Tread carefully part 2- an update on safer stairs stories

DSC00316Looking through JP’s latest post on his wonderful blog here I had a strong sense of deja-vu.

Trapphuset till vinden då och nu

OK, students, compare and contrast JP’s photos with mine here-

Although the room looks a little wider, the stairs access in JP’s French village house is identical to ours on the first floor (we had a door at the bottom of these stairs also), and the view down the stairs? Well……. DSC00331

I thank you JP, for filling in another of the huge gaps in the history of our house. I have never been quite sure if this staircase between 1st and 2nd floors was in it’s original historical position. As JP’s house has similar bones age wise to our place, it looks very much like our staircase layout  is older than I first thought .

It seems likely that our original wooden staircase was removed, possibly because it was rotten,  and the terrazzo one made on-site & installed to follow exactly the same size, shape and layout of the old one.

As per our posts above, we had decided to wrap the existing staircase in wood  (with a slight modification for safer access to the terrace bedroom) and I am very, very happy now to know that by doing this, we are restoring this bit of the house appropriately  in the right materials. We cannot afford oak or chestnut etc , as this is a low budget project, but the wood we have chosen is tough and characterful and will have the spirit of the old original. Another mystery solved.


About coteetcampagne

Artist, period home maker, renovator, restorer, Francophile. My mission is to save the old stuff, one beautiful piece at a time
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21 Responses to Tread carefully part 2- an update on safer stairs stories

  1. Osyth says:

    Well I love your stairs. And it is good to know what the history of the place would have been. Tinkering with the wood to make it affordable is only what would have happened originally so I say Chateau off to anyone who is being condescending to a project that is so much more worthy and interesting and creative for being done on a tight budget. And by the way – when did the house ever have riches poured on it? I would hazard never – it is after all a little village house tucked away in a quite village France. I

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish everyone was as empathetic as you O. I get weary of reiterating our situation sometimes. it is what it is

      Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth says:

        One thing that living here has taught me is that many people simply do not read nor hear what is actually being said. I’m afraid it is an exagerrated trait here but it exists everywhere. I think I would adopt the smile and nod if I were you and not weary yourself with explanations of the reality of your project …. I can give you lessons in dealing with morons per my last post 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Check out the tiny rowhouses that were built for the working class of 18th and early 19th Century Philadelphia! 1 room per floor, kitchen in the basement.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And of course building materials vary a lot around the world but pine is the historically accurate flooring material for a house like this around here.


    • Would have been oak or chestnut in days gone by(when they were cheaply available!) Times change, we can’t afford hardwood so a strong pine maritime it is. I’m not ashamed, though I do get vaguely p*****d off with folk being condescending about the size of our house and our budget.( not you obv!)Just go and follow a château or a mansion guys!


      • Well new pine is softer than the old stuff but maybe that will get it to wear out and look like that trinity faster. Though there’s no way to fake that fantastic color that they get from actual aging. Did you see my blog back when I gutted the back bedroom and then reinstalled the original flooring?

        And I have no patience for people who are status obsessed but it’s a guilty pleasure of mine to be catty and snobbish toward people who express their status only through things that are expensively big or trendy. I’ll needle away if I perceive any slight toward my belongings or lifestyle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • This pin-maritime is pretty tough for new stuff. It is close grained too. As for aging? I can faux anything, just watch me


    • Anyways, if you posted photos of that Trinity and told people it was your house you’d probably fake everyone out. It is strikingly European looking to me.

      And there’s my grandmother’s old favorite quote from a furniture salesman at a fancy department store. She told him that she couldn’t afford the stuff (you know, the kind of formal Colonial furniture that’s on Craigslist for next to nothing now) and he told her, “The real tragedy is the people who have money without taste.”


      • Yep, you can’t buy taste. The French house is stubborn, some stuff just doesn’t work in there, and I know INSTANTLY when it won’t work and happily publish my occasional errors.
        All I care about is that we love it. If anyone else does, that’s just a bonus


      • And the beer tour gave me some reasons to be hopeful when it comes to being mocked. Not so much for having a small house, that’s normal in my neighborhood and for people under 30. But most people opt for a flipped house instead of a fixer upper that will take over their lives. That means they live with a contractor’s choices to design the house around a checklist. Island. Chimney hood. White marble or quartz countertops (formerly granite). Cable railings. I did the opposite of all of this – you know, Formica countertops that I bought from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $50 and hacked up to fit my space after blowing my money on wood windows and custom paneling – and people LOVED my house. Not one peep about anything of my unfashionable things, except some praise for the brown mahogany bookcases and Federal-style convex mirror.


      • Yes, you are under thirty and can get away with it. We are twice that, hence the slightly askance way we are being viewed


      • But I think people would look askance at me because I have furniture that should belong to someone your age! And no one did. I think people liked to see a house that doesn’t look just like all the others.


      • Well, I’ll let you know feedback received when we actually allow a whole group of folk into the hovel


      • I still can’t wrap my head around you calling it that. Probably because it looks like the small houses in Philadelphia’s most prestigious neighborhoods to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • We call it the hovel ironically, but most folk who escape to France have big incomes/budgets/pensions and buy grander projects.


  3. francetaste says:

    They seemed to relegate the least possible space to stairs back in the day.
    I think a door at the bottom is a good idea–keep your heat downstairs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, ours had to go, it intruded into the flow of the room. Also, we have a stove in salon close to bottom of the stairs with the intention of heat from that rising up the staircase as well as heating salon. Works well!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on husifrankrike and commented:
    So good to exchange experiences and thoughts with friends who have similar ambitions and so much knowledge! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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