Experiencing the breeze between the knees since March 2009

Friday, July 23, 2010

Staircase of Doom

I can understand cutting some corners when it comes to realizing a budget, but whether it was for financial purposes or for reasons unknown, the previous owners of the house I live in thought it necessary to make a last-minute change on their floorplans, with specific regard to a staircase leading to a one-room second floor (or first floor, for all the Europeans out there.)

In retrospect, it seems like the stairwell in question was originally designed to house a spiral staircase, given the extremely limited space available. But for some reason - again, I'm unclear as to whether it was a money-pinching fix, a last-minute "oops, we did that wrong" kind of solution, or just poor judgement in the first place - the previous owners who presumably built the place decided to nix the spiral steps and install a normal stair instead, allowing a whole SIX INCHES of tread width per step.

To put that number in perspective, I believe the average stair width is about nine inches; any less can prove particularly dangerous, as our model certainly did. What's worse, some genius decided to carpet the stairs, detracting even more from the already scarce stepping room - to a guy with feet as big as mine, that's basically a death trap. (And it's true what they say about guys with big feet: they fall harder when they trip down the stairs. All that room under the kilt is actually for strategic parachuting purposes.)

Given the present danger, something had to be done (now that we've been living here for eleven years, of course - some projects sit on the back burner until they boil over) before it became a literal stairway to heaven; injuries have already ensued. It was time for remodelling, and time for me to break out the Workman's to aid comfort in repair.

I would've taken some before-and-after shots, but I figure my handiwork speaks for itself. Of course, when I say "my" I mean "our," as I had help with the project, otherwise it couldn't be finished in the five or six days we worked on it. Anyway, we tore up the carpet and replaced it with hardwood, alotting a bit more space for stepping, but we also extended the tread another couple of inches to give more foot room on the way up - it's no different coming down, but you can't expect perfection when fixing someone else's mistakes. Besides, it looks pretty awesome, if you ask me.

Also, more importantly than the finished product, I felt pretty badass with a pneumatic staple gun, which came in handy when the Russian spies showed up to steal our floor plan. When they saw I was wearing a kilt, they backed off immediately, aware of their instantaneous inferiority. Oh, and sorry for the delayed post: things have been busy lately, lots of home-improvement projects like this going on, but you can bet I'm the most comfortable handyman around.