Landing Becomes Living Space
This week we’re helping an ambitious homeowner who’s bitten off more than she can chew as we bring her project in for a landing.
Wyndy Grice bought a home that she shares with her 4-year-old daughter, Parker.
The project we’re here to help her with is an extension of the second-floor landing that was never quite completed.
Several months ago Wyndy hired a contractor to extend the second-floor landing over the two-story entryway in her home.
Once he completed the floor system, she planned to finish it herself. But the job was bigger than she expected so we’re jumping in to help to complete it.
Pick Up Where the Contractor Left Off
The first step is squaring off the base for the handrail, which was mitered in the corner where the landing used to end.
Fortunately, this material is a stock piece of window stool, so all we have to do is cut a new piece to length and notch it around the newel post.
Once we secure the base to the landing, we can lay out the locations for the spindles. While Chelsea and Wyndy drill those holes, Danny cuts two new sections of handrail for either side of the newel post.
We need a drill press to ensure that the holes in the rail are perfectly square. So Wyndy’s step-dad, Dana, helps Danny manage these heavy pieces of oak.
We’re recycling the rosette that was used before to support the end of this rail where it meets the wall. But this time there isn’t a stud where it needs to be mounted.
As Danny cuts a hole in the drywall to add blocking he discovers there’s attic space behind the wall.
So all he has to do is screw a 2-by-4 between the studs on the attic side to provide adequate support for the rail.
Once the first section of rail finally falls in place, we have another challenge before we can assemble the second one.
For the next section, Dana has the idea to start with the spindles in the top rail.
Eventually, all the spindles find their holes so we can connect the handrails to the posts by countersinking long screws to secure them before filling the holes with putty.
After one day of work, we’ve turned Wyndy’s incomplete landing into legitimate living space by adding new, safer handrails.
Build windowseat and bookcase around window
The window seat is essentially an open-ended box built from plywood. Once it’s assembled, we nail it to the toe kick and the walls before we begin putting together the bookshelves that go on top of it.
To hide the raw edges of the plywood and stiffen up the whole unit, we’re attaching a 1 X 2 band to all of the front edges.
These vinyl planks require a gap along the edges for expansion. Shoe molding covers it at the walls, but we add colored caulk along the handrail base to hide the gap there, and still remain flexible.
Add base and shoe molding
Chelsea and Wyndy survey her daughter’s books, games and toys to determine exactly what size spaces we’ll need for the design of the new window seat and bookcase.
- Replaced a light fixture
- Painted drywall and new cabinetry
- Stained Railings
- Painted spindles
- Installed a sconce
- Added a table/desk to room
Window Stool: $10
Paint: $22/gallon (2)
Light Fixtures: upstairs, $89 per fixture (2); downstairs, $275
Flooring: $1.79/sq. ft.
Wyndy’s idea to expand the landing over her entryway was a great one but even after the structure was complete, she realized she was in over her head with some of the remaining details.
By re-working some of the existing handrail and adding several feet to it we’ve turned a novelty area into legitimate living space. And changing the rail stain from light to dark has taken years off this home.
The window seat and built-in shelves will make it functional for Parker but they’re also an attractive addition that will improve the value of this home in years to come.
And continuing the same flooring used throughout the house into this space not only completes it. it makes it feel like it’s always been here… and that was our goal.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
How to Correct a Crooked Board
Joe shows you how to use a table saw to cut a straight edge into a board that has two crooked edges. Watch video.
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
This Ceiling Fan is Fast to Install
Tired of complicated ceiling fan installations? This fan’s blades click into place and the LED light twists in for a simple setup. Watch video.
Watch and Learn:
How to Build a Bookcase Around a Window
Want to make the most of space around a window? Build this bookcase and boost your storage! Watch video.
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