Restoring this old staircase was quite a task. Originally built in the 1890s on Summit Avenue in St Paul. It was the front staircase linking 3 floors in a beautiful but throughly exhausted Victorian row house. Having bore the ravages of American urban history, this opulent single family home had become a chopped up apartment house squalor. And the staircase was a dilapidated rickety nightmare.
Everything on this staircase had to be disassembled and rebuilt with new landings, new stringers …even the entry had to be moved back to its original location.
Few of the original parts are in their original location. The staircase had been so cannibalized and butchered, that this present restoration is the product of a combination of stairparts, both original and salvaged from a second set of staircase parts saved from another unit in the set of row houses. Of course, there were also a number of newly fabricated parts. All the posts are new, with new moldings made to match.
I would guess that a good 80% of the parts that were used for this reconstruction are original to the 1890s row house, cut from the same trees and milled back in the day. All the parts were refitted and installed in this revamped ensemble and,of course, newly refinished.
Here are some shots of one of our favorite projects. It started with an unfinished attic space and some schematics from Rehkamp Larson Architects. The project included two bedrooms, a bath and an office. We also added several skylights and some built in cabinets. Everything went up two flights of stairs or as you can see, through the window!
After the project was complete, the clients were kind enough to provide letters of recommendation. Here are some excerpts:
“The project, begun in October of 2005 and completed in March of 2006, included the creation of two bedrooms, a bathroom, and an office. It also involved complicated structural reinforcements, a small 3rd floor workspace, and elaborate trim detail, all completed from only rudimentary architectural drawings.”
| Built in lighting
“… the work was done professionally, carefully, and up to high standards. The finished space looks absolutely beautiful, and we have received no end of compliments and oohs and aahs.”
“There was a minimum of disruption of our daily lives, and they were always courteous and easy to work with, including being warm and friendly with our kids and our dog.”
“Despite the fact that we had few concrete plans for exactly how the space was going to turn out, Bill worked with us to help us figure it out, and he was always flexible and adaptable.”
“Most importantly, we always felt that they were entirely trustworthy—they worked hard, charged fairly, billed honestly, and dealt with us professionally. We actually miss having him around!”
We miss them too.