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Need help - narrow hall/stair - what do you do?
musamangoJanuary 12, 2013
We have this narrow stair as the primary access from bottom floor family room/mud room up to kitchen/living room. It is ugly and I have no idea how to improve it. Pictures below are 1 - looking down, and 2 - looking up. I am a novice at interior work so I've searched through Houzz but can't find anything similar to emulate. Would love some help!
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PRO
Lifespan Design
It is hard to tell the age of the home or the architectural style of the living space--is it a log home over a basement? I see knotty pine plank walls and ceiling with 80's style track lighting--what is your favorite design elements of the rest of the home? I would address what is lacking and install a skirt board to protect the walls and add architectural interest to the walls with a paintable textured wall paper that would flow with the rest of the home's design esthetic. Graham & Brown (grahambrown.com) makes wide variety of paintable wallpapers at about $30.00 a roll. If you have never wallpapered this might be a job for a pro--as textured wallpapers are more difficult to hang. Paint over the wallpaper allowing the textures to reflects the light and shadows. I cannot discern the lighting but perhaps a daylight spectrum bulb would also be helpful.
    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 10:01PM
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pcmom1
Can door below be replaced with a glass door to let light in?
1 Like    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 10:15PM
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Christy -
Love the wood in your upper level! What are your thoughts re: pulling up carpet and painting walls and painting/staining steps? Framed family pics along the wall with railing? Replace light with monorail track lighting? I'm no interior designer so someone else may have better pointers. Best of luck!
Check this out: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/decor/msg0417285216659.html for an idea.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 10:15PM
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bhelmore
Do you even need a door at the bottom? Whatever color you choose, go with a high gloss ceiling and semi gloss or at least satin walls. More reflective qualities will open up the narrow feeling.
    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 10:18PM
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musamango
Ah - to give you feeling for rest of the house, its our ski cabin - picture here is our living room/dining room. And there is no door at the bottom, just the top...And I am all for doing whatever's needed to make this a great hallway/stair - it is a main artery in the cabin! I'm going to have to look up skirt board as I don't know what that is or looks like. I am afraid to put pictures in there because its so narrow...I don't want to make it more narrow...
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:18AM
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musamango
Christy - thanks for the link to the redone stairs - very helpful to see - in my case, though, since its a ski cabin with lots of travel on these stairs, I am hesitant to use white - I wonder if there is another way or color that still brightens it up without the risk of boot markings, etc.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:26AM
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Claire Fowler
Hi ya, as its a ski lodge warm and cosy is essential, I would be tempted to use a patterned wallpaper on one wall, with mirrors running up the wallpapered side to reflect the painted wall opposite, and skirting is the wood that runs around the base of a wall, you can get this to run up stairs and I would stain it the same colour as the rest of the lodge, be sure that the colours you use run into the connecting rooms to give continuity! Hope this helps.
    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 8:34AM
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Claire Fowler
Hi again, with regards to painted stairs, you could strip the carpet paint them a light shade ie white or would stain which would be nicer to match the wood running throughout! Then fit a carpet runner up the centre, plus you could run spotlights up the wall above skirting to give a warm low level light.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 9:05AM
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Ramona
Color? You need a wallpaper you really love. Make this space a feast for the eyes and give it the illusion of warming you by wrapping you in a blanket. After you find your wallpaper and depending on what is under your carpet, consider painting the risers one of the colors from the wallpaper and putting down a runner with a pattern. I like dark trellis patterns which will hide dirt. This would add interest to the stairs themselves as the risers and stairs will contrast with the runner in interesting ways. Could you go red? Red and black carpet is easy to find.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 9:54AM
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PRO
Lifespan Design
Thank you for the additional picture. More information is helpful to the process. Now that we know that this is the main entry to a ski cabin, tell me more about your personal tastes. Are you leaning toward cozy woodsy cabin look or a SOPHISTICATED (yet comfortable) cabin look? I can understand why the main entry stairwell is unnerving--it should be an indicater of the comfort and views yet to come from the upstairs. In my opinion, noise levels could be kept down by retaining a thick carpet esspecially if you have a lot of traffic or company. A skirt board at least 10" tall should be on the stairs to protect the wall and wallpaper from boot scuff marks. You could create visual interest by hanging antique snow shoes from the ceiling. Also a winter (snow?) wood scene mural (wallpaper or digital photo made into wallpaper) on one wall would mask the narrow feeling of the stairwell. Also consider daylight spectrum lighting and more balanced lighting (since there are dark areas of the stairwell). Hope that gives you some help.
    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 11:17AM
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musamango
Claireaturban, do you have any images of the type of mirror and the type of lighting you are thinking of here?
    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 1:02PM
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jansgirl
Long ago I owned a maid service and so, when I think about redoing flooring, etc I think about upkeep.

I find vacuuming stairs a horrid chore. It's easier to wipe wood stairs w/ a rag from the top stair down. From the looks of your gorgeous second home, this may be a non issue for you! I'd love to see the carpet pulled up and the stairs refaced with rustic wood/logs and the current railing replaced with natural log railings.

Then have the walls treated to a suede wallpaper or paint.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 5:32PM
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jansgirl
whoops-pushed something too soon! I wouldn't add much ON the walls because, as you said it is very narrow. I'd just try to tie the style of the home into the staircase which looks like an afterhought or no thought solution to connect the two floors.
    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 5:35PM
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bhelmore
Have you ever walked into a restaurant or hotel that had the tiny lights just under the stair treads? Something dramatic might wake the whole stairwell up!
3 Likes    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 5:44PM
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Claire Fowler
Hi ya, I will look into this today and send some images for you.
    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 11:44PM
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cyn222
Wood stairs. How about painting the front of each step or tiling. Is it possible to open up the stair wall when you get down to lower level. I'd remove it and open up the space if possible.
    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 11:47PM
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Claire Fowler
Hi ya, so with regards to the lights I think simple but effective such as the attached images, however, the more spots fitted the brighter the effect.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 7:00AM
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Claire Fowler
Mirrors, I would suggest hanging above the handrail so less likely to be in the way, and have some fun, but make sure if using frames they are in keeping with your style.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 7:02AM
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Claire Fowler
Plus if you have the space at the bottom of your stairs maybe a console table with a table lamp that can give some light, if not why not consider a wall light, just so it doesn't look like a black void! I do hope that this has been of some help.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 7:07AM
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musamango
totally helpful - thank you so much for the suggestions and images - I was completely at a loss and am now inspired!
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 8:03AM
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Claire Fowler
Oh that's great, enjoy and if I can help any further please let me know!
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 12:57PM
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musamango
claireaturban - I'd be happy to hire you (or someone on this thread) to do the spec for this hallway for me...I assume you are in the business, right?
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 1:12PM
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jeannemara
Is the ceiling high enough for a chandelier? I'd do an openwork wrought iron one, no shades, no nothing but that. It will not feel heavy, because it's openwork. OR a deer horn (naturally shed) chandelier (smallish). Would you be able to remove part of the upper wall and put a balustrade there instead? That would really open up that staircase!
Of course, the lights by the stairs is marvelous!
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 1:17PM
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Claire Fowler
Yes I am in the business, based in England and I am sure I can spec this for you, I will need further information, so please feel free to contact me on urbanslifeandstyle@gmail.com.
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 2:21PM
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orangecamera
Check out this thread from 3 months ago, which has a very similar dilemma. http://www.houzz.com/discussions/214982/Ugly--uggggly-entryway
    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 2:35PM
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