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Erin came to Merrick looking to improve the look and safety of her rear stair case and railing. The cable rail system did not make much of a statement and the previous owners had it installed with every other cable omitted, leaving a much larger gap than code permits. On top of that, both the stairs and railing felt rickety. She loved her new home but was not comfortable moving in with such a large safety hazard. She asked us to design a stronger, safer stair case and rail that would make a statement without blocking the view through the rear windows looking into her back yard.

Cable rail - Before picture

We knew we need to scrap the existing stairs and rail and start fresh. Since preserving the view was a priority for Erin, a glass rail made the most sense. We worked with Dulles Glass to design a rail that would be both strong and beautiful. The new railing is comprised of tempered glass sheets attached with 4 bolts each. The upper railing is topped with a thin metal cap to hold all the panels together, further strengthening the rail. The stair rail has a continuous round hand rail mounted through the glass. The new stairs are constructed from two steel stringers in matte black with hand hewn treads stained a dark espresso to match the existing hardwood on the 1st floor.

We brought in an engineer to determine what was structurally required for the new staircase. By replacing the beam from the brick structural column to the exterior wall, we were able to eliminate the post directly below the stairs. This opened up the dining area and made it much more comfortable. We also tiled the crawl space access door to match the surrounding flooring. The access door now disappears from sight, completing the seamless look of the new glass rails.

glass rail anchor detail

With a solid plan in place, the main hurdle we had to clear was the schedule. Erin’s move in date was set and there needed to be a functional stair case before that date. Our team managed to pull it off just in the nick of time. We got the new stairs installed with just enough time to fabricate the tempered glass railing. We were there at move in to make sure everything went smoothly.

Even though the new railing is see-through, it has a much greater dramatic impact than the original steel cable rail. Overall, we met Erin’s safety standards and exceeded her design hopes.

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