Stairway to nowhere

Posted by in Renovations, The House

You could see through the old stairs. They also bounced considerably. It was one of the main concerns to deal with, before anything heavy could be carried up the stairs, to redo them.

The old stairs had a metal railing. It was original to the house, but to be honest, I didn’t really care for it. I thought it was a later, cheap addition. Anyway, they wouldn’t pass, as the new stairs would need to be up to building code standards. So the railings had to go. Then came the question of what they could look like instead. Officially, we probably should have submitted drawings to the city and have a public hearing etc., but we ended up bending the “replace like for like” rules a bit. They’re very similar, except for the railings.


Old stairs:

Old view from the street


It was a matter of time when someone’s foot would go through.


Then they were gone.







They kept the original siding. It’s wide boards made to look like skinny boards.



The back yard stairs also needed to go. 



They were also pretty rotted out, and the height of the railing and the spacing between the spindles wasn’t up to snuff.

End result is nice and simple. The original posts at the end look like they need a finial, don’t you think?









Front stairs end result: after some convincing and eyelash batting, I got them to do the spindles in threes instead of evenly spaced. I think it adds a nice, craftsman-y / jugendstil-vibe. And cost only a minor headache to the carpenter, who had to do the math.



We’re still undetermined on what kind of newels to add to the stairs. The right thing to do would be to take the one remaining gable drop (the ball hanging upside down above the window) and recreate that exact shape for all windows and use a similar shape for the stairs.

But doing custom work can be kinda expensive.

Especially since you can order close matches online for $20 each. In this instance, we’ll probably go with “appropriate for the time period” instead of “historically accurate replica”.

But looking at those stairs makes me happy every time. So simple, and so fancy at the same time. Much better than swirly wrought iron, if you ask me!

They will get painted when the whole house gets spiffed up.