in between spaces; renovating the stairwell…

sometimes i am not clear how we ever came to purchase this fair property where we now reside… when i look back at images like this before picture of the staircase, i’m shocked that i ever even considered it… as you can see from this image, someone who was clearly too tall for this house, must have continued to hit their head on the stairs, until one day they decided to just take out a hatchet and cut a space for them to pass…

there were originally two ways to get to the stairs from the house, both equally displeasing… through a door which led directly outside from the base of the stairs, or straight through what was intended to be a guest room… neither made sense, and both served to sever the first and second floors from one another…

the doug fir stairs were cloaked in a hideous and filthy paisley polyester rug, and the fiberboard walls, made to look like bead board, painted a nauseating color of pink… i think the very first thing i did after we closed on the house was rip out that carpet…

the banister had been mangled by some bygone dog left to its own devices, and the stair treads were about to collapse…

the first thing we did was to remove the door to nowhere, and replace it with a casement window from marvin integrity which we found in a salvage yard for $60… we ripped out the oppressive overhang, demoed all the walls in the stairwell, rewired and re-insulated the entire thing, and then dry walled over top… let me tell you, do not attempt to drywall in a 12′ high space, over the top of rickety stairs, at 3 am… it is not fun, and it is not good for the longevity of any relationship…

we also carved out a sleeping nook, complete with a ladder, in one of the four small attic/closet spaces, just big enough for a double bed, wall sconce and a little wiggle room…

underneath the stairwell, we carved out a space for a 27″ flat screen tv, our first ever, which will eventually hide behind a drawing by our friend halsey chait

the space is now light filled and bright, thanks to two coats of benjamin moore natura paint in atrium white, and trim painted the same bm pale oak as we used throughout the upstairs… the stairs were scrubbed, taped off and painted atrium white on the edges of the treads and the risers…

we fashioned an airy pendant lamp out of two found objects, some left over cord from an ingo maurer pendant, and a porcelain socket…

in order to create a more modern juxtaposition with the original doors of the house, left on in necessary areas like the bathroom and guest room, we opted to leave all of the common space door jambs open, which we lined in reclaimed chestnut barn wood, aged to a perfect grey… we also reinvented the banister and ladder up to the sleeping loft with simple metal plumbing pipe; sanded, primed and painted in high gloss black for continuity… in the background, the reclaimed barn wood wall features an as-yet- unfinished inset glass bar…

looking from the den into the stairwell is now light filled and appealing, finally serving as a link between our two floors… the white washed doug fir floors also blend nicely with the chestnut wood door jambs and pale oak trim…

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4 comments

  1. I can’t believe how much you have transformed that place. The before pics are so scary! You guys should be very proud of your vision! It’s beautiful!

    • materiadesigns

      Can you believe we went for it? I still can’t most of the time. Now, being in the space is so satisfying! even though it was horrifying, I have to say it has been worth it…

  2. Amy

    Wow! What a transformation. Hopefully, seeing the finished product will make it worth all the pain! Beautiful work you two!

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