In-N-Out

In with the new stairs. Out with nearly every wall in the house.

The stairs came prefab and arrived early Tuesday morning. They have gorgeous oak treads, which we immediately covered with plywood scraps to protect them. The first five treads have bullnose corners, presenting a finished flange to the kitchen and living room; the remaining treads are narrower to fit between two walls.

Hans took charge of building those slanted walls. The east wall is particularly complicated as it frames around what will become a storage nook at the top of the basement stairs. Everyone agreed to keep the stairs open to the living room as high as possible, meaning that nook has a sloping ceiling. Plenty of funny angles to figure out.

Hans builds the wacky stair-wall nook.

Hans builds the wacky stair-wall nook.

Not to be left out, Mark volunteered to seal the treads with a polyurethane coating. He started last night, when Bob and Suze were out of town and wouldn’t have to live with the vapors. (They put up with serious inconveniences as it is, living in this house while it gets remodeled top to bottom.) First I helped Mark staple some plastic sheeting to the ceiling above to catch any drips from the roof. He removed the plywood tread covers, cleaned up debris, and applied paint thinner to remove some accidental scuff marks. Then he proceeded to paint on the first coat.

Mark brushes polyurethane onto the new steps.

Mark brushes polyurethane onto the new steps.

The north wall of the living room is half gone, as is the first-floor bathroom wall. We salvaged lots of nice-looking barnboard from the walls, and we’ll reuse some of it as a germane alternative to drywall. (I tried not to split any pieces as I pried them off.) D.D. gets the award for making the most trips out to our dumpster. Bob had it delivered a week ago and it’s already overflowing.

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