What to do with rails?
home owner
May 24, 2014 in Design Dilemma
Got quite a dilemma. The entrance to our home has these two rails on either side. We don't like the dated 80's look and thought about removing them and extending the step....but are worried about guests not seeing the edge and falling. Thought about adding a low wall but wanted to open up the space, not close it up! And brilliant ideas? Nicer rail? We have considered iron but are going for the cape cod look.
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jnhearne
continue the stoop you have all the way to the wall where your banister used to be.
0 Likes   May 24, 2014 at 10:57PM
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Curt D'Onofrio
I like the railing in the forefront, but the one in background i would lose. Then railing in forefront i would try putting indoor potted plants, maybe something viney so it grows on the railing
0 Likes   May 24, 2014 at 11:54PM
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midmodfan
I would get rid of both railings and put something low, but solid in the forefront, like a bench, a long planter or a low dresser.
3 Likes   May 25, 2014 at 3:05AM
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PRO
ASVInteriors
This might be fun

0 Likes   May 25, 2014 at 5:01AM
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home owner
Good ideas. Not really keen on the idea of having a really big creeping come indoors on both sides (have kids etc). Not sure if it comes through in the photos, but both rooms on either side are sunken, so a bench or dresser would need to be flanking on both sides when you walked in (might be odd).

The ultimate goal is to open the space up without creating a fire hazard.
Here's a photo of someone who did remove the rail entirely (though I think without anything it would be easy to fall off the ledge if people don't notice it)
1 Like   May 25, 2014 at 6:07AM
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PRO
ASVInteriors
I can see someone flying flat on their face pretty quickly.
If you want open space then replace with a glass panel and a railing on top of it.
1 Like   May 25, 2014 at 6:19AM
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motownmom
You could consider open shelving, as high or as low as you want. If it's low you could use it for shoe storage, if it's taller it replaces the columns as a room divider.

Ikea has lots of choices, look at the Kallax and Besta types:

This can be laid sideways: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00275848/
or this: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80275887/

This is another option: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00218457/

It's creating a "barrier" there so no one falls over it, but can provide usefulness as a place to put decor items. Behind the sofa in the farther room it would serve as a console/sofa table

My home is done in beachy cottage style and I love the Ikea white shelving units for their versatility.
2 Likes   May 25, 2014 at 6:25AM
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belleandlucy
replace the railings with a bench on each side with under storage cubbies such as to hold shoes, etc. perhaps a low back on the bench and put a nice cushion on the bench for a pop of color
1 Like   May 25, 2014 at 6:25AM
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home owner
Don't forget that whatever item you put on the step (bench, shelves for storage, etc), you'll be looking at the back of it from the formal dining room (which is going to have wainscoting/crown moulding around its walls).
0 Likes   May 25, 2014 at 6:47AM
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decoenthusiaste
A simple change in flooring material may be enough to prevent accidents. An installation of some kind could also do it - wine bar for the dining area, dark and low pony wall, a bench on the living room side for sitting down and removing shoes and for added inside storage.
Waterfront Residence - Dining Room
Craft Modern
Modern Living Area
Country French Estate: Hallway to Family Room
3 Likes   May 25, 2014 at 7:02AM
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PRO
Revolutionary Gardens
I'd hesitate to trust a change in flooring to protect my guests. So much of how we navigate life, we're not aware of and is based on patterns we expect in our environment. Walking in a front door and having to immediately navigate a step to either side is unexpected and a potential hazard. Walking in a front door and having an unprotected 12" or so drop-off to either side defies all expectations, and could seriously hurt someone. I jokingly refer to it as "designing for the third glass of wine" but you really want to think about how someone is going to move through a space while paying very little attention to his or her surroundings, and design to keep that person safe. Because that's your kid's friend Bobby who's still riding a sugar high from birthday cake, it's Aunt Maureen carrying a crockpot full of chili in one hand and holding her phone in the other, it's your friend from church who moves quickly to avoid the cat that just ran underfoot.

Whenever someone references a style they're trying to evoke I find it's important to find out what that means to that person, so I can't say for sure what Cape Cod means to you. But I would think you could do a simple iron rail, painted a light color, and use subtle decorative touches on the pickets like collars to keep it from looking industrial. And then the end posts are where you could really add interest.
1 Like   May 25, 2014 at 7:18AM
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lrhicks
The bench idea is interesting. What about bookcases/open shelving on either side? It would offer some additional storage and display space (special dinner ware pieces on the dining side; books on the family side)
0 Likes   May 25, 2014 at 7:19AM
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sunnydrew
I think a pony wall or a half-wall as high as the rail was would work. Don't make it too thick/wide, just enough to define the space. Put a flat cap on top. I will add a picture in a few minutes.
0 Likes   May 25, 2014 at 7:26AM
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sunnydrew
here is picture of my pony wall which backs up to the stairs on one side and we added a bookcase to the other side. It is only about 5" wide and 37" high. You could do something like this which could have shelves or openings for display on one side. You just have to design something that is not going to wreck your tiles floor being installed. Nothing that would attract clutter, but give you a place to put keys or mail when you come in.
2 Likes   May 25, 2014 at 7:37AM
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PRO
ASVInteriors
Or how about this which is not invasive
3 Likes   May 25, 2014 at 7:54AM
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Jolene
My 80's house also has this but they didn't put in railings as it would block the walkway. Our entry goes off in in 3 directions. Living, family and hallway (one story). I think you would be fine without anything as many of our houses here are similar and do not have railings.
0 Likes   May 25, 2014 at 8:00AM
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home owner
We are planning to add wainscoting to wrap around the dining room which is in the forefront. If we added a pony wall would you continue wainscoting along it? Or stop before you got to the pony wall? The wainscoting would be about 3 ft high.
0 Likes   May 25, 2014 at 8:31AM
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malleymay
I think you definitely need to have something substantial (not just a change in the flooring) to make people pay attention here. When your entryway drops off on both sides, no matter how small the drop or how clearly marked the floor pattern, if you don't have a rail or wall on both sides, it is just a matter of time before there is an injury.
0 Likes   May 25, 2014 at 9:12AM
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home owner
Agree with the consensus that leaving it open is asking for a fall/lawsuit. A pony wall might be nice or open shelves. Just really don't want there to be a feeling of entering a "tunnel" when you enter the house. Wondering if there's any barrier style (wall or rail) which would complement be wainscoting etc
0 Likes   May 25, 2014 at 6:53PM
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Rina
Acrylic may be a bit more modern than you'd like, but for instance this design retains a traditional feel and would really help to open the space up. http://www.accentbuildingproducts.com/cgi-bin/accent/railing/grand-view-vinyl-railing.html#.U4MS9nJ6Xvk
1 Like   May 26, 2014 at 3:14AM
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Donald
I think on the dining room side, a low built in bookcase, open on both sides but not open all the way through the cubbies, would look good and be very useful. In the dining room you could store/display dishes and the foyer side it could be a landing strip when you come in (in your photo I notice three things on the floor). I'd leave the railing on the other/den side as is
1 Like   May 26, 2014 at 3:40AM
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Libbmom
If you are doing wainscoting why not make the pony wall bench seating, as suggested above, just as high as the wainscoting...and continue it to the step. I like the idea of make storage out of the seat...large baskets under seat etc.
1 Like   May 26, 2014 at 6:23AM
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smileyface2013
I like the half wall/pony wall idea too You could add a post next to the stairs if you want.

Sutherland Residence
Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.
1 Like   Thanked by home owner    May 26, 2014 at 6:43AM
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anniau
Yes I love those two pictures with the half wall and post. Would give a great cottage feel.
0 Likes   May 26, 2014 at 7:28AM
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