Updating an Old Staircase

Sharing the design details of updating an old staircase from spiral to floating stairs in the new house.

I’m sure you can all think of a lot of phrases that start off with “nothing good comes from…”. In our case, nothing good comes from 1970’s spiral cases and toddlers. So we’ve totally nixed the original and are updating our old staircase in the new house.

In case you missed the announcement posts with all of the listing photos, you can check out the original stairs in all of their glory right here.

Below is a photo of the space after we closed on the house and the staging furniture was removed. Everything was just really closed in and dark.

Also, say hello to Genesis CP in there doing their thing for the first (of many) walkthroughs! You can see from the floorplan changes here that we ended up taking down the wall just past the stairs and opening up a lot of the kitchen.

Below is what it looked like after they removed the old spiral staircase. SO much more open, right?!

Now this is the new general layout of the floating stairs and how the treads look. There are so many creative stair riser ideas. And we wanted one that wouldn’t break the open flow of the first floor.

a view of the new stairs - - Sugar & Cloth Casa: Updating An Old Staircase by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth
ash wood thick stair treads - - Sugar & Cloth Casa: Updating An Old Staircase by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth

Note that all of the poles going from the floor to the base have been removed. So the stairs will appear truly floating. I also LOVE the look of the ash wood treads!

We’re now into the debate on railing solutions. The idea is that the stairs will be modern but not take away too from the view of the lake from the wall of windows.

Whatever we did for the stair railings needed to be similar in style to the upstairs overlook railing. The upstairs railing also needs to be replaced. It’s rickety and the railings are too far apart. And considering that that space will occupy our playroom and wet bar, safety was a huge concern.

Since both of the railings will meet in the upstairs balcony, the two styles really need to flow. This is the balcony from before…

a view of the old balcony - Sugar & Cloth Casa: Updating An Old Staircase by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth

And below are the new styles we’re going for that I designed as a quick mockup. The handrail will be stained to match the light wood flooring that we’re using throughout the rest of the house and the balusters themselves will be white. 

new design renderings for railings - Sugar & Cloth Casa: Updating An Old Staircase by top Houston lifestyle blogger Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth

For the balcony, I thought it would be a place we could have a little more retro fun with the design while still matching the general flow.

Luckily, Genesis CP hasn’t stopped returning my calls or texts yet. But the jury is still out! Let’s just say I’m a bit of a micromanager when it comes to the design details. Can you blame me though?! I literally break a sweat when I think about how much money we’ve put into this house!

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  1. Genuine/no-shade question. From a safety standpoint, what is the difference between the new floating stairs and the old spiral stairs? They both have open treads, right?

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Great question. Yes, they both have open treads so it’s still not as safe as non-floating stairs. Your foot can still fall through the openings. (Thankfully, not your whole body). Spiral stairs are actually more unsafe because they’re more compact and harder to navigate being spiral. Since they’re so small, you can’t have more than one person going up and down at a time so you can’t walk next to your kid and hold their hand. New building codes now actually require that you have another set of non-spiral stairs in your building or home if you do have spiral stairs. This is because you would not be able to quickly exit the building in case of an emergency with spiral stairs. We made sure not to have straight floating stairs so that the center would break up the flight of stairs and the reduce the number of treads from a fall. The landing can provide a place to stop and rest also. They’re also very wide floating stairs for multiple people to use at the same time. Hope this helps! XOXO