Sunday, April 24, 2016

Stairwell Before and After

Once upon a time our stairwell was narrow, dark and fully walled off from the rest of the house.
When we gutted the upstairs last summer we ripped out the walls surrounding the stairs and built a new, wider set of stairs.  The temporary stair rail has served its purpose since August, but with the rest of the first floor finished it was time for something a little more elaborate.
We don't like the more ornate turned balusters and newel posts that are readily available from the big box stores.  And the maple ones I could custom order were over our budget.  So Luke and I figured out what materials we would need and I picked up a couple 12' 6/4 boards to work with.
I usually assist Luke with this kind of project.  He has much more experience and I'm happy to just be his helper, but that weekend he was busy designing our sprinkler system (and watching march madness) so I ended up trying most of this on my own. I was able to lam the boards together without too much trouble but using the router table to create the flutes and rounded edges was stressful.  I haven't done a lot of router work and one mistake could mean having to start over.
The new railing is both sturdier and looks nicer than the 2x4's.  The balusters are powder coated aluminum intended for outdoor use, but we like the clean look they give the interior of the house.
As a finishing touch I finally installed the tread lights that were roughed in last summer.
Obviously they won't be completely finished until we carpet the basement but they're good enough for now.