Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Staircase Reborn

Let's begin with the end this time. Here is the staircase after spending all last winter being semi-high on paint fumes and stripper solution.  But being able to stand back and see it finished has been the most rewarding of all the projects we have taken on.

Here are the humble beginnings.

Hey, be kind, you would look like this too after 100 years of people stepping on you.

I actually got goosebumps when my husband pulled off the old 1970's paneling to reveal the original handcrafted paneling.  We also discovered the arched doorway to the right of the stairs that had been covered up for decades.

Check out the orb just above the railing.  I was pretty convinced that we had released the spirit of a former resident when I first saw this picture.  It honestly kept me up for a few nights until my photographer friend promised that a dust particle can give this effect.

We were fortunate to find
  Cody Wright
(guy on the right, ha,ha) to do most of the restoration.  I love what this guy can do to an old house . I have followed him around to some of his other projects and they are amazing.   I just may have become a bit of a Cody groopie.   

The pictures tell the story.....

Each of the spindles had to be stripped of a bigillion (that's more than a million) layers of old paint and sanded.  That was my job.  There are 42 of them and I feel I have a personal relationship with each one.  It took me about two months.

Notice how the handrail is all one piece and was bent into a
 curve somehow, someway?  We were careful not to mess with it. 
 That could never be replaced.

Check out the decorative corner pieces?  Cody duplicated the original broken pieces by hand.  They are a perfect match.  

All of the stair treads were completely worn out and had to be replaced.  So what do you do when your bedroom is upstairs and the stairs are gone?  You take a ladder to a second story window and jump in. 

The newel post was rewired for the new light.

I like to think the original carpenter who built these stairs would be very pleased to see them today.  And the best part for me.....no more creaky stairs.

More remodeling fun here.

Linking up to Metamorphosis Monday here


  1. Wow, I am seriously impressed! The project turned out so beautifully. That arched doorway is a gem. You should be very proud of yourselves.

    1. Andrea,

      Thanks so much for taking a look. I must admit I have found a ton of inspiration on your blog! Thanks for sharing your great sense of style with us.

  2. What a beautiful staircase! I love the art nouveau light fixture on the newel post. Looks like you put a ton of time and TLC into restoring/refinishing it. Nice job!

    1. Thanks Megan! I'm so happy to find you. Your blog has so much great info on what to do with these old houses.

  3. That is a masterpiece! Like Megan, think the Art Nouveau light is fabulous. A nice choice and apropos of the age. You did a wonderful job and should be quite pleased at how well it turned out. Think finding the door was amazing. What fun (well, now that it's all done). Kudos!

  4. W-O-W. Can you imagine covering up that arch or that original paneling?!

    The end result is fantastic!

  5. oh. my. gosh. you are making me want to rip down the wood paneling and see what's under them on my 100 yr old stair case! Oh wait...I just looked and we have similar decorative thingies still exposed ... just painted horrific colors. You have given me hope. I'm going to show this post to my husband, but not the parts about how long this took :P

  6. That is the most gorgeous thing EVER!!!!! I am madly in love with the curved door opening. Does that mean you have a new under the stairs closet or does it lead to nowhere? What a huge amount of work, but you did such a perfect job! The original woodworker is weeping tears of joy right now!!!

    Absolutely GORGEOUS!!!! (I don't use 4 exclamation marks lightly!)

    1. It was actually the original access to the stairs that go to a very scary basement area. There is another access from the backside but we decided to keep this one open too. Wow, I am so pleased to have earned the 4 exclamation mark of approval!!!!

  7. Dear Lynn....

    Swoon....swoon.... S-W-O-O-N! This is sooooo TIMELESS-n-TRENDY! Simply amazing. Fantastic craftsmanship... and yes, the original builder would be so proud. This is art my friend, art.

    Please clone Cody for me and send him in my direction. Although, I recently moved into a high-rise condo downtown... to me... this is what life is all about!

    Way to go!
    Double-Wide in the Sky

  8. Amazing! Love that little doorway that you discovered.

  9. Ash @ HumberHomeProjectMay 18, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    Is it weird that I just fell in love with your staircase? Because I totally did. It is gorgeous - and I love that you even uncovered the arched doorway - what a bonus!
    It all looks incredible - I'm sure if stairs had feelings, they'd love you for restoring them :)

  10. Lisha @ 1house1coupleMay 18, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Wow! That is so beautiful! It took so much work! You must be so proud of that!!! My husband and I tore down the staircase and built a whole new one in our house, so I can definitely appreciate a nice set of stairs!!! ;)


  11. So gorgeous! (i love all the character in old homes.)

  12. That is gorgeous! I don't blame you for contracting that work out though! We're in the middle of renovating our staircase also but sadly can't contract any of the work out. Mine isn't quite as detailed and as rich with characters as yours. Just your basic builder oak stairs. Looking back it probably would have been smarter to contract it out. During the reno, I fell from the sixth step down to the hard wood, slamming my face into the floor. And $1200 later in dental bills. The renovation that keeps on giving.....