Thursday, February 13, 2020

Creating a Bold Staircase

For the last 5 months, every single building product had to be dragged up and down ladders.  As you can imagine, that got old in a hurry!   The original staircase in the house was unsafe, so we had to install a new one.  But it was a big job, so it waited until late in the project.

And because it's the first thing you see as you come in the front door, I wanted it to be dramatic.  The stairwell is tall, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking water views.  It's a wow!!  And it brings so much light into the house, the staircase needs to be open, light and bright.

My first thought was to do one of the new metal open staircases with giant treads - but as many of you pointed out, the metal frame would feel like a commercial building and I was worried it would be noisy (would it sounds like a fire escape every time you went up and down the stairs??).

So instead, I set my heart on wood stringers and big giant treads.  That would give us the best of both worlds, the open look I wanted and a warm, natural material.  And the guys were game to custom build them!

First up was creating the giant treads.  I wanted white oak and we quickly learned from local experts that you can't get a solid slab of white oak 3 3/4" thick, because white oak tends to check and crack when you get a piece that large.  So instead, they had to custom build box treads - all 24 of them!

Once they were built, they had to be sanded and stained, to exactly match the rest of the flooring.

Stained and finished - ready to be installed
But the most challenging part of the project was creating each run of stairs.  The stringers are actually beams - large timbers of fir that were planed down to give us a full 3x12 inch stringer.  They were cut to shape and then the treads were bolted in one by one.

Once each run was completed, they were carefully lifted to connect with the landing.
First set of stairs in place!
Admiring their handiwork!
These are incredibly heavy and incredibly solid.  Once they were in place, they didn't move!!

To hide the holes, they custom made plugs and popped them into place.

And suddenly, we can run from the first floor all the way to the third floor!  What a novel concept.  It feels like such a luxury after all these months of ladders :-)
  We're still finalizing the railing design and will move forward with that soon.  In the meantime, I think I'll run up and down the stairs a few more times, just for fun!  

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  1. So awesome to see how this was done. Can't wait to see the finished product!

  2. Whoa, that is one solid staircase. Great job!

  3. Wowza amazing craftsmanship and beautiful design!


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