A while ago we had some work done to the farmhouse that we are restoring. Work on the house has been slow, but we are now just about ready to plough into the bulk of the work, or in reality, choose someone else to plough into the bulk of the work!
We decided a long time ago that we should have the staircase restored and then protected in advance of the main work, because it seems to be the original staircase and dates the house to 1760 to 1780. The Balustrade is quite unusual for a country house, it has remained intact...amazingly, and is what dates the stairs.
The top step had parted company with the main landing on the upper floor (first floor for us, second floor for you Americans) and the top step was starting to collapse. It was not able for any traffic, let alone heavy building traffic.
We found a carpenter who specialised in restoration, through our Architect. He is Danish, and has been living in Ireland for 10 years, and quite unlike most people you meet! He is so full of, and free with knowledge!
Anyway, the plan was to save as much of the old wood, and structure of the stairs as was possible, but as is typical on this type of project, we found that some of it was worse than we had expected. Woodworm had made mincemeat of some of the pine...and all that could be done was to replace it. Flemming (the carpenter) turned treads into risers, and so on, he did the best he could. Overall, we are very happy with the end results.
The stairs goes up through the centre of the house, with a room either side of it at each level. It goes up half way and then turns, and up the rest of the way. On this part the "going" is very easy...long shallow steps make it very gentle to climb, or even run up, two at a time.
Then there is a door, with stairs beyond it, which leads to an open attic, again turning half way. This stairs is steep, and enclosed, it was only ever meant for bringing up things to store, or perhaps was used by staff in the house for sleeping quarters...who knows, but it was not meant to be seen by all and sundry.
When it came to the restoration, this part of the stairs was in the worst condition. It was given completely new treads and risers.
We are thrilled at how well it has turned out...we did not want to lose all the character and age of the stairs. I hope we didn't! Sadly, as soon as it was finished and the oil was dry, the whole stairs was covered from tip to toe in plywood to prctect it from the traffic it will get during the main buiding work...I am looking forward to seeing it again soon, and to one day using them....hopefully.