The Ups and Downs of Stairs

When we bought this house, the stairway was creepy creepy. The treads were short in length and the plaster walls on either side seemed to squish you. Especially since the left hand wall, as you went up, became slanted with the shape of the roof. Plus they were dark - no overhead lights, no lights from the front door foyer area below - only one blue glass light in the hallway upstairs.

To solve this - and this was one of my first brilliant ideas, was to eliminate the right hand wall. As you can see in the picture, the stairway empties into the frontdoor foyer/downstairs hallway area. (The downstairs hallway, by the way, used to be a long, useless closet. Can you imagine?) By eliminating a wall, the stairs feel more open and it gives the small area a much grander appearance.

On the upstairs side of things, we eliminated the dark stupid sketchy hallway, (as I think I've mentioned before) eliminated the hot, unventiated attic and created a cathedral ceiling, and made three rooms and a hallway into two large rooms with closets where no closets had previously existed.

Here's a picture of the shape of the right side of the upstairs office/den. Now, if you imagine that you're at this very moment visiting me and Mike - and we're very friendly to visitors and always have drinks and snacks on hand, please consider yourself welcome any time - anway. Mike and I are giving you a tour of the house and you are now standing in this very spot in the upstairs office/den.

Now, if you look to your right, you'll see my second brilliant idea regarding the stairs. To further that open feeling - and the cathedral ceiling certainly helps tall people because previously, the ceiling beat down so close to Mike's head, it was uncomfortable for him especially to walk up the stairs. To further further that open feeling though, I decided not to put up a right side wall in the office/den. Therefore, as you're coming up the stairs, you have open space on the bottom and the top. And, eventually, in the office/den, there will be a nice railing so you don't trip and fall to the first floor.

Ahhh, behold the splendor of the stairs!!! Now, at the top of this pic, you can just barely see that there is no wall in the upstairs, and obviously, on the bottom, the wall just follows the stairs. It doesn't go up and make you feel all claustrophobic as Mike and I give you the grand tour. And can you believe that hallway was a closet?! It was made to be a hallway! Previously, you had to walk through the downstairs bedroom to get upstairs. Pointless! (Downstairs bedroom is to the left of the front door.) We also eliminated the door from the living room, to the downstairs bedroom. Hello privacy!

Ok, those are the ups of stairs. Now for the downs. We discovered after taking all the walls down, that the stairs were not stable. They were barely being held up! So, if you look at the first pic in this post, you'll see Mike tacking the old treads on a new stair scaffolding. Of course, when we made a new stair scaffolding, taken in consideration with drywall, the old treads were not long enough. But, because at that time we had no new treads, Mike tacked on the old treads for temporary.... they've miraculously held up for 8 months now.

I made this sign to warn the electrician and, later, the drywallers - before I knew they were scum-bags who I would later wish bodily injury.

In the above pic, the drywall is up. However, we were royally screwed by our drywall guys and the drywall was not done correctly. The idiots broke the drywall that was supposed to form around the steps and it can't really be fixed. Grrrr! So this weekend Mike's been mudding and sanding away, trying to fix all the mistakes in the hallway/stairway. We've procrastinated this area of the house long enough - it's the only spot that hasn't been primed for paint!

We'd also been storing brand new treads in the downstairs closet... unfinished. So this weekend we grabbed some Varnish/Stain (it's all in one now, ooooo!) and began to stain. Those treads look gorgeous! I can't wait to get them on! When they're on I can start thinking about a nice railing! Of course, I need some new hardwood floors to match. I already picked out the ones I want from lumber liquidators, but the house has to be lifted first, I won't have new floors shifting around!


Greg said...

Hello friendly Blogers if you are thinking about building stairs and building stairs Ideas for Home Construction projects. If you own a home and need to work on building stairs then al I want to say is Yea.... I wood love to let you in on a secret about home repairs... People ask me all the time about building stairs and they want to know simple ways to solve ther problems ...well I have the answers and If you go to http://stairs444.com building stairs and go through the site you will find what you are looking for... what can I say butt get going ...