Moving the Stairs (Part Two!) and StairBox review

If you haven’t seen part one of this post I’ll catch you up quickly: we are in the process of moving the staircase from the back of the house, into the newly created hallway at the front (so the doors to all of the downstairs rooms, the front door and stairs will all be in the same place). It was quite important to do this quickly as the old stairs ended up with an oak beam running through them (one of the new beams to hold the ceiling up in the snug) which meant that we had to climb over this and pass the kids to each other to take them from upstairs to downstairs. Obviously it wasn’t ideal – and so we prioritised getting a new stair case in place really quickly.

We ordered the staircase from StairBox, who are absolutely brilliant. They have a brilliant, user friendly calculator which helps you input all of the correct measurements, and essentially spits out a custom designed staircase to your exact measurements. I couldn’t recommend it enough – it’s incredibly well built with some really useful guides and jargon busters.

You can also customise lot’s of different elements of your staircase: the materials (oak or pine), handles, rails, whether you want spindles or glass, what style spindles you want etc…

We wanted to keep the stairs pine (they’ll be carpeted) but have the spindles and the hand rail in oak (they’ll be on show). As we are still months away from having a finished product we didn’t want any of the beautiful oak on show getting knocked and dented as all the work was being carried out, so we ordered the absolute basic parts of the staircase (essentially just the steps!). We knew we could make a make-shift balustrade to keep the kids from falling down that we wouldn’t need to worry about damaging.

The turnaround time of the stairs being manufactured was under two weeks and despite it being ‘kerbside only’ delivery the driver was wonderful and really happy to help me carry everything inside (I was home alone with the boys and those stairs are pretty bulky!).

When we came to fit the stairs (part one of this post) we realised that there was a slight problem with our plan which was caused by the fact that our new stairs have a winder. For anyone who doesn’t know what a winder is – new to me three months ago! – a winder is a term for any bit of the staircase that ‘turns’. So you could have a winder at the top of the stairs, at the bottom or in the middle, but essentially it’s when you have stairs going around a corner as opposed to straight. We designed our new stairs to feature a three step winder at the bottom  as it was a massive space saver for us; we wanted to get the stairs up in as small a length as possible to help maximise space in our small hallway.

Essentially winders fit to and are supported by the bottom newel post in our case: this is the big chunky post that the stairs wind around. As I mentioned above we’d ordered everything in pine (including this newel post) and our original plan was to change this to oak when the work was completed as the newel post will be on show. We realised that this part of the stairs are glued and doweled together so once installed we’d not be able to remove. (Definitely something we should have checked but at least we realised before we assembled it).

As I mentioned above it was important to get these stairs moved so we didn’t have to keep climbing over a beam, so part one of this post talked about how we got to this temporary solution:

Not ideal – but certainly usable, and significantly safer then the steps we had.

In the above photos you can see the pine newel post in place. We realised that to fit the bottom three steps we’d need to change the plan slightly and fit the stairs with an oak newel post instead. At this point we had to get back in touch with StairBox. We rang them up to explain the situation and they were brilliant. Essentially because everything is custom designed and then CNC machined to our dimensons, they have our template on file that they put through a computer system. We could provide them with our order number and they just ran through the same newel post again – this time in oak. Obviously it fitted perfect.

(As a side note – we also ordered the spindles, the other newel posts (for the landing) and banister at the same time (there wasn’t the same rush to get these stairs fitted so we took our time to actually make some decisions!). Obviously we haven’t fitted them, but we’re in love with the design and finish – I cant wait to see them installed!)

Obviously we haven’t got ‘pretty’ finished photos (we are in the middle of a building site after all!), but here is how the stairs now look with the correct winder in place:


And here’s a close up of that newel post that caused all of the trouble:

So we now finally have the correct layout of the hallway. We’ve wrapped the newel post up with insulation to try and stop it from being damaged, and these stairs now will be pretty much ignored until we’ve finished building the walls upstairs, wiring, plumbing, insulating, plastering and decorating everything, so we’ll probably be living with these as they are for around 12 months, but it’s so nice to have stairs that aren’t backless and orange like the original ones!

As a side note on StairBox (and I’m just a happy customer – I’ve not discussed this review with them in any way!) I couldn’t recommend them highly enough. Both in terms of their customer service (which is excellent) but I believe they have one of the best user friendly eCommerce websites I’ve ever seen. In fact I’ve used them as examples over and over again at work! Both the actual user interface of the staircase builder as well as the way they help you use it is best in class.  If you’re considering upgrading or replacing your staircase but you think it’s too complicated I honestly think you should take a look at their site.