Doors and other joinery

Villas typically had panelled timber doors and a wide range of machined timber joinery for skirtings and architraves, cornices, window facings and so on.

Internal doors

Internal doors were panelled timber, typically kauri or rimu, with three or four panels. Panels were held into the rebated styles and rails with a profiled bead of the same timber.

Door finishes included painting and clear finishing with varnish or shellac.

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External doors

The single front or entry door was panelled, sometimes with a glazed top panel with coloured or textured glass and fixed glazed side panels. 

The back door was quite utilitarian as this was not the point of entry into the house and was often TG&V clad with the exposed frame to the interior.

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Kitchen joinery

Kitchen joinery was not extensively installed in the original villa. What was installed was usually a single bench unit with cupboards, which was framed in place and clad with TG&V boarding. 

The cupboard exterior was painted, with the interior often left unpainted. The doors and carcase generally extended to the floor, with or without a toe space. 

Bench tops were wooden (kauri) with an enamel sink.

The construction of the pantry or scullery was similar with timber shelves.

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Machined finishing timbers 

A typical villa would have internal and external machined timber, ordered from a manufacturer’s catalogue. 

Available for use internally were: skirtings and architraves; architrave blocks; window facings; scotias; picture rails; ceiling roses (Figure 1); corbels to the passage divider (Figure 2); doorsets; ceiling battens; dado rails; bolection mouldings; handrails to stairs and veranda balustrades; balusters; newel posts; fireplace surrounds (Figure 3).

For external use, available machine-finished timbers included: gates and fences; veranda posts; finials; fretwork; bargeboard turnings; post caps; teardrops (to veranda fretwork); spindles; veranda brackets; eaves brackets; eaves moulds; bay windows.

Skirtings and architraves

Rimu and kauri skirtings and architraves were generally wide and heavily moulded and clear finished. Often they were machined from 1½” (37 mm) timber. Architraves were generally not as wide as skirtings. 

The junction between the two was treated in a number of ways, the most typical being:

The top corners to door architraves incorporated either an architrave block or were mitred. Window architraves were typically mitred although the top of the architrave could be finished with a timber ledge typically 3” (75 mm) wide (Figure 4).

Corner junctions in skirtings were scribed for internal corners and mitred for external corners.

A wide range of standard profiles were available to order via catalogue (Figure 5). Typically, finished widths available were: 

  • for moulded architraves – 2 ½” (60 mm), 3½” (90 mm), 4½” (120 mm), 5½” (135 mm)
  • for moulded skirtings – 5½” (135 mm), 7” (180 mm), 9” (235 mm) and 11” (280 mm) 


Cornices varied, but were often made up of several timber sections.

Interior finishing timbers were often painted later in the life of the villa to lighten the space as, the old clear finishes darkened significantly with age.

Window facings

Facings used to trim around windows were also heavily moulded and available in widths of 4½” (120 mm), which appears to be the most common, and 4¾” (130 mm). Top corners to the facings were mitred, and the top of the head facing was often finished with a small timber ledge installed to a slope over which the flashing was installed.

Picture rails

Picture rails were available in a range of standard designs (Figure 6).

Matching new mouldings to original

Skirtings, architraves and other mouldings are no longer made in imperial dimensions, making it difficult to get an exact match. There are several ways to deal with this. Read More 

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While villas were predominantly single-storeyed, two-storeyed villas were built incorporating a timber staircase in rimu, kauri or matai with turned handrails, newel posts and balusters.