The house still had the original 19th century stairs in place and that meant not a single right angle was remaining. It seemed important to replace the stairs before the baby came and repair the damaged wood work including the newel post.
Here you can see the stairs before we started the work with the damaged post and some cheap carpet treads I had installed.
We wanted to keep as much of the original wood as possible including the stringers, the hardwood banisters and the wainscoating so we hired a specialist stripping and restoration company DeGamba who did an excellent job.
Here are the oak stringers being treated with a stripping agent.
Once all the layers of paint were removed we were back to a clean slate reading for sanding and staining.
Here we can see the first round of stripping applied to the wainscoating.
Once the stripping was done new oak stairs and risers could be installed, we worked with Atlantic Stairs on the entire reconstruction process. They had great knowledge of historic homes and when it was worth keeping items like the hand carved banisters vs replacing items like the broken posts.
Each day the stair installers were able to leave each flight in tact even when they were not able to finish an entire floor at once.
The results were immaculate, you can see some of the additonal pieces that were added to the stringers to ensure that all the steps were straight and the same height. Given that we were staining everything to match the dark wood in the house the difference in colour would be hidden once complete.
Some of the posts were damaged and in places a cheaper product had been used, we were able to get the original pieces copied. This photo shows the original antique posts on the left and the newly constructed copies on the right. Atlantic Stairs were able to create picture perfect replacements at a very reasonable price.
Once the posts were reinstalled it looked brand new!
With the stair work done we needed to fix the main post. Rather than install an off the shelf piece I took the opportunity to have custom pieces made on Etsy by Ruscarving. This large owl for the main entrance and two small squirrels for the upper floors.
Then staining and varnish could begin.
Once the woodwork was repaired we could replace broken trim and install the stair carpets
We wanted something that would match the other Persian rugs in the house so we worked with Better Carpet Workhouse here in Brooklyn to prepare wood runners with matching trim in a merlot colour. They also managed to install the entire carpet set in one Saturday morning with no mess or fuss!
There’s still some small pieces to be done – we need to finish staining the post tops and the replaced trim and the brass carpet rails have been delayed in delivery but the results have been fantastic and worth the money spent.