noviceatthis

Any ideas what to do with this staircase?!!!

design novice
4 years ago
last modified: 4 years ago

I would love your suggestions with this staircase! It was built in the 1960s (yup building regs would never approve it now, would they?!) and is solid, English oak so it would be good to preserve it. As the floor is wood as well I was thinking of breaking up the all wood effect with a white primed softwood newel post and white handrail with glass inserts.

I am not sure whether to get the glass cut around the treads and somehow secure it or to somehow attach it to the treads. I have had various carpenters look at it and they have all seemed a bit phased by it all!. I have called a glazing company and they have said the carpenter needs to template any design. It has become very frustrating!!!

One thing is certain, I need advice and I need to make these stairs an awful lot safer than they are! One more thing, I was thinking of also wrapping carpet around the treads, as they are quite slippery, to make it cosier and also again to break up all the wood. Has anyone done this with an open staircase What do you reckon? Thank you in advance

Comments (31)

  • PRO
    Bathroom Eleven
    4 years ago

    How about metal - like this


    What are you thinking of using the space under the stairs for?


    Shannon

    design novice thanked Bathroom Eleven
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  • PRO
    ClosaBespoke
    4 years ago

    Before you decide on finishes i would ask yourself a few questions that might help you narrow down your options. What is the aesthetic you are aiming for? What is the style of the rest of the house? What is the architecture of the house inspiring you to do? Is it modern, contemporary or a traditional look you are trying to achieve. Without narrowing down your vision the options are unlimited so before anything decide the overall look you want to achieve and then we would be more than happy to help you explore your options further.


    We hope this helps

    Many thanks

    The Closa Bespoke Team

    www.closabespoke.com

    design novice thanked ClosaBespoke
  • Jonathan
    4 years ago
    If you are thinking of adding a carpet there is no reason to keep the original as no one will see the oak.
    Investigate buying a brand new staircase and you will likely find it is cost effective.
    design novice thanked Jonathan
  • Laura Thomas
    4 years ago
    We had/have similar, but in mahogany or iroko. We did find ours had nothing fixing it in place as they had snapped off or bent due to the wood being so hard, and it had just been resting there since the early 70's.

    As we had 2 under 3 when we moved in and it wasn't to our taste we blocked in the backs of the treads and fitted regular newel, handrail and spindles (it will be carpeted when we get round to it).

    Yours in oak it isn't dated like ours was and would look great with glass inserted under a handrail or the metal as above.

    In the past 18 months only my husband has slipped the once although it was pretty alarming as he went from 3/4 of the way up whilst holding the baby! Other than is it has been no worse than carpet.
    design novice thanked Laura Thomas
  • Liz
    4 years ago
    Is a lovely mid-century modern design feature. It's all coming back in fashion now. Don't rip it out but sensitively alter for safety.

    Try to take inspiration from classic Danish, scandi and mid century design. Possibly vertical full height slats.

    Best of luck
    design novice thanked Liz
  • design novice
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Thank you so much for your comments :-) Shannon, the metal looks great in that pic but the hallway is very narrow so I am not sure if the space would be enough for it. Daisy, the pics look fantastic. What bolts did you use to fix the glass and did you template every fixing point for the bolts? Also did you cut a groove in the handrail for it to sit in? Closabespoke I would like something modern if possible to suit the rest of the house decor. At the moment the staircase looks very dated and very wood heavy for the space which is why I was thinking about breaking it up with white, primed wood. Jonathan, yes take your point about carpet but I was thinking of leaving the sides of the tread in wood, like in this pic below. Laura, poor hubby and baby, yes we have also had a fall and that's why I am keen to get this sorted asap before there is another! Liz, love the slats but need to lighten up the space as it is quite a dark hallway.


    I quite like the carpet going fully across the treads in the second picture. What do you think? One more thing I forgot to mention is that the carpenters have also said it would be tricky to blend new oak with old which is another reason I have contemplated painted newels and handrails. This is certainly the biggest challenge I have had with the house so far and it would be great to find a solution to it, I am all ears and thanks again!


  • broomelawson
    4 years ago

    What's the theme of your home? Modern? Traditional? Mid-century? Industrial? Once you identify that, you can find a safety solution that fits your theme. Odd that carpenters are non-plussed--all I know are full of solutions, though sometimes not in keeping with my style. Still......One thought about carpeting on stairs--it can be just as slippery as bare wood. If you really don't want to slip, check into treading that's used commercially--some of it is quite attractive, even edgy for residential applications. Good hunting! Toby

    design novice thanked broomelawson
  • PRO
    User
    4 years ago

    In the first picture it seems like the staircase overshoots the doorway behind ( it looks wider that than the stretch of wall )

    I like bits of all the pics but not one in total.

    I think i'd fill most of it in, maybe with the glass if that's your thing, but with carpet on the treads for safety and sound deadening.

    Glass stairs are not great with kids about, too many little fingers marking the glass. It's a tricky one, but unless the house commands that you need a feature staircase, then i'd go with ordering a 'standard' new one and then utilising the space underneath.

    design novice thanked User
  • Kris Brewster
    4 years ago
    Example of a similar staircase with modern glass. We are getting it removed though due to kids.
    design novice thanked Kris Brewster
  • PRO
    SHADES INTERIORS
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I have a glass bannister, same system as above but kept the original Timber handrail and top and bottom posts.


    here's a company in West Bromwich , in the Midlands called Sagull , they provide all the components apart from the Glass. I draw up my own template , I used the same material as I would template a window pelmet but mdf would be much better as mentioned above. Always keep a copy of the template just incase of an accident at some point. I installed mine 10 years ago and I still love it as much as the day I installed it.

    Have tried contacting a staircase specialist rather than a carpenter , also you could try contacting you local Building Regs Team and asking them to do a site a site visit for . you

    design novice thanked SHADES INTERIORS
  • design novice
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Thanks Toby for your comment. I think the reason the carpenters have been non plussed is they are concerned about the glass aspect and worried they might be liable if something goes wrong, Also one turned it down as he said the spacing between the current treads didn't meet current building regs. Man about the house, the trouble is the hallway is very narrow with bedrooms leading off it (chalet bungalow) if I fill in the steps and put a cupboard there I think it will really hem in the space. It is such a dilemmma! Kris, thanks so much for the pics, it looks so similar to ours!!! Did you add on the posts and glass? Are you taking it down because of the kids making marks on the glass or another reason?

  • PRO
    SHADES INTERIORS
    4 years ago

    This is a new build property I was fortunate to work in during 2015, my client installed a system comprising of glass alone and have they done the same in their current property.

    https://www.houzz.co.uk/photos/footbridge-house-cotswolds-contemporary-staircase-west-midlands-phvw-vp~88942902 

  • Laura Thomas
    4 years ago
    Ours was identical to Kris's only we still had the original handrail in matching wood, and has holes in some trends from a stairlift having been fitted by previous owner.

    To get around the trend gaps being different to current regs I have seen people add metal rods between them - see attached.
    design novice thanked Laura Thomas
  • PRO
    Chris Goodchild
    4 years ago

    For simplicity's sake you could continue the bannister on the first floor all the way down to the ground, leave out the centre rail and remove the rails at the top to match, paint the whole bannister white and glaze between the upper and lower rails. That would be a lot easier to template for the glass and would blend in reasonably well with what I can see of the rest of the house.

    It looks from your photo that the main stair would need two or three pieces of glass so that would need to be factored into the design.

    The new newel post would be fitted into the floorin front of the bottom step for strength and to match the fitting of the existing post on the half landing.

    Painting oak stairs seems a bit of a crime to me, particularly because once you have painted a pored wood like oak it is very difficult to ever go back to the original finish.

    For a non slip tread I would recommend two or three coats of Sadolin non-slip varnish.

    It does look as though the treads have been varnished with a stain before so possibly removing that and using just clear varnish would lighten the wood up a bit, however oak does get darker with age.

    design novice thanked Chris Goodchild
  • Kris Brewster
    4 years ago
    Our staircase was like that when we moved in. Glass gets mucky hand prints on but don't find it a real issue. We are getting the treads replaced with a simple pre made staircase which we will carpet. Better for safety and noise with two under 4's. Will also then allow us to box in cupboards under the stairs and hide all the stuff.
    design novice thanked Kris Brewster
  • windwizard
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    This is a lovely staircase, but it is a bit hard to make suggestions without actually seeing it in its space. A section of Oak could be screwed under each tread (at the back) to make the gap 100mm and each tread treated with a anti-slip finish.

    Assuming there is a ceiling, I would consider fitting a single floor to ceiling post rather than a newel post, (of wood or perhaps a metal tube) and then it is a matter of design judgement as to how to make the handrail and fill in at the side. Check out the idea of a wire or cord mesh, possibly triangular to echo the tread supports - (think of the stylish wire frames of an Eames or Bertoia chair) fishing net or the wires used on yacht stanchions. https://www.knoll.com/designer/Harry-Bertoia    http://www.contemporisticon.com/the-wire-chair/

    I certainly would not use white paint but might make the new additions quite different from the existing stair so as not to compromise its identity. I would consider options such as polycarbonate, brushed aluminium and stainless steel. The new additions would best be kept very simple and minimal.

    design novice thanked windwizard
  • design novice
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Thanks very much for your comments Shades Interiors, Chris, Kris, Laura and Windwizard, You have all got me really thinking! The open tread issue not meeting building regs is a potential issue which I perhaps not considered enough. The ideas about the metal rods or filling the gap with oak are v helpful but then that would take away the open tread effect which is one of the key attractions of keeping the stairs the way they are to open up the space.

    In the future I may do B&B so building regs will be an issue or of course when selling in the future. I am really torn as to know what to do as Chris has taken the complexity out of my design concerns if I did add on the parts to the existing one but then again Kris has made me rethink the practicalities as I also have children and lack storage for coats etc. and a new staircase with under cupboard storage could make a difference. I am still concerned about the hallway feeling hemmed in but maybe glass inserts would help counter that a little. I keep scrutinising the space and wondering which way to go!!! Any more views really welcome and thanks again

  • Victoria
    4 years ago
    Existing staircases don't need to meet current building regs, but you would need to make changes if doing B&B.
  • PRO
    Chris Goodchild
    4 years ago

    If you will still have acommodation for yourself when doing B&B you will most likely come under semi-public or mixed use reg's rather than commercial, it would be worth talking to a local building inspector before making any changes as different localities have different interpretations of the reg's.

    Here is a good summary of staircase reg's courtesy of Pear Stairs:

    https://www.pearstairs.co.uk/staircase-buillding-regulations

    I am a little out of date on reg's so I googled this.

    Keeping the appearance of open risers, rather than just closing the gap enough to meet the 4" sphere reg', I feel would be better fully glazed with clear or obscure toughend glass with low wattage 6500 Kelivin lighting under the stairs to contribute to the effect of daylight passing through. The colour of the light is more inmortant than the intensity.

  • PRO
    SHADES INTERIORS
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I think scrutinising your space is a great thing to do. My son has left home now and has his own son whose 7. I've personally not had any problems with the glass. When I do clean it, I use and e-cloth and it doesn't take long at all. The wooden banister takes all the 'handling ' . When I worked in the home above that was without a bannister, that did show finger marks . Regarding building regs , I always think it's a great idea to make sure that any project does come up to current standards, even if retrospectively they don't have to . I would think if opening a B&B you may need to .

    From my industry point of view, ( which is Curtains Blinds, Soft Furnishing and upholstery ) when I'm working in a School, Care Home, Building Society or Community Centre , Hotel or a Bar, all Blinds, Curtains and Upholstery have to be fire retardant and of course everything has to adhere to the child safety regs. I don't think I've worked in a B&B but I think your curtains and Blinds will need to be FR and it's worth bearing that in mind. You usually need to retain a FR certificate too.

  • PRO
    SHADES INTERIORS
    4 years ago

    Very strangely, Homes Under The Hammer today has partly covered the issue of whether Stairs have to comply with current building regs when doing a re-furb

  • PRO
    Robert Steer & Company
    4 years ago

    My company specialises in renewing and upgrading existing stairs as well as designing and making new ones. Here's a project that we completed at the end of 2016, the first pictures are how the stairs looked when we first visited and the last ones with the glass are how we changed it. Here's the review from our client who was very pleased http://bit.ly/2oYjRFi . All our work is designed and made in house so you don't have to bother with taking templates to a local glazier.





    As you have seen from the number of replies the range of options are unlimited. Most things can be achieved with the right client and good budget but to avoid spending too much on something you don't need it is important to gain an understanding of how you want the whole house to look; I always request that my clients show me images of things they like, furniture, interiors so that a design can be developed that not only complements the design/ concept of a home but enhances.

    Depending on your budget, you could make a saving by just renewing the stairs in a design that incorporates a glazed banister and fixes the issues that you are concerned about. Site installation work is far more expensive than just making something from scratch in our workshop.

    I don't believe you have any problems offering B&B with the stairs as they are as far as Building Regs go. What you should probably take account of though is providing a staircase for the guests that they are comfortable with and feel safe using, if you are certain that all the guests will be fully mobile adults then in the strict reading of the regs your stairs will comply anyway.

    Building Regs approved document K requires gaps in staircase risers and banisters to be 100 mm or less to provide adequate safety for children. Following this, but also keeping open risers means adding a small downstand underneath the tread to reduce the open riser height.

    It will also pose problems adding glass to the side of your existing flight because you will have difficulty because there are not convenient points to fix the glass, nor have the carriages - the beams supporting the treads underneath - been designed to carry the additional load from the glass or stair users pressing on it, so additional structure must be added to the carriage to carry the glass, everything is possible but most people have a budget so I must ask you - What is yours?


    Robert

  • PRO
    SHADES INTERIORS
    4 years ago

    Chris Goodchild that's really good advice. As someone who has been visiting the White Isle for over 20 years, what an amazing place you've been working in. This photo is proudly on the wall in my workroom, it's my sons really ...

    all being well I'm coming up to Mambo early July

  • PRO
    Chris Goodchild
    4 years ago

    When you go to Mambo ask for me, most of the managers know me and I work nearby. Most of my work is for the Mambo group.

  • PRO
    SHADES INTERIORS
    4 years ago

    Chris Goodchild I will do, that's great , not totally sure able to come, my husband has been ill and waiting to find out if he can fly. Booked from the 29th so hopefully I shall see you there . Staying at Garbi so shall catch the bus up, I'm desperate to catch a sunset

  • PRO
    Chris Goodchild
    4 years ago

    Hi Carole. I hope your husband recovers well and you can make it, look forward to meeting you.

  • PRO
    SHADES INTERIORS
    4 years ago

    Chris Goodchild, thank you, hes very much better than he was thanks, it's a long term illness, Ibiza was booked well before he was ill. It would be great to meet you, hopefully won't be the eldest there, but it is leaning that way now. I shall look foreard to sitting on some if your furniture too . Mambo and Ibiza has changed so much since I first went ... but the spirit of the Island I think is still there

  • PRO
    Shaw Stairs Ltd
    4 years ago

    Please feel free to contact us on 01827 54988 or be email - info@shawstairs.com and we will be happy to offer some advice on a solution

  • PRO
    John Cullen Lighting
    3 years ago

    Jazz it up with some glass and lighting. Find some inspirations here http://bit.ly/2mdFv40 

    We hope it helps and good luck with your project!

  • Jan Robertson
    last year

    Hi have you made any progress in your staircase as I have a similar staircase in my bungalow and i would love to see what you have done thanks Jan

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