This steel cable rail was one of our favorite home repair projects from 2017. We were over the moon to learn that our client was just as pleased. They added the following comment to their job completion survey, “They did an outstanding job, and we’re very happy with the results.” We were especially honored to win the NARI CotY Grand Award for a Residential Interior Under $75,000.
The entry to this 1970’s split level was gloomy. It’s knotty pine paneling drained the light from the space and created an oppressive feeling. The stairs were closed off and made the large entry feel cramped. The client wanted to open everything up, add lighting, and install a new modern railing to match their mid-century style home.
The client presented us with an inspiration photo, and we ran with it. The wood paneling was removed and donated. With it went the half walls, which closed off the staircase on all three levels of the home. Then we had a new steel railing custom-fabricated to match their inspiration photo.
The transition from a closed-in staircase to open required extra thought. The original wood floors and staircases were in decent shape. For that reason, the homeowner did not want to incur the added expense of replacing the treads. Because the flooring in the hallways ran perpendicular to the railing, so we added a piece of matching wood nosing to fill in the gaps after removing the half walls. The angled half walls were cut just shy of the treads to run a full stringer along the length of the stairs. Lastly, we topped the stringers with matching wood caps.
The existing surface lights were poorly spaced and created treacherous dark spots on the stairs. Four new recessed lights were installed on the top level to light the hallway and stairs evenly. We reused the original chandelier and installed a new surface light on the lower level landing.
Despite being a ‘modern’ home, stripping away the paneling showed the infrastructure was not modern at all. The exterior walls and panel lacked insulation and several illegally concealed electrical junctions. We reran the wiring and replaced a few additional lines going to other parts of the home. Lastly, new batt insulation was installed along the roofline, and installed ridge foam board along the exterior walls.
The new cable railing was custom designed for this entry and sets the tone for this mid-century modern home. The stark contrast of the flat black posts and steel cable adds contrast and visual interest to the space, and the matching wood handrail brings continuity.
Now, the new space feels balanced, and the transition from floors feels natural now that the stairs, hallways, and entry are all visually one ample space. The finished product feels much larger, without the addition of any square footage, and is now a welcoming entry for guests.
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