Heather and her husband need to install a new stair rail along the stairs to the basement in ther 1970 ranch house. They want a design that they can build themselves and have asked for our ideas to help. I have an immediate idea — but read on — and I welcome reader ideas, too! Heather writes:
We have a wonderful 1970 brick ranch that has some great retro touches. My husband and I are currently renovating our basement and I need some help with what to do with the stair railing. Could I submit a photo to you for your thoughts and help from the readers? Your site is a recent discover for me and I so enjoy it!
Well, sure, Heather. I ask her for some more info on her “Retro Renovation story” and she quickly responds:
Thanks for taking a look at this! We bought this 1970 brick ranch two years ago just after we got married. Funnily enough, neither of us wanted a brick house or a ranch, but when we first saw this one, it called our name! It was a great decision! The bones of the house were in great shape, especially upstairs. A fresh coat of paint and refinishing the original wood floors (hidden under some nasty carpet) were all that was needed before we moved in. The basement has been a different story! After gutting the existing stud walls and paneling due to water damage – and fixing said water infiltration – we are now in the process of rebuilding. I am looking for your help on the stair railing. You can see from the attached picture that a portion of the stair will be open to the den. The shaded areas show where the new walls will go. All the rail/ picket combinations for purchase at the big-box stores are traditional, turned-wood pickets that do not fit this house or my style! Any suggestions? Our budget is modest and we will probably do the work ourselves – so a hand-crafted, wrought-iron number is probably out of the question! I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
By the way, perusing your site has given me all kinds of ideas for the rest of the house. I’m not sure my husband is going to like you
Thank you for your nice comments, Heather. Hope I don’t get you in trouble with DH, but that’s what marriage is all about, isn’t it? The honey-do projects…. On to your question…
My idea for a 1970s style stair railing:
I immediately *knew* what my suggestion was for your stair railing: It’s like the one shown here. (Note, I cannot use this image on my site as it is copyrighted from istock.com. I tried to find it and buy it from istock.com but could not find it.)
I think that this style of railing — which we still see on decks today — was quite common on the interiors of 1970s homes. And I bet you could replicate it yourself, pretty easily. Walking down the stairs you are not going to see the “pretty side” of the railing, but you will see it from the basement room itself. I’d look for good wood that will take a stain well, I think that’s key, along with general craftsmanship. And, of course, check with your local building inspector to make sure you are designing and installing the rail according to current building codes — and safely.
Readers, what do your stair rails look like?
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