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What to do with iron railing?
Mary Fyock
November 17, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Just bought this 1970s brick raised ranch. On entry, your first impression is this triple stairway with ornamental iron railing. What should I do with it? Left stairway 7 steps up, middle is wide 7 steps down, right 7 steps up.
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Monique Jacqueline Design
Could replace it with a new unit all together. You can incorporate iron balusters with wood newel posts, or you could have it re-painted or preferably powder coated.
Powder coated is the most durable application for iron, but being that you have no outdoor elements to consider, painting would be sufficient.
Cheers!
m.
November 17, 2012 at 10:08am   
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Mary Fyock
I'm curious Monique, what color would you suggest painting it?
November 17, 2012 at 10:13am   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Paint it black. The Vidabelo Black railings all over New Orleans look wonderful. New Orleans Charm with a Private Courtyard
November 17, 2012 at 10:20am     
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
take it down and dry wall........i just worked on a home where we had iron railing that was not what we wanted so we removed it and had a wall built on the upper level and then used a new railing

to be less costly you could use drywal on all areas
November 17, 2012 at 10:27am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
take it down and dry wall........i just worked on a home where we had iron railing that was not what we wanted so we removed it and had a wall built on the upper level and then used a new railing

to be less costly you could use drywal on all areas
November 17, 2012 at 10:27am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
one issue with your situation is that it is veryyyy busy, with all the lines running through that space, the dry wall will need a hand rail on each area
November 17, 2012 at 10:28am   
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Dytecture
The most costly solution but would give you the best return on investment is to update the entire living areas with hardwood and more contemporary handrail design.


November 17, 2012 at 10:30am     
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cypress
That is a lot of railing, and it is quite ornate. It all depends on the look you are going for. If you don't like it, I would get an estimate for a replacement before spending time and money painting it, or having it painted. Good Luck.
November 17, 2012 at 10:32am   
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tbhattac
I would paint it black.
November 17, 2012 at 10:38am     
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
what is ur budget
November 17, 2012 at 10:38am   
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Mary Fyock
The house begs traditional. I've attached front pic.
November 17, 2012 at 10:40am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
wood railng would fit the bill for the correct style.....as it is English, Greek Revival type of presentation on the front exterior
November 17, 2012 at 10:42am     
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
go wtih heavier than lighter, check out 18th century english staircases
November 17, 2012 at 10:43am   
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Mary Fyock
I'm planning my to do list, to invest in the home. I thought I should redo the steps with solid wood.
November 17, 2012 at 10:43am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
good plan ....where is the house?
November 17, 2012 at 10:44am   
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Mary Fyock
I'm in Hickory, NC.
November 17, 2012 at 10:48am     
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
ahh lots of good design there no doubt, as you start working with the stairs you will need to maintain new code requirements.....there shall be only 4" gap between any opening.....as with the railings
November 17, 2012 at 10:51am   
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lefty47
HI -- If you don't need the second UP set of stairs ,which I don't understand - then have the one set of stairs removed , keep the one that is beside the right wall. Then that new found space can be added to your room . Then you could just have a solid drywall wall or have tempered glass stair walls or a bit of both. There are lots of examples on HOUZZ - under glass stair rails . The glass really opens up the space , and some people are bothered by the unprotected feeling of the open stairway. I would do the glass if you can ,it's a better new look and you will learn to love that open feeling.
November 17, 2012 at 10:52am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
glass would be a crime if you are thinking of keeping a tradtional look. if not then whatever...... you need a game plan of the overall interior environment you are hoping to create.....the removal of one side of stairs going up is a very good idea. It all comes down to if you want to spend 10k or 100k
November 17, 2012 at 10:56am   
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Darzy
I agree to just paint it black. Maybe you could "cap" the rails with wood.
November 17, 2012 at 11:00am     
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
lets not send good money after bad lol
November 17, 2012 at 11:01am     
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fife2
Dear Mary -

Can you send more pics of where the stairs originate - ??? the Lower Landing Levels?

And what a fabulous place to live - near the Furniture Capitol of the World - Yes! You will never be short of fabulous designers - I just ran-across one on this very site - I wish I could remember where on here.

IF you do end up taking this out - I would like to suggest having this Sand-Blasted - to take ALL the old paint off - and then perhaps you could re-purpose. They just don't make this stuff anymore - I would certainly at least consider using this for a small fenced in area - do you have pool? A small sitting Garden? OR - I can think of folks who would definitely purchase all of this on Craig's List - or some-site.

However, here is my biggest suggestion - as we all know - one thing leads to another in these types of renovations - can you hire an Architect? Perhaps to help you re-design this space overall?

What we don't know here are your requirements: Are there Children? Grandchildren? Older Adults who will utilize this space? These are very important considerations - HOW ARE YOU going to use your home?

Please let us know - :-)
November 17, 2012 at 11:07am   
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Mary Fyock
Plan on keeping in the traditional design. I'm attaching more pics. Front door enters onto 6x 12 vinyl (horrors) which I plan on tiling. Behind top of railing is my livingroom retreat. I just got done painting kitchen. No pool, kids are adults and live in Midwest. I was able to buy this house at half its value, since it had not been kept up through the years. Already have updated electrical, plumbing and cable.
November 17, 2012 at 11:28am     
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
nice
November 17, 2012 at 11:32am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
nice spaces.....u might just keep the railings
November 17, 2012 at 11:33am   
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natebrecht
I actually like the railings. Maybe some black and gold? It could be quite glamorous.
November 17, 2012 at 11:38am     
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dcer
I would go with painting it black, if keeping it. If not keeping it, replace with something less busy.
November 17, 2012 at 11:39am   
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jhyeargin
Keep the railings and paint them black.
November 17, 2012 at 11:43am     
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fife2
Beautiful: NO kids, etc - I would have these blasted and re-painted with black - IF you are adventerous - YOU could add some gold-leaf? Copper rub metallic OVER the black - or whatever appeals to you.

These types of materials are hard to come by - and you have this which SO much a part of your house -

I would keep this - and restore this to its original glory! What a find.

:-)
November 17, 2012 at 11:48am   
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Monique Jacqueline Design
Hello Mary!

I would have them powder coated in a black or oil rubbed bronze tone. The powder coating process is quite easy and the least intrusive onsite. Meaning, they remove the railings and take them to the foundry. They are sandblasted and then dipped and baked. It is the best metal finish possible with the longest life expectancy. I think that the darker color tones would fit with the feel of your home. It will be warm and very calming to the eye. In reading the comment above this one from fife2, I am in complete agreement! The rail system you have is very fitting to the era of your home.
If you call a local blacksmith or railing company, they can help with the powder coating details. They will have color chips for you to look at.

Flooring detail: Instead of tiling, you might want to think about hardwood flooring. I saw that you mentioned maybe adding wood to the stairs. You would have a much more cohesive feel if your staircase went right into the same hardwood flooring detail that flowed through out. You will love the wood stairs, much easier to dust them than vacuum them!

If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to ask!
Cheers!
m.
November 17, 2012 at 12:11pm   
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INTERIORS by Charissa LLC
Just chiming in with my vote...Keep railing as is and powder coat black or bronze! It fits the architecture of the home and will be much less dated in a darker color. I agree with Monique that a wood floor that matches your stair treads would be lovely. Good luck to you! :-)
November 17, 2012 at 12:27pm   
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Darzy
The railing is nice and fits the house! Keep them and just paint or powder coat.
November 17, 2012 at 12:37pm   
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Mary Fyock
Thank you all for your suggestions! You convinced me to try to keep it by having it repainted. Maybe it was the light paint color that was so eww. I also love the idea of continuing the wood to the entry floor. Thank you again!
November 17, 2012 at 1:41pm     
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Monique Jacqueline Design
Would love to see photos posted of the finished product! Good luck!
If you have any questions along the way, do not hesitate to contact me.
Cheers!
m.
November 17, 2012 at 1:49pm   
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Mary Fyock
I will post after pictures of railing. Thank you again!
November 17, 2012 at 2:01pm   
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houssaon
I would keep the railings and have them painted a deep rich brown or gunmetal black: Carmel, California Tuscan Inspired

With wood steps and flooring this entry will look grand. You might want to paint the risers white. Add a carpet runner. The floor by the entry can be a marble or stone. This is not your style, but it shows the materials together: Tuxedo Road I like this marble floor: Mercer House

I would not remove the second set of steps. Even though they add no functionality, they frame the entry.

Lovely home. Good luck!
November 17, 2012 at 2:12pm   
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builper.com
Paint it black and add some gold leafs and wooden grab bar.
November 17, 2012 at 2:23pm     
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INTERIORS by Charissa LLC
I think a wooden grab bar is a fabulous idea, stained to match your new wood floor! :-)
November 17, 2012 at 2:30pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
the wood is fabulous ......but if one is going to spend $$$$ on the railing might think of removing the decorative verticals and replace them as well. IT IS WHAT IT IS and if nothing is done but color it or add a top rail .....then it will always be the very ornate iron railing from the 60's.
Before doing anything conside the big picture and the big 'check book' to see where the dollars are best spent. Nothing wrong with the railing as it stands, but be careful, if other work is being done the the city inspectors are aroud they may have you upgrate it to current standards
November 17, 2012 at 3:53pm   
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archer28
Because it is so close to the holidays, first i would paint it a matte black then hang a thick garland on it. Real or artificial!
November 17, 2012 at 3:59pm   
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eckjunebug
Need to chime in with a vote for adding a wooden grab bar to the top of the metal. This is a gorgeous entry. Please post pics when done!
November 18, 2012 at 1:52am   
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vanessacg
Yes! Rip It Out! Dry Wall It! Paint it Black! HONESTLY! Most Homes in SA would give their Eye Teeth to have such a Gorgeous, Beautifully Welded/Molded Stair Rail! Keep Your Beautiful Rail as a FEATURE and change the FLOORING. The ONLY reason it Looks 'too busy' is because the Whole Area is ONE TONE of COLOR. Once You Paint your Walls and do the Floor, Your Hand Rails Will "pop" as they Are and you might be glad that you kept them! My simple advice is to keep them until you have changed the rest, THEN decide. Just a Thought ;-)
November 18, 2012 at 3:04am   
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mick50
I agree that powder-coated black, paired with hardwood floors, would look spectacular.
November 18, 2012 at 3:33am   
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sashblossom
Agreed! Black powder coated, hardwood flooring vs carpet with black on the risers and wood stain on treads! Merry Christmas!
November 18, 2012 at 6:09am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
the point may be missed here.............................................I think that the ownere doesnt like the entry and by adding paint, the problem is they likely wont like the painted entry.........................please advise do you like the railing at aony point or should it goooooooooo away
November 18, 2012 at 7:15am   
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Mary Fyock
I don't like the cream paint on the metal. I like the 3 stairway, as it makes the entry centered, otherwise it would make it just like any split entry - Ho hum. I want to see it as ORB finish, and if that works, as I envision it will, I would like to see a handrail added. I do believe you all are correct with this.
November 18, 2012 at 7:26am     
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
I tried ....I'm out!
November 18, 2012 at 12:50pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
I tried ....I'm out!
November 18, 2012 at 12:50pm   
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ginale
I replaced mine with rubbed oil bronze balusters and a top wood rail. Go to StairSupply.com to see all of the iron choices. I think it is just the ornate design that dates your foyer. Good luck!
November 18, 2012 at 2:22pm   
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fife2
Well, as I had suggested earlier - owners need to hire an architect. But, I did get the feeling they wanted to keep the feel of the house! Yes? SO - until we hear back from owners - no sense in specutlating.
November 19, 2012 at 8:34am   
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Mary Fyock
I don't want the house to fight styles. Does that make sense? I feel comfortable trying to see if its just the color of the ironwork that is disturbing first. Then evaluate after changing that.
November 19, 2012 at 8:53am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
the battle began once the railing was intstalled. The railing in no ways relates to the exterior....which is fine but not to be mistaken as relating, they are total foreign to each other...not a problem unless you are tring for the same style.......your exterior would have had wood railings inside had it be 'of the period'
November 19, 2012 at 9:38am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
the battle began once the railing was intstalled. The railing in no ways relates to the exterior....which is fine but not to be mistaken as relating, they are total foreign to each other...not a problem unless you are tring for the same style.......your exterior would have had wood railings inside had it be 'of the period'
November 19, 2012 at 9:38am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
the battle began once the railing was intstalled. The railing in no ways relates to the exterior....which is fine but not to be mistaken as relating, they are total foreign to each other...not a problem unless you are tring for the same style.......your exterior would have had wood railings inside had it be 'of the period'
November 19, 2012 at 9:39am   
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Mary Fyock
Right. Obviously the cream ironwork is ugly. Before I rip it out and install wood balustrades on wood treads, I can strip and repaint to see if it still is offensive. I see this route as a conservative decision. I may not ever get over the excessive ornamentation and still go all wood as the final results.
November 19, 2012 at 9:55am   
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INTERIORS by Charissa LLC
The other option would be to drywall the one side on the top floor and leave the middle section so there is less of it maybe?
November 19, 2012 at 10:13am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
I tried!!!!!
November 19, 2012 at 10:19am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
one side (once one is upstairs) could be a coat closet, or the closet could be on the landing...all would cost a fw thousand ....at this time if the rail stays I'd do nothing as the white railing matches the rest of the trim work that I can see...... contrasting it would be a mistake. Really!
November 19, 2012 at 10:22am   
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Mary Fyock
Yep. And it is an option I will seriously consider. Really, since I hadn't thought of that option until you suggested it.
November 19, 2012 at 10:23am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
continuity promotes acceptance......
November 19, 2012 at 10:23am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
relax and plan your Thanksgiving! You've got silver to polish!
November 19, 2012 at 10:25am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
relax and plan your Thanksgiving! You've got silver to polish!
November 19, 2012 at 10:25am   
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clarejames
I think a mix of styles wouldn't detract but add in, but coming from England I probably have no idea what I'm talking about for your part of the world (light/weather, etc). What struck me was the beautiful view beyond the rails both top and bottom... I would have wooden grab rail and glass under so you can see that view the minute you walk in... your house is stunning... I'm sure you'll make the right choice for you!
November 19, 2012 at 10:53am   
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INTERIORS by Charissa LLC
I wasn't talking about getting rid of one of the staircases entirely, just drywalling in a half wall where the railing is on the second floor (across from the full wall with no railing). Then you would just have the iron railing in the center, up both sets of stairs and connecting the two. Clear as mud? :-)
November 19, 2012 at 11:19am   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
dry walling all the railing areas was my thought.......
November 19, 2012 at 11:38am   
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benniebonita
Paint in a matt finish for none sheen look if heavy with paint use chemical paste to remove first before painting fresh .stripping can give a age to it if metal looks good just varnish to give that French drab chic look to the metal I hear they door the same to cars in the states just a idea at present you are right to change garden furniture look all the best with the job at hand
November 19, 2012 at 12:43pm   
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jjgpaq
I would keep the railing. It would be more cost effect plus would be very dramatic when you come in the front door. Take off top and add wood railing and paint/powder coat spindles. The top of the railing I would stain a darker color not an oak but more dramatic. I would then do the hardwood floors. They really are durable for an entry way.
December 29, 2012 at 9:19am     
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