A tour of Asheville will eventually bring you to a gorgeous historic neighborhood full of old Victorian homes interspersed with Arts-and-Crafts bungalows, plus a few modern houses designed with a sensitive vintage touch. The streetscapes are just right—the perfect balance between casual and beautiful. That's the Montford area, and it's my favorite place to work.
One of the challenges of fixing up a Montford home is the requirement that all exterior improvements must be in keeping with the historic nature of the community. I recently finished a project for one of my clients who needed a custom stair banister to match the railing on her 100+ year-old home. It turned out really well.
First, a before-and-after shot:
Now let's look at a slideshow of a few process shots.
It all looks so easy when I put it into six pictures, but in fact, there were a lot of processes on this job that don't show up in photos. Historic homes like this one often have little idiosyncrasies (that's part of their charm). For example, the stone steps weren't symmetrical or level, which made it a challenge to place the railings. Luckily it turned out well.
Another point to ponder was the fact that the stair banister will be more exposed to the elements than the porch railings are. For this reason, we opted to use treated lumber. As I have discussed elsewhere, treated lumber can't be painted until it has seasoned for a few months. That's why the wood is still unpainted.
The historic design was also a challenge. Compare it to the utilitarian railings I recently did for an apartment complex. On those stairs, I could use standard lumber from the hardware store, but here every piece had to be custom milled and then routed with a custom router bit in order to match the existing porch.
But I'm not complaining... this kind of work is really rewarding. I've made lots of music and other art, but somehow it's projects like these that make me really feel like an "artist." A big thank-you to my clients for the opportunity to build this for them!
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