Installation of Stair Treads

stair tread alignment jig

This is a jig that I made to align the stair treads during the assembly process. The steel frame intentionally has a lot of room for adjustment to allow for irregularities in the floor and the walls and any variation in all the parts involved. These treads are screwed into the steel plate from below. See the steel plates here and to see the steel frame going in go here.

 

Stairs fill the stairwell

the stairwell

The entrance looked large without the stairs. Now its filled up.  I didn’t skimp on the scale of the stairs. I didn’t want to compromise on the ease of getting up and down. These stairs will get a lot of use.

Something like a spiral staircase just wouldn’t be useful for frequent trips up and down. A “fireman’s pole” might be helpful for trips down though.

 

There is still plenty of work involved in attaching the hand rail posts and fabricating a new hand rail for the stairs but, for now, I rather like it just like this.

Sanding Stairs and Pondering More Lighting

Stairs of Parallam

sanding the beams before cutting to size

“Parallam” is an engineered structural beam material. Its designed to be very strong and very straight and consistent. I’m using it for my stair treds. I like the look and the fact that its a sustainable material. I like the balance of the machismo of the steel stair structure in combination with the softness of the wood. This wood material reminds me of a bundle of sticks or grass. I think it relates well to my bamboo floor and my bamboo shade that is the “door” to my stacking washer/dryer room.

rough placement of the treds pre-install

Here you can see the rough placement of the treds before final trimming to size. I have to admit I was a bit concerned about the scale of these hunks of wood in the small space but, happily, my estimates seem to be okay. There will need to be a railing of course but I do like the way that it looks without any railing. I’m working on sanding and final finish before I get them in place.

 

What About Bedside Lighting?

tolomeo wall light

I need to get all of the outlets and light fixture electrical boxes in place. Since I want as clean an installation as possible it seems necessary to determine the type of fixture before I can decide on the exact location of the electrical box.

At this point I am imagining an adjustable light fixture on each side of my new bed. I would like the fixture to mount to the wall without any cord, therefore I need to know what kind of light fixture as well as how wide the bed is going to be and how the fixture attaches to the wall.

Options, Options

Of course there are many options here just like all the other types of fixtures. So more research to do here too. I do want something that has some softness to it and doesn’t seem overly technical. Some of these get very technical very fast. It would be nice if there was some warmth to the light too like this one with a fabric shade. As always cost is a major deciding factor and some of these are too expensive.

 

ledino wall light

philips swing arm

ledino wall light

 

 

 

Details….details….

I’m working on a lot of different things at the same time. I’m figuring out how to do many of the things that I was unsure of; but then, it seems I often have to move on to something else due to the order that things need to get done. For instance, I figured out the railings for my decks but now I have to wait until I finish the tile. The railing was going to be in the way. I couldn’t run the large duct under the floor until I had the structural beam in place for the new stairway. Still working on that but the stairs are roughly in position.

Let there be heat

verb2 ducting

This is commitment !

I actually committed to the placement of the ducts. I’ve put large holes in the wall and the floor. All of the final ducting is not in yet but I am testing the furnace for heating and it is amazing what a difference a bit of heat makes to the comfort inside the house.  I’d say that “heat” makes a home more than anything else that I have experienced so far. This hole takes the duct underneath my house to be directed to separate spaces.

 

 

Big holes for big ducts

 

This hole goes from my garage into the living space and I had to consult with the engineer to see how big of a hole would be allowed to pierce through the structural shear wall. I had to reframe some of the wall around the hole. The 4×4 stair support is also right next to the opening. I don’t know if all houses are like this but a lot of stuff has to be coordinated together in a tight space.

See the heating layout concept here.

Railings for the decks

Railings are just getting started

I’m really excited for the new exterior spaces that I have created. I have designed the railing panels so that there are places where the sun can come through and there are also places that provide complete privacy. I hope to spend a lot of time on the deck shown in this picture. The other deck (or terrace) is on the left here. The terrace is mostly a place for plants and a bit of outdoor space right outside of my new bedroom.

Railing design

working out the details

I started watching the sun set over my new deck over the last several months. During certain months the sun will be coming right onto my deck and into my new living room. I wanted to take advantage of that. I didn’t, however, want to see or be seen by my neighbors. I developed an angle that I hope will allow for me to look out toward the ocean but will block my view to the neighbor’s house. Different sections of the railing will have different designs. Some designed for letting light through and others to block visibility as much as possible. I learned a lot from the first fence that I built for the ground level. I learned to base everything on stock lumber that I can easily get nearby. Look at fence design on verb2. The railing should relate to the fence below but the requirements are a little different.  Here is a rendering of the railing concept :

A rendering of my concept

A big step for mankind

Stair metal fabrication just arrived

I designed the new staircase to be similar to those old exterior stairs you see on ’70s and ’60s style apartment buildings. The exterior ones have concrete steps. I am going to use a wood construction material for the steps but I borrowed the idea of a single big steel center support.

I worked with a local steel fabricator that helped me to refine the details of construction. I like working with people that are able to have a conversation about process and design. He was very good at making suggestions and also still listening to my crazy ideas.

A little help…

It helps to have strong friends

The finished steel structure was pretty heavy. My friend told me that I had to post a picture of other people helping me because I give the impression that I do everything by myself. There was definitely no way that I could never get this structure in place by myself and it helps that my friends are tall and strong.