy decorative trim around the front door. Like maybe on each side of the front door a bottom block (plinth) and a fluted column (pilaster). Then add decorative horizontal trim (crosshead) along the top of the door, and maybe a large triangle or curlicue structure (pediment) above that. It’s not as expensive as you think – these days, all these elements are now made of non-rotting molded composite material, not carved wood. If this is what you want, the rich would no doubt tell you to call Fix St Louis.

To tell you the truth, while it might be nice to live in a house that looks as nice as theirs, I’m not sure you’d really want to be as rich as these folks. They’ve got their own problems, they’re just different from yours — maybe even bigger because there’s more at stake. For our part, Fix St Louis is just grateful to be their humble servants. But not more grateful than being yours.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis