Ideas to make stairwell feel bigger


Old 03-09-08, 03:51 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: PA
Posts: 37
Ideas to make stairwell feel bigger

I have a small cape cod which I'd like to finish the attic. One problem is the stairs leading up to the attic are cramped and feel cramped. I'd like to open it up. I was thinking of some ideas like putting view holes in the top leading up. I was even thinking of going bold and open up the dining room ceiling to the attic making a cathedral ceiling. Any suggestions on how I could make this cramped space seem bigger. Below I have pictures attached:[email protected]/

Last edited by boris111; 03-09-08 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 03-14-08, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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There's lots of ways to open it up.

You'll be modifying a load bearing wall, which means you'll have to be careful and address that issue, but it is certainly possible.

2 things that come to my mind, is a large opening, like a window, except no glass, and the bottom of the window would follow the slope of the stairs rather then be straight.

It may also be possible to basically extend the window until there is no wall on the side located at the bottom of the stairs. This would probably require more structural investigation. Alternatively, you could place a single column, both decorative and structural, right at the bottom.

Either approach would provide a more open visual feeling.
Old 03-14-08, 02:54 PM
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Great place for a series of glass block windows...3 or 4 sized to fit between the studs. Ambient light from the adjoining room would be beautiful!
Old 03-15-08, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
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If it's a center stair cape (typical) the best way to open it up is to have it end in an open hallway.

I own a cape that originally had a closed off stairwell. I opened part of one wall on the 1st floor and added a railing/balusters. At the top I have a T shaped hallway with a railing and balusters around the opening.
Old 03-18-08, 09:08 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: PA
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Thanks for everyone's ideas. They all seem to have merit. I will have to take load bearing wall into consideration. Unfortunately I cannot open up the stairwell entirely and replace with a standard banister. The steps are not a standard width. The easiest solution to me would seem to be glass blocks, or square openings along the stariwell as one of you suggested. Ideally, I think I like the first idea of opening up a large area along the slope of the stairs. I think that would create the best effect and give me a a faux banister in a sense. I could create a hallway at the top of the stairs to give privacy to the attic bedroom suite.

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