The New England School of Architectural Woodworking has the best definition we could find for architectural woodwork as:
“…all the wood exposed to view when the building is completed. This includes residential and commercial cabinetry (kitchens, baths, storage, offices, closets), doors, windows, stairs, paneling, trim, and shelving. Almost everything made of wood, built into or attached to the interior of a building.”
Architectural mill work is not limited to built-in to a structure. It can be a free-standing piece such as a rolling kitchen island or a external decoration or visual frame for a door or window. Architectural millwork can be either stock “off-the-shelf”, semi-custom, or custom. If a builder is hoping to create a unique style for a home mill work is the easiest way to stand apart as the off the shelf trim and kitchen types are so uniform they loose personality.
Exterior architectural millwork is not part of the interior of a building. It can include exterior trim, balusters, gable decorations, and colums . Exterior millwork add visual interest to the outside of a structure and so they acquire the architectural label. In times past the craft of home building was more individualized and filled with detail. Gepetto craftsmen have renovated and restored hundreds of Richmond and Virginia historic projects bringing the detail and charm back from guilded age homes.