Monday, 19 June 2017

Working on the San Franciscan's front stairs

As I've mentioned before I'm planning 3 flights of stairs with two turns for the front of the house. Obviously, now that the basement bash has been added, I can no longer go with the house's original stairs. 

This required a rethink on how the stairs would exit the porch, necessitating the addition of a cantilevered landing to allow the first flight to travel down perpendicular to the house.

I did some quick calculations to determine the width and depth of the landing required, then fired up the mini bandsaw and cut one out of 8mm MDF. The closest size to the house MDF I could find at the hardware store.

I then centred it based on the front door opening and the width of the opening in the porch's decorative trim, though I'll likely be at least partially replacing that, to allow uniformity with the landing & stair railings. 

The original house front stairs had no railing as they were only three stairs high. Now that the house is substantially higher, railings are a necessity. I wouldn't want my little people taking a swan dive off the landing onto the driveway after a big night out.

I glued and clamped it overnight. 

Above is the landing glued into place. 

The underside of the porch, bay windows and landing which form an overhang from the basement area will be finished of in painted wood paneling so the join will be hidden in the final product.

Once I determined the final number of stairs needed in each flight ( 5 for the top flight, 6 for the centre and three for the bottom.) I glued the individual flights together to make mocking up easier. It will also allow me to start thinking about finishes for each individual flight.

Please excuse the bloodbath in this photo. I had been working on the
tree and my clay is an unfortunate colour. All will be cleaned up
with gesso, before final landscaping is applied. :)

I also moved the second flight of stairs back to line up the lip of the top step with the back of the bottom step on the upper flight. As I mentioned in my previous front stairs post it looked a little strange the way I had it in my last mock up.

I think the top flight of stairs will be painted wood to match the house. They may have lightly stained treads to match the decking on the porch and landing. The second and third flights will either be completely bricked in a brown brick hue or have the risers bricked and the treads given a treatment to look like cement slabs. The bricks will be made of egg carton to allow flexibility.

Here's a quick look at the window well created by the foam retaining wall and the baywindow & porch overhang. 

And from the other side. There will be some sort of railing topping the retaining wall for safety purposes. 😉

I was hoping to get a chair and cafe table under the window but I'm not sure there will be room. 😞 There will definitely be some greenery, a wall garden or some such. Hilarity ensued over at the Greenleaf Forums when someone suggested pot plants.. for the Australians this was a normal statement about pretty flowers but the Americans took it to mean something else entirely.. lol.. Probably didn't help that the house is set in San Francisco!

And finally a high view with the tree in place.😃


  1. Hi Sam, I am so excited to have found your blog! I love your basement bash for this house and the direction of the interior so far. The tree you made looks so realistic and I can't wait to see it with the leaves on. I think the stairs going up through the landscape/retaining wall is really neat. Looking forward to following along :)

    1. Hi Kristine, Thanks for dropping by! :)
      I read your blog too..... you may have noticed it's in my "Favourites" links. ;) Glad to have you along for the ride... it's a slow meandering one.. but we'll get there.. :D