This is my first post to provide an update on our Northwest Stair Restoration Project. We are currently trying to wrap up the architectural investigations within the two spaces that make up this passage. There are a few questions that still need answers before we can start the construction drawings and restoration. This has been an ongoing process and it seems that every time we answer one question, three more arise. Some of the remaining questions are minor, like how to deal with baseboards and modern HVAC vents, while some are more complex. For example, how was the weight of the main floor supported after the floor joists were cut and how will we cover the window that the stairs will bisect?
The investigation has included paint analysis, archival research, and the work of multiple architectural historians, preservationists, and architects over the past 20 years or so. Included is the only photo of the original stair case from Edith Tunis Sale's Colonial Interiors, published in 1930. Plaster has been removed, nail holes documented and analyzed, plaster ghosts discussed, and the reason a stud has been flipped and rotated has been debated. Basically, what I am trying to say is we are going to great lengths to make sure the restored stair passage is as historically accurate as the evidence will allow. No nail hole will go unanalyzed.
I will be back soon with a report of what I find between the ceiling of the ground floor room and the floor boards of the main floor room. In the meantime, read about the history of the Northwest Stair Passage and reasoning behind the project on our web page.