Would you 'wall' off this stairway and add a door?
November 21, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Pics of the view from my front door. I am debating closing off the wall that leads to the basement. That way I can put a mirror, table etc instead of just the railing there. To the right is the dining room.

Any other suggestions welcome!
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i don't think i would.
it would make that stairway oppressively dark.
November 21, 2013 at 7:54AM   
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Hmm, didn't think about that. I could add a fixture to help with light? Trying to figure this out before I stain the banister to match the new floors.
November 21, 2013 at 7:59AM   
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Up to you, but you definitely need more light in that stairway (for safety and looks) regardless of what you do.
November 21, 2013 at 8:04AM   
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People pay us to open up this space so it would depend on if you plan to stay there and this is your "forever home". I've attached a photo of a home we've done.
November 21, 2013 at 8:07AM     
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if you add lighting into the stairwell (can lights?), then it wouldn't be so dark, and walling it off wouldn't be an issue.
November 21, 2013 at 8:13AM     
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I totally missed your second pic. After looking at that, I believe I would leave it open. You can still put a table in that space to make it more inviting but it looks okay to me as is too.
November 21, 2013 at 8:17AM     
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Elizabeth Reilly
I've never seen a basement staircase exposed to a a front entranceway. If the basement is finished, and this staircase wasn't visible from the front hallway, I'd definitely keep it open. In that case, I would replace the banister and railing to update though. Since it is in the hallway, I would prefer to have a nice mirror, table and lamp in the hallway and close off the staircase. Or, at least update the railing with a beautiful rod iron or something.
November 21, 2013 at 8:31AM   
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Yes, that's the view right upon opening the front door, which is why I am debating closing it. The basement is finished - and you can hear the 'noise' when people are down there pretty clearly. I could just add at a door in the staircase where it turns to the left half way down to the basement to alleviate that issue instead.

DEFINITELY need to update the banister/staircase. Can't decide if I want to just stain the oak dark, or get new wrought iron spindles as well. Or just rip it out entirely (which I doubt is in the budget :))

Here's another view of the entire stairs. It's a pretty large undertaking, but I know the payoff would be great to have it beautified!
November 21, 2013 at 8:41AM   
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Kevin Strader
Our house has a finished basement. When it was originally constructed the stairwell was enclosed (you can tell by where the flooring & ceiling were repaired after removing the walls & door. It visually opens up the space and makes the foyer look larger. I would never enclose an open stairwell, as long as the space in the basement is finished.
November 21, 2013 at 8:44AM   
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Maybe it's better just to put the money in to a fancy staircase upgrade.

Here's the view looking down.
November 21, 2013 at 8:49AM     
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We are in the process of changing the colour of our hardwood flooring. We wanted matching handrail colour. We decided to rip it all out and change the handrail, pickets (from medium oak to iron), and posts to update the look and match the colour of our darker floors. Wouldn't a glass panel be nice...restrain rail and nosing to match floor color.
November 21, 2013 at 8:59AM   
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@lxh195 - what is a price range for a project like that? I got a quote to get the handrail stained and it was $900.
November 21, 2013 at 9:06AM   
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My vote would be to make a closed off ledge possibly with shelves for accents. Not sure on the style of the rest of your house but we painted the spindles black (on a budget) and it turned out great.
November 21, 2013 at 9:07AM   
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We are getting over 28 feet of railing, about 70 wrought iron pickets, 3 new posts and capping of stairs, all in exotic tigerwood for $7,600. Half was for labor. The hand railing has to be removed to change the stain color...that's why it costs a lot.
November 21, 2013 at 10:04AM   
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Vicki Saul
I would leave it open. I like being able to see into the kitchen . Most importantly, you will have a fairly small, short, triangular shaped piece of wall to hang artwork on over your table which is not optimal.
November 21, 2013 at 10:15AM   
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We also debated about enclosing our stairwell to the basement but my husband insisted on it because of the noise that would come up.

There's no doubt that the entire area would have looked very elegant with it open but practicality won out, like it always does in our home.

He was right! I'm constantly closing the door when kids leave it open behind them. FYI, we did put in a 3/4 beveled glass door to let the light down and to make it feel less claustrophobic. It still cuts the noise down sufficiently to more of a loud muffle.

If you don't want to enclose the top and the noise bothers you (like it does us) then you've got the perfect solution by putting a door at the bottom like you said you could.

Good luck!
November 21, 2013 at 10:19AM   
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You could wall up the entry way as you suggested, for your table and mirror and have a half wall on the opposite stairwell wall. This keeps the formal side of your home formal and the casual side casual. You won’t have to redo any flooring if you have a half wall instead of moving the railing over. This could give you the light in the stairwell and the table in the foyer within a reasonable budget. Good luck!
November 21, 2013 at 10:28AM   
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Vicki Saul
I think the half wall solution is great:) kills two birds with one stone!
November 21, 2013 at 12:07PM   
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I would enjoy the openess and put a small console table against the railing anyway. If you do put a wall, make it a 1/2 wall!
November 21, 2013 at 12:09PM   
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I think it's a good idea to put a wall there. Extend the wall from the bottom of the stairs straight down and add a door that opens out into the foyer space...that's what should have been done originally. Then you're not annoyed by noise from other area.
November 21, 2013 at 12:22PM   
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You can do a half wall and do two things you can have a cut open in the middle and it will still give natural light and look modern. If you have stair lights put into the wall that will help also. Victor Wharf - Private. South Clark Avenue. Like the cutout in the bathroom but horizontal. So you still get light. We are restling with this in our home we have the same issues with our stairwell.
November 21, 2013 at 12:39PM   
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Elizabeth Reilly
Love the half wall idea! Then you could keep the open feeling while still adding a console and lamp. I don't like the idea of placing furniture up against railings.
November 21, 2013 at 1:48PM   
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I would do a screen. I'll post some photos.
November 21, 2013 at 2:16PM   
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Belle Chaise
I like it the way it is. It's more unique and more interesting. Also, if you have children it's nice to be able to hear what's going on in the basement. :)
November 21, 2013 at 2:19PM     
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I would do a wall there. Foyers should be a welcoming space and a railing feels like you are still outside. A nice console table and a picture above would warm it up nicely and add some night lighting.
November 21, 2013 at 2:29PM     
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My concern would be safety. I can envision a few guests, mingling to say "goodnight" after an evening of fine wine... You can imagine the rest. I'd close it off and put in a door. It will give you a great wall to do your foyer decor.
November 21, 2013 at 2:33PM     
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I would've close this area off. Would change out the spindles, maybe something sleeker.
November 21, 2013 at 2:36PM   
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Daniel DeSantis Interiors
I would leave it the way it is. You could place a round table there with an interesting sculpture or lamp on it. This would create an inviting space and a nice focal point in the foyer. If you decide to "wall it up" I would suggest leaving it open at the entrance-no door.
November 21, 2013 at 5:34PM   
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When I see basements with doors to them, I usually assume they're unfinished or that there is some mess to hide down there, so I myself would keep it open.
November 21, 2013 at 5:42PM     
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I would close off the space. It will be quieter and you would have a wall to decorate.
November 21, 2013 at 6:20PM   
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My brother fell down some basement stairs and we had to get an ambulance. Good lighting is essential.
November 21, 2013 at 6:32PM   
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