Design Options For Our Basement Stairs

Everything architectural has been selected for our basement, aside from one thing that we’ve been putting off for months…

What could this major design decision be you ask? Turns out it’s not so major at all. It’s simply our stairs.

Here’s what we are working with:

When we started the project, we had Carpenter Homes open up part of the stairwell to create a more airy space and to allow us to have a statement railing. While it was worth it, this project wasn’t easy for our contractors and cost a bit more than we imagined.

We also had them tear up the carpet, which our builder installed using carpet leftover from the upstairs’ bedrooms. It got pretty beat up during construction. They also lowered a built-in-shelf in the landing.

Perhaps the hangover from the wall removal is why when we got started on making the big decisions, like what the bunk beds should look like, and DIYing projects, like the mantel made from layering molding, we sort of forgot about the stairs altogether.

Every once in a while, we’d start chatting about whether we should take on the project ourselves or work with Carpenter Homes on it, and we’ve always known two things. 1. That we wanted a stair runner. 2. That we wanted a steel railing. 

We’ve just never had the energy actually pick the railing and carpet. I also wanted to wait until the main areas were done so I could visualize the design options in my head better.

Now that the overall project is wrapping up, It’s time to get serious about the stairs. We’ve already made a few decisions, like that we will be working with ICSS Supply Co. on reclaimed wood treads to match the rustic beams they sourced to us for the bar. We will also be having our finishing carpenter install white skirt boards and risers.

Whether we are doing the install of the treads and carpet is still to be determined. Given our to-do-list is long, we may opt out of this project in favor of getting a start on E’s big girl room.

Either way, it’s going to take awhile to get the treads, since ICSS is in the process of moving to a larger shop. This buys us some time on the remaining decisions, so we are coming to you.

We’ve narrowed each option down to two choices.

(L) Photo and Design by Emily Adamson Design; Carpet – Only Natural by Tuftex Carpets of California | (R) Photo and Design by Young House Love, Carpet – Dash & Albert
Choice 1: The carpet runner

My vote is leaning slightly towards the Dash & Albert black and white runner, a la, Young House Love. You can get it in a variety of sizes for your own home here.

Daren’s vote is for the equally chic Tuftex Carpets of California’s Only Natural

My favorite design house, Studio McGee, actually included both in a post highlighting their top picks for stair runners. Win, win in my book.

What could sway my vote? The fact the carpet would likely be easier to install than the pre-made runner. We plan to use caps on the side of the carpet and then use a carpet pad, rather than have wood installed across the whole tread. A pre-made runner would work fine on a wall to wall tread, but it may be a pain to install using our current plan. I’m really not sure.

The reason for putting a carpet pad under the fabric is two-fold, we want the stairs to be cushy and we’d like to save money on lumber.

(L) Photo by Tessa Neustadt for Amber Interior Design | (R) Photo by Rachel Whyte for Fixer Upper on HGTV
Choice 2: The steel railing.

This is simple and purely aesthetic. Vertical or horizontal?

We are both thinking vertical, but only if our manufacture, Red River Fabricating, Inc., can make the rails as delicate and modern looking as the picture above. If not, we’re going horizontal. If it is good enough for Joanne Gaines, it’s good enough for me.

Let us know what choices you would make below!

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