Modern Stairs

My Next Project

For as long as I’ve lived in my home, I’ve wanted to update my balcony and stairs with some contemporary rod or cable. The dark wood balusters are just bulky and block the view so they need to go. There is no character to the wood, just rough finished wood that had huge knots and holes and wasn’t sanded.

This is what my balcony and stairs looked like the day my realtor took me to see it. I was expecting to see wagon wheels on the wall for decor – blech:

It was love at first site with the home, but that was because I saw so much potential

It took me until 2020 to bite the bullet and paint the fascia to just lighten the visual and begin to think about the blank canvas.

Still painting so there’s some clutter around, but you get the gist

Right now, I am thinking through the steps of the project – what comes first: updating the carpet, putting in a beautiful exotic wood step and landing tread, or adding the architectural elements for safety – the rod or cable rail system. It seems like a simple answer, but there are things to consider. With a blank canvas, I could go with side mount posts or top mount. There are pluses and minuses to both. I’m leaning toward side mount so I can maximize the space on the balcony and stairs, especially since there is a part half-way up the steps where the ceiling is pretty low which makes it difficult to take furniture upstairs.

I’m still in the discovery stage, but here’s where we are right now:

  1. Update the first step and 3-1/2″ tread that borders the landing (before picture shown – after picture will come when the project is complete):
The primer coat is on the risers and fascia. More work to come.
Looking at “character walnut” for the first step and tread.

2. Paint the trim and get rid of the carpet (before shown); I did also give the walls a fresh coat of paint to brighten up the area. The carpet is about 25 years old – she’s gotta go!:

3. While the fascia has two coats of white paint already, it will need additional coats to cover the dark wood. This will be done after the existing balusters are gone.

4. Remove the balusters and handrail (late Fall 2020).

5. Install rod/cable railing system (project expected to be late Fall 2020) – pics to come as my project progresses (I will post links to suppliers as well). Pricing varies tremendously, and there are so many options! I could do 3×3 walnut balustars with chamfered corners with stainless rod or stainless posts with rod or cable. I believe the handrail will be walnut. The challenge is the dimensions. The balcony handrail measures 25 feet 8 inches, and the handrail on the stairs measures 13 feet. With the available products and requirements for code, there is a bit of waste with products, so I need to minimize leftovers and scraps (with the price of walnut and stainless, these are hardly products you want to waste!).