Stairs for Man and Beast

west paris, maine

These clients contacted us prior to closing on their new home for a very particular reason– the stairs were not going to work for them. The primary issue was for the 4-footed member of their family. The stairs were so steep that Tica was unable to use them safely. The original owners built this house for its private view of a field and a winding mountain stream all bordered by huge fir trees. High on the priority list for the new stairs was a desire to modernize the look a bit, while still matching the look of the existing pine on the ceiling, and of course, keeping that idyllic view as open as possible.

changing the design

One small issue remained on the design aspect—the old stairs were not up to code and the math could not work to extend them further into the space. Also the floorplan simply wouldn’t work with moving the stairwell to any other location. As we worked through the design process with the clients, we all agreed that creating a landing and a 90° turn on the stairs would be the solution. Tica was really hoping, however, that her masters could traverse the landing without playing limbo or hitting their heads, so we thoughtfully cut into the 2nd story floor to create our stairwell. The small trade-off was losing a small amount of space in two upstairs bedroom closets.

Our first order of business was to tear out the old stairs and build temporary stairs while we waited for the custom-order stair parts to arrive. We designed the temporary stairs in order to use them as the structure for the finished stairs.

a built in custom pantry

Part way through the design process the client realized that some functional storage space for her adjoining kitchen would be a worthy trade-off for having to block some of the view in the kitchen itself.  We designed this pantry for her and our electrician artfully adjusted the lighting to make it an inviting space.

the small details make the difference

We stain-matched the pine posts to match the existing pine on the ceiling. As we’ve often seen on other projects, the stain-matching procedure at the hardware store is not close enough for the lighting in the space. We hand-mixed a stain that would actually match the existing wood. The balusters were carefully cut into the treads to give a seamless, modern look. We love the look of this continuous, open-railing for their stairs which retained that gorgeous view that made them fall in love with this house in the first place.

midcoast maine

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