The Modern Arch Has Classical Design Elements Yet Is Lightweight and Decorative


Arches have long been used in building design and in modern times they add a classical, elegant finish to a house build.  Originally built in materials such as stone, marble then cement, the easiest and most effective method to build an arch these days is to use a lightweight house moulding with a steel support.

Dating back to 3000BC was the original arch, the corbel arch consisting of two opposing sets of overlapping corbels, resembling inverted staircases, which meet at a peak and create a structure strong enough to support weight from above. Babylonian architecture made wide use of corbel arches. Then the Romans created a semicircular arch that could support great amounts of weight.  A wooden arch shaped frame was first constructed with stone work being built up around the frame and finally a keystone was set in position. This allowed the wooden frame to be removed and the arch was left in position. Stone arch technology was used on large buildings such as the Colosseum in Rome.

The next major design innovation in arches was in Gothic architecture with the experimental use of pointed arches. The pointed shape introduced a new aesthetic dimension and reduced the arch thrusts by as much as fifty percent which meant that the weight of the roof was now being supported by the arches rather than the walls and therefore the walls could be thinner.

The basket arch is a three-centred arch and sometimes called  ‘basket-handle arch’ or ‘anse de panier’. The Basket arch is a flattened arch whose ellipse like shape is determined by three arcs that are interconnected; with each radius being drawn from a different centre. Also known as Semi elliptical or Elliptical, this style of arch is mainly used in modern day building due to its simple design.

The Finishing Touch are the masters of lightweight decorative mouldings and can create the style and shape of arch desired in any building design.  For a custom made decorative arch moulding made from lightweight materials contact the Finishing Touch.

Columns Ancient and Modern


Columns as a decorative architectural feature on buildings were used extensively in ancient times on important buildings. Three major systems in architectural design used by ancient Greeks have stood the test of time and are still seen in architecture to this day. These include the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian styles. Each order has its own definitive characteristics, however they can also be easily confused to the untrained eye.

The most famous Greek system used around the world today is the first order, the Doric style of architecture (pictured above) You will see Doric columns when you visit the Parthenon and Acropolis, distinguished by vertical columns and a plain roof. You will also see this style in historic buildings in southern Italy and Sicily; it is one of the oldest architectural orders that exists today.

The second style is the Ionic order. It is more delicate, intricate, and elegant than Doric architecture. Having originated in eastern Greece, Ionic structures are believed to have become dominant during the Hellenistic period.


Then there’s the Corinthian style of architecture. Corinthian architecture is intended to be an altered version of the Ionic style with much more detail. Here you’ll see more scrolls , fruit and flower motifs and flourishes.


These days, in modern Australian architecture we see columns used extensively in housing design.  With the advent of concrete and now lightweight eps building materials it is possible for builders to create columns for suburban homes.  The addition of columns, usually at the entrance of the home, creates a grand, sophisticated façade. The Finishing Touch have a range of lightweight mouldings for columns, both round, tapered and square with capitals in all the styles, along with bases.



Grand Buildings of Melbourne

The Grand Dame of Australia, the city of Melbourne has an elegant, sophisticated aura , due in part to its classic buildings, which are a fascinating mix of architectural styles. Many of these buildings have significant historical value and it’s fortunate for the city that they withstood the wholesale destruction of so many iconic buildings during the modernisation period in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s when the State Government set about a major renewal of inner Melbourne

The Athenaeum Theatre was at times under threat as was the beautiful Capitol Theatre across the road in Collins Street. The Athenaeum Theatre is Melbourne’s oldest cultural institution and began life as Melbourne’s first Mechanics Institute, established in 1839, where the Melbourne City Council met until 1852.

Princess Theatre, Melbourne.

Princess Theatre, Melbourne.

The flamboyantly designed Princess Theatre situated in Spring Street was first opened in 1857 and again remodelled in 1886. In recent times it was under threat, but thankfully for Melburnians it was instead revamped, and is still a working theatre. These iconic buildings are wonderful examples of architecture and exhibit the brilliant use ofdecorative mouldings to further decorate and define a building.

When it comes to grandeur the two cathedrals in Melbourne are stunning. St Patrick’s, the Roman Catholic Cathedral was built in stages from 1858 right through until 1940 and is a fine example of Gothic Revival Architecture

St. Patricks Cathedral, Melbourne

St. Patricks Cathedral, Melbourne

whilst St Paul’s Cathedral, the Church of England Cathedral,

St. Pauls Cathedral, Melbourne.

St. Pauls Cathedral, Melbourne.

was constructed between 1880 and 1931 in a Neo-Gothic style. Studying the decorative features of these beautiful buildings is truly inspiring.

The Melbourne Town Hall, situated on the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets, was ready to be used by the City Council for meetings in 1852 and was completed in 1870. This classically designed building is constructed from a mix of bluestone and Tasmanian freestone; it features a clock tower and fine masonry.

As Melbourne grew it developed its character through the construction of grand buildings in the ornate Victorian era style. At 673 Bourke St Melbourne stands what is known as ‘Donkey Wheel House’, a superb example of High Victorian Venetian Gothic Architecture.

Donkey Wheel House, Melbourne.

Donkey Wheel House, Melbourne.

This building was purpose built in 1891 for the Melbourne Tramways and Omnibus Company.

The Old Treasury Building, located in Spring Street, was originally constructed between 1858 and 1862 to hold the gold bullion discovered in the 1850s Gold Rush and was designed by 19 year old Architect J.J.Clarke.

Old Treasury Building, Melbourne

Old Treasury Building, Melbourne

Regarded as one of the finest 19th century buildings in Australia this grand palazzo style building is now open to the public both as a museum and as the Victorian Marriage Registry, a fitting setting to solemnise a marriage.

Columns and Arches Beautiful Architectural Features


Of all the types of architectural decorative mouldings used to create an attractive façade to a building, columns and arches are the most beautiful and eye catching. Dating back to very early architecture they have long been used as an architectural feature.  When they were constructed of stone and stucco they were extremely heavy and difficult to install, thus were only used for large, public buildings or very expensive homes. Concrete made the addition of an arch or columns to a family home more accessible and these days with the development of lightweight decorative mouldings arches and columns have become a common sight throughout suburbia, adding a certain glamour to modern houses.

The Finishing Touch are leading suppliers of high quality decorative mouldings. Their lightweight mouldings are made from computer cut high grade EPS polystyrene and builders can choose from two styles of finish. The sandstone finish moulding is triple coated with a multi-part compound then reinforced with a triple coating of sand whereas the smooth finish moulding is reinforced with fibreglass mesh and coated with one or two coats of an impact resistant and flexible polymer modified cementitious render. Both coatings produce a durable exterior finish, which will not crack, shrink, expand or bend.

The Finishing Touch supply a wide range of decorative mouldings to suit most house styles, including French Provincial, Georgian and post-modern.  Recently the builder of a fifty squares home in Chadstone with North African influences called on the Finishing Touch to supply decorative mouldings for this already built modern home.  The addition of five round columns, each 200mm in diameter and 2.7metres high (model # RO200) with Tuscan capitals and Doric bases will ensure this house has a stunning façade. Another home in Old Warrandyte Road, Donvale required an Arch (model # M1), 120mm x 30mm, 1200 mm wide, along with 18 metres of parapet mouldings (model # P7180), 180mm x 95mm, 5 metres of window architraves (model # M1), 110mm x 30mm and 5.5 metres of flatband moulding (model # M120),  120mm x 30mm.

Decorative Mouldings For Properties in Glen Iris, Ballan and Geelong

An example of decorative mouldings

The Finishing Touch are steadily growing their reputation as suppliers of superior quality decorative mouldings, reliability and style across Victoria. They have just completed manufacture of decorative mouldings for a post-modern, two storey, thirty square home situated at 1751 Malvern Road, Glen Iris with the installation stage of the project about to commence.  They have supplied parapets measuring 180mm x 95mm ( model no. P7180) and window architraves 100mm x 45mm (model no. W1100).  The exterior mouldings will be installed to the front of the building façade, with the window architraves on five windows – three upstairs and two downstairs. The parapet will be installed mid-level between the ground floor and the first floor.  An interesting feature is that the parapets will be used to form a column capital atop the square columns at the entrance.

Two hundred and twenty metres of parapets and two hundred and forty metres of flatbands have recently been manufactured and installed on a single storey building of forty squares in Blakeville Road, Ballan in country Victoria. The parapets, model no. P7200, measure 200mm x 105mm, with the flatbands, model no. M120, measuring 120mm x 30mm.

Some Builders choose supply only of decorative mouldings, which the Builder for a property in Geelong recently did  for parapets and stringers  This single storey post-modern home has an under storey garage and seventy two metres of parapets, model no. M258B and measuring 258mm x 190mm were manufactured and supplied along with seventy two metres of stringers, model no. S1R2, measuring 90mm x 70mm recently by The Finishing Touch.

WELL Is The New Focus Of Building Design

Indoor Park 480 Queen St Brisbane

Indoor Park 480 Queen St Brisbane

Wellness and the health of occupants in building spaces is now one of the growing focusses for building practice around the world.  The launch of the Wellbeing standard by the International Well Building Institute last year has been well received around the world and an office building at 480 Queen Street, Brisbane is an example of the type of innovative practice that a WELL build incorporates. From a roof top tree grove that offers spectacular views and a conveniently located green space for its occupants to a 1,400 square metre in-building park that spans workspace and environment to activity-based open area workspaces that encourage mingling and collaboration,  this building is a market leader in energy efficiency, environmental performance and support for human health.

Currently the WELL Building Standard v1 is applicable to commercial and institutional office buildings, but IWBI has pilot versions of the standard that can be applied to new building sectors.

The introduction of The Finishing Touch Planter Box range, using the same manufacturing processes as their architectural decorative mouldings, couldn’t come at a better time, with this growing focus on healthy buildings. Plants of course have long been known to create a better air environment, one of the first principles of the WELL standard.  With lightweight Planter boxes plants can be placed inside or outside and easily moved to catch the light with the change of seasons.

Finishing Touch Planter Boxes

Finishing Touch Planter Boxes

Clustering of plants to create mini forests is elegantly achieved using the different sized Planter Boxes.  Continuity of style is achieved with Planter Boxes available in the design style to complement the style of the building. Gorgeous inside-outside living spaces, healthy buildings and style integrity is on the doorstep with the Finishing Touch Planter Box range on sale in September 2016.

Extending The Archtectural Style Of a Home To The Garden Area

New Range of Planter Boxes

New Range of Planter Boxes

Now that the range of Finishing Touch decorative mouldings has been expanded to include garden planter boxes it opens up the scope for builders, owner-builders and home owners to extend the style of the home into the courtyard and garden area of the property. For example, if the house is built in the French provincial style, the Finishing Touch have French provincial decorative mouldings that decorate the façade of the building, helping to create an authentic look. They can also supply French provincial style pier caps for the fencing, French provincial style planter boxes and French provincial style wall panels in the garden, extending the style from building to grounds to create an elegant and stunning exterior.

Likewise, any architectural style can be replicated on the planter boxes and wall panels for the garden and pier caps for the fencing. As well as the standard styles the Finishing Touch are also able to offer customised designs in the planter boxes and wall panels, as well as for any decorative mouldings used in a build. This opens up the possibilities even further for stylising a house.

If you are planning your build for spring be sure to consider the use of matching planter boxes in the courtyard and balcony areas of the home, as that is the e.t.a. for production of this new range. If you want to discuss your plans and get an obligation free quote, please contact Steve De Gregorio directly on (03) 9762 1676 in Melbourne or email

Decorative Mouldings for French Provincial, Victorian, Edwardian and Post-modern Styles



The Finishing Touch have been busy at 138 Cooper Street, Essendon with work in progress on the ground floor installing decorative mouldings, which is expected to be completed next week. The charming French provincial style, fifty square home will be finished with the addition of quoinings, French provincial parapets 250mm x 193mm, matching stringers 90mm x 70mm (model # SR4) French provincial window architraves 90mm x 40mm (model # W1090) and French provincial window sills to match 135mm x 185mm (model # WSR15). The front entrance of the house will be decorated with columns and French provincial window architraves used as a picture frame around the columns. These architraves measure 55mm x 27mm (model # W6R2). Plinths will also be installed at the bases of the columns, with chamfer.

Another French provincial style property, at sixty five squares, in Canterbury is under development. Many custom made decorative mouldings will be used on this build. They include:
chimney parapet and stringer
large parapet 300mm x 300mm
stringers as a small parapet 150mm x 135mm
eave parapet 155mm x 200mm
Ten arches all 1200mm wide
large window architraves 140mm x 65mm, with standard window sills to match (model #WSR15)
On the ground floor window blocks will go under the windows, in place of window sills; these measure 500mm x 205mm x 85mm. Plinths will be used around base of the building, measuring 900mm x 150mm and flat panels measuring 900mm x 60mm will be installed on the ground floor and the upper level.

Several properties had pier caps installed over the last week or so –
1A Thomas Street, East Brighton had fifteen pier caps, Victorian style, installed to complete the build. A post-modern house at 25 Pakington Street, Kew had originally had the Finishing Touch supply architectural decorative mouldings. Now ten pier caps are being ordered in Edwardian style to complete the exterior. A house at 94 Forrester Street, Essendon had pier caps as well as wall capping and plinths on external walls 400mm x 40mm, similar to a kicker on the base of the wall.

Don’t Lose Value On Your Home With Inferior Decorative Mouldings

Example of decorative mouldings creating a grand facade.

Example of decorative mouldings creating a grand facade.

A house with crumbling exterior mouldings or decorative mouldings that actually fall off the façade look neglected and loose value. This can happen in older homes where poor quality decorative mouldings have been installed, but it can even happen in brand new buildings.  The Finishing Touch, suppliers of high quality, lightweight, decorative mouldings, are often called upon to replace damaged mouldings on homes with their superior quality, long lasting exterior mouldings.

One such home was a large, one hundred squares, multi-storey home in Kew that had been recently built in a post-modern design.  This lovely home overlooking the Yarra River had substandard mouldings installed in the original build. Unfortunately, some were not completed, some were installed incorrectly, some weren’t even level, joins were visible with the mouldings not meeting and corners were broken with poor, patchy repairs. Thanks to the quality, competency and professionalism of the Finishing Touch, who repaired and replaced the decorative mouldings, this grand home now has the stunning finish it deserves. Another example was an older style home in Bulleen that had cracked concrete mouldings and was being restored. The Finishing Touch were able to replace these with high quality window architraves and sills , giving the façade of the old building a face lift!

There are many such stories but also matching decorative mouldings to those already installed, if of sufficient quality, is also something the Finishing Touch can do.  Builders trust the Finishing Touch to ensure that the new decorative mouldings blend in and complement those already on the house. The Finishing Touch are highly sought after because Builders have learnt that they are highly experienced, provide a superior quality product that lasts and give a seven year warranty on their moulding installations.

HIA Australian Housing Awards Winners

Award Winning Design The Eyrie

Award Winning Design The Eyrie

Congratulations to 2016 CRA-HIA Australian Housing Awards winner Sammut Developments for their house ‘Nautilus’, which is now the 2016 Australian Home of the Year.  This breathtaking seven bedroom, six-storey waterfront dream home captures resort style living with features like the geometric feature stair in the entry and added luxuries such as a home cinema, bowling alley, bar and music room.
The Finishing Touch are no strangers themselves to the HIA Awards, having been suppliers of architectural decorative mouldings for the HIA award winning design, The Eyrie several years ago. The builder Icon Synergy Pty Ltd met the challenge of transforming a large, ungainly and unfinished building into a stylish home and quasi gallery. The renovation won a Building Design Award 2013 from Building Design Association Victoria for Residential Design – Alterations & Additions over $500K and an Excellence in Housing Award from The Masters Builders Association for Best Renovation/Addition over $1M.
Categories for house construction or renovation for the HIA Awards are:
Custom Built Home
Individual house, which is designed and built on contract for a specific site meeting the requirements and brief of a client.
Display Home
Individual house on display to the public, which is intended to be reproduced as displayed, or with standard variations to suit a client’s requirements.
Project Home
Individual house based on a display home, sales brochure or similar, which is a repeatable design and has been tailored to suit the needs of the client and site.
Renovations/Additions Project
An extension or renovation involving structural building work to an existing house or other residential building. Renovate/ upgrade a group of apartments, villas, townhouses or convert a non-residential building into a residential building.
Spec Home
Individual house, not built to a client’s brief or on display to the public. The house is to be sold off plan or built for sale upon completion (or during construction).

There are 11 awards in all, including categories for multi dwelling residences, bathrooms and kitchens.