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Need help for my staircase!
betsy46
January 8, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Hi Everyone! I'm redoing the whole staircase/bannister, which is right past the front door, and am trying to decide between plain white posts with dark(er) wood handrail and iron balusters (spindles) versus a stained wood post versus new carpet on stairs. Most of the white posts that I see have white spindles and I was looking for more of a change.

Also, I'm replacing the carpet in the upstairs-- does anyone have an opinion on whether friezes (sp?) look matted after a while?

Appreciate any ideas/comments!
Thanks!
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Rebecca Bredholt
We painted ours black but left spindles and base white.
January 8, 2013 at 5:12pm   
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betsy46
I thought about that, Rebecca but it's so old and painted a gazillion times, I was thinking of starting fresh. Thnx:)
January 8, 2013 at 5:14pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
careful, the trim in the house is all white it seems.....starting to change may lead to a huge project....I see the railing is upstairs as well.
This is what I would do:find the carpeting you like a hard twist style should serve well. as the stairs are exposed....coming down the staircase, use wood treads and paint the riser white....I think the white is nice unless you want to paint all the trim. The wood should match the wood floor shown in on of the images you offered. Darken the handrail if you like .....very traditinoal that way. Adding iron is goind to cost considerably and may be too too too.....unlike the rest of the house....I would want the upper and lower railing to all match ..
January 8, 2013 at 5:22pm     
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betsy46
Gary, thanks for your comments, I love your work.
I'm having the walls in the foyer and upstairs painted (as well as my dining room and re-doing my home office, which is opposite the stairs. It includes the trim (which I was thinking of keeping white). Do you mean no carpet on stairs? That's what I was leaning toward, along with either matching the floor or going a little darker in the same color family. Do you like iron with a white box post or should I keep the box newel the wood stain color? Oh, and I am also replacing the upper bannisters/spindles.
Thanks again:)
January 8, 2013 at 5:34pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
i would like to see wood on the lower landing followed by 6 wood stair treads. ALL to MATCH the wood you have, no need to change.....do go decorating by changing wood tones on me!!!!!!
January 8, 2013 at 5:40pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
right no carpet on the lower run of stairs....warning stocking feet hold on to the railing....I like the railing and would suggest spending the line item somewhere else
January 8, 2013 at 5:42pm   
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betsy46
And carpet on the upper steps? What about my other questions to you? :)
January 8, 2013 at 5:42pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
yep
January 8, 2013 at 5:42pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
be nice
January 8, 2013 at 5:43pm   
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betsy46
Hmmm I'll have to get a price quote on that. I got a pretty good one for the whole staircase. What about the posts? The railing is verrrrry old, needs to go. And I kinda have my heart set on iron, it's just a couple hundred dollars for the iron balusters.
January 8, 2013 at 5:46pm   
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Susan Flowers
I have iron with dark wood and it was not expensive...although I replaced the spindles myself...for you, my concern would be the large amount of white stair & trim you have...I think the most difficult part of the redo (and expensive) was the posts...I hate colonial posts....ended up having to get box posts made. I definetely would get posts to match rail.
January 8, 2013 at 5:49pm   
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betsy46
True, there's a lot of white, which is why i was thinking iron! I hate the colonial posts, too. Good ideas, thanks, Susan!
January 8, 2013 at 5:52pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
the iron relates to "nothing" I see in the pictures....the effort and attention to the balusters is not going to make or break the space....I've seen far older railing and balusters, yours have another hundred years or so.....I like classic interiors be they traditional or contemporary. I'm not one to add something to a space unless it will benefit and enhance the space......there is not enough railing on the lower level to contend with and the upper will be out of play except I'm guessing there are bedroom upstairs... the iron wil need to meet the new 4" code
January 8, 2013 at 5:53pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
question ladies ......what is the style of the doors and cabinets in this space
January 8, 2013 at 5:55pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
I did just replace wood and iron balusters in a house in Colorado, with iron.....but we were changing the style of the house from traditional to contemporary....I'm offering my design suggestions. I would hate to see a space be all about the "new railing"
January 8, 2013 at 5:58pm   
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Maria Billingsley of J Hettinger Interiors
If your looking for a change have fun. Its a wow when you hire an artisan to design and make your railing!
January 8, 2013 at 5:58pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
that railing will not pass the building codes in the USA unless there is glass added to one side or the other. the spaces in the design are too large to be used above the third step.....sorry to say
January 8, 2013 at 6:01pm   
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betsy46
It's pretty but I don't love the artisan look for my house.
Gary, I dont know what the cabinets are--the house is circa 1985. I'll go take a photo of the front door for you and the office space (which is hideous, fyi)
January 8, 2013 at 6:11pm     
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
they are likely raised panels with an arched top
January 8, 2013 at 6:21pm   
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betsy46
Here's the front door and one of the office. For the office, my plan is to get rid of the cabinets (and re-use some in the garage, repaint (I hate yellow), relocate the scrapbook stuff to another room and dedicate it to an office (I work at home a couple days/week). I'm thinking credenza where the couch is, with a nice desk facing the windows (to the right in the pic) (there's a desk with iron legs from restoration hardware I like, which could bring in the iron:)) Maybe bookcases, not sure since trying to declutter. Maybe a chair or two in front of the windows. Ideas?
January 8, 2013 at 6:31pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
what you have is classic 18th century english style trim
January 8, 2013 at 6:35pm   
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betsy46
Yikes :(
It's horrid:(
January 8, 2013 at 6:36pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
no its English
January 8, 2013 at 6:37pm   
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betsy46
you're right, I'd hate to hurt the trim's feelings.
January 8, 2013 at 6:38pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
i suggest if you start ripping .......keep going....
January 8, 2013 at 6:38pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
send me the design you are considering for the railing
January 8, 2013 at 6:38pm   
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Maria Billingsley of J Hettinger Interiors
yes Gary I know...just getting out of the box..
January 8, 2013 at 6:40pm   
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betsy46
Something along these lines....
January 8, 2013 at 6:50pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
nice
January 8, 2013 at 6:56pm   
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Susan Flowers
This looks like what I did, except my posts are wood...and my stairs are carpeted unfortunately...have to laugh my front door is very similar and I have French doors to living room like you...just the change from the crappy colonial posts makes a huge difference ...love it
January 8, 2013 at 9:04pm   
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
Betsy, your desk is also English in origin................just saying
January 9, 2013 at 3:43am   
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betsy46
Gary, soon it'll be firewood:)
January 9, 2013 at 4:41am   
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7768
I like the photo on the left with some straight iron spindles mixed with decorative. It will look beautiful!
January 9, 2013 at 5:02am   
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Summit Stairs & Millwork
Your current handrail is called "colonial" and your current balusters are known as 5015s. These are the least expensive stair parts back in the 80s, 90s and today. It is the cheapest a builder can put in a home. Your treads are painted on the exposed end and fully carpet on the upper flight so, your upper treads are most likely pine or even wafer board. Your lower treads if carpeted like that from when the house was built are probably "hybrid" treads meaning the exposed end MIGHT be oak only for 10" or 12" to under the carpet. The rest of the tread would be made of scrap wood (pine) so removing carpet to get fully stained treads is not an option. If you wanted solid wood stainable treads all the way up your stairs, the treads and most likely the risers will have to be replaced. It can be done but at a cost of course. Please upgrade your handrail to a different profile. Any good stair company will have 3 or more profiles that they use and if you look online, you will find 20 or more styles to choose from.

As for the baluster having to be replaced at 4" spacing per code, IF you just remove and replace the balusters without rebuilding the treads and risers, you most likely are grandfathered in to simply putting iron balusters back in the same holes and it would be acceptable BUT, I suggest bringing it up to code as it will be safer and be easier to sell if you ever want to.

I also noticed that where your balusters go into the wood on the bottom, you do not have traditional "landing tread" which has a rounded nosing overhanging to mimic the same look as the treads have hanging over the risers. That would be a nice feature to have done and it would be stainable just like the treads.

All of these small details tie into each other so that when done and done properly, you have totally transformed the look of your Foyer. It makes a huge difference and it will be something you will enjoy and smile about every time you walk by them or up them.
January 9, 2013 at 5:51am     
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