July 6, 2017

OMG, I thought we would never get it done, but I am happy to report that the bannister is not complete – all 4 sides! Ken finished the last of the trim today. The trim covers the joists between the two floors. I must say it looks pretty good.

South side – living room on the first floor with French doors to the sunroom. Media room on the second level

West side – living room built ins on the first floor and walk-around on the second

North side – kitchen in the background on the first floor and French doors to master bedroom on the second floor (I see Ken has left his level on the ledge. Wonder if he will remember where it is when he needs it next. LOL)

East side – view of the staircase and bannister with the two dormers on the second floor.

In the picture above (East side) Ken is securing the last of the spindles. Since our spindles were made from real trees, they are not uniform or straight. When Ken created the rails, he place them so that there would not be any gaps greater than 4 inch, to code. But if you can turn a spindle, you could create a gap. After realigning the spindles to avoid gaps, he screwed any loose ones in place with small head screws.

Including the stair rail, there is 169 spindles, 8 short posts and 5 long floor to ceiling posts. All are poplar trees harvested from our property, skinned, dried, sanded and varathaned. The spindles were all tendoned using a tenon cutter. (See this post for the process). It has taken us 19 months to complete.

With the trim covering the joists around the top of the opening to the second floor finished, the first floor is now totally complete. To do the trim, Ken used bamboo tongue and groove flooring. It matches well with the poplar of the bannister and the birch of the living room built-ins. As the posts for the bannister are lag bolted through the joists, we had to wait until the last post was in place before the trim could be done.

The last two rail sections of the bannister went in while Kelsey and Jacob were visiting. Thanks to Larry and Darlene for providing the extra hands needed to assemble and maneuver the two sections into place. We had the staircase blocked off so Jacob couldn’t venture upstairs, but it only took three days for him to figure out how to defeat the gate. Luckily Ken was ready to get the last sections up by then. We got them up while he was napping but let him pose with his tools for a picture with Gido.

Jacob helping Gido with the last section of bannister

The boys with their toys (aka tools)

Ken also managed to put the frame for the day beds in the dormers (picture below) together before Katie and Tyler arrived. They loved their little beds. The day beds also make a cozy area for curling up with a good book or just admiring the view of the yard through the big windows. Getting the day bed covers and pillows made is on my to do list. Making the doors for the cabinet below the bed will be a winter project for Ken. Left for winter will also be the hardwood flooring on the second level.

Dormer day beds


About Darlene & Ken

Experiencing life off the grid, building a home, and trying to live sustainably.
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