Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The Final Push - Work On The Staircase Begins

At long, long last work has begun on the stairs, the last large-scale job to be completed in the house.

I wanted to get some of the paint stripped back on the lower flight before Pat Lynch of Conservation Joinery began this morning, so I spent the weekend with the heatgun and scraper and set to work.

The balusters have so many layers of paint slapped on, so much detail is lost, so it was important to get this stripped back:

Stripping begins. Note the two larger balusters which were replaced at some point, as was the newel post at the bottom of the stairs. This will be replaced with the original monkey tail.

These thinner, finer detailed balusters are the originals (below) and i'll likely have them re-arranged so that all the originals are in a single row, with the larger copies in a less obvious location like on the turn of the stair rail:

An example of the massive amount of detail below.


The stringer was also stripped back revealing the simple elegant detail:

Pat Lynch started work this morning on the staircase. Restoration work will be comprehensive and will encompass all four flights of stairs.

One of the main tasks will be tackling the ground floor flight, which is in very poor condition due to the high level of traffic it has received over the years. The carriage pieces which run up the center of the treads on the underside are sagging and provide little support and will have to be replaced. Many of the treads are also in very poor condition:

Here you can see the two carriage pieces which run upwards diagonally behind the steps:

The carriage pieces rest on a beam which in turn rests on a shallow rubble foundation:

The backside of the carriage pieces, with man of the tread supports missing:

The underside of the first floor landing:

Some of the lathe and plaster had to be removed to gain access to the underside of this 2nd floor landing, which requires serious attention and re-enforcement:

You can see to the right of this image where the staircase strigger has cracked as this flight has fallen away from the upper flight:

Again the same section approaching the third story, where the lower flight has fallen away:

As mentioned previously in this blog, this whole corner section of the house likely moved outwards  and away from inside section of the stairs many moons ago, pulling the outside flights with it. This section of stairs will have to be pulled back together and structurally reinforced which is no easy task:

Some of the skirting pulled away:

This section will have newly turned balusters reinstated:

Such a beautiful staircase for such a modest house, some real attention to detail and great craftmanship on show:

The first floor landing, with treads in reasonable condition:

Note aswell how much the stairs has dropped away from the skirting board. This whole flight will be lifted upwards:

Some items found inside the staircase, some great finds!


  1. Once again, WOW!

    It is going to be STUNNING when finished. You must be incredibly excited!

  2. This blog should be a must read for anyone considering buying an old house as a restoration project, its truly mind boggling the work you have put into it to date.

    What would be really helpful for people considering a project like this is once its completed if you could put together a sequence for which you would carry out each aspect of a house restoration now with having the benefit of hindsight to guide you.

    Best of luck with it!

  3. Looks like a fantastic project. I am just about to embark on renovation of a 4 story over basement Georgian house in Limerick. I would live to hear more about your renovation journey.

  4. I work as an archaeologist in Tucson, Arizona, USA. I have found an identical tooth powder ceramic container here!

    1. Incredible to hear, any pics? Stephen