The Long Journey

Travel adds excitement.

Travel adds stress.

Travel also adds a story – or three

As one might expect one of our longest journeys made for the most stories.  This one started as a stair, a mere 1800 miles away.  We were hired by a contractor to do a curved stair in the Key Largo area.  Sight unseen – we worked and designed off their measurements, sending a full sized floor plan for them to lay out at the site and approve.  This was a freestanding irregular curved elliptical stair.  We added some curved treads and risers, curved rising railings and iron balusters.  Price wise not a huge money maker, but it wasn’t that long after the bust.  We were eager to do what would turn into a magnificent stair.  From the full size patterns, they realized the initial run of the stair was too long.  Major catastrophe avoided!  We made the changes in design and went straight into production.

Not to oversimplify, but four months later we had the mahogany stair, railings and balustrade completely assembled in the shop.  Wonderful!  We usually take a nice deep breath at this point – almost to the point of giving ourselves a hardy pat on the back- then we realize we still have to load, transport to the site, get it inside, get it to fit and then finalize by installing the rail and balustrade.  So much for that pat on the back.


The back of our shop has a drive through 16′ x 14′ door.  I’ve always wanted to build a big boat in there, just so I could ease it out of that doorway.  It works great for stairs as well.  I loaded up with the assistance of a tractor lift and a few straps.  After carefully lowering onto our open trailer, we built a nice knee wall underneath for support.  Screwed everything down securely, and double tarped everything, just in case – although I’m not sure why – it never rains in the south!!

We’re ready for the 26 hr trek.  One thing about long road trips – it’s a good practice to not overthink everything that could go wrong.

Come back next week as we continue on our journey.

Until then take five!

Wood, Glass and Steel: part II

As with a majority of our projects, this one started with an idea, a space and a picture.  The design of the house was very contemporary.  Very minimalist with a lot of glass.  The entire west side of the house was all glass, to take advantage of the great view.  The original plan was to put in an all metal stair – but the price was too high.  That’s where we came in to the picture.  We could do an open riser wood stair, add some glass for the riser to comply with code.  We designed in some custom newels and handrail with a stainless steel cable balustrade.


The kicker was what we were able to do for the landing.  We did a two riser landing that curved around the doorway.  In all the ‘wasted space’ of the landing we designed a secret compartment re the owners request.


Take note of the some of the details in the landing – notable: the reveals and curves


The other design option we were able to provide was some glass and wood for the balcony railings.  This was originally going to be drywalled with a wood cap – with the end run having a large ceiling to floor post for support.  It was very obtrusive because it cut off the sight line.


We finished off the design by wrapping the outside stringer with stainless steel.


That’s right folks!  Tell all the haters and hacks that Steve does contemporary !!


See you next week!!