Thursday, January 10, 2013

Renovations...The Stairs

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!

Restored Balustrade

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.

Flight One

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.

Flight Two

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.

 Flight ThreeFlight Four

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.


sarah said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to share this! I find it so interesting especially because we live in an old house too. Not as old as your house! The stairs look great!

Kitschy Coo said...

Serious and pathological house envy going on over here!

Anonymous said...

Hi Millie,
I nominated you for a Liebster Blog Award. You can see the post here:

Have a lovely day, Ana Sofia

Kath said...

I love your banister! What a beautiful design. Good luck with putting up with the work and the dust.

justmejay said...

The stairs are gorgeous, Millie - looking forward to more house renovation posts!
(Plenty of house envy here too ;-) )

Cindy said...

Smart decision to shore up the stairs first! That's great that you all were able to keep a lot of the original stair on the lower half.:)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. I see I'm not the only one with stair/house envy!

Millie said...

Thank you Sarah...I always love hearing about your house!

Thank you, but don't be too envious'll look like a bomb site soon!

Thank you so much Ana Sofia! You're very kind!

Thank you Kath...I am not looking forward to the next round of dirt and dust.

Thank you Justine...I will try and keep everyone posted here.

Thanks Cindy....The stairs were in a sorry state...It is nice to see them "working" again.

Millie said...

Thank you Ana...I would want to love the stairs, I will be using them lots. They cover 3 storeys!
ps..we must have been writing our comments at exactly the same time!

runciblespoon said...

So beautiful, all the way up! House envy here too...
I'm glad they will be protected from the workmen over the next few months, even though it's a shame to cover them up.

motherof5 said...

I agree with Catherine but what a treasure to uncover.

NiamhG said...

It's really coming along. I love the banisters, really pretty.


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