Although the smallest area in my home, I’ve put a lot of time and thought into my tiny hallway. This is the first of many posts on it’s slowly emerging makeover. Today, I’m going to show you how I replaced my ugly, and quiet frankly, dangerous, 1970s staircase with smart banisters and a handrail from Richard Burbridge.
Well, where do I start with this horror? Brown wooden planks of wood rammed into the ceiling. What pains me is there would have been a lovely old staircase here originally but someone at some point of my house’s history gave the place a ‘modern look’ – the result of which we are looking at now.
When I first moved in, I painted my staircase white to help it blend into the room – you can see me in action here. The cupboard below the staircase is the main storage in my house. The tiny doors make it impossible to get stuff in or out. In a nutshell, unsafe, unstylish and very unlovely.
This is upstairs, and the original banister and handrail left in the house. Sadly, over the years layers of oil gloss has been painted over the handrail, yellowing with age. One rainy afternoon, I started to hot gun to strip back the handrail to reveal the wooden rail. It had been stained dark but it had a lovely feel. It felt amazing to remove layers of paint, even thought it took about about 5 hours.
Her’s me in my not very health + safety outfit. I got so hot and bothered stripping it back – best work out ever. After about 2 days of this, my mum came over and gave me a hand to finish the job. Together with wire wool and some hard scrubbing we banished all the tiny flecks of paint. Ta da! There’s my original Victorian newel post in all it’s glory.
Not 100 percent sure why, but one day I decided to take out the under-stairs cupboard. Once I had opened it up, I could see that there was a pretty big space there, perfect for storing the hoover, coats and my iron (to list just some of my clutter). Once the upstairs banister had been stripped, and the cupboard opened up, I was itching to swap the banisters for something a little more fitting for my Victorian home. This is the before of the staircase looking down. (That’s my rather camera shy carpenter, Steve, in the red t-shirt). I’d considered lots of designs including modern metal and glass but in the end to make the upstairs landing work with my downstairs, I wanted a more classic staircase – I could always paint in a modern colour if I wanted to, couldn’t I?
I’d spotted the Hemlock Colonial Spindles on Richard Burbridge and the matching Newell base and handrail. I could order them online through their website using their hand Stairplanner on-line tool. You select the design you want, in the materials you like and then they come up with a plan and a quote. If you get stuck you can alway call their team to help. But the planner is so simple, it was a doddle to use even for me – and I’m not great with stuff like this. Within a week my new staircase kit was at my house, ready to install.I got in my carpenter Steve to help me install the staircase as I’m not that DIY handy. The old one was so easy to pull out, I didn’t even have time to catch him on camera doing it as it sort of fell out of his hand. Next, he put in the lower base rail and attached the spindles following the line of the staircase up.This is how it looked by the end of the day. It makes such a huge transformation. I feel much safer walking down the stairs with a handrail to hold on to (my steps are very shallow and the carpet is a bit slippy).
He had to cut a curved section of the banister to create an angel to lead up the stairs. This took about a day to do in total. This photo is taken at the end of day one.Day two he tackled the upstairs, replacing the mean-looking slime spindles with they more ornate ones. This didn’t take long at all. Look how lovely my hand rail looks against the wooden spindles. It’s smartened up my landing no end.
Here I am right now with a brand new staircase in less than a day and half. It was fuss-free (compared to other projects I have taken on in this house) and was a pretty dramatic and instant makeover on this corner of my home.
The Breakdown: The Staircase cost
24 Hemlock Colonial Spindals = £158
3M of Hemlock handrail and up-easing = £182
3M of Hemlock base rail = £73
Hemlock Newell base, turn and opening cap = £140
Labour = £250
Job Length: 1 x week from order to delivery; 1 x weekend stripping back the wood; 1.5 x days to install; 1 x afternoon painting and waxing the staircase.
Would you replace your staircase?
In my mind as this is the first impression of my home, replacing it was a no brainer. As the staircase also is very much part of my open living space, changing it from the monstrosity of DIY to a classic style has helped the space feel more pulled together. It now also meets building regulations if I ever choose to sell this place. Restoring my original banister has transformed the landing as it now all matches the downstairs. So yes, it was worth the time and effort. I don’t have this huge fear when my nephews come to visit that they will fall through the gaps.
What is next for my staircase? The plan is to paint the hallway a dramatic shade (spot my tester of Hauge Blue by Farrow & Ball on the wall), I’m going to stain both sets of wooden banisters with Blanchon white hard wax oil that brings out the grain – this stuff is amazing (more on this later). Obviously, the cupboard under the stairs needs a little ‘work’ – pull out drawers and new doors. Maybe a new stair carpet? Or possibly paint the stairs a colour if that works out better/cheaper. I’ve got a new front door coming in a week or so from Adoored, which will let light pour into the corridor and I’m researching now hallway lighting.
Even though this is possibly the tiniest makeover ever, it’s having a lot of love put into it. Can you tell?