This is an 1894 blueprint of the second-floor stair hall. The top of the image is north, and the exterior wall has three arched stained-glass windows (extant). In the middle you see a large rectangle. That is an opening to the main level. The stair was built as drawn, except for the few steps hugging the north wall. These steps were actually built around the corner a bit, hugging the east wall.
In 1929 alterations converted the house into apartments. The drawing shows how the original expansive stair opening was significantly reduced so two kitchens could be created. I suspect that these alterations were designed by the original architect, Charles Squires.
The very first thing I did after buying the house was to demolish the 1929 wall. This did wonders in returning light into the long dark upper hall.
With the wall gone, I then started removing the 1929 flooring so the 1894 expansive opening could be recreated.
The 1894 expansive opening…expansive once again. This was SUCH a thrill!
I then put the north balustrade back in its original position, and installed 2×4 railings elsewhere.
And this is how things have remained for almost four years. See the angled 2×4 rail? That mimics how the 1894 railing was.
Yesterday, I did something fabulous! I started work on restoring the staircase! WHOEE!!!!!!!! The arrow points to the lower portion of a sawed-off newel post. And…
…thank God that I have the upper portion! How fun it will be to reunite them after 88-years!!!!!!!!
I also have three sections of balustrade which were stored in the house after being removed in 1929. This section is in good shape.
This section was scorched in a 1999 fire while stored in the attic.
And this section was also scorched. It is just tacked in place.
A light sanding revealed that the wood is NOT scorched. It is just soot covered although the soot is almost like a varnish finish.
With the soot removed, no charring is evident. I was quite surprised.
The missing section of angled rail for the east side.
I have enough pieces to recreate the east side although I will likely order a new handrail so it is contiguous (rather than being three pieces).
The west side. Everything where the 2×4 railing is will need to be recreated, including the flat oak trim below the balustrade.
This is the bottom “shoe”. The spindles sit in this. So, I need some new shoe.
I need 16 spindles. Between the spindles are fillet pieces. I need these, too.
The handrail is fabulous. Large, as well. I need more.
So, I need:
Handrail for the east and west balustrades.
Length of shoe.
Length of fillet.
Oak trim for under balustrade.
All of this will have to be custom made. Knifes will have to created and this is $$$$. Luckily, I do not need much of anything so the material costs will, I hope, be reasonable. The BIG trick will be matching the 1894 wood, which looks like straight-grain oak but somebody told me it is…something else. I don’t remember!
Luckily, I have all the newel posts.
Recently, I contacted a high-end millwork shop about 90-minutes to the west. I am hoping they can come by to see the stair and help with all the missing bits.
I don’t anticipate that all this will be done quickly but am hoping that the 2018 Year End Report will include — drum roll, please — images of a wholly restored staircase.
And oh what a glory it will be.