Monthly Archives: July 2013
HGTV’s most outrageous homes will feature an $11 million house in Riverton Utah on its “Top 10 Outrageous Homes” this fall. Woodstairs is a proud, behind the scenes, contributor to this amazing project through the stair parts supplied to one of our customers, Titan Stairs of Utah. Titan Stairs has been a WoodStairs customer for half a dozen years now and we have worked on many amazing projects with them. They are true craftsman whose projects include some of the most elegant and richly detailed custom stairs and balustrades in their area. Of the many professional stair & balustrade and trim companies in Utah, Titan Stairs (with branches in both Salt Lake City and St. George) is widely regarded as the best. We highly recommend them and are glad to see their work showcased in this article and the upcoming episode on HGTV. The acclaim is well deserved.
There are many features of this home that helped to warrant it’s inclusion in HGTV’s “Outrageous Homes” episode. Of course our interest is specific to the stairs and railings. So what exactly make the stairs themselves stand out as outrageous? The answer is in fact, nothing. The stairs and banisters are not unusually extreme. Still, there is something about them that helps to enhance the overall extravagance and uniqueness of the home.
In fact, were every aspect of the home over the top it would probably not be recognized as the beautifully luxurious home that it is. According to John Pickett, of Titan Stairs, the thing that makes this home and it’s several stairs and balustrades stand out as extraordinary in his mind was the “integration and attention to detail.” Paraphrasing, John, the designer, Julie Stuehser, was meticulous in creating each space as a collection of details that perfectly defined the whole. So, in his opinion, while there were many unique and amazing features it was the overall integrity of the design that Julie, the builder, Upland Development and the homeowners envisioned, that made the home in its entirety something special. Passing from one room to the next, as you can see from the images, the design are completely different but according to John, “It is as if they could be from different homes, but the transitions are seamless.”
Adding wood handrail to a full wrought iron balustrade can literally heat up your railing system without the expense of replacing the entire banister. Wood handrails are typically larger, warmer to the touch and the eye and more comfortable in your hand. This is one simple and inexpensive way to perform a stair makeover of an existing full iron banister.
Over the last 30 years or so, what were once two separate railing styles are often combined. Wood and wrought iron balustrades allow you to have the warmth and comfort of wood and the versatility of wrought iron balusters. Wood stair treads, newel posts, handrails and moldings are generally larger and tie in better with the other wood features of the home such as base, doors, moldings and furniture. Wrought iron balusters on the other hand are far more versatile. Rather than repeating a single baluster over the entire balustrade, multiple wrought iron balusters are combined to create patterns within the larger pattern of the banister. Relatively new advancements (say the last 20-30 years) in wrought iron balusters have made this merger possible. Doweled tops for installation into wood handrail instead of having to be welded to an iron rail and baluster shoes that conceal the holes in the landing tread are the two most prominent of these.
Adding stair treads to a stairway can have a dramatic visual impact that adds value to your home. While we have not had the chance to speak with all of our many customers who choose this option, those that we have heard from have raved about the results. The few we’ve talked to who did this to help sell their home have been unanimous in their belief that this either helped to sell their home faster or that they were able to ask for more than they would have otherwise. Basically, the stair treads more than paid for themselves. This same sentiment is true on most of the home flipping shows on television. Old and outdated stairs are always addressed through some renovation and stair treads is one of the best and easiest.
This is because the stair treads offer a large area to upgrade and that the difference is dramatic. Even the most luxurious carpet is no match to the beautiful natural texture and patterns of the wood grain in solid oak stair treads. Also, while installing stair treads does require the balustrade to be removed and reinstalled, the components are reused. So, you don’t have to spend the additional money on handrails, newel posts, balusters, etc. The installation is also far easier than it was to begin with because everything is already cut to length, the layouts have been done and you only have to remove those balustrades on the stairs themselves, not the overlooking balconies. You might want to consider just adding a bullnose stair tread also called a starting step to the bottom step.