Posted in renovation, tagged stairs on September 16, 2009|
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Things are looking up at Casa Dos Gatos. We have stairs! This is so exciting. I think these stairs represent the first really new, built from scratch, obvious structural improvement that we’ve seen yet in the house.
A real stairway!
I say obvious structural improvement, because as cool as the laminated veneer lumber (LVL) header in the kitchen is, it’s not really something that jumps out at you when you walk in the house. But these stairs on the other hand…I think they look great. And it will be much easier to walk up these graciously rising stairs than it would be the old ones.
Head-on shot of the stairs
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Even though we only had one carpenter on the job today, we got a third of our new stairway built. As a reminder, this is what our living room and the original stairs looked like when we first saw the house:
We’re rebuilding the stairway to bring it up to code so it will be less steep and have wider treads. The original stairs felt child-sized, which was sort of charming in its own way, but not great for actually carrying a child up and down on. Here is today’s progress: the old stairway is gone, and one new stringer is in place and ready to go.
Stringer in place.
Because the new stairway will be less pitched, it will be longer, and because of that, we had to take out the door (our home’s second front door) that was located about two feet away from the bottom of the old stairwell. It goes against code to have the last step of a stairwell abutting a door (which makes sense, if you think about it). Right now there’s a hole where the door used to be, covered with plywood. We’ll be installing a standard-sized window there soon. I wanted to install a round window about two feet in diameter near the bottom of the stairs, “caddy-corner” to where the door used to be, to let in light from the north side of the house and perhaps even give us a glimpse of the bay down at the bottom of our street. (I thought a round window would look neat, kind of like a porthole.) Unfortunately, a round window apparently costs about $2500, so that’s not happening. We’re looking into installing a square one, but we might just have to wait until the next round of remodeling.
The stair landing, and all the treads, will be pine.
Chuck (the new carpenter) wrote his cutting instructions right on the plywood covering the hole in the side of our house where the door used to be.
Meanwhile, on sawhorses set up in the kitchen, the second stringer is all cut out and ready to rise–tomorrow, if all goes well.
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Stairway to Heaven.
Okay, so these aren’t really the new stairs, but the old ones are officially gone! The OSB the ladder is on top of in the picture is covering the cavity to the basement. The cavity to the second floor is now expanded to accommodate the forthcoming new stairway. Said stairway was to be tricked out in temporary OSB treads until we could afford hardwood, but today we decided, with Ben’s help, to use Pine as a semi-permanent alternative. Real wood will make us feel more settled I think, and the bullnose routing will only take an hour or so for our master carpenter, Michael (pictured below). For now though, the ladder feels like such a step forward!
Moustache Michael, the Master Carpenter!
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