The Coolest Staircase Ever!

I've always had in mind that I wanted a staircase to the loft in Annabelle's room. Exactly what I wanted that staircase to be wasn't quite clear, but I did know that I didn't want to lose the footprint of the space that the stairs took up. If there's one thing our house does, it's use the space in the every little nook and cranny, and I wanted to continue that with these stairs.

Because there were so many things to design with this house, the stairs didn't actually get designed until this past Christmas break. I sat down with google sketch up and a few inspiration pics that I found online, and sketched up what my dream stairs would be if cost wasn't an issue. Once I had them designed, I fell in love with them!

When we got back from Christmas break, the house was just at the point that the rooms had been painted so there were 1000 other things to do and I forgot about the stairs until time for final inspection was nearing. Although the stairs were designed to code, our "lofts" are technically "plant shelves" on the permitting so I couldn't even give the idea that stairs were going in until inspections were totally done. Finally, near the end of February, I got a good friend (who also happens to be an excellent carpenter) to give me a quote on my dream staircase. He did, and although the number was higher than I had budgeted in my head, it was definitely a fair price and something that I wanted to do the right way now so we went for it. And I sure am glad that we did!

Here is my original design:

Here is the actual finished product:

The stairs were designed to be 3 feet wide to allow for a wall railing on the right side and no railings on the left side of the stairs. I did this in hopes of keeping the shelving the primary focus of the staircase instead of the stairs part. We will see how this works out safety-wise once the wall railing is installed. If it doesn't, then I have already considered the future addition of a railing on the left if necessary. Also, I made the stairs that wide to allow for a play space underneath the stairs. The shelves are only about 1 foot deep so that leaves 2 feet of space behind with access through the door under the landing (the door isn't installed yet, but will be soon).

As you can see, there are a few minor tweaks including adding vertical support in one of the lower stairs (the shelf was split vertically) and the shelves at the tallest point in the stair case were added instead of the blank panel. I originally designed the blank panel thinking it would be a good play area and would also allow for placing furniture in that corner without blocking any shelves. When the carpenter asked me about it, I told him I wasn't in love with that idea so he could do shelves there if he wanted to... but only if there was a secret back opening built into one of the shelves for puppet shows, etc. So he did... and there is!

While my amazing carpenter, Mark Ely, definitely did the hardest part, I was impressed with myself for designing such an amazing piece of furniture and for doing a good bit of the finishing work (caulking the edges, spackling the holes, and painting the entire thing) myself. I learned a lot in the process, and hope to learn more as I attempt to design and construct the wall railing myself... which will actually consist of a standard height wall railing and a lower, smaller railing (for smaller hands) below that at little kid height. Stay tuned...

13 comments:

Christina said...

I seriously am in awe with that. You are amazaing. I cannot imagine how in love with that Annabelle must be. I'm 30 years old and I want a staircase like that in my room!!!!

Nicole4FLDU said...

I've seen this in person and keri did an amazing job designing this staircase! keri, you missed your calling in life - you should have your own design show on HGTV!

Sally said...

As a Brit, I don't often (i.e. ever) use this word, but those stairs are awesome!

Nikki said...

Seriously... I had totally forgotten that you were doing that kind of stair case. It came out freaking awesome! Your kids better be sooooo good to you for treating them so well! :)

It's kinda funny knowing that my kid(s) will be in there doing puppet shows too! So thanks! I hope my kids are sooooo good to you too! :)

Scott and Dalana Zech said...

Your right that is the greatest staircase ever.

memento said...

That staircase looks really great. I am not sure I would leave the railing out though. But maybe your kids are of a calmer kind than ours ;-)

ljkolumbus said...

I've said it before.. I may be your Mom and brought you into this world but you amaze me! The whole addition is wonderful and the stairs are great but..as the Grammy in this picture, I would still like a railing!- kids running and one side tumble and ER here we come (ok, I'll chill until you're done)

Anonymous said...

It is VERY cool! Good job Marc and Keri! I love the look of it being open, but I personally would be very nervous about the kids falling. Even at 5 and 7 I would be nervous, but I'm a little crazy that way :)

Kathy

megAstar said...

Amazing job...can't wait to see the whole new barn overhaul!

Keri Donald said...

I'm commenting on my own blog and probably won't have anyone else reading it after this, but I have to point out that ladders don't have "railings" on the side, so this really isn't any less safe than that or a rock wall or something like that.

A railing isn't totally out of the question, but it isn't in my immediate plans until I see how the wall railing works out.

memento said...

Well, at least someone is reading it... :-) Ladders and rock walls do have one advantage over stairs: children won't go running up and down them, and certainly not side by side, so the risk of accidentally pushing each other off is a bit less. But we have bunker beds here with a ladder, and the children do fall off the ladder occasionally while climbing up. Luckily it's not very high, so they've only had minor black and blues.
But I guess you're not intending to leave them play by themselves there either, so you can probably wait and see how much risk they take...

Bill Rowe said...

Good stuff - it looks great!

If you want a crazy idea for the handrail, what about a stepladder design so you don't disrupt the lines of the bookcase?

Angelle said...

I like the idea of the stepladder design for a railing.